by Tracy B. Grimm
A guide to all the records at the Albany County Hall of Records that pertain to the Constitutional Era (1783-1815). It also includes records of the towns and cities of Albany County for this time period.
Albany County almost always has been an important center providing goods and services, and has exercised an importance in state and national affairs beyond all proportion to its size. In this grantfunded project, "World Our Fathers Made", can be seen our local manifestations of the concerns for human services and public needs not too different from those shared by Albany County today. In this case, shown in this guide to the public records of our communities, the past is truly prologue.
James J. Coyne
Albany County Executive
Over the past three centuries and more, several dozen people have served as Albany County Clerk, the clerk of record for one of America's oldest communities, in one of New York's original Charter counties. While these people helped to shape the region's history, and often were important functionaries, it was the records themselves which provided the continuity. In a time of great flux and change such as the Constitutional Era, this records-keeping function creates the administrative portrait of the times, showing why decisions were made and who our people were. To the all but anonymous County and Town Clerks of two hundred years ago, we owe a great debt. Their safeguarding of these documents allows us to see the Albany County of their time once again. To this guide, "World Our Fathers Made", the scholars and educators of tomorrow will owe a debt nearly as great, as we seek to understand the turbulent birth of our nation as it was felt in the County of Albany two centuries ago.
Hon. Thomas G. Clingan
Albany County Clerk
First and foremost I would like to thank Bob Arnold, former Executive Director of the Albany County Hall of Records, former County Historian, and director of this project. His enthusiasm boosted my own when obstacles were encountered; his reading and rereading of drafts along with his knowledge of the area's local history, saved this guide from efforts otherwise overlooked. I would also like to thank the Hall of Record's present Executive Director, Mary F. Vines, for her patient editing and her direction in preparing this guide for publication. To the archives staff at the Hall of Records - Meredith Cherven-Holland, Cari R. Palmer, Jeanenne Paquin, and Helen Chmielewski - I owe a great debt for familiarizing me with their archival policies and for their assistance in organizing the records survey. I would like to express my gratitude to the participants of the "World Our Father's Made" conference. Their intellect and concerns served as a guide for the direction this survey would follow. Those participants were Dr. Thomas Burke, Hon. Robert J. Bums, Ms. Meredith Cherven-HoUand, Dr. James Folts, Dr. Maryanne Malecki, Mrs. Rose-Marie Manory, Hon. Edita Probst, Hon. Herbert Reilly, Ms. Valerie J. Restifo, Hon. Jane Springer, Mr. John Tmvis, and Ms. Cari R. Palmer. I would like to single out Dr. James Folts of the New York State Archives and express thanks for his invaluable guidance and review of the Court Records section. I would like to thank Mrs. Marie Wiedeman of the Bethlehem Historical Society for taking an afternoon and introducing me to the society's collection of local history. I would also like to- extend appreciation to Ms. Jane Springer, Guilderland Town Clerk; Mr. Paul S. Murphy, City Clerk of Watervliet; Ms. Carolyn M. Lyons, Bethlehem Town Clerk; and Ms. Kathleen Newkirk and Ms. Gloria Johnson of the Bethlehem Town Clerk's office for their time and efforts in making available their respective town records.
Tracy B. Grimm
Who Were We Then?
Who were the people of Albany County during the nation's infancy. How did they make their livings, indeed, where did they live, what services did they require, what alterations in their environment did they make? What chattels or real properties did they own? How do we know the rise or decline of their fortunes, the nature and result of their adversities, the roads they walked, the oxen they drove, the feral hogs they ran unringed? The flavor of their lives is in the public records of the era, now two centuries remote. While we cannot imagine the relative silence or comparative isolation of their world, or fully understand the cultures in which they were formed, their public records reflect their needs, their hopes, and their reality; these records reflect the world our fathers made. A guide to the public records of the Constitutional Era - here defined as 1783-1815 - has not been attempted on the local level before; these records are broad strokes on the canvas eventually depicting that time and give rise to our present. With funding from the New York State Commission on the Bicentennial of the United States Constitution, with the support of County Executive James J. Coyne, the Albany County Committee on the Bicentennial of the U.S. Constitution, the Hudson-Mohawk Institute of the College of Saint Rose, the Albany County Hall of Records, the Albany County Historian's Office, and, of course, Albany's County Clerks, past and present, Guy Paquin and Thomas G.. Clingan, this guide was created. Special accolade is also due to Tracy Grimm, an intern from the College of Saint Rose hired with State Bicentennial commission funds to produce this guide. Its high quality is all but entirely due to her.
Robert W. Arnold III
November 17, 1988
While the nation's leaders were occupied with adjusting to the new Constitution, the government of the County of Albany and the local governments of its municipalities were occupied with meeting the growing needs of their citizens. The Constitutional Era was a time of expansion and internal development for the County of Albany. As the population of the county increased, so did the partitioning of its townships. The formation of townships and their local governments provided organization to allow these communities to develop accommodations for their individual, local needs. Roads and highways were planned and built in response to the petitions of groups of citizens to their local boards of Highway Commissioners. The rural communities of Albany County as well as the city of Albany were dependent upon their local governments for organization and implementation of their civil futures. The existing records of this period in the County's history are today held by the Albany County Hall of Records,the County Clerk, Town Clerks, local historical societies, the Office of Public Records of the City of Albany, and the New York State Archives and Records Administration. It is from the collections of these repositories that this survey was compiled. As with any historical study or survey,, limitations to the scope of this study were established due to restrictions of budget, time and focus. "World Our Fathers Made" is a survey of public records, records which a government unit generates or keeps, created during the Constitutional Era. The era has been defined as the period of 1783-1815. In accordance with this limitation, only those towns of Albany County whose dates of establishment precede 1815 have been included in this guide.
Indices to the Records of Albany County
- Farm Survey Index (1767-1878)
- Index to the Public Records of the County of Albany (1630-1894)
- Index to Wills and to Letters of Administration (1780-1895)
- Index Record of Leases (1767-1811)
Location: Albany County Hall of Records
* = available on microfilm
*Farm Survey Index
This index is arranged alphabetically according to the name of the party requesting the survey. The index provides descriptions of the areas surveyed, the name of the surveyor, and the date the survey was completed and filed with the County Clerk.
*The Index to the Public Records of the County of Albany
The Index to the Public Records of the County of Albany contains groups of Grantees, Grantors, Lis Pendens, Maps, and Mortgagors indices. The Grantee and Grantor indices are arranged alphabetically by the name of the grantee and grantor respectively. They provide the name of the grantor and grantee, a description of the property, the date of the transaction, the date the deed was recorded, and the book number and page of its location. The Map and Mortgagor Indices each are arranged alphabetically and provide brief descriptions of the maps and mortgages along with their locations. The Lis Pendens volumes, arranged alphabetically by the defendant's name, provide that defendant's name, the plaintiff's name, the date, the book and page where located, and a brief description. Volume "C" of both Grantees and Grantors is of special interest since it contains a record of Corporation transactions. Subtopics of this section include lists of associations, banks, companies, religious organizations and societies that have corporate deeds or mortgages.
Title and Date: Quantity
|Lis Pendens||1630-1895||4 volumes|
*Index to Wills and Letters of Administration (1780-1895)
This index is arranged by date of Probate. It provides the names of deceased and the volume and page where the wills and letters can be located.
*Index Record of Leases
Organized alphabetically, this index provides a register of granted by the City of Albany. It provides information such as the date of lease, to whom granted, where situated, the amount due, and when payment was due.
Albany County Records. 1742-1842. (41 documents)
- Location: Albany County Hall of Records
- Arrangement: Alphabetical by subject
- Indexing: None
Albany County Oaths
This collection contains a total of 41 oaths. Each of the oaths contain a general statement of allegiance followed by signatures.
The collection includes two groups of oaths of allegiance to King George II. While pledging allegiance to King George, they also contain oaths of abjuration of the person "who pretended to be the Prince of Wales" and his descendants. These groups date from 1742-46 and 1772-1776.
Other groups in the collection include declarations of opposition to church doctrines, such as transubstantiation, ranging in date from 1719-1776, and oaths of allegiance to New York state dated 1778-1829, some of which also contain oaths of office for county clerks and justices of the peace.
Oaths of allegiance to the U.S. Constitution (1789-1795) as well as Constitutional oaths combined with oaths of office also are included. Other documents include Military Oaths and Qualification Roll dated 1791-94, oaths of judicial officers, oath of Sheriff, oaths of allegiance and abjuration in Mayor's Court, 1787-1842.
|Justification and Allegiance to King George 11 (4 documents)||1742-1770|
|Oaths of Allegiance to King George III (2 documents)||1772-1776|
|Declarations of Opposition to Church Doctrines (8 documents)||1719-1776|
|Oaths of Allegiance and Abjuration to State of N.Y. (3 documents)||1778-1793|
|Oaths of Allegiance/ Abjuration-County Clerk||1808|
|Roll of Allegiance (1 document)||1778-1779|
|Oaths of Allegiance and Abjuration to N.Y.S||1787|
|Oath of Allegiance and Abjuration (proposal to outlaw dueling)||1791-1829|
|Oaths of Allegiance, U.S. Constitution (2 documents)||1789-1795|
|Oaths of Militia Officers (2 documents)||1791-1796|
|Judge Bronk's Military Qualifications Roll||1796|
|Oaths of Allegiance to U.S. and N.Y.S. Constitution and Oaths of Office (3 documents)||1806-1808|
|Oaths of Justices of the Peace (3 documents)||1784-1790|
|Oaths of Justices of the Peace and Qualifications Roll||1806-1808|
|Oaths of Judicial officers of Inferior Court of Common of Pleas||1778|
|Oaths of County Clerks||1778|
|Oath of Justice of the Peace||1778|
|Oath of Sheriff||1778|
|Oath of Allegiance and abjuration to N.Y.S. and U.S. Constitution (5 Documents)||1789-1805|
|Mayor's Court Oath of Allegiance and Abjuration||1787-1835|
|Roll of Attorney's and Counselors, Common Pleas||1780-1847|
County Clerk: Real Property Records. 1767-1878. 97 Volumes
- Location: Albany County Hall of Records
- Arrangement: Chronological
- Indexing: Some indexing through the index to the Public Records of the City of Albany, Farm Surveys. Index, and Record of Leases Index.
Real Property Records include items such as farm surveys, deeds, mortgages, leases, field books, and corporation conveyances. Many of these records can be indexed through the Grantors-Grantees Index to the Public Records of the County of Albany (see page 3).
* - available on microfilm.
*Albany Assessment Rolls 1813-1834 (1 vol.)
This volume provides the assessment roll of the real and personal property in the Third Ward of Albany. It is organized by streets, and the names of those assessed. A description of the property and the amount paid also is given.
*Chamberlain's Office Corporation Conveyances. 1797-1815. (2 vol.)
The Corporation Conveyances are records of land granted or sold by the Corporation of the City of Albany. The records provide the names of the new property owners, the date of the sale or conveyance, and a description or survey of the land.
*Commissioner of Deeds Indenture Made True. 1808. (1 vol.)
This volume of indentures is a record of loans made by the County of Albany. The loans, borrowed against land (collateral), were made in accordance with a state act entitled "An act for loaning monies to citizens of this state." Also included are handwritten accounts of payments made against the loans.
*Deeds. 1774-1815. (14 vol.)
The volumes are arranged chronologically and within each year deeds are organized alphabetically by the grantee's name. These deed records provide the name and address of grantor and grantee and a location and description of the property. Since the original deeds were returned to the grantees, these documents are the copies which were filed with the County Clerk.
|Box #||Dates||Box #||Dates|
Volume fifteen is of special significance as it contains the deeds in which Revolutionary War Veterans handed over their bounty lands to speculators.
*Farm Surveys. 1767-1878. (17 vol.)
These unbound volumes are arranged and labeled alphabetically by landholder's last name. A limited index is included. Surveying calculations are included, along with boundary descriptions. Several names appear in the surveys which may be associated with the various towns. For example, names such as Ten Eyck and Ver Plank of Coeymans, and Huyck of Rensselaerville appear.
*Field Books. 1766-1804. (5 vol.)
Field Books document the division of property in specific land patents, territories, or towns. The books include survey information such as boundaries of patents and numbered lots which were often described by reference to bordering creeks, and individual lands.
|Watervliet and Hosack Patent||1769-1772|
|Lands Sold by Corporation of Albany||1804|
|Division of Coeyman's Patent||1766-1791|
*The Index to The Public Records of the County of Albany. 1630-1894. (38 volumes).
See page 3.
*Mortgage Books. 1773-1815. (16 vol.)
Mortgage Books provide information such as names of mortgagor and mortgagee, along with property descriptions and locations.
|Mortgage Book #||Date||Mortgage Book #||Date|
County Clerk Maps
- Location: Albany County Hall of Records
- Indexing: Some indexing through Grantor's Map Index
|Beaver Creek, Property of Philip Wendell||1802|
|Catharine St. to City Line, Church St. to Washington St.||1811|
|City of Albany, Map of||1790|
|City of Albany, Map of Livingston Lot Between Washington, Hamilton, and Green St.||1809|
|City of Albany, Map of North, South, and West Boundaries||1808|
|Delaware Turnpike, Map of Sundry Lots on Both Sides||1815|
|Dutch Church Lots, Map of||1805|
|Dutch Church of Albany, Map of the Pastures||1799|
|Elizabeth Field to Area of the Dutch Church, Map of Property Lines||1790|
|Gansevert, Leonard & John Wendell, Map and Survey of the Water Lots of||1793|
|Great Western Turnpike, Map of Lots Belonging to J. Woodworth on the South Side||1833|
|Greenbush, Map of Estate of Col. John Van Rensselaer||1806|
|* Guilderland, Map of Brown & McPherson Farms Showing North and South Boundaries of the City of Albany||1788|
|Hudson River Properties including Properties of John Barclay, Thomas Hoghtaling, John Brante, and Peter TenEyck||C.1770|
|Kemp, Joseph & Isaac Lansing, Map of Sundry Lots||1813|
|Langer, Johanna, Survey of & Partition of Three Tracts of Land Granted||1790|
|Lydius & Church St., Map of Lots Between||1807|
|Market St., Montgomery St., & Orange St. Map of Property Along||1799|
|Montgomery St. From Orange St. to Quackenbush St., Map of the Continuation of||1813|
|Preston Map, Part of||1815|
|Robinson's Map, Property Along Hollenbake St.||1799|
|Snipe St., Map of Lots Between Lion St. & the Schenectady Turnpike||1813|
|Southwick, Solomon & Henry C., Maps of Lots Sold By||1813|
|Tauncey, John. Survey of Property Located in the Third Ward of Albany||1794|
|Turnpike Road, Between Ananias Platt's Ferry Opposite of Troy to Schenectady||1802|
|Turnpike from Hudson River to Ferry St. in Troy to Village of Schenectady||1806|
|Van Rensselaer, Col. John, Map of Estate at Greenbush||1806|
|Water Lot Adjoining the Upper Dock, Map of||1803|
|Watervliet, Map of Laying of a Public Highway||1793|
|Watervliet, map of Property of B. Ten Eyck and Others||1788|
|Watervliet to the Village of Washington, Map of Proposed Road||1800|
Albany County and City Records
- Location: Albany County Hall of Records
- Arrangement: Numerically; grouped by subject
- Indexing: None
This collection, originally stored in City Hall, was transferred to the custody of the State Regents in 1911. This transfer was prompted by an 1880 City Hall fire that destroyed numerous valuable documents. The collection, which is comprised of 300 cubic feet of Albany County records and 65 cubic feet of Albany City records, was transferred from the State Archives and Records Administration (S.A.R.A.) to the custody of the city and county of Albany after their archives were established.The records within the Constitutional Era provide evidence of an expanding city with growing needs. The record group includes deeds, leases, land patents, election records, assessment rolls, Alms House records, laws and resolutions of the Common Council, Chamberlain accounts, and other records relating to the functions of city government.
Albany City Records. 1726-1895. 47 File Boxes.
Common Council Records
Albany's 1686 Dongan Charter defined the power of the Common Council to make laws and ordinances. By charter provision the Common Council was thus established as the legislative body of the city. Members of the Common Council were also Commissioners of Highways for the City of Albany. Accordingly, this collection contains a large number of documents relating to the maintenance and development of the city's streets and roads. The role of the Common Council has remained relatively unaltered. Today, as a legislative body, it reviews and acts on legislation and resolutions for the government of the City and the management of its business.
|Common Council Records. (1783-1815).
|Laws and ordinances passed by the Common Council
|Street assessments and paving
|Granting of burial grounds
|Leases of ferry boats to individuals
|Granting of deeds and leases
||11, 12, 17, 18, 22, 44|
|Survey of Corporation land
|Petitions to Common Council for land grants
|Inventory of papers of the city of Albany,Charter deeds, leases and bonds 1686-1774
|Conditions of sale
|Granting of licenses by Common Council
Common Council Minutes. 1723-1817. (16 volumes).
The minutes of the Albany Common Council provide the names of those present, the date, and a description of the issues discussed.
Chamberlain's Records. (1783-1815).
The Chamberlain or treasurer was elected by the members of the city corporation. The Chamberlain received and disbursed all moneys raised by tax in the city. This included such duties as collection of all assessments, apportionments, and rents and also the disbursement of salaries and payment of corporation expenses. Today, the responsibilities of the city treasurer have changed little and include collection,custody and deposit of all taxes and other city funds. The treasurer's office annually processes the billing and collection of property and other tax accounts.
|Inventory of City Chamberlain papers - 1790-1791,1803
|Chamberlain accounts, letters, receipts and vouchers
|Alms House Accounts
|Albany Academy accounts
|Record of Albany County Bonds 1815
City Engineer Maps
- Location: Albany County Hall of Records
- Indexing: Some indexing through Grantors' Map Index - see The Index to the Public Records of the County of Albany page
* = available on microfilm
These maps are products of the City's Bureau of Engineering. The first official City Engineer and Surveyor was Abraham Oake who took office in 1800. Still in existence today, the Bureau is responsible for all public works engineering projects in the City, makes engineering investigations, prepares drawings, and maps, and supervises public construction throughout the city.
|-Albany & Vicinity, Property Maps (69 maps)||-||c. 1750-1829|
|-Barrack St., Survey for Street Extension Between Orange St. & Fox St.||-||1804|
|*-Bleecker, Barent & George Wray's Lots||-||1794|
|*-Church Property at State Street & Barrack St.||-||1793|
|-City of Albany, Map of Sundry Lots Laid Out Within||Van Alen||1803|
|-City of Albany, Northern & Southern Boundary Lines||-||1800|
|*-Columbia St., Montgomery St., Quay & Steubon, Map of||Van Alen||1812|
|-Court St., Cowlane, and Bone Lane Properties||-||1802|
|*-Dutch Church, Lower Pasture||-||1791|
|-Dutch Church Pasture||-||c. 1800|
|*-Eagle St., Map of Lots lying West of||-||1794|
|-Eagle St. & Beaver St., Property Between||-||1814|
|-Eagle St. & Beaver St., Property||-||1804|
|fifth Ward of Albany, Map of||Schuyler||1799|
|-Fonda, Isaaic and Abraham Van Vechten, Map of Houses Built By||-||1798|
|*-Foort, John J., Farm in Scaghticoke||Van Alen||1815|
|-Fort Frederick, Johnson, & DiVeke, Map of||-||1790|
|*-Fort Hunter,.Map-of Land Belonging to the Corporation of the City of Albany||Bleeker||1783|
|-Gallows Hill, Lots of||Schuyler||1794|
|*-Gallows Hill, Map of Schuyler||-||1799|
|*-Green St., Map of Property of||-||1802|
|-Hawk St. & Eagle, Property Between||Oake||1810|
|-Hawk, Wolf, Otter & Eagle St. Properties||Oake||1810|
|-Hospital Lot, Lodge & Steuben St.||-||1806|
|-Hudson St. and Lancaster, Lots on||Barclay||1807|
|-Hudson St. & Lydius St. Properties Between||Barclay||1805|
|*-Hudson River to Rensselaerwyck||Van Alen||1800|
|-John St. from Franklin to the River||-||1802|
|-Lark St. & Dove St., Property Between||Barclay||1804|
|*-Lark St., Dove St., & Hawk St., Map of||-||1790|
|-Lion St. & Sand St., Hawk St. & Elk St., Property Between||Barclay||1801|
|-Lower Church Pastures, Map at||-||1803|
|-Lyon St., Map of Boundaries of lots on North Side||-||1802|
|*-Maiden Lane and Dock St.||Bogart||1790|
|-Maiden Lane & State St.||Oake||1810|
|-Maiden Lane & State St., Lots Between Being Sold||-||1811|
|*-Mansion House (Phillip Schuyler), Map of||Carpenter||1806|
|*-Market St. to Hudson River, Orange St. to Columbia St., Lots Between||-||1802|
|-Montgomery St. From Orange to Quackenbush, Map of||Van Alen||1813|
|*-New Road Laid Out From Foxes St. to theSchenectady Road||-||1801|
|-New St. Between Montgomery, Quay & & Columbia St.||-||1812|
|*@New Street". (Columbia)||Barclay||1808|
|*-Oake St., Lot of Ground North of and West of Barrack St. Belonging to the Corporation of the City of Albany||Campbell||1794|
|*-Old Dutch Church Along the Albany Schenectady Turnpike, Map for the Property of||-||1806|
|*-Post Road Between the Cities of Albany & New York||Randel||1810|
|*-Pearl St. & Market, Columbia St. & Trump St. at Fox Creek||Chutt||1799|
|-Public Square, Maiden Lane & State Street Map of||-||1810|
|*-Publick Square Area Including Lodge, Barrack, and Fox St.||-||1803|
|-Schaticoke, Map of Corporation Lands at||-||1792|
|-Schachticook, Map of||-||1801|
|*-State St. East Toward Eagle||Barclay||1809|
|*-State St., South of and East of Eagle St., Map of Lots||-||1809|
|*-Swallow St. Including Area of Washington Square||-||1809|
|-Tiger St., Lark St., Deer St. & Dove St., Map of Properties||Oake||1811|
|*-Townsend Park, Map of area of||-||1808|
|*-Van Schaack, Grant W., Map of Land Belonging To||Schuyler||1795|
|-Van Woert St. From Market St. West||-||1800|
|*-Washington St., Map of Sundry Lots||Van Alen||1815|
|-Washington St., Lydius St., & Gansvoort St., Map of Property Between Van Alen||-||1817|
|*-Water Street, Near Upper Dock||-||1792|
|*-Watervliet St. & Orange St., Property at Corner of||Winne||1793|
|*-Wendell, John., Map of Land on Court St.||-||1792|
|-Wendle, Phillip., Map of Land Granted to||-||1812|
|-Wolf St., Hawk St., Otter St. & Eagle St., Survey of||Hooker||1810|
|*-Wolf St. & Lark St., Property Between||Visscher||1813|
|-Wolf St., Hawk St., Otter St. & Eagle, Map of||Oake||1810|
|-Wray, George, Map of Dock Lots Including Steuben St. and Dock St.||Bleeker||1798|
New York Courts/Albany County Courts 1783-1815
Circuit Court. (1808-1823). (2 Volumes).
As the trial branch of the Supreme Court of Judicature, the Circuit Court tried personal actions involving demands of $250 or more.Justices of the Supreme Court were required at least twice a year to hold circuit courts in each county. The Circuit Court began in 1692 and was renamed "Trial Terms of the Supreme Court" in 1894.
|Circuit Court Minutes||1808-1823|
Court of Chancery. (1808-1825). (I volume.)
The Court of Chancery existed 1683-1847. This court held general equity powers which enabled it to apply justice in areas which were not specifically covered by the common jurisdiction of the Supreme Court and County Court of Common Pleas. An index to the cases is included but no descriptions of the cases are given.
|Court of Chancery Register Ledger B||1808-1825|
Court of Common Pleas. (I 785-1820). (7 volumes).
The origin of the Court of Common pleas can be traced to 1653. Jurisdiction of this court was confined to civil matters. The court mainly tried cases involving demands for debts and damages. Cases involving civil actions for slander, assault and battery, replevin, and other types of disputes were also tried.
The minutes provide the location, date and time of court sessions, judges present, and the proceedings. Proceedings include such court business as review of applications made by attorneys wishing to practice at the Bar of that court. Also in the proceedings are minutes of cases, testimony of witnesses and verdicts of the juries.
|Court of Common Pleas Minutes||1785-1820|
Mayor's Court. (1761-1832). (14 volumes).
Albany's Mayor's Court acted as a City Court of Common Pleas. Minutes state the location and date of each session along with the names of those present at each session. Mayor's Court "Alien papers" contain petitions for naturalization. These petitions provide information such as the birthplace of the petitioner and the year the petitioner began residence inthe United States. Also included are sworn statements of character reference and the petitioner's sworn oath of citizenship.
|Mayor's Court Minutes, (14 volumes)||1761-1832|
|Mayor's Court Alien Papers (I box)||1800-1851|
|Mayor's Court Judgements (I box)||1802-1811|
Oyer and Terminer Minutes. (1805-1848). (6 volumes).
The Court of Oyer and Terminer, the criminal branch of the Circuit Court in each county, tried cases which dealt with higher crimes. Within the jurisdiction of the Oyer and Terminer Court were trial of indictments found by the grand juries to that court and to the Court of General Sessions. Recorded in the Minutes are court proceedings of each session, summaries of cases and judgements and lists of presiding judges and jurors involved. Cases involve crimes such as burglary and assault and battery.
|Oyer and Terminer Minutes||1805-1848|
Surrogate's Court Records. 1787-1845. (5 boxes)
Included in this group of records are not only wills and letters of administration but also an index to the wills and letters. The index is organized alphabetically. Many of the wills are stored at the Surrogate Court.
|Surrogate's Court Index to Wills and Letters of Administration||1787-1845|
|Albany County Surrogate Wills and Letters of Administration, 4 boxes||1800-1840|
Records of the Town of Berne
The Township of Berne was established in 1795 through an act of the State Legislature. Originally part of the Town of Rensselaerville, "Bern" (the final "e" was added later) was the fourth township to be separated from the then Town of Watervliet.
Sources to consult for public records of this town include the Index to the Public Records of the County of Albany (see page 3) in which Deeds and Mortgages can be located, and the Farm Surveys Collection (see page 8). Since the Farm Surveys were done at the request of landowners,the collection covers random areas of the County. With some searching, surveys pertaining to the area of Berne may be found.
Records of the Town of Bethlehem
Town of Bethlehem Minutes. 1794-1813. One volume (16' x 10')
Location: Bethlehem Town Clerk's Office
The minutes of the Town of Bethlehem begin with a town meeting held at the house of Henry Burhans, "Innholder". on Tuesday, April 1, 1794.
These minutes record the passage of several resolutions. It was resolved that the sum of 100 pounds be raised to support the poor during the ensuing year. A resolution for the more orderly control of cattle was approved; "no stallions, swine, or unruly cattle shall be allowed to run at large in the public Highways". The minutes state that these resolutions were passed by a majority vote of the freeholders and inhabitants present.
In addition to a record of resolutions, the minutes provide a record of officers chosen each year. The volume's first entry provides the names of the first officers chosen, including Supervisor (Phillip Van Rensselaer); Town Clerk (John Van Derheyden); Commissioner of the Highways (3 persons named); Overseers of the Poor (2); Assessors (5); Collectors (2); Constables (7); Overseers of the Highways (20);Pound Masters (2); Fence Viewers (2).
At an April 15, 1794 meeting of the Commissioners of Highways, it was ordered that the Overseers of the Highways of the Town of Bethlehem be directed to make out lists of the names of persons working under their directions. A description of an overseer's assigned area or road is given, followed by a list of men under the direction of that overseer; several such entries occurred after the 1794 order. One,dated 1797, contained a list twelve pages long, including 33 overseers and all of their workers.
Throughout this volume appear lists of persons granted licenses and permits by the Commissioners of Excise. Names are listed along with the amount paid and how paid, i.e. "grantice" (sic), etc. Petitions for the building of roads are recorded along with proposed locations and descriptions of those roads.
Book of Strays. 1794-1831. One volume. (13' x 8).
Location: Bethlehem Historical Society
The Book of Strays records descriptions of wandering cows, horses, and pigs along with their marks. Also described are the cattle marks or brands of several landholders.
Manumission Records. 1799- . Photocopies only.
Location: Bethlehem Historical Society
These records are labeled with the title, "Records of Bethlehem For the Purpose of Interring Negro Children Born Slaves From this First Day of July 1799 "(sic). The entries contain assessment by Overseers of the Poor of the health of a slave to be freed and the slaves' ability to subsist. Also recorded are requests by owners to allow their slaves to be manumitted upon the death of said owner.
Records of the Town of Coeymans
The Town of Coeymans was established in 1791 following its partition from the Township of Watervliet. Records of the Town exist mainly as property records collected by the Albany County Clerk.
The Albany County Hall of Records holds a "Coeyman's Patent Field Book" dated 1788 and a field book entitled, "Division of Coeyman's Patent," dated 1766-1791 (see "Property Records" page 7). An additional source available for locating existing records is The Index to the Public Records of the County of Albany (see page 3) in which Deeds and Mortgages can be found.
Records of the Town of Guilderland
Town of Guilderland Minutes. 1803-1834. 1 volume. (I 7' x II).
Location: Guilderland Town Clerk's Office
The Town of Guilderland holds a complete collection of town records from its first town meeting until the present. Although the collection provides only one volume dating from the Constitutional Era, the information contained in this source is abundant and, from it, a valid image of the lifestyle of the town's residents during the first decade of the nineteenth century can be developed.
The first volume, The Records of the Town of Guilderland (1803-1834) begins with a copy of the special act of the State Legislature which partitions from the Town of Watervliet a separate town by the name of "Guilderlandtandt". Along with this act are the minutes of the first town meeting held at the house of Henry Apple. The meetings were held at the Apple residence (and tavern) for several years, even after Henry Apple's death, when the minutes of 1812 record the meeting as held at the Widow Apple's house. The results of the town election are listed, providing the names of the Town's first elected officials. Minutes of this first meeting contain a record of the first resolutions passed. Included in these resolutions is a law prohibiting hogs from running at large and a resolution promising that a bounty of thirty dollars would be paid by the town to any person killing a wolf.
The volume includes a long list of those citizens that were qualified and of sufficient ability and understanding to serve as jurors. The names and occupations of these persons are listed; in some cases there is also a listing of disqualified citizens and the reason, such as old age, that they were disqualified.
Manumission of slaves is also recorded. Slave owners were required to report births among their slaves and renounced ownership of these newborn children. One such entry is a certificate by Fredrick Crounce dated April 28, 1803, which gave notice of the birth of a black male child named Simon to Crounce's "negro wench slave named Dianna".
Included in the minutes is a record of licenses and permits granted for retailing "strong and spiritous liquors". The licenses' names appear along with the number of licenses and permits they received, the cost, their "places of abode", and whether or not the fee was paid.
Other meetings provided descriptions of domestic animals which broke into neighbor's enclosures, as well as descriptions of brands farmers used on livestock (cattle, sheep, and hogs). Several of the minutes contain records of the divisions of the road districts by the Commissioners of Highways. A petition for the laying of a public highway and the tract of land proposed is described. The volume includes a record of payments by the town for repair of bridges and roads in the town. Also recorded is the first division of the town into school districts.
Records of the Town of Rensselaerville
Rensselaerville Town Minute Book. 1795-1833. (12.5' x 7.5).
Location: *on microfilm at the New York State Archives and Records Administration.
The minutes of the Town of Rensselaerville contain records of resolutions passed,. officials elected and appointed, election results, minutes of road commissioners, and excise commissioner's minutes.
The book's first entry begins, "At a meeting of the freeholders and inhabitants of the Town of Rensselaerville held at the house of David Crooker Esq. on the first Tuesday and Wednesday in April 1795"; the minutes continue on to record a vote on "petitions of freeholders" to lay a road. At this first April meeting appointments of persons to take the census were made and several resolutions were passed. One resolution reads, "Resolved by said freeholders and inhabitants that the fences in said town which are made four and a half feet high and well erected shall be adjudged to be lawful for the ensuing year"
Records of the Town of Watervliet
Town of Watervliet Minutes. 1793-1844. 1 volume. (I 7' x II')
The minutes of the Town Board of Watervliet begin with the events of a town meeting held April 2, 1793 at the house of Isaac Truax Junior, Innholder. Minutes from nearly every meeting included election results providing the positions and names of those elected. The list for this meeting included: Supervisor, (Stephen Van Rensselaer Esq.), Town Clerk, (Luther Trowbridge), Commissioners of Highways, Assessors, Overseers of the Poor, Collectors, Pound Masters, Street Masters, Fence Viewers, Overseers of Highways, and Constables. Common in town meetings was the passage of resolutions which indicate what community life was like and how it was changing.
A particular resolution passed at the April meeting provided that one hundred and eighty pounds, nineteen shillings and six pence be raised for the support of the poor of the town. Support of the poor was an issue common to each town meeting. At the April 3, 1799 meeting the town resolved to set aside one hundred pounds for the poor; at the 1802 meeting sixty-one pounds was to be raised and at the 1809 meeting it was agreed that four hundred dollars would be raised for the support of the poor.
Throughout the volume appear lists of persons granted licenses and permits by the commissioners of excise. Names and residences were recorded, including some in Colonie and along the Old Schenectady Road.
Slave manumissions were also recorded in the Town minutes. It appears that the slave owner had to certify with the town any slaves to whom he granted freedom, with approval by the town justice of the peace. Those manumissions recorded include a statement and agreement by the slave owner that the former slave is granted freedom. Following this statement is an official acknowledgement by the overseers of the poor and justices of the peace. Many of the manumissions are of newborns. In these cases the owner of slave parents certified an abandonment of any claim to the child.
Resolutions for the control of roaming animals were frequent. Specific resolutions forbade the free running of stallions, swine, and rams. Fines varied with each meeting. At the April 1793 meeting it was resolved that all rams be kept enclosed from the first day of May to the first day of August under penalty of gelding.
Many of the town meetings held during this period were occupied with the upkeep and development of roads and bridges. The April I 1, 1793 meeting of the Commissioners of Highways recorded those present:Bastian Visscher and Gernt Witbak. Also recorded is the resolution of an act for the better laying-out, regulation and repair of all common public highways. At the May 18, 1793, meeting it was resolved that improvements on the public roads and bridges within the Town of Watervliet were absolutely necessary and the Commissioners agreed upon the sum of one hundred pounds to be raised for the ensuing year. The minutes of the August 7, 1793 meeting record a petition for the necessity of laying out of a Public Highway through a pasture of Stephen Van Rensselaer.
As evidenced by recorded complaints, the regulation of the highways was a persistent issue. One such complaint involved the actions of John B. Brandt and John Baker who were "making obstructions in the public highway at the Southwest corner of the Cross Street opposed to the House of Henry Quackenboss on the east side of Watervliet Street". It is recorded that the laying of timber and the preparations for erecting a building were the cause of the obstruction.
Records of the Town of Westerlo
Since the town of Westerlo was created in 1815 from pieces of the neighboring Townships of Coeymans and Rensselaerville, records of the Township for the year 1815 are sparse. Records of the area and its residents prior to 1815 are dispersed among records of Coeymans and Rensselaerville. The types of public records that may be uncovered include farm surveys, deeds and maps. References to Westerlo may also be found in the Town Minutes of Rensselaerville.
Supreme Court of Judicature
|Series||Series Titles and Dates||Quantity|
|Writs of Summons and Arrest|
|J0168||Precipes and Original Writs (Albany or Utica), 1815-1825||.8 c.f.|
|Special Bail Pieces|
|J0096||Special Bail Pieces (Albany), 1797-1847||16.3 c.f.|
|Special Bail Books|
|J1202||Special Bail Books (Albany), 1799-1801, 1807-1827|| 1 item
|J0002||Recognizance Rolls (Albany), 1797-1834||2.6 c.f.|
|J0143||Committiturs and Orders for Exoneretur (Albany), 1797-1829||2.2 c.f.|
|Declarations and Pleadings|
|JOO11||Motions and Declarations (Albany), 1796-1847.||187.9 c.f.|
|Copies of Pleadings Furnished To Trial Courts|
|J0022||Copies of Pleadings Furnished to Circuit Courts ("Nisi Prius Records," "Circuit Rolls") (Albany), 1797-1847||47.7 c.f.|
|Depositions and Summaries of Testimony|
|J0170||Writs of Commission (Albany and Utica), 1802-1843||1.3 c.f.|
|JO140||Judgment Rolls (Albany), 1797-1847||326.4 c.f.|
|Dockets of Judgments|
|JO141||Docket of Judgments (Albany), 1797-1847||28 c.f.|
|Writs of Execution|
|J0024||Writs of Execution (Albany), 1797-1847||79.1 c.f.|
|Minutes and Registers of Return of Writs|
|J3130||Minutes of Return of Writs by Sheriffs (Albany), 1797-1799||I Vol.|
|J0226||Registers of Returns of Writs (by County), 1815-1847||6 vols.|
|Common Rule Books|
|J1165||Common Rule Books (Albany), 1797-1849||101 vols.|
|General and Special Term Minute Books|
|J0131||General and Special Term Minute Books (Albany), 1797-1847||29 vols.|
|JI130||Engrossed Minute Books (Albany), 1797-1807||2 vols.|
|J0079||Minute Books for the Trial of Issues (Albany), 1798-1800||3 vols.|
|J7011||Briefs, Draft Rules, and Motions||1.3 c.f.|
|J7011||Briefs, Draft Rules, and Motions (Albany), 1812-1827||1.3 c.f|
|J0001||Miscellaneous Motions (Albany, Geneva), ca. 1806-1847||6 c.f.|
|Calendars of Enumerated Motions|
|J0241||Calendars of Enumerated Motions (Albany),||68 vols.|
|Writs For Transfer or Review of Cases From Lower Courts|
|J1025||Writs of Certiorari, Error, Habeas Corpus, and Mandamus (Albany, Utica) 1800-1847|
|J0154||Insolvency Papers (Albany), 1795-1842 Partition Papers||40 c.f.|
|J0019||Reports of Commissioners to Partition Lands (Albany), 1802-1819, 1824, 1829||1.7 c.f.|
|J5011||Naturalization Papers (Albany), 1799-1812||.2 c.f.|
|J4011||Lists of Freeholders Qualified to Serve as Jurors (Albany), 1789-1821||1.3 c.f.|
|J2011||Criminal Case Documents (Albany), 1797-1808||.4 c.f.|
|J1011||Fines and Chirographs (Albany), 1799-1829||1.0 c.f.|
|J0152||Bonds of Plaintiffs and Appellants (Albany), 1808-1848||1.7 c.f.|
|J1041||Petitions and Affidavits for Proof of Wills (Albany), 1801-1828||.2 c.f.|
|Clerk's Financial Records|
|J1244||Ledgers of Accounts with Attorneys (Albany, Utica, Geneva), ca. 1813-1817, 1842-1844||2 vols.|
|JI152||Bills of Costs (Albany), 1802-1812||.2 c.f.|
|List and Appointments of Agents and Commissioners|
|J9011||Lists of Supreme Court Commissioners (Albany), 1788-1800||2 items|
|JJI150||Registers of Agents (Albany), 1799-1813||4 vols.|
|Certificates of Clerkships|
|J0104||Certificates of Clerkships (Albany), 1809-1847||7.7 c.f.|
Court of Chancery
|Series||Series Titles and Dates||Quantity|
|J0059||Chancery Minutes, 1781-1829||47 vols.|
|J1059||Register's Engrossed Minutes, 1807-1812||3 vols.|
|J0045||Common Order Book, 1806-1830||6 vols.|
|J0240||Daily Record of Common Orders and Other Process Issued by Clerk in Chancery ("Rule Book in Chancery'), 1815-1829||I Vol.|
|J0095||Chancery Registers, 1780-1823||26 vols.|
|J0072||Register's Minutes of Causes, 1813-1847||12 vols.|
|J0066||Index to Enrolled Decrees Before 1800, 1712-1799||1 Vol.|
|J0064||Index to Enrolled Decrees After 1800, 1801-1847||1 Vol.|
|J0058||Index to Re Papers, 1800-1847||1 Vol.|
|J]071||Index to Chancery Papers, 1800-1847||1 Vol.|
|J0071||Index to Miscellaneous Files in Chancery, 1772-1847||I Vol.|
|J0065||Chancery Decrees and Papers Before 1800, 1684-1815||57 vols.|
|J0063||Chancellor's Enrolled Decree After 1800, 1801-1847||144 c.f.|
|J0057||In Re Paper, circa 1800-1847||21.5 c.f.|
|J0087||Miscellaneous Files, 1772-1847||81 c.f.|
|J0070||Chancery Papers, 1800-1874||108 c.f.|
|J2176||Register's Statement of Cases Handled by the Court of Chancery Between 1794-1825, circa 1825||1 item|
|J9076||Internal Accounts and Administration File, 1805-1847||.5 c.f.|
Court of Probates
|Series||Series Title and Dates||Quantity|
|J0208||Orders and Decrees, 1811-1823||1 Vol.|
|J0032||Letters of Administration, 1795-1823||2 Vol.|
|J0036||Inventory of Wills, Administration Papers, and Inventories Transferred from the Secretary of State to the Court of Probates, circa. 1783||1 Vol|
|J0038||Probated Wills, 1671-1815||9 C.F.|
||Inventories and Accounts, 1666-1823||6 C.F.|
|J0033||Administration Papers, circa. 1700-1823||12 C.F.|
Abjuration - an oath to abandon rights or allegiance.
Adjudged - implies a judicial determination of a fact, and the entry of judgement.
Assessment - a determination of property value.
Assessor - an officer responsible for setting valuations for taxation.
Certiorari - a writ issued by a superior court requiring a court to produce a certified record of a particular case.
Chirograph - an obligation which a person wrote or subscribed with his own hand; an acknowledgment of debt, as of money received, with a promise to repay.
Commissioner of the Highways - officer of town government with the power to take charge of opening, altering, repairing, and vacating of highways.
Constables - an officer of a municipality whose duty it was to preserve the public peace.
Corporation - in the case of the Corporation of the City of Albany, corporation is defined as a legal entity consisting of an association of individuals who act as a unit in promoting and acting upon matters relating to the common purpose of the association.
Deed - a document which transfers land from one person to another; a conveyance of real property.
Fence Viewers - those local government officers responsible for regulation of fence lines.
In re - in the matter of; regarding; used in entitling a judicial proceeding in which there are not adversary parties such as in the case of a bankrupt's estate.
Indictments - a written accusation presented by a grand jury to a court charging a person therein named as guilty of an act prohibited by law.
Instrument - a formal or legal document such as a contract, deed, will, or lease.
Land Patent - title to public land granted to private citizens.
Lease - a contract for possession and profits of land for a determined period of time.
Ledger - a book of accounts in which all monetary transactions of a day are entered.