With more than 400 family members in the city before 1800, the Lansings are, by far, the largest early Albany family. After Beverwyck became Albany in 1664, the Lansings became mainstays in the colonial city, spread throughout the region, then settled across New York and the United States. Today, they are one of the most widespread and broadly successful of the New Netherland-era early Albany families.
The Albany Lansings are the descendants of Gerrit Frederickse and his wife Elizabeth Hendrix who came to America with their European-born children about 1640. Within a few decades of settling in Albany, Gerrit Frederickse was dead but three sons and three daughters had found partners and were raising families of their own. The city census of 1697 listed the households of sons baker/contractor Gerrit Lansing, butcher/trader Hendrick, trader/landholder Jan Lansing, grandson Abraham G. Lansing, and also the home of Wouter Albertse Van Den Uythoff - a widowed baker who had married widow Elizabeth Hendrix several decades earlier. Of the daughters, Gysbertje - the wife of Hendrick Roseboom, and Hilletie Ketelhuyn - the widow of Storm Vanderzee, were living in the city.
Over the next century, the Lansings spread out in Albany and in the greater region. More so than most New Netherland families, the Lansings maintained a strong and even expanded presence in the city of Albany. The mix of trades, crafts, and business activities of the householders of 1697 was characteristic and became even more diversified through succeeding generations. The Lansings were prominent within the Albany community and more widely known as silver and gun smiths. Middling with some upward mobility, Lansing sons often followed in their father's footsteps while daughters were well-represented as wives in traditional and newcomer city homes. Thirteen Lansing-named families appeared on the census of householders taken by the British army in 1756.
Although the family continued to expand into the growing countryside, in 1790, the census still listed seventeen Lansing-named households in the city of Albany. These included the homes of gunsmith Robert Lansing, baker Sanders Lansing, and businessman Abraham G. Lansing who married the daughter of Abraham Yates, Jr. and raised a very large family. Among their sons was attorney and congressman Gerrit Yates Lansing.
Always involved in city affairs, the American Revolution elevated the Lansing family to new prominence. Several Lansings attended the Albany Committee of Correspondence as members and associates while others served in the military and on supply lines. John Lansing, Jr., a one-time clerk and secretary, was elected to the New York State Assembly, appointed mayor of Albany, delegate to the Federal Convention of 1787, and later became chancellor of New York State.
In government, business, church, the courts, and other activities, references to the Lansings are prominent in all parts of the community record. However, traditional naming practices and the shear size of the Albany family present considerable problems in the assignment of defining information. Some are easily delineated because they were named Robert, Sander, or Jeremiah. However, the historical detective is often thwarted by the fact that so many Lansings were named either Gerrit, Jacob, or John. For example, after Jan Lansing, more than fifty city Lansings born before 1800 were christened Johannes or one of its variants - thus creating perplexing problems in the development of individual biographies.
Our puzzlement is somewhat abated by the practice of identifying them as Johannes E. (son of Evert), Johannes Ja. (the son of Jacob not to be confused with Jo. - the son of John), John Lansing, Jr. (the younger - even though he was the son of Gerrit), or John 5 Lansing - an innkeeper who was the fifth generation "John" in his particular line. The Gerrits, Jacobs, Marias, and other Lansings pose similar predicaments.
More often than most early Albany families - and possibly abetted by the shear size and Albany focus of the family, Lansing cousins frequently intermarried!
Sources: The Albany Lansings stand out in the community's historical record. Of the printed resources, Pearson's First Settlers of Albany is as good a place as any to start. But, see also NNF. The traditional, standard printed reference on the family is Claude G. Munsell, The Lansing Family. A Genealogy of the Descendants of Gerrit Frederickse Lansing who came to America from Hasselt, Province of Overijssell, Holland 1640 (Privately
printed, 1916). Among the numerous online
resourses, the work
of the inspirational web historian sometimes
known as Mary P. Van
Deusen is by far the most outstanding! Online Lansing bible records, pp 438+.
first posted 1/24/00; last revised 4/20/12