Ancestor Notes

Jacob Barsimson was an Ashkenazi Jew who had been sent by the Jewish leaders of Amsterdam to scout out New Amsterdam as a possible new home for Jews seeking a new land for settlement.   He arrived on the ship Peartree (de Pereboom),  August 22, 1654.  

In November 1655, Barsimson and another early Jewish settler, Asser Levy, petitioned the government of New Netherland for permission to stand guard to the colony like other burghers, or else to be relieved from the special monthly tax imposed on Jews in the colony, as a penance for not standing in the guard. Their request was refused with a statement that they may go elsewhere if they liked.    Asser Levy began serving in the militia in 1657.

In 1656, they successfully lobbied for approval to construct a Jewish cemetery, after initially being denied this request.

Barsimson and other early American Jews succeeded before long in obtaining instructions to Governor Peter Stuyvesant from his superiors, the Dutch West India Company of Holland, overruling his discrimination against Jews in the colony.


Ship Journey(s)