Auguste Jay, grandfather of John Jay, received a Letter of Denization on March 4, 1686. Written by Captain Thomas Dongan, provincial governor of New York under King James II, it affirms that Auguste Jay was a legal resident of the colony of New York and conveyed the privileges of a Denizen. He could buy and bequeath land, as well as engage in trade in any dominion of the British crown. Denization is the equivalent of receiving permanent resident status today. It was not the same as naturalization which conveyed citizenship and had a religious requirement which Letters of Denization did not. Learn more about John Jay’s Huguenot heritage on our Thematic Tour offered Wednesday through Saturday at 2pm, throughout the month of August.
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