This notation refers to the unique identification number we have assigned to each person who lived in the city of Albany before the Industrial Revolution. At some point in the future, we hope to be able to meet our goal of attaching a data base number to each biography. Eventually (hopefully), these numbers will run from one to say 16,000 (a working total of the number of individuals who meet our inclusion criteria) - although sadly not in any logical order. We have much work to do in this respect but it cannot be accorded a very high priority. A unique (and verifiable) number or no identification number is the best we can do for the time being.
At this point, several hundred biographical profiles have been included in this community history website that have not been assigned nor accorded a unique biographical number. This has occurred for several reasons.
First, our basic policy is to assign a unique and definitive identification number once we have verified a person's origins (most often with birth/baptism and parental information). Albany natives are the easiest to define. Our Family reconstitution program and also family-based resources have been useful tools in "logging-in" an individual to the defined study population we refer to as "the people of colonial Albany."
Without "origins" information, we generally do not assign a data base number unless the individual is so prominent or so obviously unique that we could not possibly "establish" one actual historical personage with two biographies. Some Albany women have not been assigned identification numbers because we have not yet been able to determine their original family names.
Without regard to gender and across cultural groups, all early Albany families followed similar naming practices, causing widespread repetition of names. Each of these 16,000 historical characters has been the subject of intensive historical research conducted by the Colonial Albany Project over the past three decades. Our use of data base numbers has helped distinguish individuals who seem to have used the same name. For example, more than fifty early Albany people were named John Lansing. And, Abraham Yates, Jr. – lawyer and politician, Abraham J. Yates – a baker, and Abraham Eights – the sail maker all lived in Albany at the same time.
Enough for now! In an overall effort to explain what we are doing, we hope this is more helpful than confusing. But much more to come!
first posted: 1999; last revised 6/12/10