Manor of Rensselaerwick
Book of Tithes

Strictly speaking, these are Albany County, NY tithes, because even the latest ones date from 1771, 20 years before Rensselaer County was created from Albany County, in 1791. As many of the church-goers among you will know, the word tithe derives from an Old English word meaning "one-tenth". At the time of these records, residents of Britain and throughout the British Empire were obliged to pay one-tenth of their income, usually in kind rather than in cash, to support the operation of the Church of England, which was in the 18th century and still is today the established state religion in England. Abraham TEN BROECK (1734-1810) married Elizabeth VAN RENSSELAER, sister of patroon Stephen VAN RENSSELAER II (1742-1769). When Stephen Van Rensselaer II died at the age of just 27 years, the patroonship passed to Van Rensselaer's eldest son, the four-year-old Stephen VAN RENSSELAER III (1765-1839). During the 17-year-long minority of Stephen Van Rensselaer III, in 1769-1786, the boy's uncle by marriage, Abraham Ten Broeck, administered the Van Rensselaer estate and the Manor of Rensselaerwick, serving as a sort of patroon regent.

Ron Salisbury obtained microfilm of Abraham Ten Broeck's Book of Titles [sic] from the New York State Library and scanned all the pages into images, which he is submitting to this website and which we present here. The book contains about 175 pages in all. Ron writes, "This microfilm was part of the collection of Rensselaerwick Manor papers in the NY State Library. They cover the years 1758-1771. I don't know why it is called the Book of Titles. I suspect that this is a misinterpretation. Rather, it was probably a Book of Tithes. In colonial days, there was an official tax (tithe in this case) to support the building and operation of churches. The years 1765-1769 are especially interesting because the names can be located on the Rensselaer Manor map of 1767. Sometimes it appears as if the names are arranged by neighborhoods. This suggests that Abraham Ten Broeck's agents traveled along certain roads, stopping at each house to collect the tithes or at least to elicit a commitment to such. Alternatively, neighbors may have shared a cart to transport their tithes to the manor. Also, 1767 and 1768 were turbulent years, in which anti-rent riots brought many land changes."

To view the images, click on the relevant year below.

These images were made from an old microfilming, and that microfilming was poorly lit. As a result, the image quality we present here is poor. Significant parts of each page are virtually illegible. We apologise for this. However, this is the best quality that is available to us at this time.

If you would like to transcribe other Rensselaer County (or future Rensselaer County) primary records and contribute them to this site, they would be very welcome! You may email them in plain text in the body of an email message to me, Debby Masterson.

1758 1759 1760 1761 1762 1763 1764 1765 1766 1767 1768 1769 1770 1771

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Debby Masterson

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