Should Long Island be part of a location name in early 1700's New York?

+4 votes
151 views
As an example: New Utrect, Kings County, Long Island, Province of New York or New Utrecht, Kings County, Province of New York?

Or something like: Flatbush, Brooklyn, Kings County, Long Island, Province of New York (or New York Colony)?
in Genealogy Help by Anna Robinson G2G4 (4.1k points)
edited by Anna Robinson
Maybe you and I are the only ones who care about this issue. I've been watching because I am not sure if there is some underlying issue. I live on Long Island and do some research here. Technically, I do almost all of my research here, lol. I've noticed that a lot of records only say Long Island. Like Newtown, Long Island and  Huntington, Long Island. So if we are using their conventions, I would think we should put whatever is on the record.
I added "Long Island" to most of the profiles of ancestors who lived there, for clarity.

In New Netherland, there is a lot of misinformation about where family members lived. I often see Long Island people given town and county locations that are hundreds of miles away, often because names were similar in different regions.

Maybe some day WikiTree actually might start to use GPS coordinates for locations, to solve the problem. But there are entire web sites, for example Long Island Families, which focus on just that community. Because it was separated by water, it existed as a separate community to a great degree.

So I just find it more helpful and accurate on balance to keep the Long Island place identifier.

Thanks for the feedback. I'll leave Long Island in locations in my database (and of course, WikiTreesmiley), but when I pull anything out of it to use in a spreadsheet, I'll take it out when I put each part of the location in a separate column for sorting (i.e. town, county, state, country).

Flatbush is currently a neighborhood of Brooklyn; in the 1700's would it have been considered a "town" in it's own right?

I like to include Long Island in the location. As noted, it is sometimes the only place identification that is clearly identifiable in the contemporary records.

In colonial times, Flatbush and Brooklyn were separate and distinct villages. I am not sure when the name Brooklyn started to be applied to all of Kings County, but places like Flatbush had a long history before that occurred, and many of them are still distinctly identifiable sections/neighborhoods within the borough of Brooklyn.
By 1900 Brooklyn was a borough of New York City and was Kings County, which already ended at Brooklyn and Queens (Queens County) on the east. Yes, the old neighborhood names remain, many are old Dutch names that changed over time. Wikipedia has a good article including the history.
Was it not called Nassau Island for quite a while?
It's only been called Nassau County since 1899. In contemporary terms "Long Island" only applies to Nassau and Suffolk counties. In the 1600 and 1700s "Long Island" also encompassed what are now the Brooklyn and Queens boroughs of New York City.
I didn't write "Nassau County" -- it was called "Nassau Island" in lots of old records. I have looked mostly only at records from the late 1600s and early 1700s, and I've seen "Nassau Island" used consistently (so they did use it), but I have yet to see "Long Island" in that time period.

Edit: actually, I've seen "Island of Nassau" more than "Nassau Island", but IIR I've seen both. If you google ' "Island of Nassau" Wikitree" ' , you'll see tons of pre-1700 profiles with transcribed records using that placename.
I did not record what I encountered, while searching for parents of one of Mom's ancestor who is first mention living on Long Island.  But it was something about Long Island more or less being more closely associated with Connecticut at times than New York.  Perhaps some of the early records for Long Islanders can be found in both NY and CT records?
Kings (Brooklyn) and Queens and Nassau Counties were part of the Dutch-ruled New Netherland settlement, on southwestern Long Island.

North of those is Suffolk County, which was under English rule as part of the Connecticut colony.

But settlers in the Dutch part of the Island were largely of English heritage. The Dutch rulers were more tolerant, and so gave those English settlers more religious freedom for their particular sects, so those English settlers preferred living under Dutch rule than the more restrictive English rulers to the north.
Western Long Island was initially Dutch and associated with New Netherland, whereas eastern Long Island (essentially Suffolk County) was British. Suffolk was strongly associated with Connecticut; the first towns settled were on the east end, Southold (1640) was the earliest. Dutch settlements in what is now Brooklyn were first founded in 1645.

Tracing my own relatives in the 1700s has been a challenge as published histories suggest a 1709 birth in "Greenwich, Connecticut or Oyster Bay, Long Island."

4 Answers

+3 votes
Once you've written Kings County, then Long Island is redundant. The same is true for the other counties. I suppose there might be some justification for writing Long Island if one is unsure of the county.
by Jim Moore G2G6 Mach 1 (12.0k points)
+2 votes
If it’s Brooklyn it’s Kings County. Long Island is not in Kings County. I usually say Suffolk County, NY instead of Long Island. What I find annoying Is when someone has listed the location as LI., NY. Then someone else interprets it as Livingston, NY.
by Ellen Gustafson G2G6 Mach 2 (21.0k points)
+4 votes
It's enlightening to a foreigner to see it.
by C. Mackinnon G2G6 Pilot (267k points)
+2 votes
For more modern-day designations, I agree that "Long Island" is a description that differentiates Nassau and Suffolk counties from New York City boroughs. However, in the 1700s such a designation might be confusing. At that time Nassau county did not exist, it was part of Queens until Queens became part of New York City in 1898. Nassau was formed in 1899. I prefer the specificity of "Suffolk county," and "Oyster Bay", "Hempstead" and "North Hempstead" for the towns that made up what is now Nassau county. Most of my family documents from that era seem to describe the locations that way. (I am also a present-day resident of "Long Island" and find it easier to grasp how my ancestors viewed where they lived.)
by Karen Fuller G2G6 Mach 2 (20.4k points)

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