Related Names

The name "COONRADT", (Latin Coonradus), with its varied spellings, is Germanic in origin. The meaning of the name is "Wise in Council". It was at first used only as a title or personal name, but by the close of the tenth century, when surnames were first adopted among European peoples, we find it used as a family name. In time the name spread to all parts of the continent, though of course with varied spellings in the different languages. In the Germanic countries it is Coonrad, Conrad and Kunrad, each with a t, e, or i as an ending. Our present history concerns itself only with the New York family of Coonradts whose forebearors fled the Bavarian Palatinate at the beginning of the eighteenth century, coming via Holland to the colony of Rensselaerswack. The names of the first three forefathers were Willhelm, Heinrich and Philipp Coonradt. While many of the descendants of these forefathers are now residents in or near the original Rennselaerswack settlements, a major part of us are scattered among the various states from coast to coast.


The coming of the first Coonradts to American shores dates back into the early colonial history of New York. In the year 1609 Henry Hudson and his body of explorers had discovered the lands at the mouth of the Hudson River. They sailed up this extensive body of inland waters as far north as where the city of Albany now stands. There on Dunn's Island, in the heart of a vast woodland they built a fort, the first effort toward a white man's settlement in all New York. In 1614 the colony of New Amsterdam (now New York) was established, and seven years later the States General of the Netherlands granted to that colony the exclusive right of trade and settlement in all that region now comprising eastern New York, New Jersey and Vermont.

The Dutch West India Company then began offering every inducement for prospective immigrants to come, settle and help develop their lands. With such inducements a great influx of adventurers, traders and trappers swarmed into the new Dutch colony, which became known as New Netherlands.


It was into this situation that our Coonradt forebearers came as immigrants from the Bavarian Palatinate. In 1671, and again in 1677 the ardent Quaker evangelist, William Penn visited both Holland and Germany, bringing comfort and hope to his fellow Protestant Christians of those lands, especially of those suffering and oppressed in the Palatinate, among whom were our Coonradt forebearers. These found comfort in the Christian message Penn brought, and incidentally caught glimmers of hope of a Promised Land for them in the American colonies. In the meantime the British had gained control of New Amsterdam, and by the Treaty of Westminster in 1674, were granted all New Netherlands, including Rensselaerswak.

Thus at the turn of the century when the Protestant Queen Ann promised asylum in England to all continental refugees, especially those who might go on to her American colonies, thousands of families from Germany fled to her. In the winter of 1769 alone some 13,000 destitute Palatinates crossed into England. And of these some 3,000 were taken by the newly appointed governor of New York, Col. Robert Hunter, for labor in a pine tar project in Livingstone Manor, just south of Rensselaerswack. Among these was one young man, Heinrich Coonradt, the first of that name to reach American shores. Hunter's project was largely a failure and many of his immigrants scattered.

This is an excerpt from "A Short History and Genealogy of the American Coonradt Families", which was written by Ralph Garfield Coonradt of Butler, Pennsylvania. To see the entire and original History and Genealogy click the link above.

To view the original Family Trees for the three COONRADT brothers click on the links below. These are the family trees that I uploaded to WeRelate to start the Coonradt database.