Families of New Netherland
Since the early 17th century, New Netherland had produced several notable families. Collectively known as the Edelen, they are conventionally divided into two general categories, the vieux riche Optimates (Amerikaens: Opptimaeten) and the 20th century Reckeningers.
The Optimates, named for the ancient Roman senatorial class, represent the centuries-old aristocracy of New Netherland. They are subdivided into;
- the Patröns - named after the patroon system, the landed nobility of the country whose inception dates back to 17th century European immigrants. They had acquired significant power during the colonial period and ruled the nation during the eponymous Patrön period.
- and the Jonckers (urban nobles) - old urban upperclass, usually centered around New Amsterdam established by diverse 17th century immigrants. Their name comes from the Dutch noble title Joncker, equivalent to a British Esquire.
In the 20th century, they eventually lost power to the Reckeningers, who are also bisected. The phrase comes from the Dutch rekening, meaning the accounts book or an invoice of a businessman.
- the Parvenö (the new aristocracy) - families which had accumulated wealth and status during the 19th and early 20th centuries. Parvenö comes from the French phrase parvenu, referring to people who had quickly gained wealth and had not been accepted by the old aristocracy.
- the Borghers (the bourgeoisie) - finally emerging during the early Republican era, they represent the modern middle class and intelligentsia of New Netherland.
Van Rensselaer family
The Van Rensselaers, often referred to simply as the Rensselaers, are a New Netherland familly of Hollandish origin. Kiliaen van Rensselaer, the clan's progenitor, had established their patroonship in 1630. Their colonial demesne, centred on the eponymic town of Rensselaerwÿck, was among the largest, earliest, and most autonomous in New Netherland. Prior to their emigration, the Rensselaers served as burgomasters, councillors, soldiers, and treasurers in the United Provinces.
List of patriarchs
- Kiliaen van Rensselaer (1630-1643)
- Johannes van Rensselaer (1643-1652)
- Jan Baptist van Rensselaer (1652-1658)
- Jeremias van Rensselaer (1658-1676)
- Kiliaen van Rensselaer II (1676-1689)
- Jeremias van Rensselaer II (1689-1710)
- Stefaen van Rensselaer (1710-1747)
- Martÿn van Rensselaer (1747-1768)
- Kiliaen van Rensselaer III (1768-1770)
- Willem van Rensselaer (1770-1798)
- Kiliaen van Rensselaer IV (1798-1801; 1808-1815)
- Stefaen van Rensselaer II (1801-1808; 1815-1822)
- Kiliaen van Rensselaer V (1822-1823)
- Kiliaen van Rensselaer VI (1823-1858)
- Willem van Rensselaer II (1858-1881)
- Stefaen van Rensselaer III (1881-1920)
- Kiliaen van Rensselaer VII (1920-1957)
- Willem van Rensselaer III (1957-1988)