The Bradts were a large and successful Norwegian-ancestry family of New Netherland. The Bradts of early Albany are descended from brothers known as Albert and Arent Andriesse who came to America in 1637. The family settled in Rensselaerswyck and within a generation established households in Albany, Schenectady, and throughout what became Albany County in 1683.
Raising a large family around his mill on the Normanskill, the Bradts prospered in farming, husbandry (chiefly sawing), and found some success in the fur trade as well. By the time of his death in 1686, Albert Andriesse had joined his grown sons as residents of the new city of Albany. Younger brother Arent was among the pioneers of the village of Schenectady.
In 1679, four Bradt households were listed on the Albany census including that of Albert's son, Storm Van Der Zee, who was born during the family's Atlantic crossing four decades earlier. The Vanderzees are his descendants but trace their ancestry to the original Bradt emigre. By 1697, seven Bradt (and Vanderzee) family homes can be clearly identified on the city census.
Over the next generations, the family grew and spread throughout the region. A census of householders taken in 1756 showed the home of city treasurer Barent Bradt among six Bradt-named household. Four of those were the homes of city tradesmen. In 1790, six Bradt houses were only the most visible part of numerous Albany and Albany area homes that were anchored by Bradt-born wives and mothers. At that time, fifteen more Bradt-named households were configured in surrounding Watervliet.
In 1815, twelve Bradt-named households appeared in the city directory.
Sources: Profiles of members of this mainline early
Albany family are derived chiefly from family
and community-based resources. A family
reconstitution was performed on the Bradt family by project intern Rashann
Duvall in 1997. Although derivative of previous works, the best online
resource on the family appears under the Olive
Tree. More family based resources are available online.
Albert and Arent were pioneer settlers of the area. Albert was not really a resident of the city of Albany. However, Arent was an original settler of Beverwyck - although he lived there but a short time. Both have been assigned project data base numbers. The Bradt brothers and their children are the subjects of a seminal work sponsored by the Bradt Family Society. Written by Peter R. Christoph, it is titled A Norwegian Family in Colonial America. It was published in 1994 and is available from Higginson Book Company.
Conceptual painting of the Normanskill sawmill by historical
artist L. F. Tantillo.
first posted: 12/4/06