Gravesend Town Records
Town records of Gravesend, beginning in 1646 have been microfilmed and are housed at the NYC Municipal archives. Additionally, in the early 20th century, transcriptions of the some of the earliest records were made and, later, microfilmed. They are also available at the NYC Municipal Archives and, unlike the original records, are very readable. In addition to the typical records you would expect, patents, property transfers, taxes, arrests, court proceedings, there are marriage, birth and death records. Moreover, while transcribing the records, an "important word index" - people and place names, actions, types of record, etc., was created for each of the first 6 books:
Book 1, Town Meetings, 1646 - 1653 (Click the links on the left to access and save the PDF files)
Book 2, Deeds & Leases, 1653 - 1670
Book 3, Town Meetings, 1656 - 1705
Book 4, Court Minutes 1662-1699
Book 5, Deeds and Leases 1672 - 1686
Book 6, Patents & Deeds 1645-1701
Each of the above pdf files contains the complete index for that book and they can be downloaded and saved to your computer.
In addition, a searchable database in provided on the "Search" tab for these early records of the town. These records are kept at the New York City
Municipal Archives. - 2,096 records.
A search of names will give the Book Number and the number of pages on which that name appears. If interested in obtaining copies of the records, contact the NYC Records Department at firstname.lastname@example.org to get the information on the procedure and the cost to obtain copies. When contacting the Records Department make sure to give the full record, including which books you are interested in and the number of pages.
Gravesend was one of the original towns in the Dutch colony of New Netherland and became one of the six original towns of Kings County in colonial New York. It was the only English chartered town in what became Kings County and was designated the "Shire Town" when the English assumed control, as it was the only one where records could be kept in English.
Gravesend is notable for being founded by a woman, Lady Deborah Moody; a land patent was granted to the English settlers by Governor Willem Kieft, December 19, 1645. Gravesend Town encompassed 7,000 acres (2,800 ha) in southern Kings County, including the entire island of Coney Island, which was originally the town's common lands on the Atlantic Ocean, divided up, as was the town itself, into 41 parcels for the original patentees. When the town was first laid out, almost half were salt marsh wetlands and sand hill dunes along the shore of Gravesend Bay.
When you look at these indices, please note the following "hints." People creating these early records usually were not good at spelling. For example, one of my ancestors, Barent Jurianse, a Dutch name, which translates to Barnard, son of George, has 17 spellings of his patronymic surname beginning with Jur and 4 with Yur. If you are looking for an ancestor, be creative with possible spellings. Moreover, it is probably useful and fun to look at every page of the indices. There are fewer than 200 pages for these 6 books. You might want a copy of some events that do not involve your ancestor(s) like the Dame Moody Patent. Also, keep in mind that a document containing your ancestor's name might be in a document that covers several pages, but your ancestors name is only on one of the pages. When you request copies from the NYC Municipal Archives, by contacting NYC Records Department at
email@example.com, please tell them the index words and pages you want, but add that you would like complete records.save yourself having to do a second request.
Records Search: Gravesend Brooklyn Ny
Please note that the Surname (e.g. Last Name) is a required entry field. But since exact spellings are not always known, to aid your search we offer three different ways to specify Surnames...
- Exact Match ("is exactly") - This is the default surname search method.
- Soundex ("sounds like") - This option enables you to specify a surname spelling it out as best you can, and it will return results that "sound" similar to what you spelled out.
- Wild Card - With this option you can replace part of the surname with a * to match any number of letters, or _ to match a single letter. E.g., Sch* will return all names starting with Sch. Similarly, Schl_tz might return results such as Schlitz or Schlotz.
NOTE: The wild card option applies ONLY to the surname.
You can just enter the fist few letters of a First Name; the search
automatically adds a wild card to the end of the First Name.
For whichever of the above surname search options you would like to use, simply select the appropriate radio button option below the input field on the form. Although the additional form fields are optional, providing as much information as you can helps narrow your search. The more specific your search, the less time you need spend scrolling through search results!
The German Genealogy Group wishes to thank the following volunteers for their help and participation in the Gravesend project:
Don Eckerle * Robert Vornlocker