Category New York History
No, there is no “s” at the end of “New Netherland”
by Michael J. Douma Like many nineteenth-century New Yorkers of Dutch-descent, the historical scholar John Romeyn Brodhead was bothered by the poor treatment the Dutch had received in the written histories of colonial America. In these histories, there was one “vulgar error” in particular that drew his ire. This was, he said, the “absurd use […]
My new contribution to the Journal of Slavery and Data Preservation
How old? Claims for Superannutated, Centenarian, and Super-Centenarian Ex-Slaves
If you search for articles on “ex-slave centenarians” you will discover many claims of formerly enslaved people who lived not only to 100, but much longer. In 1981, William Pinckey of Prince George’s County, Maryland, claimed to be 118, and had been born a slave. Not to be outdone, Philadelphia’s Mary McDonla claimed to be 135 […]
An article in the Dutch newspaper “NRC” about my research on Dutch-speaking runaway slaves
My article on Dutch-speaking runaway slaves in Geschiedenis Magazine
The full article in Dutch is here.
Ghost Tallies in the Census
In my previous post I explained that historians have overcounted slaves in the New York census of 1830. Instead of the traditional count of 75 or 76, I estimated that there were in fact only between 38 and 51 slaves actually tallied on the census forms. One reason for the latter-day counting error, evident in […]
Complications in the New York slave count after 1827 (census of 1830)
Gradual emancipation of slaves in New York began with a law of 1799, which freed the children of slave mothers at 28 year if a male child and 25 years if a female child. These children of slaves were not legally slaves, but were free persons, bound for a certain number of years to the […]
Schenectady Hatmaker, 1763
A page of an account book of a 1760s hatmaker in Schenectady, New York (fom the Winterthur Library, Delaware). A bunch of Dutch people ordering beaver hats for their big heads. In the 1760s, many people in Schenectady still spoke Dutch and even “wrote English with a Dutch accent” as it were.
Some images from the county histories of western New York from the 1870s.