Category New York History

My article on Dutch-speaking runaway slaves in Geschiedenis Magazine

The full article in Dutch is here.

History and Botany

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.

Croquet History

Some images from the county histories of western New York from the 1870s.

A 19th Century Waldo

Browsing through those 1870s county histories for New York and I discovered this guy, a kind of 19th century Waldo, was a frequent stand-in for the artist. Some amazing sketch work in these volumes by the way.

An Almanac from Dutch New York

The year was 1759 and the English had just defeated the French on the plains of Abraham in the major battle of the French and Indian War. By the end of the year, an enterprising printer in New York City, James Parker, continued a tradition of publishing an almanac in Dutch for the New York […]

Dutch Bibles and Beaver Hats in 18th century NY Wills

From the takeover of New Netherland in 1664, through to the 1820s, New York collected inventories of the material possessions of the deceased. The records, now available for free on Ancestry.com, (search for “Estate Inventories and Accounts, 16661-822”) are far from complete, but might be useful to historians and genealogists. I’ve been using them, for […]

Environmental History of Dutch America

The North American Drought Index (http://drought.memphis.edu/NADA/Default.aspx) uses dendro-chronological data (tree-rings) to measure wet v. dry years over time and by region. The tool looks very impressive and I’ve only begun to figure out how it works. Essentially, you can select a custom area of the map of North America and a date range and then […]