compiled by
Stefan Bielinski

The published works of records and other documents and of calendars, abstracts, and other listings of primary resources are basic to the study of the people of colonial Albany and their world. They are referenced throughout The People of Colonial Albany Live Here Website. This listing identifies and describes these essential resources. Sources are alphabetized following designated abbreviations. Descriptive annotations follow the formal citation. Most genealogies and family histories are listed in a separate bibliography. Interpretive sources are listed in another bibliography entitled "Books."

    This skeletal list is an open-ended work-in-progress and will be revised and augmented as new features are added to the website!

AA   -   The Annals of Albany, compiled by Joel Munsell in ten volumes and published by him in Albany between 1850 and 1859. Each volume is indexed and includes a table of contents and list of illustrations.

The most basic and indispensable resource for early Albany history. The ten volumes Include transcriptions of common council minutes, church records, important documents, newspaper items, genealogical and biographical materials,real estate transactions, probate records, business information, a printing of the first city directory, a history of the Albany Mechanics Society, engraved illustrations, reminiscences, memoirs, and other local lore. The preservation of early Albany's heritage begins with Joel Munsell's monumental works! The project Guide considers his work further. This website provides many links directly to the pages of those printed works. However, if unavailable, this offering via Rootsweb may provide useful assess.

AD   -   Albany city directories listing addresses and occupations of principal personages have been a cornerstone of Albany history since the first edition appeared in 1813.

Civic information and advertising was included more frequently in subsequent years. The directories have been variously titled and issued annually by various publishers since 1813. All years are available on microfilm at Albany-area libraries. The 1815 edition is again available online. The 1813 edition has been digitized and is available online.

AW   -   "Abstract of Wills on File in the Surrogate's Office, City of New York," printed in a series as Collections of the New-York Historical Society. The wills were transcribed by William H. Pelletreau, arranged chronologically, and published by N-YHS as volumes 25 to 39 of the Collections series. Volumes 40 and 41 contain additions and corrections.

This is a major resource that mostly is available online. We have begun to make some of the Albany wills that have been printed in this and other collections available on this website.

BB   -   The Balloting Book, and Other Documents Relating to Military Bounty Lands in the State of New York (Albany: Packard Van Benthuysen, 1825).

Originally issued by the New York State Secretary of State, this legendary resource has appeared in a number of forms over the past two centuries. At this point, the most accessible online source for this work appears to be under the umbrella of the TCPL. See also Google Books.

BF   -   "Burghers and Freemen," or more completely "The Burghers of New Amsterdam and the Freemen of New York, 1675-1866," printed in Collections of the New-York Historical Society for the year 1885.

This compilation of those who were admitted to the freemanship of New York City is a handy resource for tracking those who left or came to Albany. It is arranged chronologically, indexed, and includes occupation information. Now online.

CC   -   Minutes of the Albany Committee of Correspondence, 1775-1778, edited by James Sullivan and published by New York State in two volumes in 1923. Volume two presents the minutes of the Schenectady committee, some committee-related documents, and a detailed index.

Online reproduction of the printed minutes.

CDDC   -   Minutes of the Commissioners for Detecting and Defeating Conspiracies in the State of New York: Albany County Sessions, 1778-1781, edited by Victor H. Paltsits and published by New York State in three volumes in 1909-10. Volume three is a detailed index.

CHM   -   Calendar of Historical Manuscripts, Relating to the War of the Revolution, edited by Berthold Fernow (Albany, 1868); two volumes.
       Collection of public documents relating to the Revolutionary war. Includes minutes, petitions, and military papers.

CLNY     The Colonial Laws of New York from the Year 1664 to the Revolution . . . , compiled by Charles Z. Lincoln et al and published by New York State in five volumes in 1894. Available Online.

CLP   -   "Calendar of Land Papers" - or more formally Calendar of N. Y. Colonial Manuscripts: Indorsed Land Papers; in the office of the Secretary of State of New York, 1643-1803 (Albany, 1964). A well-indexed listing of land-related transactions until 1803.

CMB   -   Minutes of the Court of Fort Orange and Beverwyck, 1657-1660, translated and edited by Arnold J. F. Van Laer, and published by New York State (Albany) in two volumes in 1926.

Translation and printing of the earliest surviving Beverwyck court records. A number of digital transpositions have become available online: Volume I for 1652-56; Volume II for 1657-60. See also the recently re-presented "Fort Orange Records."

CMA   -   Minutes of the Court of Albany, Rensselaerswyck and Schenectady, 1668-1685, translated and edited by Arnold J. F. Van Laer, and published by New York State (Albany) in three volumes in 1926.

Summaries of regular and extraordinary sessions covering the years before 1686. A wonderful (and unparalleled) resource for information on everyday life including some accounts, lists, and other survey documents. Well-indexed!

CMR     Minutes of the court of Rensselaerswyck, 1648-1652 translated and edited by A.J.F. Van Laer and published by New York State (Albany, 1922), 236tp.

Transformed summaries of proceedings covering the earlier years until 1652. Well-indexed and online!

CP   -   Public Papers of George Clinton, First Governor of New York, 1777-1795 - 1801-1804 transcribed and edited by Hugh Hastings and the staff of the State Historian's office and published by New York State in eight volumes, 1899-1914. Volumes 9-10 present a comprehensive index.

Each volume has a calendar of its documents. Many of the letters and reports provide important windows on conditions in wartime Albany and the activities of its people.

CSG   -   "Christoph's Schuyler Genealogy" published as the Schuyler Genealogy: A Compendium of Sources Pertaining to the Schuyler Families in America Prior to 1800, compiled by Florence Christoph and published by the Friends of Schuyler Mansion in 1987.

In 1992, the "Friends" sponsored publication of a second volume of the Schuyler Genealogy - which brought the family genealogy up to 1900.

CW   -   Calendar of Wills on File and Recorded in the Offices of the Court of Appeals, of the County Clerk at Albany, and of the Secretary of State, 1626-1836 (New York, 1896), reprinted by Genealogical Publishing Company in 1967.

This is the basic finding aid for early Albany wills. Each entry includes only defining information and brief particulars. Many of the 2,162 province-wide will entries are printed more fully in AW and other sources. This work is well-indexed! In 2007, it had been digitized and placed online.

DAB   -   Dictionary of American Biography, edited by Dumas Malone, 20 volumes and index. (New York, 1936).

Supplements issued until 1980. Available on CD. Superseded by American National Biography.

DHNY   -   Documentary History of the State of New York, compiled by Edmund B. O'Callaghan and published in four volumes between 1849 and 1851.

Includes engravings of maps and other illustrations. Arranged topically and includes substantial collections of documentary material on the early history of Oswego, Albany, St. Peter's Church, Rensselaerswyck, and Sir William Johnson. Also includes a number of reports and census and population materials! Available on CD.

DSSA   -   Yearbook of the Dutch Settlers Society of Albany. An article about New Netherland families and the Colonial Albany Project appeared in the 1997 volume. See Henry B. Hoff's overview description of this valuable resource.

EN   -   Abstracts of the Wills of the County of Albany, State of New York, 1787-1800, compiled by Eric C. Nagle (typescript Albany, 1979), 185 pages, bibliography.

A calendar of wills filed in Albany County during those dates. Lists heirs and executors, relevant dates, and provides some defining information. Especially useful for its inclusion of a number of detailed estate inventories including that of Dr. Henry Van Dyck. Also includes listings of "Letters of Administration." Items listed are filed with the Albany County Surrogate's Court. Compiled by a student/employee and distributed to select repositories.

ERA   -   Early Records of the City and County of Albany and Colony of Rensselaerswyck, translated by Jonathan Pearson and edited by Arnold J. F. Van Laer (Albany, 1869-1919), published in four volumes.

This series basically covers the years from 1664 to 1686 but includes documents from other times as well. Pearson's editorial work on volume one includes much historical and genealogical material. It must be used cautiously. Volume 2 is primarily deeds, bonds, and contracts. Volume 3 is primarily notarial records. Volume 4 is primarily wills.

GUIDE - The People of Colonial Albany: A Guide to Operations, by Stefan Bielinski (Albany, since 1985).

Inspiration, rationale, and justification for the program. It is the operational be-all and end-all of the Colonial Albany Social History Project. Ongoing, impossible to keep current, but basic and essential for the serious consumer. More than 200 pages when it departed the printed format in 1994. With additions and links to every significant noun (a stated goal), it is far more useful today.

HT   -   History of the County of Albany, N. Y., from 1609 to 1886, compiled by George Rogers Howell and Jonathan Tenney and "assisted by local writers" (New York, 1886).

Advertised as the "Bicentennial History of Albany," this monumental work is a classic Victorian local history and the most comprehensive antiquarian history of Albany. It is popularly known as "Howell and Tenney."

JP   -   The Papers of Sir William Johnson, compiled by the New York State Historian's office and published by the State in thirteen volumes (1921-1962). An exhaustive analytical index (volume 14) was issued in 1965.

Johnson maintained governmental, military, economic, and social relationships with a large number of Albany people. These volumes of letters and accounts provide a window on life in Albany from the 1740s to the 1770s. This series also has become an important contact resource for graphics materials that appear on this site. A number of the volumes have appeared online. General Index (vol. 14). PDF files of the entire series have been available online as well.

JPC   -   Journals of the Provincial Congress, Provincial Convention, Committee of Safety, and Council of Safety of the State of New York, 1775-1777, published by New York State in two volumes in 1842.

LA   -   Laws and Ordinances, of the Mayor, Recorder, Aldermen, and Commonalty, of the City of Albany, published for the city by Alexander and James Robertson, 1773.

A compilation of eighteen items regulating activities in the city.

LHG   -   A Legacy of Historical Gleanings, compiled by Catharina V.R. Bonney (Albany, 1875), two volumes: volume I: 542 total pages, notes, illustrations, index.

The first volume of this very enlightening compendium of materials on the Van Rensselaer family (particularly those who lived at Cherry Hill) contains narrated transcriptions of letters and business papers of Robert Sanders and Philip Van Rensselaer. At the same time, her commentary is laced with misstatements of fact and family lore.

LIR   -   "The Livingston Indian Records, 1666-1723," edited by Lawrence H. Leder, printed in Pennsylvania History 33:1 (January 1956), 240 pages.

Includes a discussion of Robert Livingston's stewardship and an outline history of the Iroquois by Paul A. W. Wallace. The Livingstons were secretaries to the Albany Commissioners of Indian Affairs from the 1660s until 1749. Reproduced online

MC   -   Joel Munsell's Collections on the History of Albany (4 volumes - published 1865-71). A continuation of type of materials presented in Munsell's Annals.
        Presents transcriptions of common council minutes not found in the Annals of Albany. Gateway to online offerings. Overview index. The project Guide considers his work further.

NYCD   -   Documents Relative to the Colonial History of the State of New York, compiled by Edmund B. O'Callaghan and Berthold Fernow with the assistance of John Romeyn Brodhead. Fourteen volumes published between 1856 and 1887 with volume 11 being an analytical index.

Printed transcriptions of much of the massive New York Colonial Documents collection in the New York State Archives. By early 2010, facsimile pages of the entire set (each of the 15 volumes) were available for study ONLINE.

NYGBR   -   New York Genealogical and Biographical Record. Published by the New York Genealogical and Biographical Society.

Includes many relevant records transcriptions; family materials, guides to collections, and other historical and genealogical items. An extremely useful - even indispensable resource! The Record issued volume 133 in 2002!

NYH   -   New York History. Published by the New York State Historical Association.

Includes interpretive articles, document transcripts, and other historical and informational items. New York History issued volume 85 in 2004!

PFS   -   ("Pearson's First Settlers"), or more formally Contributions for the Genealogies of the First Settlers of the Ancient County of Albany, From 1630 to 1800, compiled by Jonathan Pearson and originally published in volume four of Joel Munsell's Collections (pp. 1-182) First published separately in 1872, in 1978 it was republished as cited above by Genealogical Publishing Company, 182 pages, index, some illustrations.

Pearson's landmark work is arranged alphabetically by surname and is well-indexed. Although it contains many errors of omission and judgment, it is a monumental work and a basic resource for reconstructing the early Albany community. The original printing has been transformed and has been presented online on a number of Internet-based venues. At this point, all are "tricky" (meaning inconsistently readable) to access and use. Pearson's companion volume for Schenectady is online in its entirety.

SH   -   Annual Report of the State Historian of the State of New York (for 1896 and 1897) published by New York State in two volumes in 1897 and 1898.

This two-volume resource contains lists of soldiers in the provincial militia, garrison companies, and other military units for the period from 1664 to before the American Revolution. Also included is legislation and observations related to military matters. Items printed reflect the collection held by the State of New York prior to the Capitol Fire of 1911. Volume two includes comprehensive indexes.

RR   -   Random Recollections of Albany, from 1800 to 1808, by Gorham A. Worth (Albany, 1866), 144 pages, notes, illustrations, index.

This memoir remained unpublished when Worth died in 1856 at age 73. A native of Nantucket, he was a cashier of the Mechanics and Farmers Bank during the early nineteenth century. He left Albany in 1817 and later wrote similar "Recollections" of Cincinnati and Hudson. Joel Munsell acquired and published the manuscript that provided personal perspectives on some of Albany's people. The notes were contributed by contemporary historians at Munsell's request. Imaged online in early 2008.

TBG   -   The Ten Broeck Genealogy: Being the Records and Annals of Dirck Wesselse Ten Broeck of Albany and his Descendants, compiled by Emma Ten Broeck Runk (New York, 1897), 277 pages, illustrations, index.

A solid and still unparalleled work on one of Albany's first families. It includes substantial narratives about the most important family members.

UNY   -   Upstate New York in the 1760s: Tax Lists and Selected Militia Rolls of Old Albany County, 1760-1768, compiled by Florence Christoph (Camden, Maine, 1992), 312 pages, poor-quality illustrations of documents and maps, index.

Old Albany County stretched from Kingston to Canada and from New England to the Indian County. This compendium includes reasonable transcriptions of sometimes - difficult survey documents and a map. A well-indexed guide to locating people during that critical decade. Described further online. We occasionally search for an online printing of this essential document. We are indebted to the late Florence Christoph for a number of important printed works. See also, a listing of her papers at the Albany Institute of History and Art.

VRBM   -   Van Rensselaer Bowier Manuscripts: Being the Letters of Kiliaen Van Rensselaer, 1630-1643, and Other Documents Relating to the Colony of Rensselaerswyck, translated and edited by A. J. F. Van Laer (Albany, 1908).

The seminal, printed resource for the history of the proprietary colony known as Rensselaerswyck. The letters of Killiaen Van Rensselaer, 1630-1643, and other documents relating to the colony of Rensselaerswyck. Contains translations of core documents, biographies of many of the earliest settlers, and one of the first maps of the colony. Available online in several formats.

WA   -   The manuscript that became An Abridgment of the Indian Affairs Contained in Four Folio Volumes, Transacted in the Colony of New York, from the year 1678 to the year 1751, was compiled by Peter Wraxall in 1754.

The collection of records Wraxall inherited was not comprehensive but he provided a fairly meticulous summary of the collection. Apparently, Wraxall translated some records from Dutch to English. The "abridgment" manuscript passed through several hands (see pp. xcv-vi) and was purchased by the New York State Library in 1854. A copy of the manuscript was made in 1904. That manuscript was edited and presented with an extensive introduction by Charles H. Mc Ilwain. The work was published under the abovementioned title as volume 21 of the "Harvard Historical Studies" series by Harvard University Press in 1915. Wraxall's manuscript abridgments were destroyed in the State Capitol fire of 1911.


The Colonial Albany Social History Project Guide to Operations

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first posted 2/10/01; last updated 3/13/18