The old Dutch records of Kingston, New York, commonly referred to as the Kingston Papers, are fundamental to the study of New Netherland and constitute the historical basis for virtually all that is known of the local administration of the region of Esopus, formerly the village of Wildwych, named Kingston by the English, during the formative years 1661-1675. The records consist of court minutes and secretary’s papers, providing a record of hearings and trials as well as a record of legal and administrative transactions, and are of far-ranging historical and genealogical significance. Actions brought before the court frequently involved suits for the recovery of money due for wages, goods sold, and money loaned, as well as litigation involving theft, slander, and assault. Other court business appearing in the records pertains to the regulation of municipal affairs, principally land use, trade and security. The “Secretary’s Papers, 1664-1675,” contain legal transactions (contracts, agreements, bonds, wills, powers of attorney, and other declarations) and transfers of real estate (leases, conveyances, and bills of sale) and provide the researcher with an abundance of data pertaining to the inhabitants of Kingston–data concerning their place and date of birth, residence, occupation, and family relationships–and are of far-ranging genealogical and historical significance.
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