Joris [George] Janssen Rapalje, my 10G Grandfather, was born April 28, 1604, in Valenciennes, Spanish Netherlands [now France]. His name may have been 'Jean' in French. [See note on Dutch given names] He was baptized in the St. Nicholas Church of Valciennes.
In 1623, at age 19, Joris was married in Amsterdam. His wife was Catalyntje [Catalina] Jeronymus Trico [this note on Dutch patronymics might be useful]. Joris Jansen Rapalje and his wife, Catalyntje, a Huguenot, was the common ancestor of all the American families of this name [with an estimated 1,000,000 descendants in the New World]==the practice which afterwards obtained of writing the final syllable of the name with a 'j' was the Dutch version of the original French orthography.
In January of 1624, Joris and Catalina were recruited along with a number of other families by the Dutch West India Company to go to work in the the company's holdings in America. They were assigned to the ship called Eendracht [Unity]. Those families joining them were mostly Walloons.
Joris and Catalina made it a condition before leaving Amsterdam that they could be married before their ship sailed. Common practice at that time was for couples to notify the civil authorities of their intent to wed so that their proclamation of banns could be called for three Sundays in their respective churches. Joris and Catalina registered their intention on Saturday, January 13, 1624, and were married in the Walloon Church in Amsterdam on Sunday, January 21, 1624, only eight days later. The marriage-intention registry reads, with abbreviations and deletions, in Dutch: “Joris Raparlie van Valenchie..../boratwercker out 19 jaerenwoon...op't Waele/padt and Catharina triko van [word “parijs” crossed out] pris in/ [word “Vranckrijck” crossed out] Walslant geasst...met mary Fla[m]egh/haar suster woon...in de Vles out 18 yae.”...Translated: “Joris Raparlie, born in Valencie...borat worker, age 19 years, living at the Waele padt, and Catharina Trico, born [“Paris, Kingdom of France” crossed out] Pris in Walslant, assisted by Mary Flamergh, her sister, living in de Vles, age 18 years.”
Omitted from this record are several items of information customarily included to indicate, for example, duration of residence, and present marital status. Since both were minors, the omission of parental approval suggests that neither had parents residing in Amsterdam or, for that matter, living. And, as Joris was not assisted by anyone, he may not have had a male relative in Amsterdam. From the patronymic used by Joris in New Netherland, we know that his father was Jan (Dutch) or Jean (French) Raparlie, or some similar spelling.
Joris was baptized as Georges Rapareillet on April 28, 1604, in the Church of St. Nicholas at Valciennes as the natural son of Jean Rapareillet. His mother's name was not listed. The registration of the baptism of a Protestant child in a Catholic Church was not unusual at that time.
Joris and Catalina settled in Fort Orange, now Albany. They resided there for three years until the Dutch authorities resettled them and a number of families from Fort Orange to the southern end of Manhattan in 1626. They had resided in Fort Orange until the birth of their youngest child. After the 1626 harvest, the Rapalje's left Fort Orange and returned to Manhattan with eight other families. Ft. Orange ceased to be a settlement and reverted to its former status of fortified trading post.
Their children are recorded on original records now kept at the library of the New York Historical Society. Their daughter, Sarah, married first Hans Hansen Bergen and later Teunis Gysberts Bogart. She was recorded as the first Christian daughter born in the New Netherlands. In honor of this, the Dutch authorities presented her a tract of land at the Wallabout. [Sarah Rapalje's chair is in the collection of the Museum of the City of NY, and is thought to have been brought to New Netherland by the family.]
On June 16, 1637, Joris bought a tract of land called Renneganock from the Lenape Indians , computed at 335 acres, now included in the town of Brooklyn and comprehending the lands occupied by the Brooklyn Navy Yard. The land was renamed Waal Boght, from the dutch meaning either “Bend in the River” or “Bay of Walloons”. This later became Wallabout Bay.
The Rapaljes established a residence near the East River, and were among the earliest purchasers of land in Manhattan, later building two houses on Pearl Street near the Fort. During at least a portion of his time there, Joris kept a tavern or tap-house, his name appearing among the inn keepers and tapsters, inhabitants who promised to observe the proclamation of Governor Stuyvesant [my half 9G grand uncle] of March 10th, 1648, in relation to the regulation of such houses, as late as March 16, 1648, on the records in the book of the Burgomasters Court New Amsterdam. Rapalje's son-in-law, Hans Hansen Bergen, acquired a large tract adjoining Rapalje's. Today the land where the Rapalje’s farm stood is an industrial park under the direction of the Brooklyn Navy Yard.
Joris probably removed to his Long Island farm, which he probably had cultivated a portion of previously, as early as 1655 for, on April 13, 1655, he was appointed one of the magistrates of Brooklyn in the place of Pieter Cornellisse.
Rapalje figured frequently in law suits. He sold his house and lot June 22, 1654, to Hendrick Henderson, drummer [a commercial traveler or traveling sales representative ], for 800 Guilders. Pieter Cornellisse, a house carpenter, in New Amsterdam as early as 1640, was appointed one of the magistrates of Brooklyn, April 9, 1654. In 1646, he obtained a patent for over 27 morgens [a unit of land measure equal to about two acres (0.8 hectare), formerly in use in Holland and the Dutch colonies and still used in South Africa] in Brooklyn adjoining lands of Cornelius Dircksen, ferryman.
In the records of the Burgomaster's and Schepen's court of New Amsterdam, up to 1656, on the 28th of April, of which year a return was made in a suit of Cornelia Schellinger against "Joresy Rapalje," of Rapalje's having departed beyond the jurisdiction of the court, and the same return was made on the 25th of the following November, in a suit of Jacob Schellinger against "Catalyn Joresy," Rapalje's wife.
On the 16th of June, 1637, Rapalje bought a tract of land of the Indians, "Kakapeyno and Pewichaas," called "Rinnegakonck”, situate on Long Island, south of the Island of the Manhattans, extending from a certain Kil into the woods south and eastward to a certain Kripplebush (swamp), to a place where the water runs over the stones." On the 17th of June, 1643, his Indian purchase was patented to him by the governor, and is described as "a piece of land called Rinnegakonck, formerly purchased by him of the Indians, as will appear by reference to the transport, lying on Long Island, in the bend of Mereckkawick (now Brooklyn), east of the land of Jan Monfoort, extending along the said land in a southerly direction, towards and into the woods."
In August, 1641, Rapalje was one of the twelve men representing Manhattan, Breukelen and Pavonia, elected to suggest means to punish the Indians for a murder they had committed. In 1655,'56, '57, and again in 1660, he was one of the magistrates of Brooklyn.
Joris Jansen Rapalje and Catalina Trico were the parents of 11 children, including Sarah Rapalje, the first child of European parentage born in New Netherland. Sarah Rapalje's chair is in the collection of the Museum of the City of New York, and is thought to have been brought to New Netherland by the family. Annetje, who married Martin Ryerson and had many children one of which was Cathalyntie who married Paulus Vanderbeek, Grandson of Master Paulus Vanderbeeck, a Dutch West India Company ship surgeon and Brooklyn's first resident doctor. Jannetje, another of Joris Jansen Rapalje's daughters, married another Vanderbeek; Rem Jansen Vanderbeek, whose descendants took the name Remsen and who became a leading New York mercantile family. Rapalie died soon after the close of the Dutch administration, having had eleven children.
Catalyntje Trico's Gold Clasp
Because of the number of their descendants, author Russell Shorto has called Joris Jansen and his wife Catalina "the Adam and Eve" of New Netherland as the number of their descendants has been estimated at about a million.
Brooklyn's Rapelye Street is named for the family. The spelling of the Rapalje family name varied over the years to include Rapelye, Rapalje, Rapareilliet, Raparlié, Rapalyea, Raplee, Rapelyea, Rapeleye, Rappleyea as well as others.
Rapelje, Montana is named for a descendant, and an early descendant, Capt. Daniel Rapelje, founded the settlement which became St. Thomas, Ontario.