December 21, 2008

Before Albany: An Archaeology of Native-Dutch Relations in the Capital Region 1600-1664

Before Albany: An Archaeology of Native-Dutch Relations in the Capital Region 1600-1664 by James W. Bradley is my latest find. I bought this book as a gift to myself and I am thoroughly enjoying it. Mr. Bradley covers the history of New Netherland and various settlements such as Fort Orange, Beverwijck (present day Albany), New Amsterdam (now New York City). He presents the history and the past through archaeological finds in the area and gives the reader an in depth and fascinating view into the lives and relationships of the Dutch settlers and the native populations, particularly the Mohawks.

Since I am descended from many Dutch settlers in New Netherland and from a Mohawk woman Ots-Toch who married Cornelis Van Slyke in the Albany area circa 1640, I am finding the book fascinating. Many of the early Dutch and English families that I have encountered in my research are discussed in this book.

The book is chock full of drawings, diagrams and paintings of the various items unearthed in archeaological digs of the Rensellaerswyck Colony, and of images of what the various settlements and buildings probably looked like. It is not the kind of book you can finish quickly, I find myself poring over pages very slowly and letting the wealth of information and facts sink in.

Anyone with Dutch or native ancestors in New Netherland in this time period of the early 17th century will no doubt find this a fascinating glimpse into their ancestors lives.

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