Germans in Early Albany


Germans (those of Germanic origins or background) represented a significant part of the social fabric of early Albany and were present in the community from its earliest days. For our purposes, Germans are defined as those who came from or whose roots were in the geographic land known as "Germania."

The cultural makeup of the New Netherland Dutch who first settled Albany's predecessor included a number of more and or less historically visible individuals who might be defined of "Germanic" rather than "Dutch" heritage. Yes, we have made an "either-or" choice here. Some of these individuals assimilated and persisted in the community over the next generations. Others retained their ancestral cultural attributes publicly and mostly relocated to the Albany hinterland and beyond.

Several thousand Germans came to New York in a stream of immigration during the first decades of the eighteenth century. They are widely known as Palatine Germans, Palatine Refugees, or simply as Palatines. After stopping in New York City (some stayed in Manhattan), they were settled on both sides of the Hudson River (Germantown, German Camp) and in the Schoharie, and Mohawk Valleys. Some became tenants of the Van Rensselaers but these emigres were more likely to set down roots in the "greener outer pastures" of old Albany County. However, only a few early Albany residents could trace their origins to that migration.

First, our test for German strives to look past names (which are often the interpretation of the person who recorded the references) and focuses on defining references, language, and religion.

If an individual stated that they were from Germany (or more specifically from a so-called German state), we tend to "loosely" categorize them as German. Next, if they were called "German" by a contemporary - official or private citizen, sometimes that works as well.

Although a few Germans came from Calvinist or Catholic European backgrounds, German ancestry people mostly gravitated to the Albany Lutheran church. No doubt the German language they found there made that choice attractive.

much more to come


the people of colonial Albany Sources: This page intends to provide access to information on early Albany people of German ancestry on this website and to link to exceptional and also notorious resources online. It sketch is informed chiefly by family and community-based resources developed by the Colonial Albany Project.
    Follow this link to more on early Albany Germans on this website.
        References to "Palatine" on this website and its close neighbors.

This offering cannot serve as a comprehensive guide to knowledge on the Palatines. Walter A. Knittle pioneered the study. Hank Z. Jones has brought genealogical order to the enterprise. Philip Otterness may be the most recent practitioner. The bibliography supporting the Wikipedia page is the obvious place to begin. See also TOTG for useful commentary and links to resources.
        Albany residents of Palatine background:
John Roorbach;

German background people/families in Beverwyck prior to the changeover in 1664: Ten Broeck, Gansevoort,

1664-1700: Ten Eyck,


1750-1776: Andrew Abel, John J. Abbott,

Following the War for Independence:

first launched 8/5/12 last reviused 11/29/15