Guiliam Bertholf

Dates of Birth and Death

1656 - abt. 1726

Guiliam Bertholf, the sixth child of Cryn Bertholf and Sara Guiliamse Van Coperen, was baptized in Sluis, Holland on 02 Feb 1656. It is thought he was born no more than a week or two before his baptism, as this was the practice in Holland at the time. He married Martyntje Hendrickse Vermeulen, daughter of William Vermeulen and Martyntje Weymoers, in Sluis on 15 Apr 1676. At least their first three children were born in Sluis, with the third child, Elizabeth, being baptized there on 26 Sep 1673. Guiliam Bertholf and his family immigrated to America sometime after Elizabeth’s baptism. We know from records of the old Reformed Church of Bergen, NJ the following entry of members received: “October 6, 1684—Guillaume Bertholf and his wife Martyntje Hendrics, with certificate from Dutch Flandres—Sluis in Flandres.”

Guiliam Bertholf studied theology in Middletown, Holland. He came to America “to instruct Holland colonists in the Bible and the catechism.” Reverend David Cole, in his History of the Reformed Church of Tappan, NY, observes “He was a man of profound spirituality, warm heart, great capacity for teaching, and of an order that day known as ‘Voorlesers’ and ‘Krankbesoekers’ (public readers and comforters of the sick).” In 1693 the two Reformed Churches in Hackensack and Aquackanonck (Passaic) joined together to send Guiliam Bertholf back to Holland, to the Classis of Middelburg to become ordained as their pastor. This mission was completed on 16 Sep 1693. He returned to New Jersey, and began his ministry on 24 Feb 1694.

For the next thirty years, Domine Bertholf served his ministry of the Hackensack and Aquackanonck Churches. For the first fifteen years of that ministry, he also was responsible for establishing all new Reformed Churches in New Jersey, as well as those in New York, such as Tarrytown and Port Richmond. Remarkably, Reverend Cole states, “The Tappan and Hackensack books from 1694 to 1724, as kept by Domine Bertholf or under his supervision, are exceedingly valuable as covering almost every Rockland County marriage or baptism that occurred”.

The Bertholfs had eight children, whose names were Sara, Maria, Elizabeth, Hendrick, Quirinus (Cryn), Martays, Anna and Jacobus. There is some historical conjecture they may have had as many as thirteen children, but no supporting records have been found.

The last recorded event in Guiliam and Martyntje Bertholf’s lives was the signing of a deed on 16 Feb 1726. It is thought they both died sometime later that year. Reverend Cole says, “There is a tradition that his remains were buried under the pulpit of the Hackensack Church”.

Biography Author

John Edward Lary Jr. #369A


Dooley, Joseph Biography of Guiliaem Bertholf

Documents Relating to the Colonial History of New Jersey, First Series, Vol. XXX, Calendar of Wills, Vol. II

History of the Reformed Church of Tappan, NY, Rev. David Cole, D.D., 1894, New York

The New York Genealogical and Biographical Record, Vol. LV, 1924, New York