An index to the Ecclesiastical Records of the State of New York has been a desideratum ever since the sixth volume of the work was issued, in 1905. These records bring together a larger number of the ecclesiastical documents of the colonial period relating to New York and New Jersey than any other single collection. The original design of the enterprise was to gather the documents of the Reformed Dutch church as the oldest denomination in the State. But as the work progressed it seemed desirable to bring in collateral documents of other religious bodies, because the documents of one denomination throw light on those of other bodies of the same period, the external circumstances being identical. The different bodies were also often so intermingled in their relations or contentions that the history of one could not be well understood without dealing with the history of the others.
Until nearly the close of the seventeenth century, however, there were few other religious bodies to deal with than the Reformed Dutch church. There were, indeed, scattered Congregational and Presbyterian churches on Long Island, in Westchester county and in New Jersey, but until after 1700 these were few in number, separate and independent. Nevertheless, not infrequent references to them will be found in these Records. There were also before 1700 a few Lutheran churches on this territory, but the principal early development of this body was in Pennsylvania. There were also Friends or Quakers and several other varieties of Christians, as well as a few Jews, all of whom will be more or less frequently alluded to. The early French Catholic missionaries from Canada in central New York and the French Huguenots in several different localities are not forgotten.
The Anglican church does not come into distinctive view, except a few references to chaplains of British troops, until the founding of Trinity Church in New York City in 1697. Before this date there were no Episcopal churches in New York or New Jersey. The ministry bill of 1693 was for the support of a "good sufficient Protestant minister," but it was limited in its