Gerrit Ryerse was the son of New Netherland pioneer Ryer Elbertse and his wife, Maria Barents. He may have been born in Utrecht and accompanied his parents to New Netherland. In his early years, he may have been a trader operating between New York and Albany - perhaps in partnership with his half-brother, Goosen Gerritse Van Schaick.
In 1665, he married Anna Jans in New York. Their last five children were baptized between 1683 and 1688 in the Albany Dutch church where both parents were members. Seven of his children were alive in 1694.
He was a trader and sailor who was able to acquire additional property in Albany and also owned a tanning pit. During the 1680s and 90, he served the community as juror, assessor, assistant, and in 1691 and '92 as an alderman for the second ward.
Gerrit Ryerse filed a will in 1694 and at that time called himself a "seaman" who was "sick of body but sound of mind!" His widow was alone in their third ward house in 1697. Three sons further established the family in Albany under the name "Gerritse."
first posted: 10/10/02