Michiel Jansen was born in Broeckhuysen, Holland, around 1610. He was one of the early settlers who contracted with Killian Van Rensselaer to work a farm on the Van Rensselaer patroonship near Albany. On August 4, 1638, Michiel Jansen, his wife Fytie, and two servants, possibly Jan Dircksz and Teunis Cornelisz van Vechten, arrived in New Netherland on board the ship Het Wafen van Norwegen (Arms of Norway).
Jansen was highly regarded by Van Rensselaer, who stated in a letter: "I think he is one of the most upright farmers in the colony, and when there is an opportunity I shall have an eye to his advantage also." On July 27, 1646, Michiel Jansen requested and received permission to leave the patroonship and move to New Amsterdam.
In 1647, Jansen was selected as a member of the Nine Men. Shortly afterward, he moved his family to Pavonia on what is now the New Jersey side of the Hudson River. Of all the settlers' families in the area, only that of Michiel Jansen escaped unharmed in the Indian raid of September 15, 1655. However, his house was destroyed and he lost all his possessions. The Jansen family returned to Manhattan where Michiel Jansen opened a tap room on the north side of Pearl Street on October 23, 1656. His business was successful, and he began to buy additional lands.
Michiel Jansen was admitted to the small burgher right of Manhattan on April 13, 1657 and when the Indian war ended, he returned to his Pavonia farm where he rebuilt his home and resumed cultivation of his extensive land holding.
In 1661, Michiel Jansen Vreeland was named as one of the magistrates of the first court of justice in Pavonia. He died in Pavonia in 1662.