colonial New York, Genealogy, Family History

Colonial New York Genealogy

If your ancestors were living in New York state at the time of the American Revolution, your line of descent is likely to take on one of a handful of forms. If your immigrant ancestor arrived before 1664, you are likely to be descended from a Dutch inhabitant of old New Netherland. After that date, however, tracing your Colonial New York genealogy down the line means your antecedents are far more likely to have been born in Great Britain (England, Wales, or to a lesser extent, Scotland or Ireland). They could also have been New Englanders who migrated to New York from Massachusetts or Connecticut, once New York was under English rule.

After the turn of the 18th century, a number of emigrants from the German Palatinate began to make their way to New York’s Mohawk Valley; however, as late as 1790 only one percent of New York heads of household were of German or French descent. On the eve of the Revolution, New Yorkers were concentrated in New York City, Long Island, and along the Hudson and Mohawk rivers, and the state trailed Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and North Carolina in total population.

This picture changed dramatically by the early 1800s, when New York’s population surpassed that of all other states, thanks to the pull of its extraordinary harbor, industries, hinterland, and internal improvements, as well as to the inexorable push of Western European emigrants vying for greater opportunities in a free land.

If you’re researching early New York roots, Genealogical.com (the parent publishing company who sponsors this blog) offer a wide variety of publications you could consider. Running the gamut from statewide to regional to countywide and New York City titles, this extensive collection covers they key record sources (wills, deeds, military records, marriages, etc.) that are crucial to 17th- and 18th-century New York family history. In the aggregate they touch on well over 1,000,000 New York ancestors. In the absence of official New York public records, some of titles for Upstate New York fill in the gaps, and the multi-volume sets of New York genealogies, mostly compiled from obscure, unindexed periodicals will save you an enormous amount of time in your research.

There are also some wonderful online resources dealing with New York history, such as the New York History Blog.

Image credit: Engraving depiction colonial New York councilors Nicholas Bayard, Stephanus van Cortlandt, and Frederick Phillipse attempting to quiet revolutionary fears at the time of Leisler’s Rebellion in New York City, 1689. By Art: Alfred Fredericks; Engraving: Albert Bobbett [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.

 

New York Genealogy

Podcast Features New York Genealogy

We found this radio show, The Forget-Me-Not Hour: Your Ancestors Want Their Stories to Be Told, on the New York History Blog. If you’re unfamiliar with the blog, we suggest you check it out. They have news and historical information pertaining to the state, and it houses resources that may be useful if your family history at any point passes through the Empire State. On Friday afternoons, the New York History Blog compiles the best stories about New York history from around the web, and puts them in an easy to read format. You can find all of their weekly web round-ups here.

The Forget-Me-Not-Hour began in November 2010 on WHVW 950 AM radio in Poughkeepsie, New York. Hosted by professional genealogist and contributing editor of the New York Genealogical and Biographical Record Jane E. Wilcox, The show features two one-hour shows each month. The first covers New York-area genealogy and history, and the other is more general. The New York genealogy show airs on the first Wednesday of the month at 10:00 a.m. at www.BlogTalkRadio.com/JaneEWilcox. The variety show airs on the third Wednesday of the month at 10:00 a.m. Both shows can be accessed on-demand after the show airs.

The April 1st episode of The Forget-Me-Not Hour featured the presenters of the New York Genealogical & Biographical Society-sponsored New York Track at the National Genealogical Society’s 2015 family history conference in St. Charles, Missouri.

The New York Track includes Karen Mauer Jones with two topics: New York Land: Patroonships, Manors, Patents, Rent Wars & Land and Records Created by New York’s Towns and Cities: Uncommonly Rich Resources; Terry Koch-Bostic with City Directories: Antiquarian People Finders; and radio show host Jane Wilcox with two topics: The New York Gateway: Immigration and Migration and New York City and State Vital Records and Their Substitutes. Terry Koch-Bostic will also give the NYG&B Luncheon talk Intuition and Genealogy Success: A Sixth Sense, Chance, Coincidence, or Serendipity?

You can listen to the April 1st episode of The Forget-Me-Not Hour on demand here.

Original Source: Podcast Features New York Genealogy, by Jane E. Wilcox, April 1, 2015.

Image Credit: Smokehouse 1907 postcard showing Ten Mile Point, Lake Skaneateles, New York. By Smokehouse [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.

 

Holland Land Company map of Western New York.

Holland Land Company Records: Land Research in Western New York State

Editor’s note: The following post from our archives, written by author Karen E. Livsey, provides insight into the information contained in her two volume work, Western New York Land Transactions: Extracted from the Archives of the Holland Land Company. Ms. Livsey is the Library/Archivist at the Fenton History Center in Jamestown (Chautauqua Co.), New York, and she serves as the Ellicott (N.Y.) Town Historian. She has previously appeared as a member of the Genealogical Publishing Company booth staff at national genealogical conferences.

It has been over 200 years since Joseph Ellicott completed a two and one-half year survey of the Holland Land Company’s holdings and the main land office opened in Batavia, New York. My two-volume Western New York Land Transactions: Extracted from the Archives of the Holland Land Company (Volume 1 and Volume 2) provides detailed information that can solve land research problems in western New York State. An understanding of these records and their contents, however, is a must for their successful use.

Individual settlers accounted for the majority of the sales of land in western New York State by the Holland Land Company during its thirty-plus years of operation. In the 1790s, the Dutch banking houses that created the Holland Land Company had purchased large tracts of land from Robert Morris totaling 3.3 million acres. Today that land is all of Niagara, Erie, Chautauqua, and Cattaraugus counties, most of Orleans, Genesee, and Wyoming Counties, and the western part of Allegany County. Many of the early settlers coming into that area of New York State were from New England and eastern and central New York, in addition to some from Pennsylvania and New Jersey. They were followed by immigrants from Europe. Continue reading…