Place:Columbia, New York, United States

Alt namesColumbiasource: Getty Vocabulary Program
Coordinates42.25°N 73.65°W
Located inNew York, United States     (1786 - )
source: Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names
source: Family History Library Catalog

the text in this section is copied from an article in Wikipedia

Columbia County is a county located in the U.S. state of New York. As of the 2020 census, the population was 61,570. The county seat is Hudson. The name comes from the Latin feminine form of the name of Christopher Columbus, which was at the time of the formation of the county a popular proposal for the name of the United States.

Columbia County comprises the Hudson, NY Micropolitan Statistical Area, which is also included in the Albany-Schenectady, NY Combined Statistical Area. It is on the east side of the Hudson River and is considered to be part of the Upper Hudson Valley.



the text in this section is copied from an article in Wikipedia

At the arrival of European colonists the area was occupied by the indigenous Mohican Indians. To the west of the river were the Mohawk and other four tribes of the Iroquois Confederacy, extending past what is now the border of New York state. The first known European exploration of Columbia County was in 1609, when Henry Hudson, an English explorer sailing for the Dutch, ventured up the Hudson River. An accident to his craft forced him to stop at what is now known as Columbia County, and search for food and supplies. In 1612, the Dutch established trading posts and minor settlements, constructing New Amsterdam (today's New York City) and Fort Orange (Albany). Fort Orange became a center of the fur trade with the Mohawk people. Traders began to stop at midway points along the Hudson River, on their travels between New Amsterdam and Fort Orange. Small settlements arose along the river to supply the traders' ships.[1]

In 1649, Dutch colonists purchased land near Claverack and again in 1667. As more Dutch arrived, the region slowly developed. In 1664, the English took over New Netherland and renamed it the Province of New York; they also renamed Fort Orange as Albany.[2]

In the late 17th century, Robert Livingston, a Scots immigrant by way of Rotterdam, built on his connections as Indian agent in the colony and purchased two large portions of land from the Native Americans. He gained much larger grants from the provincial government, for a total of 160,240 acres. He was made lord of Livingston Manor by the Crown, with all its perquisites, and started to develop the property with tenant farmers. In 1710, he sold 6,000 acres of his property to Queen Anne of Great Britain for use as work camps and resettlement of Palatine German refugees. The Crown had supported their passage to New York, and they were to pay off the costs as indentured labor. Some 1200 Palatine Germans were brought to Livingston Manor (now known as Germantown). New York's Governor Hunter had also helped with these arrangements: the workers were to manufacture naval stores (e.g., pitch, resin, and turpentine) from the pine trees in the Catskill Mountains.

They were promised land for resettlement after completing their terms of indenture.[2] They were refugees from years of religious fighting along the border with France, as well as crop failures from a severe winter.[3] Work camps were established on both sides of the Hudson River. The Germans quickly established Protestant churches at the heart of their community, which recorded their weddings, births and deaths, among the first vital records kept in the colony.[3]

After many years, some of the colonists were granted land in the frontier of the central Mohawk Valley west of present-day Little Falls in the 100 lots of the Burnetsfield Patent; in the Schoharie Valley, and other areas, such as Palatine Bridge along the Mohawk River west of Schenectady. They were buffer communities between the British settlements and the Iroquois and French (the latter located mostly in Canada.)

Columbia County was formed in 1786 after the American Revolutionary War from portions of Albany County, once a vast area until new communities were developed and jurisdictions were organized. In 1799, the southern boundary of Columbia County was moved southward to include that portion of Livingston Manor located in Dutchess County.

In the nineteenth century, the Vermont Central Railway was constructed to the area. It provided transportation north towards Rutland and Burlington, Vermont, and south towards the major junction town of Chatham, New York, for travel to points west, south and east.

A large number of LGBT artists and writers settled in Columbia County in the late 20th century, including Ellsworth Kelly, who moved to the county in 1970, followed by James Ivory and Ismail Merchant (1975) and the poet John Ashbery (1978).


Date Event Source
1786 County formed Source:Red Book: American State, County, and Town Sources
1786 Land records recorded Source:Red Book: American State, County, and Town Sources
1790 First census Source:Population of States and Counties of the United States: 1790-1990
1790 No significant boundary changes after this year Source:Population of States and Counties of the United States: 1790-1990

Population History

source: Source:Population of States and Counties of the United States: 1790-1990
Census Year Population
1790 27,732
1800 35,472
1810 32,390
1820 38,330
1830 39,907
1840 43,252
1850 43,073
1860 47,172
1870 47,044
1880 47,928
1890 46,172
1900 43,211
1910 43,658
1920 38,930
1930 41,617
1940 41,464
1950 43,182
1960 47,322
1970 51,519
1980 59,487
1990 62,982

Research Tips

The Manor of Livingston was a huge amount of land. Robert Livingston's residence may now be in or near present-day Germantown, but does not begin to define the amount of land in the original Manor of Livingston. "Livingston was originally the northern part of Dutchess county."

External links

  • Outstanding guide to Columbia County family history and genealogy resources (FamilySearch Research Wiki). Birth, marriage, and death records, censuses, wills, deeds, county and town histories, cemeteries, churches, newspapers, libraries, and genealogical societies.

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