Thank you for contacting the Colonial Albany Social History Project
BUT . . .
Every day, a growing number of inquiries come to us via e-mail and to the project offices by mail and phone. They fall into three general categories: Those relating to the people of colonial Albany and their world. Second, more general but off-topic (that is, not early Albany city-related) historical questions - about half of the overall volume, some even focused on New York-related matters. And finally a number of "head-scratchers" on a variety of non historical subjects.
Inspired by healthy curiosity, most of the inquires are interesting; some are of real value to our program; and some are more generally useful. Feedback in all forms helps us understand how well we are serving our global audiences.
Through the "People of Colonial Albany Live Here Website" we have a mounted a massive exposition on the people of colonial Albany and their world. Underlying this is a parallel exposition on how we have gone about constructing their story.
Because our principal goal is to present all of the fruits of more than twenty years of historical research on this website, everything else must take a back seat to producing new and better webpages toward the end of presenting a complete picture of early Albany based on the lives of its diverse and elusive peoples - all 16,000 of them! I hope that I have a few years left to achieve this goal!
The everyday history staff of the Colonial Albany Social History Project consists of myself and my dedicated assistant who serves as office manager! HOWEVER, I have recently retired from my salaried position and continue on as a volunteer. At the same time, I am also the only historian working on the website on a daily basis. Thus, I simply cannot respond directly to most of the volume of inquiries - even those focused on our study population, place, and time. Responding to the inquiries would occupy all of the energies of one person and then some! Frankly, this service situation does not appear likely to improve in the forseeable future.
Instead, I am certain that my most efficient response is to work harder to develop and improve webpages to reach the the largest possible audience in the most satisfying ways. I read all e-mail and try and address your questions within our growing and evolving website exposition. Literally millions individuals visit our pages in the course of a year. That staggering statistic strikes me as incredible and compels me to press onward to further develop and improve our web exposition.
At the same time, I do feel badly that we cannot serve you more personally. I apologize for this "blanket" response to your inquiry but have tried to address this issue in a forthright and forthcoming way!
Puzzlements: About half of the inquiries we receive do not relate in any direct way to our defined mission. Some are so far afield that I truly cannot understand why they are contacting us. However, I must point out that the "NA" proportion of the incomings has dropped some as the website continues to grow and we learn to better explain ourselves
posted 8/20/05; last updated 11/1/13