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Teunis G. Bergen and Bergen family collection

Call Number



1639-1893, inclusive


Bergen, Teunis G.
Bergen family
Conover family
Cortelyou family
Cortelyou, Peter
Cowenhoven family
Whitman, Walt
Wyckoff family


16.91 Linear Feet in 34 manuscript boxes, one half manuscript box, one shoe box, two oversize folders (OS-34), and 22 flat file folders.

Language of Materials

Materials written primarily in English, with a small number written in Dutch with English translations.


The Teunis G. Bergen and Bergen family collection comprises the papers of Teunis G. Bergen (1806-1881), as well as the papers of other Bergen family and extended family members. Materials in the collection span the years 1639 to 1893, and primarily document Bergen's role as a major civic and community figure in Brooklyn, as well as his family's history. In addition to his work as a farmer and surveyor, Teunis G. Bergen served on the Kings County Board of Supervisors as Supervisor of New Utrecht, NY, and in 1864, he was elected to the United States House of Representatives as a Democrat to the Thirty-ninth Congress. He was also known for his expertise in genealogy and local history, and published several articles and books on these topics. Highlights of the collection include maps, surveys, and map tracings of various Brooklyn locales drafted by Bergen; extensive materials pertaining to Bergen's research and publishing on local history and genealogy; and research materials on Bergen family genealogy.

Biographical note on Teunis G. Bergen

Teunis G. Bergen was born in the town of New Utrecht, New York on October 6, 1806, the eldest child of Garret Bergen and his wife Jane (nee Wyckoff). While growing up, he worked on his father's farm in the Gowanus area of Brooklyn and was educated at both the common school of the district and at Erasmus Hall Academy in Flatbush. As a young man, he was trained as a surveyor and subsequently pursued a successful career in this field.

Bergen was also a farmer and an active civic leader. As a member of the 241st regiment of the New York State Militia, he held the ranks of Ensign, Captain, Adjutant, Lieutenant-Colonel, and finally, Colonel. He served on the Kings County Board of Supervisors as the Supervisor of the town of New Utrecht for twenty-three years, 1836-1859, and was Chairman of the Board from 1842 to 1846. Bergen served as a member of the New York State Constitutional Conventions of 1846, 1867, and 1868, and was a delegate to the National Democratic Convention of 1860. In 1864, he was elected to the United States House of Representatives as a Democrat to the Thirty-ninth Congress, an office which he held until 1867.

In addition to his professional and civic activities, Teunis G. Bergen was a self-trained historical researcher and genealogist, as well as a published author. His genealogical interests included not only his own family, but also many other prominent Brooklyn families. His published works include The Register of the Early Settlers and Freeholders of Kings County, NY, from its First Settlement by Europeans, to 1700, with Biographical Notices and Family Genealogies; Genealogy of the Van Brunt Family, 1653-1867; The Bergen Family; or, the Descendents of Hans Hansen Bergen, One of the Early Settlers of New York and Brooklyn, L.I., with Notes on the Genealogy of Some of the Branches of the Cowenhoven, Voorhees, Eldert, Stoothoof, Cortelyou, Stryker, Suydam, Lott, Wyckoff, Barkeloo, Lefferts, Martense, Hubbard, Van Brunt, Vanderbilt, Vanderveer, Van Nuyse, and Other Long Island Families; Genealogy of the Lefferts Family, 1650-1878; and his seven volume A History of New Utrecht, Long Island. Additionally, he contributed frequently to the New York Genealogical and Biographical Record.

Teunis G. Bergen died of pneumonia at his residence in New Utrecht, Long Island at the age of 74, and was interred at Green-Wood Cemetery.

Biographical note on the Bergen family

The Bergen family that settled and proliferated throughout New York and New Jersey beginning in the 17th century is descended from the common ancestor, Hans Hansen Bergen, a native of Bergen, Norway. A ship's carpenter by trade, Bergen moved to Holland as a young man, and subsequently emigrated to the colony of New Amsterdam in 1633. His name appeared in land and church records in different forms, including Hans de Boer, Hans Noorman, Hans Hanszen Van Bergen, Hans Hansen, and Hans Hansen Bergen. It was not until the late 17th or early 18th century that his descendents formally adopted the surname, Bergen.

In 1639, Hans Hansen Bergen married Sara Rapalje, who was mistakenly rumored to have been the first European child born in the colony of New Netherland. They had eight children, among them Michael Hansen Bergen (baptized November 4, 1646), who held civil office for several years and was one of the patentees named in Governor Thomas Dongan's patent of May 13, 1686, which provided the land grant that established the village of Breuklen in the colony of New York. He and his wife, Femmetje Bergen (nee Theunis) had five children.

Michael Hansen Bergen's son, Hans Michielzse Bergen (baptized March 11, 1689) was a baker who resided near Brooklyn Ferry with his wife, Rachel (nee Bensing or Benson). They had seven children, among them Tunis Bergen (baptized October 15, 1730), who held civil and military office in Brooklyn. Tunis and his wife, Johanna (nee Stoothoff) had nine children, including their son, Garret Bergen.

Garret Bergen (born January 11, 1772) held civil and church office in Brooklyn, and was married to Jane Wyckoff on January 6, 1806. Together they had eleven children, including their first born, Teunis G. Bergen, who was born on October 6, 1806.

Arrangement note

The collection is arranged in two manuscript groups. Group 1 is organized into six series:

Missing Title

  1. Correspondence (alphabetical)
  2. Financial Records
  3. Genealogical Research
  4. History of New Utrecht
  5. Personal Papers
  6. Surveying Records

Group 2 is organized into two series:

Missing Title

  1. Bergen Family Papers
  2. Bergen Extended Family Papers

Within each group, series and folders are arranged alphabetically.

Scope and Contents note

The Teunis G. Bergen and Bergen family collection spans the period 1639 to 1893 and measures 14 linear feet. The bulk of the collection comprises papers created or compiled by Teunis G. Bergen that document many facets of his professional and personal lives. It includes extensive correspondence written to Bergen, primarily concerning his duties as Supervisor of New Utrecht, as well as letters requesting his expertise in matters of surveying, genealogy, and the history of New Utrecht. A significant portion of the collection documents Bergen's career as a surveyor. These materials include maps, map tracings and surveys drafted by Bergen; drafts of legal documents, including deeds and legal land descriptions; specifications of houses built in Brooklyn and surrounding towns; field notes and calculations; and title searches.

Bergen's activities as a self-trained genealogist and historian are also well-documented. The collection contains a bound, handwritten copy of Bergen's seven-volume A History of New Utrecht, Long Island, as well as research notes and correspondence pertaining to genealogical and local history research conducted by Bergen. Also included in the collection are a variety of Bergen's personal papers, including his childhood schoolbooks, travel logs, financial records, and other ephemera.

The collection also includes papers concerning Teunis G. Bergen's immediate and extended family members, as well as items that document Bergen family history. Materials in the collection document Bergen's father, Garret Bergen; his first cousin once removed, Cornelius Bergen; his wife, Jane C. Bergen; his younger cousin, John C. Bergen; his brother, Peter G. Bergen; and his son, Garret T. Bergen. Of particular interest are a small set of Bergen family land records dated 1696-1700, including maps of Hans Hansen Bergen's land. Also included are correspondence and legal documents between Teunis G. Bergen and members of the Cortelyou, Conover, Cowenhoven, and Wyckoff families, all of whom were related to the Bergens by marriage.

Conditions Governing Access

Open to researchers without restriction.

Conditions Governing Use

Materials in this collection are in the public domain.

Preferred Citation

Identification of item, date (if known); Teunis G. Bergen and Bergen family papers, ARC.006, Box and Folder number; Brooklyn Public Library, Center for Brooklyn History.

Collection processed by

Matthew Gorham

About this Guide

This finding aid was produced using ArchivesSpace on 2023-08-21 11:18:29 +0000.
Using Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language: Finding aid written in English

Processing Information

This collection brings together the following accessions into a single collection: 1974.147, 1974.148, 1974.159, 1974.174, 1977.056, 1977.057, 1977.058, 1977.069, 1977.070, 1977.108, 1977.147, 1977.159, 1977.264, 1977.239, 1977.260, 1977.262, 1977.261, 1977.263, 1977.306, and 1977.376.

The collection in its current form was arranged and described by Matthew Gorham in 2009 and 2010.

Plans for the enlargement of Teunis G. Bergen's home were accidentally separated from the collection and placed with the BHS library's collection of Bergen's maps at some point in the past. The plans were reintegrated into this collection by John Zarrillo in October 2016. A folder of correspondence and receipts relating to the family was added to the collection by John Zarrillo in March 2017.


Brooklyn Historical Society
Center for Brooklyn History
128 Pierrepont Street
Brooklyn, NY 11201