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Schermerhorn Genealogy and Family Chronicles:
Introduction

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[This information is from pp. 1-8 of Schermerhorn Genealogy and Family Chronicles by Richard Schermerhorn, Jr. (New York: Tobias A. Wright, Publisher, 1914).]

Sixteen or seventeen years ago, a younger brother of the author was spending an extended vacation on the old homestead farm in Rensselaer County, New York, — a family seat five generations old. His school days were over and there seemed reason for a breathing spell before finally settling down to business life. Passing the old family burying-ground one day, he followed the impulse of the moment and entered the enclosure. There he looked down upon the graves of his ancestors. "Who were these people?" he wondered. He visited the spot again with pencil and paper, and copied the gravestone inscriptions. There was his great-great-grandfather's grave: "John C. Schermerhorn, in the 88th year of his age, died Jan. 22, 1832." By the side of this was the grave of his great-grandfather: "Jacob Schermerhorn, who was born January 17, 1775, at Rhinebeck, Dutchess County, N. Y., and died Sept. 24, 1834." Other stones marked the last resting places of wives and thildren and brothers and sisters of these early kinsmen. With the curiosity and inquisitiveness of youth, he sought out the older members of the family still living on the place and in nearby districts, and questioned them as to their knowledge of the origin of the family. As be listened to their stories, his curiosity and interest increased. He copied the records from an old Dutch family Bible, published in 1745 in Amsterdam, Holland, and thus his search for the history of his family was fairly begun. For several years this quest continued, affording interest and pleasure for leisure moments, but gradually the pressing duties of an active life led his interest to other channels, and his genealogical research ceased. He had, however, traced out clearly and accurately the records of the greater part of the family of John C. Schermerhorn, ancestors and descendants. But he had only partially completed the task, and so the condition might have remained, had not an instance in later years recalled the subject to notice.

An elderly gentleman, Mr. Isaac H. Schermerhorn of Wallkill, N. Y., began with considerable enterprise, the compilation of a Schermerhorn Genealogy. In due course of time he communicated with the author's brother, requesting information, but the latter was too busy to give the matter proper attention. In the meantime the author himself had settled down in his home city again, after a number of years in several localities, and his time being more at his own disposal than previously, he offered to get the material together, place it in proper shape and turn it over to Mr. Isaac Schermerhorn, and this was done. In the meantime, however, the author had decided to undertake the task of fully completing the genealogy of his branch of the family. During the course of his work, his interest grew and one research led to another, and data from all sources came into his hands. After finally delivering to the above Mr. Schermerhorn, such material as seemed pertinent, his labors were apparently completed and he awaited with interest the results. But these were not forthcoming, and rather than waste the time and effort he had expended, he decided to place in permanent form the genealogy of his branch of the family.

Upon consulting publishers, however, it was found that, in view of the great amount of general Schermerhorn data the author had on hand, it would be just as practical to publish a general Schermerhorn Genealogy as to confine the work to one branch. So the arrangements for publication were initiated and though delays and disappointments came thick and fast, result was finally reached ind it is before you.

The first plans for publishing the book were made in the summer of 1912. Since that period efforts have been made tp reach every Schermerhorm in the country, directly or indirectly. Many showed no interest, and such being the case, their interest was not urged. The greatest of pains, however, were taken to procure complete records of those families whose members did interest themselves. Early Colonial manuscripts, wills and church records were searched with the greatest of care. It is believed there are no Colonial records existing in which the name Schermerhorn figures, which have not been thoroughly investigated. Earlier genealogical treatises of the Schermerhorn family have been used for reference only and their statements accepted only after being thoroughly substantiated. Many errors were found in these early compilations, even in those of some of the most distinguished historians. Facts alone have been considered in this Schermerhorn Genealogy which is before you, and where assumptions have been made, these have been clearly indicated. The record of the family is intended to be wholly true and no attempt has been made to gloss over imperfections, frailties or commonplaceness concerned with the character and activities of the various Schermerhorns described: — it has been pleasing to recount their various virtues, but this has not been done at the expense of a true record. Furthermore the author does not claim that no errors will be found in this book. But he does claim that he has checked over all of his data carefully, where copies from public records and documents are concerned, and that as far as records go which have been sent to him by individual members of the family, he has been careful to see that these have been properly transcribed.

This work has formed a pleasing recreation for the author; its fascination can only be appreciated by those who have undergone the experience. The author's principal reward has been found in the new and pleasant acquaintances which he has made among the members of the family, to many of whom he is indebted for their friendly encouragement and very material assistance, Without the aid of Miss Louise Schermerhorn of Schodack Landing, N. Y., a tremendous amount of effort would have been necessary to untangle the intricacies of the main portion of the Schodack branch. Mr. Cornelius Schermerhorn of Poland, Herkimer County, N. Y., is also entitled to considerable credit for his assistance in sraightening out the lines of another important branch of the family, and others, too many to name, are thanked by the author for their ready co-operation. It is hoped that all Schermerhorns who read this book, will find in it more than a passing interest, and that it will appeal to them in more ways than that of a formal family record. Respect for one's ancestors is a prime asset in life's struggle for success, for what finer influence can there be than that arising from the knowledge of a worthy line of forebears? With such comes a confidence in one's own powers and intuitions, helping to make easier and more fruitful the journey over the many rough paths of life. What better example to live up to and pattern from, than the clean and honored standards of one's ancestors?

Richard Schermerhorn, Jr.,
183 Prospect Place,
Brooklyn, N. Y.

July, 1913

Sources From Which Genealogical and Historical Material Was Obtained

Note — The foregoing publications are given as containing special mention of the Schermerhorn family. Other historical works too numerous to mention, have been consulted, where particular data of the family has not been encountered.

Abbreviations

Names of towns or cities found after baptisimal dates, signify localities in which the church record may be found. See also page 5 for churches.

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