The Voorlezer's Book
Our Old Dutch Church's original hand-written baptismal record book,
covering 1696 to 1790, is the oldest historical record book
on Staten Island and one of the oldest in New York City.
The book was first discovered some time after 1860 by Rev. Brownlee as he was researching to write a pamphlet.
Bayles History of Richmond County recounts the dramatic circumstances:
Sample page with 1696 entries
written in Dutch.
"This venerable and valuable relic (prior
to 1887) fell into bad company and
became degraded to the level of
common garret rubbish. While it was in this condition and just as it was about to be assigned to a bon-fire . . . it was promptly rescued by Mr. Alfred De Groot. . ."
In 1950 it was reconditioned in its original style by Mr. Alexander Beveridge, a church member.
In 1909 the Voorlezer's Book was published as a typeset book.
Click image above for entire book.
Why the information in our Voorlezer's Book was considered important enough to be published for national distribution.
Our records go back 53 years farther than the next oldest.
The first page gives the Voorlezer's name, Henderyck Kroesen