The Colonial Albany Social History Project understands (and believes) that the life of a person living in the seventeenth and eighteenth century city of Albany was substantially different from that of the farmers and husbandmen who inhabited the surrounding countryside of what we refer to as old Albany County. To better focus on the human dimensions of "city life," the project has established definitive criteria for inclusion in the "people of colonial Albany" study population. The following tests have worked well in focusing project energy on the 16,000 men, women, and children we call the people of colonial Albany without regard for race, ethnicity, or status. Those criteria are:
t Born before the end of the year 1800.
t Albany city resident.
t Spouse of a city resident.
t Child born to Albany parents
[ The "people of colonial Albany" are defined as those who meet the first of the listed requirements and one or more of the others. ]
The year 1800 is admittedly an arbitrary cut off date. We believe (or at least will argue the point) that after 1800 the pre-industrial era of Albany history ends and the so-called "modern" age begins!
Generally speaking, most of the children born to Albany parents did not enjoy a long life in the colonial city. As many as half of the infants born here did not live long enough to marry. Half of the remaining 8,000 early Albany people lived out their adult lives in locations beyond the city limits.
first posted 1999; last considered 11/16/16