Thursday, June 26, 2008


In my last post I mentioned a 1927 transcription of the Dunbar Hollow Cemetery by Mr and Mrs. William Vanderpool Hannay. Since he and his wife also did transcriptions of the cemeteries in Berne, I decided I should know more about him. Here is what I found out in a few hours of searching on the Internet:

Lt. Col. William Vanderpool Hannay

William V. Hannay was born 22 May 1896 in the city of Albany, the son of William Hannay and Luella Vanderpool Hannay. His father had been born in Westerlo and moved to Albany where he became a successful clothing merchant.

William took an early interest in his family history, and at the age of 17 researched his ancestors and wrote and published a genealogy of the Hannay family. While I have not read his Hannay genealogy, my own superficial research shows that Andrew Hannay, William V.'s second great-grandfather, immigrated from Galloway, Scotland and settled in Westerlo by 1784.

By 1917 young William was was working as a salesman in his father's store in Albany. Shortly afterwards he married. His wife must have shared his fascination with history and family genealogy since they spent all of their spare time from 1926 to 1936 roaming the hills of the Helderbergs searching out all of the cemeteries and family burying grounds they could find. Actually, they made two surveys during that period. One was on behalf of the Dutch Settlers Society of Albany; the goal was to record the inscriptions of fast disappearing field burying grounds. The other was started by Hannay himself as chairman of the American Legion Graves Registration Committee to register the location of verterans' graves in Albany County.

By 1930 his father had died and he inherited the family business, a clothing store at 310 Quail St., Albany.

He was in the US Army during WWII and rose to the rank of Lt. Col. After the war he returned to Albany. Between 1945 and 1947 the Dutch Settlers Society of Albany, in their annual year books XXI and XXII, published his 1926-1936 compilation of Burying Ground Inscriptions, Town of Berne.

During those same years Hannay and his wife also transcribed the cemeteries in Westerlo. I have a copy of some of their typed ms. but am not sure where I got it from, or if it was ever published.

My sources for this story were census records, Dutch Settlers Society Yearbooks, Hannay's WWI draft registration a copy of which is posted on, and information found on the Internet by searching his name. Any errors are probably mine, and I would appreciate corrections.

Further reading:
Genealogy of the Hannay Family; by William V. Hannay. 71p. 1913

Burying Ground Inscriptions, Town of Berne, Albany County, N. Y.; compiled by Lieut. Col. William V. Hannay. Published by The Dutch Settlers Society of Albany, Yearbook Vols. XXI and XXII, 1945 - 1947.