Germans in Early Albany
Germans (those of Germanic origins or background) represented a significiant part of the social fabric of early Albany and were present in the community from its earliest days. For our purposes, Germans are defined as those who came from or whose roots were in the geographic land known as "Germania."
The social makeup of the New Netherland Dutch who first settled Albany's predecessor included a number of more and or less historically visible indviduals who can be defined of "germanic" rather than "dutch" heritage. Yes, we have made an "either-or" choice here. Some of these individuals assimilated, persisted over the next generations while others retained their essential attributes publically and mostly faded into the countryside.
Several thousand Germans came to New York in a stream of immigration during the first decades of the eighteenth century. They are widely known as Palatines. After stopping in New York City (some stayed in Manhattan), they were settled on both sides of the Hudson River (Germantown, German Camp) and in the Schoharie, and Mohawk Valleys. However, only a few early Albany residents could trace their origins to that migration. Some became tenants of the Van Rensselaers but these emigres were more likely to set down roots in the "greener outer pastures" of old Albany County.
First, our test for German strives to look past names (which are often the interpretation of the person who recorded the references) and focuses on defining references, language, and religion.
If an individual stated that they were from Germany (or more specifically from a so-called German state), we tend to "loosely" categorize them as German. Next, if they were called "german" by a contemporary - official or private citizen, that works as well.
Although a few Germans came from Calvinist or Catholic European backgrounds, German ancestry people mostly gravitated to the Albany Lutheran church. No doubt the German language they found there made that choice attractive.
Sources: This page intends to provide access to information on early Albany people of German ancestry on this website and to link to exceptional and also notorious resources online. It sketch is informed chiefly by family and community-based resources developed by the Colonial Albany Project.
This offering cannot serve as a comprehensive guide to knowledge on the Palatines. Walter A. Knittle pioneered the study. Hank Z. Jones has brought genealogical order to the enterprise. Philip Otterness may be the most recent practicioner. The bibliography supporting the Wikipedia page is the place to begin. See also TOTG for useful commentary and links to resources.
1664-1700: Ten Eyck,
Following the War for Independence:
first launched 8/5/12; updated 2/9/13