The Gansevoort family of early Albany traces its roots to Harmen Harmanse and Maria Conyn Gansevoort This Beverwyck patriarch is said to have been a Westphalian emigré. His marriage to a brewer's daughter placed the family in brewing for several generations.
Their son, brewer/businessman Leendert Gansevoort, established the family in the city as three sons became Albany householders including brewer Johannes and Peter Gansevoort, a prominent physician. Daughter Sara was among a number of family members who were memorialized in paintings.
Eldest son Harmen Gansevoort led the family from brewing to business and brought it to the top echelon of early Albany society. Harme's sons, Leonard and Peter Gansevoort, became leaders in the Revolutionary movement and in the establishment of the new state and nation.
The family plot on the east side of Market Street encompassed the brewery and homes for more than a hundred years. The dock at the end of Maiden Lane was known as "Gansevoort's wharf." In 1789, Leonard Gansevoort purchased the estate called Whitehall. His daughter lived there for many years.
In 1815, four Gansevoort residences remained in the city!
Today, the family is recalled locally in the name of Gansevoort Street - the one-time southern boundary of the city, in the town of Gansevoort in Saratoga County, and in the names of numerous places in New York State.
The remarkable (my inadequate word for wonderful) career of Alice P. Kenney has brought this early Albany family to life and has shown us the intricate workings of their intimate family-based enterprises. Were the Gansevoorts typical of the family-based nature of early Albany community life? Comparable (a dream for sure!) family-focused works on the other families would be a way to begin such an evaluation!
Sources:This mainline, multigenerational family
is well-represented in community-based resources.
Alice P. Kenney's seminal work on
the family remains an unparalleled resource for the Gansevoorts and their
neighbors. It is our best resource for virtually all qualitative information
on the family! Chief among the online
resources is an extensive offering from the Schenectady Digital History Library!
first posted 8/10/03; last updated 2/8/13