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Seaman family papers

Call Number



1752-1838, inclusive


Seaman family


2.1 Linear Feet
in one flat box and one flat file folder.

Language of Materials

English .


The Seaman family papers (1752-1838) principally concern merchant John Seaman and Willet Seaman, though several other Seaman family members are also represented. The bulk of the collection consists of deeds and other documents concerning land transactions.

Biographical note

There are many branches of the Seaman family on Long Island and in the New York area extending back to the 1600s. One of the principal Seamans in this collection is a John Seaman, but it is not immediately clear which of many John Seamans this is. Other Seamans in the collection also have names in common with other Seamans. The researcher is directed to the library catalog to identify genealogical works that might help in this regard.

The collection itself was donated by the heirs of Mary Jackson Seaman Albert. According to the note accompanying the collection, Mary Albert was born in Brooklyn on January 8, 1815. She was the daughter of John Seaman and Mary M. Hicks, both of Brooklyn, at least later in their lives. The papers in the collection indicate that John was a merchant in New York City at least until about 1815.


The collection is organized with deeds and other land documents first, followed by correspondence and other document forms. The land documents are arranged by location.

The collection is no longer in its original order as presented by the donor. The material was originally presented in two "bundles" with documents numbered from 1 to 43. An inventory supplied by the donor listed the items and their relationship. Likely in the mid 2000s, the documents were re-arranged from their sequential order to the present arrangement. Nonetheless, the original sequential numbers are still noted on the documents themselves and in this finding aid. A copy of the original inventory is in the accession file.

Scope and Contents

The Seaman family papers (1752-1838) principally concern merchant John Seaman and Willet Seaman, though several other Seaman family members are also represented. The bulk of the collection consists of deeds and other documents concerning land transactions. Several of these deeds relate to land in North Hempstead, Long Island, acquired to establish a manufactory for woolen goods, circa 1816. Other legal documents related to this business are also in the collection, such as partnership agreements and an insurance policy. An indenture for an apprentice from the Overseers of the Poor of Brooklyn and an enslaved African American's bill of sale for John Seaman's purchase also relate to the manufactory, known as Seaman and Cock (the Cock referring to partners John Cock and Townsend Cock). Other land transactions concern Seaman properties or interests on Long Island, New York City, other New York State counties, and other states. Other documents include John Seaman's will, Seaman's conditions for the eventual manumission of the enslaved person he purchased, and correspondence from Willet Seaman supporting quarantine laws to prevent the spread of yellow fever.

Conditions Governing Access

Open to researchers without restriction.

Conditions Governing Use

The materials in this collection are in the public domain. While many items at the Center for Brooklyn History are unrestricted, we do not own reproduction rights to all materials. Be aware of the several kinds of rights that might apply: copyright, licensing and trademarks. The researcher assumes all responsibility for copyright questions.

Preferred Citation

Identification of item, date (if known); Seaman family papers, 1974.005, Box and Folder number; Brooklyn Public Library, Center for Brooklyn History.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Grace Albert on behalf of the heirs of Mary Jackson Seaman Albert, September 1930.

Related Materials

In addition to several Seaman family books on its library shelves, Center for Brooklyn History also holds the "Seaman family genealogical notes, circa 1685-1865" (call number 1980.033).

Other Finding Aids

A copy of the item-level inventory provided by the collection donor is in the accession file and available to researchers upon request.

Collection processed by

Larry Weimer

About this Guide

This finding aid was produced using ArchivesSpace on 2024-02-12 20:37:56 +0000.
Using Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language: Description is written in: English, Latin script.

Processing Information

The collection was placed in its current arrangement likely in the mid-2000s. Descriptive information was entered to a collection management system, Archivists' Toolkit, and a finding aid prepared by Larry Weimer in March 2012.

Oppressive descriptive language was remediated from the subject terms, abstract, and scope and contents notes in this finding aid as part of an anti-racist descriptive language audit performed in January 2021. Folder titles were retained to maintain record of descriptive language of collection creators.

This collection was rehoused and the finding aid revised by Dee Bowers in 2024.

Revisions to this Guide

January 2021: Revised by Amy Lau, Archivist, to remediate oppressive language from subject terms, abstract, and scope and contents notes.


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