I was raised to believe I was Dutch on my father’s side.

My father was raised in the Dutch Reformed Church and his family was from Coeymans Hollow, a very Dutch area in southern Albany County. The family farm which was owned by our ancestor, Andrew Hannay, was bought by the City of Albany and became the Alcove Reservoir in the early 20th century. The family cemetery was moved at the time. I have fond memories of visiting grave sites and my great grandfather and Aunt Bea in Coeymans Hollow. There is also a NYS marker in Dormansville which states “Near here Andrew Hannay raised a company of volunteers October 1777 to oppose invasion of Burgoyne who surrendered before their arrival.”

My grandfather, Henry Hannay, died in 1960. Shortly thereafter, my grandmother got a letter asking for family information (births, marriages, deaths etc.) from a Colonel William Hannay because he was doing genealogy research on the family. Nana consulted my father, also named William, who told her to go ahead and send him the information. What he was seeking was part of the public record but her giving it to the colonel would save him time. So, she did. In return, he sent her a copy of the genealogy.

Guess what? We are Scottish!

Now the irony in this is that we had a neighbor who was born in Scotland. She liked to tease my father and ask him where his wooden shoes were and if he had been to the windmill lately. He would reply that at least he didn’t wear a skirt (kilt) and wasn’t frugal like her. It was just good-natured fun. In my opinion, however, she was cheap giving out only one piece of candy at Halloween.

When we learned of our Scottish heritage, my mother asked Dad “What are you going to tell Marilynn?” Dad said “Not a thing.” So, my mother told her. Marilynn told Dad she was making him a kilt.

Our surname is Scottish, but we are Dutch also, as well as Swedish, as we later found out. One of our ancestors is Jonas Bronck who settled in the New Netherland area in the early 1600s. The area is now known as the Bronx. His wife was Dutch and most of his descendants married local Dutch people.

I also thought I had Mohawk ancestry on my mother’s side. Her mother was French Canadian and her family immigrated to Cohoes in the 1800s. It was plausible that there was a Native American marriage, but when I had my DNA tested on Ancestry, I had no such blood.

Just goes to show that family lore is often wrong.

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