22 April 2017

Ancestry DNA sale - 20% off

If you were thinking about getting your DNA tested, now is the time. Ancestry has a 20% off sale until Wednesday 26 April. The regular price is $99. The sale brings the cost down to $79 and add shipping the total cost is $88.95.

In the past, Ancestry has had these sales two or three times a year. If interested in DNA testing; why wait? Just go to the Ancestry web site and find the DNA header at the top of the page to order.

When the kit comes within a week. Instructions are super easy. You activate your kit online, spit into a tube, seal the tube, mail it back to Ancestry in the provided mailing bag, and in around six weeks your results should be in.

Many people who take the Ancestry DNA test are not interested in the genealogy aspect. They are simply interested in discovering their ethnic origin. The DNA kit might surprise you with the results!

Disclaimer: I am not associated with Ancestry.com. Just passing on information on a great deal.

Saturday's Society : Heritage Hunters of Saratoga County

This week's society is on the Heritage Hunters of Saratoga County. To my loss I am not familiar with this group. Having very few ancestral trails into Saratoga County I have yet to attend any of their meetings. But I am very willing to spread the word and plug any local genealogy society.

This material comes from their webpage. Heritage Hunters is a society dedicated to the study and preservation of genealogical and historic materials in and around Saratoga County, New York. Regular meetings are held on the third Saturday of each month at the Town of Saratoga's Town Hall. Meetings frequently include classes, lectures, workshops, seminars, and/or committee meetings. Guests are always welcome!

Please contact Heritage Hunters at for information on their programs.
Heritage Hunters
PO Box 270
Saratoga Springs, NY, USA 12866-0270

The Heritage Hunters maintains a library that contains a wide range of reference sources; including a collection of members' Surname pages, a variety of periodicals, instructional books, state and local histories, lists of primary sources and a few videotapes and other media. This library will be combined with the present resources of the Saratoga County Historical Society at Brookside Museum.

21 April 2017

MyHeritage subscription 50% from Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter

Here is another genealogical offer that has to be spread. For readers of Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter or EOGN, Dick Eastman has secured a half-off subscription with full access to MyHeritage. Yes, his newsletter is sponsored by MyHeritage but a full access subscription for $125 instead of $250 who cares!

I have been reading EOGN daily for a number of years and have also taken advantage of this MyHeritage offer. Eastman's newsletter describes and details genealogical tech, software, websites, offers, and miscellaneous news. EOGN comes in two formats a paid newsletter and a free newsletter. The free newsletter format is I subscribe to. Whether you get a 50% off MyHeritage subscription or not; EOGN should be daily genealogical reading.

For four years I have been using MyHeritage and I find it to be more European based with its users. Numerous smart matches (same as leafy hints in Ancestry) have enabled me to make contact with many distant cousins in the Netherlands and Belgium. I wrote a post in June 2013 comparing both Ancestry and MyHeritage. In 2017, I am still using both subscriptions.

Friday Funny

Another hardcore genealogist!

20 April 2017

Restoration at Evangelical Protestant Cemetery

A new post on the Friends of the Evangelical Protestant Cemetery blog was uploaded. The post is listed below:

Spring is here! And so begins the work at the Evangelical Protestant Cemetery. Over the Winter, we were at the cemetery about a half dozen times doing various clean up duties, cutting down some dangerous trees, and sumac and vine removal.

On Tuesday, myself and Bernie worked on up righting one of his ancestor's gravestones. A smaller obelisk which overlooks the Civil War grove. Unfortunately, we did not finish that task. The monument base was extremely large and heavy. To make repairs more difficult, this stone is at the top of a hill and next to a large tree. The tripod legs were sinking into the ground because of the weight of the base. It was difficult work. Plus being the first stone of the season I am a little out of practice.

This plot is a hold over from last year. I was not able to complete the restoration of these stones due to becoming ill and colder weather coming in last fall. But by the middle of May this plot should be complete. Before and after photos will follow. Perhaps also videos.

Very soon Joe Ferraninni of Grave Stone Matters should be aiding in the restoration of two large obelisks. One has already fallen and the other will be falling in the near future if work is not completed. I am planning on setting up a camera to do a time lapse shot of one of these projects and transforming the pictures into a fast motion video.

Fort Crailo - Pinkster Event

Coming up on Saturday 22 April 2017 the Fort Crailo Historic Site in Rensselaer will hold a Pinkster celebration. Details for this event are cut from the Albany.org website.

April 22, 2017
Address: 9 1/2 Riverside Avenue, Rensselaer, NY 12144
Times: 11:00 am - 4:00 pm
Admission: free (a small fee applies for participation in the instrument making workshop)
Contact: Sam Huntington
Phone: 518.463.8738

Crailo State Historic Site will host a Pinkster celebration featuring the performance and education group, The Children of Dahomey. Once a Dutch holiday commemorating Pentecost, Pinkster became a distinctly African American holiday in the Hudson River Valley during the colonial era. 

During the 17th and 18th centuries, enslaved and free African Americans transformed Pinkster from a Dutch religious observance into a spring festival and a celebration of African cultural traditions. All along the Hudson River and on Albany’s “Pinkster Hill” (the current site of the NYS Capitol), enslaved African Americans reunited with family and friends and celebrated Pinkster with storytelling, food, music, and dance. 

Other Pinkster traditions, like the selection of the Pinkster King, created opportunities for enslaved African Americans to honor respected members of the community and to subtly mock their white enslavers. Festivities include presentations and demonstrations by The Children of Dahomey, an educational and performance group specializing in the historical experiences of enslaved Africans and African-Americans in colonial New York. 

Visitors can participate in The Children of Dahomey’s traditional Pinkster dances and theatrical demonstrations, take part in an instrument-making workshop, and listen in on a storytelling session. In Crailo’s cellar kitchen, culinary historian and hearth cooking specialist Lavada Nahon will be preparing food over the open hearth and interpreting historic African and African-American foodways. 

Other family-friendly activities will include crafts, games, music, and refreshments. The museum will be open for self-guided tours of the historic rooms and exhibits, including the featured exhibit A Dishonorable Trade: Human Trafficking in the Dutch Atlantic World, currently on display in the upstairs galleries.

18 April 2017

Tombstone Tuesday : Winter Scene

Thankfully Winter is past us now. Here is an angled view of five marble gravestones in the Evangelical Protestant Cemetery in Albany, NY. The light snow cap on these stones makes for a picturesque scene. All of these stones were cleaned with D2 Biological Solution and the stones were leveled and reset.

17 April 2017

Military Monday : John Joseph Gannon

John Joseph Gannon, my grand uncle is the focus of Military Monday this week. John was born in Albany on 03 May 1914 to Catherine Eger Gannon and John Joseph Aloysius Gannon.

John Joseph Gannon, circa 1934

John's siblings:

  • Anna Catherine (1910-1988) married John Richard O'Sullivan
  • Margaret Mary (1913-1998) married George Edward Kirk White
  • George John (1920-1979) married Rita Jones; married Joan Theresa Sullivan 
As a young man John was a sheet metal worker living with his parents at 79 Tremont Street in Albany. During WWII, John enlisted in the 8th Air Force and was stationed in England during the war years. John married Helen Constance Horan (1917-1991) on 24 August 1946 at the Westover Field Air Force Base in Massachusetts. John and Helen had two children John Terrence and Michael Joseph.

John spent 22 years in the Air Force. He rose to the rank of Master Sargent. Many of those years were spent overseas. He was stationed for six years at the Rheinmain Air Force Base in Germany and he was also stationed at another United States Air Force Base in Germany, Hahn AFB.

Air Force Office of Special Investigations

Around 1950 John joined the Air Force Office of Special Investigations (AFOSI) within the Air Force. OSI officers conduct investigations regarding criminal, fraud, counterintelligence, and internal security within the Air Force to keep units and bases secure. At this time he was out of uniform and in civilian clothes. John retired in 1962 from the Air Force at the Plattsburgh, NY base.

John & Helen Gannon

Below are a series of photos of John in uniform.

John Joseph Gannon, 1942, Texas

John and Helen remained in the Plattsburgh area after retirement. John passed away on 24 April 1975. Helen joined him on 02 March 1991. They are buried at Mount Carmel Cemetery in Plattsburgh, NY.

16 April 2017

Our Lady of Angels, Albany, NY

A brief history of the now closed Our Lady of Angels church follows; prior to 1867, the spiritual needs of Albany’s Catholic Germans were served by the priests of Holy Cross Parish- the only German-language Catholic parish in the city.  It soon became evident that another parish was needed.  Holy Cross church had become too small to accommodate all of its numerous parishioners.  The church was close to the South End, but many German Catholics lived a great distance from the church, in the Bowery section of Albany.  In 1867 the Very Reverend Edgar Wadhams, Vicar-General of the Roman Catholic diocese, requested the Franciscan Fathers to organize a parish for German Catholics in the western section of the city of Albany.[1]  Father Francis M. Neubauer of the Order of Friars Minor Conventual (OFM) was named the first pastor of the new Catholic-German congregation, Maria Königin der Engel, or Our Lady of Angels, for the western part of Albany on June 19, 1867.  At this time Father Neubauer had a congregation of only 150 families, no money, property or plans.  In time the parish grew and became the city’s largest German Roman Catholic parish, including over six hundred families before the turn of the century. 
Through the kindness of the neighboring pastor for the Irish Saint Patrick’s Church, Father Francis was allowed to offer Mass in Saint Patrick’s Hall, since he did not have a church.[2]  Father Francis immediately sought a building that would be suitable for use as a church until a permanent structure was erected.  Within two weeks he rented Coulson’s Factory at 328 Central Avenue.  At this locale the first mass was offered in this temporary church on July 14, 1867.  Soon a lot was purchased on the northeast corner of Central Avenue and Robin Street, formerly Perry Street.  The existing building, an old malt house, was razed, and work began on the new church’s foundation in September 1868.  Within two months, on November 29, 1868, the cornerstone was placed with impressive ceremonies conducted by the Most Reverend John J. Conroy, D.D., Bishop of Albany.  A parade from the bishop’s residence to the site of the church inaugurated the event.  Numerous Catholic societies from the city took part in the procession.  Historian and antiquarian Joel Munsell noted in his Collections on the History of Albany that,
The German Catholics laid the corner stone of a new church, to be called Holy Queen of Angels, on the corner of Central Avenue and Robin Street… The notice [that was] published, [stated] that the ceremonies would take place, and be attended with a grand procession, called out one of the largest crowds we ever saw on any similar occasion.[3]

Finally on March 26, 1871, Bishop Conroy, together with pastors from other city churches, blessed the new church with imposing ceremonies and dedicated it to Our Lady of Angels.  The participants and onlookers of the ritual included fully six thousand people who assembled around, outside, and within the church.[4]

Our Lady of Angels 

By 1890 the Our Lady of Angels congregation consisted of six hundred families and included numerous parish societies.  Parish organizations included the German Young Men’s Catholic Union, or German YMCU, which was founded before 1897.  Its offices were located at 410 Sheridan Avenue, next to the school of Our Lady of Angels.  The YMCU first appeared in Albany city directories in 1899- the year the writer assumes the society might have been created.   The Altar-Rosary society was founded on June 30, 1867, and fostered devotion to the rosary and provided furnishings for the altar.  The Saint Johannis Verein was established on June 9, 1878, as an Unterstützungverein.  The society joined the German Roman Catholic Central Verein in 1885.  The Verein had ninety members as of 1897, and its capital totaled $2,969.88.  Members paid quarterly dues of $1.25 for a $5.00 weekly sick benefit, a $100 death benefit, and a $75 benefit for the death of a member’s wife.[5]  The Holy Name Society was established in 1910 to promote proper respect for the Holy Name of Jesus.  The Saint Elisabeth Society for the Poor was organized on June 21, 1895, with forty members that conducted acts of charity within the parish.  The Saint Elizabeth Frauen Verein, the Männer-Unterstützungverein, the Saint Franciscus, and Saint Antonius Vereine were all founded before 1897.  The Catholic Mutual Benefit Association, Branch 230 was formed in the parish, circa 1903.  Other societies included the Knights of Saint John’s, Saint Francis Commandery, No. 102.  The Knights are an American Catholic fraternal order which was founded in 1879.  The men of Our Lady of Angels parish established the order in November 1899.  The Our Lady of Angels Council, No. 145 of the Catholic Benevolent League, or CBL, was organized circa 1888.  A choir group, the Liszt Chorus, was established on September 1, 1891, with thirty-eight members that met in the school house.[6]  Additional parish societies included the Sodality of the Blessed Sacrament, containing 320 members; the Little Sacred Heart, including ninety members; the Order of Saint Francis, counting 250 members; and the League of the Sacred Heart, numbering 1,000 members[7]
Our Lady of Angels, interior
Nineteen acres of land in Colonie were purchased in 1877 for the creation of a parish cemetery.  More acreage was later purchased in 1948 to increase its size.  The cemetery is located east of Colonie Center shopping mall on Central Avenue.  In traditional German manner the parish made an early provision for the education of the children.  On June 29, 1867, a parochial school was opened under the care of lay teachers, who were replaced two years later by religious instructors.  The parish purchased a building on Washington Avenue for use as a school on January 3, 1866, and then sold it on June 9, 1868.  A frame house next to the church on the southwest corner of Robin and Sherman Streets was acquired for use as the school.  Shortly thereafter, a new school was built in 1874 on Sherman Street and was in use until 1927, when a new modern school was built in its place.  By 1870 there were 200 children in the parish school under the direction of three Sisters of the Third Order of Saint Francis.  In 1957, with an enrollment of 822 pupils, Our Lady of Angels School was ranked as the fourth largest elementary school in the diocese.[8]  Regrettably, the school closed in 1986 due to dwindling enrollment.  The church served the community for 138 years until it held its final mass on April 3, 2005.[9]  (For a list of the Pastors of Our Lady of Angels Church, see appendix II.) 
Our Lady of Angels
convent & school
Pastors of Our Lady of Angels Church
Francis M. Neubauer, 1867-77
Pius Kotterer, 1877-79
Maurice Bierl, 1879-83
Anselm Auling, 1883-89
Louis Miller, 1889-92
Fidelis Voight, 1892-99
Alphonse Lehrscholl, 1899-1912
Henry Thameling, 1912-1919
Sylvester Ahlhaus, 1919-1926
Camillus Eichenlaub, 1929-32
Innocent Dressel, 1932-35
Stephen Korthas, 1935-42
Gerard Stauble, 1942-48
Dominic Rapp, 1948-51
Denis Gallagher, 1951-57
Cuthbert Dittmeier, 1957-63
Matthias Manley, 1963-66
Crispin Fuino, 1966-76
Camillus Murray, 1976-77
Conall McHugh, 1977-82
Giles Van Wormer, 1982-88
Alvin Somerville, 1988-2001
Sister Margaret Walker (Parish Life Director) 2001-05

[1] Leary, The History of Catholic Education in the Diocese of Albany, p. 269.
[2] One Hundred Anniversary Celebration, 1867-1967 Our Lady of Angels Parish (Albany: 1967), pp. 14-17. Our Lady of Angels Church, 125th Anniversary, 1867-1992 (Tappan, NY: Custombook, 1992), pp. 20-22.
[3] Joel Munsell, Collections on the History of Albany from its Discovery to the Present Time, Volume II (Albany: J. Munsell, 1867), p. 38. It was inconceivable for German Catholics to celebrate a religious festival without a colorful procession. Dolan, The Immigrant Church, p. 79.
[4] One Hundred Anniversary Celebration, 1867-1967 Our Lady of Angels Parish, pp. 16-17. Our Lady of Angels Church, 125th Anniversary, 1867-1992, pp. 20-22. Anne Roberts and Marcia Cockrell, eds., Historic Albany: Its Churches and Synagogues (Albany: Library Communications Services, 1986), p. 217. Albany Argus, March 27, 1871, 4:1. n. a., Geschichte der Deutschen in Albany und Troy, pp. 133-137.
[5] n. a., Geschichte der Deutschen in Albany und Troy, p. 97.
[6] n. a., Geschichte der Deutschen in Albany und Troy, pp. 177-179.
[7] Louden, ed. Catholic Albany, pp. 242-257. Times Union, August 7, 1914, 8:6. n. a., Geschichte der Deutschen in Albany und Troy, p. 137.
[8] Leary, The History of Catholic Education in the Diocese of Albany, p. 49. History of Our Lady of Angels School, 1867-1986 (Albany: Our Lady of Angels Church, 2002), pp. 1-5.
[9] Times Union, March 8, 2005, 1:2, April 4, 2005, B1: 2.

15 April 2017

Saturday's Society :

The society profile this week is on the Deutscher Order von Harugari; an obscure German fraternal and benevolent society from Albany's past. A brief history on the Verein is below

Deutscher Orden von Harugari

The Deutscher Orden von Harugari, or the German Order of Harugari, hereafter DOH, was founded in New York City in 1847 to help maintain and preserve the German language. Soon DOH lodges appeared in Albany; the first was the Harmonia Lodge, No. 11 of the German Order of Harugari. The lodge was founded in 1848 with fifteen members. 

The lodge served as a literary and social society that sponsored lectures, debates, and musicals. In 1876 they met weekly at the Commercial Building located at 395 Broadway. As of 1897 the lodge still numbered fifteen members.[1] The Freie Brüder, or Free Brothers Lodge, No. 45 of the DOH was established on February 24, 1854, and met weekly at the Commercial Building in 1876. By 1872 the lodge counted 120 members. The lodge’s capital amounted to $6,597.49 in 1897. [2] In 1910 the group met in the saloon of Anton Hafner & Son, at 121 Madison Avenue. 

On November 23, 1873, another DOH lodge was established- the Deutsch Hoffnungs, or German Hope Lodge, No. 324. The lodge numbered ninety-four members in 1897, and its treasury amounted to $5,266.38.[3] Surprisingly, the lodge met at the same location, 206 Washington Avenue, from its inception till at least 1919. 

A women’s DOH lodge, the Columbia Frauen Lodge, No. 45 was established on January 12, 1893. Four years later membership totaled sixty-five women. The lodge acted a benevolent society that paid a benefit of $3.00 per week to sick members and a death benefit of $50. Its treasury totaled $1,200.[4] Other DOH lodges included the Morning Star Lodge, No. 105, which met at Liederkranz Halle in 1910. This lodge also had a ladies auxiliary. The Ex. Barden Society was the last DOH lodge organized. They met twice a month at 206 Washington Avenue between 1914 and 1919.

Another branch of the DOH was the D. R. of D. O. H. (Deutsche Ritter Deutscher Orden von Harugari), or the German Knights of the German Order of Harugari. They formed the Walliroth Commandry, No. 11, German Knights. The group met twice a month at German Hall in 1914 and then at 206 Washington Avenue in 1919. 

The DOH formed a Gesangverein, the Harugari Saengerbund, founded on March 9, 1884. Their mission was to promote German song and language. The entourage met at the Hotel Columbia until 1890, when they changed their practice venue to Eintracht Halle

On August 2-4, 1891, a Harugari Saengerfest was held in Albany. The headquarters for the Saengerfest were located at The Bavaria hotel at 38 Beaver Street. Harugari Gesangvereine traveled from New Haven, Philadelphia, Saint Louis, Buffalo, Syracuse, and Utica to compete at the Leland Opera House.[5] Sadly, a fire in 1893 destroyed most of the club’s possessions; therefore, the Gesangverein Caecilia held a fair and donated $1,400 for the Harugari Saengerbund. In 1897 sixteen active and thirty-six passive members paid a monthly dues of $.25.[6] The singing group disappeared from Albany’s city directories the following year.

[1] n. a., Geschichte der Deutschen in Albany und Troy, pp. 71, 213-215.
[2] Ibid., pp. 133, 215.
[3] Ibid., pp. 215-217.
[4] Ibid., p. 217.
[5] The Albany Evening Union, August 3, 1891, 1:4, August 4, 1891, 4:2.
[6] n. a., Geschichte der Deutschen in Albany und Troy, pp. 81, 169-177.

13 April 2017

Genealogy Book : Evidence Explained (48% off)

This is the first time I am posting about genealogy deals/offers. Yesterday I was notified by one of the genealogy newsletters, geneabloggers.com, that I subscribe to about a great offer on the book, Evidence Explained by Elizabeth Shown Mills. This book is the genealogy citation bible. If you ever wondered how to "cite" a source that you found for your genealogical data, the answers are found in this book. Every type of source imaginable is listed with examples of how to cite the source.

Unfortunately I already own this book. Unfortunate because I paid the full price, $59.95, for the book a few years ago. Through this link the book can be purchased for $44.95. If you use the promo code TMJ17 at checkout the price will be reduced to $31.46. It is a great offer. I have no idea how long this offer will last. Check it out.

11 April 2017

Tombstone Tuesday : Early 2017 Project

This will be one of the first gravestone projects of 2017. Now that the warmer weather is upon us; it is back to the cemetery for much needed gravestone work. Below are three photos from different angles of an obelisk that has severely sunk into the ground on one corner.

This obelisk will be dismantled piece by piece from the top down. Joe Ferraninni from Grave Stone Matters will be leading this project. There is another fallen obelisk which he will be helping with. But the other stone is also located at the top of a hill and it has fallen down the hill. To make this work more interesting, a large groundhog hole is only 18" from the obelisk base.

The photo below shows the rear corner of the obelisk base. The front is leaning at such an angle that the rear corner is lifting off the ground. This stone needs attention as soon as possible before it tumbles over and becomes damaged.

Below is a close up on the inscription on the obelisk. No genealogical work has been undertaken on this family but descendants will be happy with the end result of this project when it is complete.

Pictures of the finished product will be posted when complete.

10 April 2017

Military Monday : John Michael Albert

The focus of Monday's military story is on John Michael Albert. He was my great grandmother Mary Albert Koreman's older brother. John Michael Albert was born on 23 May 1876 in Albany to John Albert (1855-1899) and Sophia Albert (1858-1909).

Page from the Albert Family Record
Siblings of John included:

  • Michael Alfred (1877-1934)
  • Joseph Clarence (1879-1936)
  • Julia Agnes (1881-1969)
  • Harry Alvin (1883-1950)
  • Mary Margaret (1886-1963)

When the Spanish-American War broke out in 1898, John enlisted in the First Regiment of Infantry on 23 June 1898 at Albany. He served two years with Company A of the First Regiment of Infantry as a private. John mustered out with his company on 20 February, 1899 at Albany.

Not much is known of his military service. Aside from his injuries to his ears, this information was found in his pension records. A scan of a pension page is below.

Misc. page from pension records
Below is a scan of his military discharge paper.

John Michael Albert, discharge, front

John Michael Albert, discharge, rear

John was a sign painter his entire life in both Albany and Rensselaer. He married Sarah Elizabeth Baker on married 10 June 1903 In Rensselaer. Sarah and John had no children.

John M. Albert signature from pension papers

John died on 22 May 1956 in Colonie at the former Ann Lee Hospital. He is buried with his wife, Sarah, his siblings, and his parents in the Albert family plot at Our Lady Help of Christians Cemetery in Glenmont.

08 April 2017

Saturday's Society : Capital District Genealogical Society

This week's Saturday's Society is on the local Capital District Genealogical Society. On and off since the late 1980s I was a member of this organization. I believe that I might have attended its very first meeting; which as I recall might have been held in a meeting room at the New York State Library.

The Society was founded in 1981 and the CDGS maintains a genealogy support desk at the New York State Library that is staffed by society volunteers Monday through Friday.

From the CDGS website its mission is:
  • To teach members and other interested persons how to trace their family roots, lineage, or heritage;
  • To provide help to those seeking information via queries on relatives and/or family who in the past had connections to the Capital District and adjacent counties;
  • To educate the general public and membership by conducting special programs relevant to the purpose of the Society;
  • To coordinate the interests and concerns of persons and/or organizations throughout the Capital District area, New York State and the country in the development of information and resources to better serve the purpose of the Society, the membership and the public at large. 
Their meetings are held at the Sanford Library (address below) on the fourth Saturday of each month; except for May when it is held on the third Saturday. There is no meeting in December.

William K. Sanford, Town of Colonie Library
629 Albany Shaker Road
Loudonville, N.Y. 12211

The meeting schedule follows as such:
12:00-1:00 Interest groups
1:00-2:30 Meeting and Speaker
2:30-3:30 Internet Resources

New York State Library:
The Capital District Genealogical Society maintains a genealogy support desk at the Library. This is operated by our volunteers who are on duty Monday - Friday.

Contact information for CDGS:

Captial District Genealogical Society
Empire State Plaza Station
PO Box 2175
Albany, New York 12220-0175


07 April 2017

Friday Funny

How many times have you seen an online family tree that appears to have great data in it to only look into it further and find out that there are no sources listed as to where this information was gained.

Enough Said

02 April 2017

Brief History of Catholic Immigrant Churches in Albany

The following information was culled from my SUNY Albany 2005 Masters Thesis, From Acceptance to Renunication: Das Ende von Albanys Deutschtum. It briefly describes the origins of the various Catholic immigrant churches in Albany.

The immigrant or national church was the foremost non-familial institution that German enclaves organized around.  The church sought to preserve religious customs from the old country.  Ethnicity, language, and religion were closely intertwined.  The German belief held that the loss of language would preclude the loss of faith.  Intense devotion to religion and nationality exhibited among Germans, in general, was especially evident among priests.  Zealous German priests linked orthodoxy with language.  They campaigned to preserve the German language and customs.  Their slogan was “language saves faith.”[1] Both German pastors and parishioners had an aversion to the English language.  Their dislike was based on the fear that false teachings would creep in with the new language.[2] At the same time, the German language represented the old culture and brought to life memories of the past.  This was evident in parish devotional life, and the parish school was one institution that transmitted the cultural heritage to the children of immigrants.[3] (For Albany’s parishes and synagogues that organized schools for their congregations see Table VI.)  After German unification, Germans that immigrated especially in the 1880s and 1890s brought with them a militant patriotism and thus reinforced the natural tendency to retain the language of the Vaterland.[4]

Table VI: Albany’s Parochial Schools to 1912[5]


Church Established
Predominant Ethnicity
School Established
School                         Closed
St. Mary’s
Roman Catholic

Beth El
See Beth Emeth
St. John’s
St. Paul’s
St. Joseph’s
Holy Cross
Roman Catholic
1864 (Elem) 1900 (HS)
Open        1919
Anshe Emeth
See Beth Emeth
German Evangelical Protestant
c. 1852
Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception
Roman Catholic

St. Matthew’s
St. John’s
St. Patrick’s
Roman Catholic
Our Lady of Angels
Roman Catholic
Church of the Assumption
Roman Catholic
St. Ann’s
Roman Catholic
Our Lady Help of Christians
Roman Catholic
Sacred Heart of Jesus
Roman Catholic
Beth Emeth
St. Casmir
Roman Catholic
St. Anthony’s
Roman Catholic

Most Germans worshipped in the Lutheran, Roman Catholic and Jewish faiths.  However, there were other religious sects that had German parishes in Albany: the Baptists, the Methodists, and the Reformed Protestant.  Of these religions, the Roman Catholic faith had the most numerous immigrant church parishes in Albany.  In these churches, services were said in native languages: French, Italian, Polish, and Lithuanian.  Simultaneously, the Catholics also had seven English language parishes by 1900.  Baptist, Lutheran, and Methodist parishes held services in either German or English, while Jewish synagogues worshipped in either the English, German, or Hebrew languages.  Today, empty ethnic churches litter the streetscape of Albany.  They are a reminder of the importance of the church as a focal point in the long disappeared ethnic enclaves of Albany.
Roman Catholicism
During pre-Revolutionary years, Roman Catholic priests lamented their inability to care for the Catholic German element in their flocks.  In 1741 the first German priests arrived in the English colonies.  Reverend Matthew Pekari noted that at the beginning of the American Revolution, the German Catholics outnumbered their coreligionists among the English in many localities.[6] At this time in Albany, Catholics were a minority to the Dutch Reformed and Lutheran faiths.  Later, Catholics made up an average of over thirty-five percent of the total German immigration to the United States during the years following the Civil War.  They totaled approximately 700,000 in number from 1865 to 1900 and became the largest Catholic immigrant group arriving in the States.[7] Catholics also became the most populous of all religious faiths in Albany.
In the nineteenth century the parish was the focal point of Catholic life in Western Europe, and the church transplanted this parochial structure to the United States.  Ideally, geographical boundaries defined the size of the parish, but in American cities it was not that simple.  Germans were unable to understand English preachers just as the Irish were incapable of fathoming the subtleties of French sermons.  For this reason ethnic diversity intensified with each successive wave of immigrants settling in American cities.  The concept of national parishes emerged, based more on language than on geography.[8] Albany’s first Roman Catholic Churches were English language parishes that served the English speaking Catholics of Albany, mainly the Irish: Saint Mary’s, established in 1798; Saint John’s, in 1839; and Saint Joseph’s, in 1843.  When other ethnicities, such as Germans, Poles, French, and Italians, moved into the city, ethnic or national churches came into existence.  Immigrants wanted separate churches where their traditional religious observances and customs might be carried out.  They desired to hear sermons in their mother tongue, go to confession as they had learned to confess from early childhood, and to take an active part in parish life through their beloved societies that served as social clubs and organizations of mutual support.  This unity and support helped preserve European Catholic traditions and identity.[9] However, it was not unusual for Albany’s Catholic immigrant churches to be located proximate to one another, sometimes within the same block.  The German Holy Cross church was located within one block from the French Church of the Assumption and two blocks from the Italian Saint Anthony’s Church.  Also, the German Our Lady of Angels was just one block east of the Irish Saint Patrick’s Church and approximately three blocks from the Polish Saint Casmir’s Church.  Our Lady of Angels Church was also across the street from Saint John’s German Evangelical Lutheran Church and two blocks from the Irish Episcopal Grace Church on Clinton Avenue.  Obviously, many parishes overlapped.  This demonstrates the coexistence of various ethnic groups within the same neighborhood.
The growth of Catholic schools as an ethnic institution was a response to the rapid development of a Protestant-based public school system, often guided by people who felt themselves alienated from America’s dominant culture.  To assure their cultural survival, the ethnic parishes built up a community school system to preserve their national language and heritage, which were in danger of being lost in a new environment.[10] Saint Mary’s Church on Pine and Lodge Streets established Albany’s first Catholic parochial school in 1829.  The early school occupied the basement of the church.  Saint John’s Church on South Ferry and Dallius Streets followed next in 1843.  The third Catholic parochial school was founded by Saint Joseph’s Church in 1846.  The German Holy Cross Church created the fourth Catholic school in 1848.  Characteristically, German Catholics advocated parish schools as soon as the parish was established.  German Catholic parishioners were convinced that the preservation of their faith required the maintenance of the German language and culture and that this was best accomplished through Catholic schools.[11] (See Table VII for a select list of the enrollment in Albany’s Catholic immigrant schools for the years 1910 through 1920.)  According to the data compiled for the Catholic Encyclopedia in 1909, there were over two thousand Catholic congregations that used the German language either exclusively or in combination with English in their sermons and songs.[12]
Table VI: Enrollment in the Schools of Albany’s Immigrant Catholic Churches[13]


Holy Cross
Our Lady of Angels
Our Lady Help of Christians
St. Anthony’s
St. Casmir’s
Source Page


Previous to 1869, the 130 French Canadian Catholics in Albany did not have a permanent place for religious services.  A group of 150 individuals formed the Saint Jean Baptiste Society, which became the nucleus of the Church of the Assumption.  The church was incorporated on October 12, 1869, and its cornerstone laid on December 12, 1869.  The church had a seating capacity of 700 persons.  Reverend Joseph Brouillet, pastor of Assumption, offered the Sisters of the Holy Names from Hochelaga, Canada a salary of $400 a year for teaching in the school.  Two Sisters arrived on September 1, 1880, and registered one hundred children for classes that were taught in the basement of the church.  Contrary to expectations, registration declined until, in 1915, there were approximately sixty children registered in five grades.  French immigration into Albany slowed, and on September 20, 1916, classes at the Assumption school were discontinued due to a lack in enrollment.[14]
The Polish Catholics of Albany founded Saint Casmir’s parish in 1893 and built a small but ornate church on Sheridan Avenue in the upper Sheridan Hollow section of the city.  Saint Casmir’s pastor, Reverend Bartholomew Molejkajtys, was anxious to provide the children of the parish with a Catholic education.  His yearning was fulfilled when a school was eventually built in 1909.  Lay teachers taught the pupils until September 1917, when they were replaced with the Sisters of the Resurrection.[15] Today, the school remains open and managed by the Albany Catholic Diocese as it serves minority families of the neighborhood.  Amid tears and anger Saint Casmir’s held its last service on Sunday, August 29, 2004.
The Italians of Albany formed their own enclave in the vicinity of lower Madison Avenue, below the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception.  By the early 1900s the Italians had become the city’s third largest Catholic ethnicity behind the Irish and Germans and also the last major Catholic faction to immigrate to America before immigration was drastically curtailed in 1920.  In 1908 Saint Anthony’s Church was erected on the southeast corner of Madison Avenue and Grand Street.   The church’s pastor, Reverend Francis Buono, realized that a school would soon be necessary to educate the parish children.  In 1909 a school was founded and employed seven lay teachers until the Sisters of Saint John the Baptist were invited to teach the children in 1917.  This religious community remained until 1920, when they decided to discontinue their services because of the lack of Sisters.  The Sisters of Saint Joseph immediately replaced them in September 1920, until they were replaced by the Sisters of the Presentation.  According to religious scholar Sister Mary Ancilla Leary, Italian parish schools rarely gave instruction in Italian.[16] The school and church closed when many of the Italian residents moved from the Madison Avenue neighborhood to westward sections of the city on account of the creation of the Empire State Plaza.
The last of the Catholic immigrant churches in Albany was founded by the Lithuanians.  Lithuanian immigration into Albany and its neighboring cities increased between the years, 1905-1916.  By 1916 approximately four hundred Lithuanian families resided in the Capital District.  They attended various Catholic churches, but they desired to worship in their native language.  Therefore, in 1916 they formed the Saint George’s Society and were granted permission from the Bishop to allow Father Constantine F. Szatkus, a priest from Pennsylvania, to care for their spiritual needs.  On March 17, 1917, Saint George’s Society was transformed into Saint George’s parish.  A church was soon built on Livingston Avenue.  The parish prospered until the early 1990s.  In 1993 only twenty members remained in the parish.  Most communicants had either died or moved away.  Fortunately, the church was saved from closure because Father Kofi Amissah, who was serving one mass on Sundays for the African-American community, persuaded Bishop Howard Hubbard to keep the church open as a Black Apostolate.  Permission was granted, and the church is again growing and thriving.[17] (This church has since closed)

[1] Dolan, The Immigrant Church, p. 70. Frederick C. Luebke, “The Immigrant Condition as a Factor Contributing to the Conservatism of the Lutheran Church” Concordia Historical Institute Quarterly 38(2): 19-28.
[2] Paul T. Dietz, “The Transition From German to English in the Missouri Synod From 1910-1947” (Bachelor of Divinity Thesis, Concordia Seminary, 1949), p. 78.
[3] Dolan, The Immigrant Church, p. 110.
[4] Alan Niehaus Graebner, “The Acculturation of an Immigrant Lutheran Church: The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, 1917-1929” (Ph.D. dissertation, Columbia University, 1965), p. 12.
[5] Sister Mary Ancilla Leary, The History of Catholic Education in the Diocese of Albany (Ph.D. dissertation, The Catholic University of America, 1957), pp. xlvi-xlviii. Notes from the Roman Catholic Diocese Archives.
[6] Reverend Matthew Pekari, “The German Catholics in the United States,” Records of the American Catholic Historical Society 36 (December 1925): 318.
[7] Colman J. Barry, “The Catholic Church and German-Americans” (Ph.D. dissertation, St. John’s University, 1953), p. 7.
[8] Dolan, The Immigrant Church, pp. 4-5. Phillip Gleason, The Conservative Reformers: German American Catholics and the Social Order (Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press, 1968), pp. 8-10.
[9] Dolan, The Immigrant Church, p 70. Greenberg, Workers and Community, p. 120. For Albany’s early Catholic Church origins, see Byron, Irish America, pp. 35-37. The German Catholic Central Verein grew out of the mutual benefit societies that had been organized in many German Catholic parishes. Gleason, The Central Verein, 1900-1917, p. 8.
[10] Marvin Lazerson, “Understanding American Catholic Educational History,” History of Education Quarterly 17(3): 298. Dolan, The Immigrant Church, pp. 102, 111.
[11] Luebke, Bonds of Loyalty, p. 36. Leary, The History of Catholic Education in the Diocese of Albany, p. 135.
[12] Rippley, The German-Americans, p. 115. Luebke, Bonds of Loyalty, p. 35.
[13] Proceedings of the Common Council of the City of Albany, Volume II, [reports] 1910-1920 (Albany: The Argus Company, Printers, 1910-1920), pages are listed in the chart.
 [14] Leary, The History of Catholic Education in the Diocese of Albany, pp. 55-56. Michael J. Louden, ed. Catholic Albany: An Illustrated History of the Catholic Churches and Catholic Religious, Benevolent and Educational Institutions of the City of Albany (Albany: Peter Donnelly, 1895), pp. 261-262. Phelps, comp., The Albany Hand-Book, p. 59.
[15] Leary, The History of Catholic Education in the Diocese of Albany, pp. 87-88, 134-135. Charles W. Blessing, ed., Albany Schools and Colleges, Yesterday and Today (Albany: Fort Orange Press, Incorporated, 1936), p. 44.
[16] Leary, The History of Catholic Education in the Diocese of Albany, pp. 91-93. Blessing, ed., Albany Schools and Colleges, Yesterday and Today, p. 44.
[17] American-Canadian Genealogical Society, St. George, Albany: NY: Marriages, Baptisms, Burials (Manchester: American-Canadian Genealogical Society, 1999), p. 1.