Keeping Staatses and Abrahams in order

The name Staats has variations such as Staas, Staes, Stadts, and Staets, all from the Latin root status (to stand or remain), which acquired the meaning “of the state” in medieval Germanic languages.  The progenitor of the Staats family of Albany is Abram Staes.1In 1642, the clerk for Abram’s wedding banns wrote Abram’s name as “Abraham Staats.”2 Abram, however, wrote his name as “Abram Staes” throughout his life. In New Netherland records, he is also called Meister Abraham, Mister Abram, Captain Staes, and Major Abram Staes. Abram will have a son, Abraham II, born in 1665, and a grandson, Abraham III, born in 1700.3  Abram Staes was baptized on January 19, 1620, in Amsterdam. He was the seventh child of the ten children of Isaac Staes and Sara Lauwers. Isaac, a merchant from Antwerp, had a brother, Jochem, a sister, Catharina, and several stepbrothers and sisters. Isaac’s father was Hans Staes, a merchant from Hamburg, then Danzig, and then Antwerp.4

  In 1635, Abram completed, at the age of fifteen, training as a surgeon-apprentice with Amsterdam surgeon Jan Eckius.5 According to historian Donna Merwick, Staes subsequently served as a ship’s surgeon in the Netherlands, although documentary evidence for this has not been located.6  In 1642, surgeon Jan Dircsz Brim recommended Staes as a “welltrained surgeon” to Kiliaen van Rensselaer, a director of the Amsterdam Chamber of the Dutch West India Company (WIC).7

  The West India Company and, in particular, Kiliaen van Rensselaer, was looking to invigorate development in the Fort Orange region of the North (Hudson) River with an infusion of settlers. On February 1, 1642, Van Rensselaer offered Abram a contract with exclusive right to be surgeon at Fort Orange for the West India Company for a period of six years, from 1642 to 1648, and allowed him to maintain the right to conduct mercantile activities within the company’s rules.8

1 Doopregister, January 19, 1620, Bron 40, p. 71 Her. Nieuwe Kerk, Stadsarchief Amsterdam [hereafter cited as GAA].
2 Wedding Banns of Abram Staes and Trynte Jochemse, January 9, 1642, DTB 457, p.149, GAA.
3 Abraham II, born 1665, died 1739, and Abraham III, baptized May 30, 1697, died young; and Abraham III,
baptized July 28, 1700, John Dern, ed., Albany Protocol, WC Berkenmeyer’s Chronicle, 1731–1750 (Ann Arbor, MI, 1971), 565.
4 Albany Protocol, 564n; Marriage and Banns, DTB 414, p. 208, GAA. References for the family background are in ACA NOT. ARCH 21-M Folio 7, GAA.
5 Archive 366 Chirugyns Guild Inventory 254, p. 41, scan 25, GAA.
6 Donna Merwick, Possessing Albany, 1630–1710: The Dutch and English Experiences (Cambridge, 1990), 105. Staes is recorded as a captain of the Burgher Guard at Fort Orange on June 7, 1657, at age thirty-seven. Charles T. Gehring, Fort Orange Minutes 1652–1660 (Syracuse, NY, 1990), 299.
7 A. J. F. Van Laer, trans and ed., The Van Rensselaer Bowier Manuscripts (Albany, N.Y., 1908), 678 [hereafter cited as VRBM].
8 VRBM, 617.

Previous Page Top Next Page