Thank you for contacting the Colonial Albany Social History Project
BUT . . .
Every day, a growing number of inquiries come to us mostly via e-mail - at this point, the only consistent way to contact the project. Queries and correspondence fall into three general categories: Those relating to the people of colonial Albany and their world. Second, more general but off-topic (that is, not early Albany city-related) historical questions - about half of the overall volume, some even focused on New York-related matters. And finally, a number of "head-scratchers" on a variety of historical and non historical subjects.
Inspired by healthy curiosity, most of the missives are interesting; some are of real value to our program; and some are more generally informative. Feedback in all forms helps us understand how well we are serving our global audiences.
Through the "People of Colonial Albany Live Here Website" we have a produced and presented a massive exposition on the people of colonial Albany and their world. The website recently has marked its fifteenth anniversary. Underlying discussion of the actual historical subjects is a parallel exposition on how we have gone about recovering, understanding, and constructing their story.
Because our principal goal is to present all of the fruits of more than thirty years of historical research on this website, everything else must take a back seat to producing new and better webpages toward the end of presenting a complete portrait of early Albany based on the lives of its diverse and elusive peoples - all 16,000 of them! I hope that I have a some years left to realize this goal!
Now (in 2016), the everyday history staff of the Colonial Albany Social History Project consists of only myself. HOWEVER, I have recently (in June 2013) retired from my salaried position and continue on as a volunteer. At the same time, I am also the only historian working on the website on a daily basis. Thus, I simply cannot respond directly to most of the volume of inquiries - even those focused on our study population, place, and time. Responding to the inquiries would occupy all of the energies of one person and then some! Frankly, this service situation does not appear likely to improve in the foreseeable future.
Instead, I am certain that my most efficient response is to work harder to develop and improve webpages to reach the the largest possible audience in the most satisfying ways. At this point, I still am able to read all e-mail and do try and address your questions within our growing and evolving website exposition. Literally "tons" of individuals visit our pages in the course of a year. That staggering statistic strikes me as incredible and inspires me to press onward to further develop and improve our web-based exposition.
At the same time, I do feel badly that we cannot serve you more personally. I apologize for this "blanket" response to your inquiry but have tried to address this issue in a forthright and forthcoming way!
"Puzzlements": Perhaps half of the inquiries received do not relate in any direct way to our defined mission. Some are so far afield that I truly cannot understand why they are contacting us. However, I must point out that the "NA" proportion of the incoming queries has dropped some as the website continues to grow and we learn to better explain ourselves.
Size: By the end of 2015, the website contained more than 3,700 separate items/html files/features (all known as individual web pages) and more than 350 separate images and likenesses. Typically, more than a hundred additional items are in-development and not ready to be advertised. These "fragments" have been linked to more presentable pages. Please remember that every part of the website is to be considered continually under development and indeed in-progress.
posted 8/20/05; last updated 2/3/16