A Complete Transcription of Volume 2 (1732-1748)

I have been neglecting blog posts because I have been on a roll with transcribing. Volume 2 is now complete. You can download it here or from the menu at the top of the page. Volume 3 should be done soon.



Complete Transcription for 1723-1732

Just in time for the New Year, I have finished transcribing the records from what I call Minute Book 3. On Cornell’s website they are Volume 1, because they are the earliest surviving volume of the originals. On Heritage Canada’s website they are labeled by the microfilm reel as C-1220.

Some portions of them are out of order and there are a lot of duplicate copies for some years. In fact for 1727 and 1728, it looks as though someone may have removed originals and put in duplicates. I created a spreadsheet and used it to generate tables that identify duplicates and provide a way to follow chronological order.


You are welcome to download pdfs of the transcription and the tables here: Minute Book 3: COMPLETE

I will also keep working on a chronological version. And the site is due for a little tidying up and revamping, especially in relation to tags and categories. Stay tuned and Happy Holidays!

Cadwallader Colden’s Papers: Another source for 1707-1720 (Minute Book 2) besides the Schedule of Propositions …

In addition to Peter Wraxall’s An Abridgement of the Indian Affairs and the The Livingston Indian Records, I recently discovered that Cadwallader Colden compiled detailed notes from the records of theAlbany Indian Commissioners for the period from 1707 through 1720 for a continuation of his History of the Five Indian Nations. He never completed the book, but the notes are printed in Volume 9 of The Letters and Papers of Cadwallader Colden, printed for the New York Historical Society in 1937, which is available on the Internet Archive here. The continuation of the History begins on page 359.

Colden’s notes roughly correspond to the second volume of the records. They cover much of the same period as the detailed portion of the Schedule of Propositions Made by the Indians and Answers Given to Them … Colden’s notes are better written but less comprehensive. They confirm the basic accuracy the Schedule of Propositions by including some things covered in it that Wraxall omitted. Colden omits many things himself, but his notes are a valuable addition to the fragmentary record for this period.  I’ve added notes about them to my transcription and I am re-posting an updated version on this blog. Here is a PDF:AIC_SP_1707-1714-WithColdenNotesedited

Cadwallader Colden, by Matthew Pratt. (Engraving by P. Purdon Graham?] Frontispiece to volume one of the Cadwallader Colden Papers, in Collections of the New-York Historical Society 1917 (v. 50).


1633 June 8: Agreement for a Trading House on the Connecticut River (Pre-Minute Books documents)

vancurler_sickenames-drchny2-139The records that were bound together in the mid 18th century and labelled as “Minute Books” of the Albany Indian Commissioners had earlier precedents that were not included in those compilations. I am going to post copies of as many of these as I can find in order to look at how the Albany Indian Commissioners, and the diplomatic protocols they followed, evolved out of both European and Native American traditions.

Here is one of the earliest, an agreement made on June 8, 1633, between Jacob Van Curler, Commissary for the Dutch West India Company, and  Tattoepan, the chief of Sickenames, on the Connecticut River at what is now Hartford. Although framed by the Dutch as the purchase of a piece of land, this agreement contains the condition that the native owners will live there with the Dutch. The purpose of the agreement is clearly to allow the Dutch to build a “trading-house” that can be used by “all tribes of Indians,” even those in conflict with each other. The Dutch proceeded to construct a fort called Huys de Hoop . Sadly, the intent to keep things peaceful did not last and the trading house was soon caught up in the violence of Dutch-English-Pequot quarrels.

Source: E.B. O’Callaghan (ed.). Documents Relative to the Colonial History of the State of New York, Albany: Weed, Parsons, 1853. You can download it from the Internet Archive here.

Plug for a Journal

The Conference on Iroquois Research has a journal now, Iroquoia. It will be of interest to many readers of this blog. I have an article in the first issue, “Tiononderogue: the Struggle for a Mohawk Town, 1686-1797.” It tells one part of the story that first got me interested in the Albany Indian Commissioners and their evolution from a group of traders, who needed to maintain positive relations with their Haudenosaunee and Mohican neighbors and customers, to a group of land speculators who primarily wanted to take the land from those same nations.

Here is the abstract for the article:

In 1786 a Mohawk leader named Aneqwendahonji, or Johannes Crine, filed a petition with the New York State Legislature that tells a compelling story. At the beginning of the American Revolutionary War, Aneqwendahonji lived with his people at a place on the Mohawk River called Tiononderogue, where the Mohawks had been “from time Immemorial.” He owned “three Good Dwelling Houses, two Barns and an Orchard thereon, And was also possessed of a considerable personal Estate consisting of Household, furniture, Farming Utentials, Cattle Horses, Sheep, Swine, etc.” The petition recounts how Aneqwendahonji remained friendly to the Americans during the war. In 1780, he left his home to go on an American mission to Fort Niagara with three companions, but at Niagara the British put them in jail. Soon afterwards British troops raided the Mohawk Valley and took his wife and family prisoner. At the end of the war Aneqwendahonji returned home to find that the City of Albany and private individuals had taken the Mohawks’ lands, improvements, livestock, and household goods, leaving them destitute and homeless. Aneqwendahonji and the other Mohawk people who lived at Tiononderogue before the Revolution never got back their lands. This paper examines the hundred-year process that led up to their loss.

The journal has many other excellent articles. There is a paywall, but it is not too high. And in case you have written something relevant and are looking for a venue in which to share it,  the editors are looking for submissions for their third issue.

Schedule of Propositions made by the Indians … 1677-1714

Click on the links below to download my transcription of the collection of notes entitled Schedule of propositions made by the Indians and answers given to them. These notes were taken in the nineteenth century, probably by British government officials. They cover portions of the first two volumes of the Albany Indian Commissioners’ Record Books for the period from 1677-1714. The original volumes are lost, so these notes provide information not available elsewhere.

The notes are now held by Library and Archives Canada. You can view their descriptive record here. The online images are available here.

You can also view the transcription directly online by hovering your cursor over Schedule of Propositions… in the menu at the bottom of the image at the top of the page, then clicking on the portion you want to see.

The transcription is divided into three parts, organized by date.

Part I provides only a rough outline or index of the first portion of the lost Volume I of the Albany Indian Commissioners records, covering 1677-1704. It has very little detail, in part because many entries were in Dutch, which the note takers could not speak, misidentifying it as “Indian.”


Part II, which contains more detailed notes on 1705-1706, the last portion of Volume I, includes much material not available elsewhere. By this time more of the AIC records were in English.


Part III includes notes for 1705-1706, the first seven years of Volume II of the AIC records, with a lot of detail and information not available elsewhere.


For an introduction to these materials, see this post containing the slides from a talk that I gave about them in October 2016.

The Commissioners for Managing the Indian Affairs in Albany

Who Were the Albany Indian Commissioners?

The Albany Indian Commissioners managed Indian Affairs for the British colony of New York between 1677 and 1745, playing an important role in relations with other British colonies as well.  Most members of the Albany Indian Commissioners were also Commissioners for the City Council of Albany. Their diplomatic protocols were heavily influenced by the Haudeenosaunee (Iroquois) Confederacy and other native nations as well as by European traditions. For example they combined the use of records written on paper with the use of wampum and calumets. These protocols evolved prior to the British conquest of New Netherland from relations between the Dutch traders and farmers of the upper Hudson, in Beverwyck, Rensselaerswyck, and Fort Orange, and the indigenous nations that surrounded them, including the Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) Confederacy, and the villages of the Mohican, Munsee, Abenaki, and related peoples.

For a short introduction to the Albany Indian Commissioners (who have been called by a few variations of that name), see the Wikipedia entry at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Commissioners_for_Indian_Affairs.

For a more in depth discussion, see the article by Jon Parmenter, “Onenwahatirighsi Sa Gentho Skaghnughtudigh”: Reassessing Haudenosaunee Relations with the Albany Commissioners of Indian Affairs, 1723–1755 in Nancy L. Rhoden (ed.), English Atlantics Revisited: Essays Honouring Ian K. Steele, McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2007 (pp. 235-283). If you have access to JStor, you can access this book here: http://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt80t7r

For digital images of the Albany Commissioner’s records, see Cornell’s online collection: The Records of the Albany Commissioner of Indian Affairs, 1678-1755: An Integrated Digital Database at http://ebooks.library.cornell.edu/i/indianaffairs/

The original records are in Library and Archives Canada. They too have digital images available online, but they are a bit harder to read: http://heritage.canadiana.ca/view/oocihm.lac_reel_c1220/7?r=0&s=1