We Are All Princes, Paupers, and Part of the Human Family

I recently discovered that my 10-times-great-grandfather bought a good chunk of Brooklyn from the Lenape Indians. He was one of the first Dutch landowners on this continent, a man who had run a laundry bleaching business in Holland but had traveled under the auspices of the Dutch West India Company to become a farmer in the New World. The deed in question, written in Dutch in 1636, is the first record of any land being sold on Long Island.

Pretty neat, right? But as I realized almost immediately, this isn’t much of a distinction. According to a genealogy site maintained by a distant

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