Van Rensselaer
Current region United States
Place of origin Netherlands
Connected families Schuyler family
Bayard family
Livingston family
Van Cortlandt family
Estate Fort Crailo
Manor of Rensselaerswyck
Jacob R. Van Rensselaer House

The Van Rensselaers were a prominent Dutch family in New York in the 17th and 18th centuries, whose descendants played a critical role in the formation of the United States, in leading government and business in North America, and served as leaders in business, politics and society.


The Van Rensselaer family is of Dutch origin.[2] The Van Rensselaers originally emigrated from the Netherlands to a large area along the Hudson River in the present day area of Albany, New York. The Van Rensselaers and other patroons named this young colony New Netherland. Many members of the family have been active in politics and in the military.[3][4]

Herman Melville, a descendant of the Van Rensselaer family, mentioned them in the first chapter of his novel Moby-Dick: "It touches one's sense of honor, particularly if you come of an old established family in the land, the Van Rensselaers, or Randolphs, or Hardicanutes."

Patroons of Rensselaerswyck[]

  • Kiliaen Van Rensselaer (1586–1643), the first Patroon of Rensselaerswyck
  • Johannes Van Rensselaer (1625–1663), the second Patroon
  • Jan Baptist van Rensselaer (1629–1678), Director of Rensselaerwyck from 1652 to 1658 and third Patroon[5]

Lords of the Manor of Rensselaerswyck[]

  • Kiliaen Van Rensselaer (died 1687), son of Johan, fourth patroon and first Lord of the Manor of Rensselaerswyck
  • Kiliaen Van Rensselaer (1663–1719), son of Jeremias, fifth patroon and second Lord of the Manor
  • Jeremias Van Rensselaer (1705–1743), son of Kiliaen, sixth patroon and third Lord of the Manor
  • Stephen van Rensselaer I (1707–1747), son of Kiliaen, brother of Jeremias, seventh Patroon and fourth Lord of the Manor
  • Stephen van Rensselaer II (1742–1769), son of Stephen, eighth Patroon and fifth Lord of the Manor
  • Stephen Van Rensselaer III (1764–1839), US Representative from New York and Lt. Gov. of New York, founder and namesake of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, son of Stephen II, ninth Patroon and sixth Lord of the Manor
  • Stephen Van Rensselaer IV (1789–1868), son of Stephen III, tenth and last Patroon and seventh and last Lord of the Manor


See also[]

  • Van Rensselaer (surname)
  • Manor of Rensselaerswyck
  • Kiliaen Van Rensselaer (businessman)


  1. ^ Spooner 1907, p.17
  2. ^ U.S. Government Printing Office Style Manual; Chapter 3 - Capitalization Rules; Rule 3.14: "In anglicized names such particles are usually capitalized...but individual usage...should be followed."
  3. ^ a b Van Rensselaer, Maunsell (1888). Annals of the Van Rensselaers in the United States, especially as they relate to the family of Killian K. Van Rensselaer C. Van Benthuysen & Sons, p. 215
  4. ^ Bonney, Catharina V. R. (Catharina Van Rensselaer)(1875). Alegacy of Historical Gleanings J. Munsell
  5. ^ Van Rensselaer, Jeremias. Correspondence of Jeremias Van Rensselaer, 1651-1674, University of the State of New York, 1932
  6. ^ (January 1, 1900) "Van Rensselaer family". American Historical Magazine (Vol. 2 Issue 1). Retrieved on November 8, 2016. 
  7. ^ Reynolds, Cuyler (1911) (in en). Hudson-Mohawk Genealogical and Family Memoirs: A Record of Achievements of the People of the Hudson and Mohawk Valleys in New York State, Included Within the Present Counties of Albany, Rensselaer, Washington, Saratoga, Montgomery, Fulton, Schenectady, Columbia and Greene. Lewis Historical Publishing Company. Retrieved November 9, 2016. 
  8. ^ Society, National American (in en). Americana, American historical magazine. Retrieved February 8, 2017. 

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