Hollander Johannes Lydius brought a young family to America in 1700 when he was appointed minister of the Albany Reformed Church. Beloved by his congregation and widely respected by native peoples and provincial officials alike, he served in Albany until his death in 1710. Although his wife, Isabella Rachels, and two daughters had been born in Europe, a son and two more daughters were baptized at his Albany church. Her second marriage to a prominent physician further solidified the family in provincial society.
Following the fur trade, the son, John Henry Lydius (1704-90), made his way to New France where he married Genevieve Masse. His legendary careers in the Indian trade and in land speculation provided him with residences in Montreal, at Fort Edward, and a landmark house on the corner of State and North Pearl Streets in which the couple raised their seven children.
Although several daughters married into prominent New York families, the Lydius family disappeared from Albany rolls when its last two sons, Balthazar and Martinus, left no children. Lydius Street (today’s Madison Avenue which includes a long extension through the Pine Barrens to Schenectady) was named for Dominie Lydius - the first of thirteen family members to live in the city before 1800.
The Colonial Albany Social History Project has undertaken an intensive reconstitution of the Lydius family.
A reconstitution of the Lydius family was completed by intern Christopher Capozzi of the University at Albany, SUNY in 1990. The fruits his work - an annotated list of family members who meet the criteria for inclusion, a family tree that charts relationships, updated biographies for all 13 family members, and an essay on his internship/reconstitution experience, are on file at the project office.
first posted: 2000; updated 6/20/11