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Welcome to the Berne Historical Project

This site is dedicated to our ancestors and a gift to our decendents.

The Berne Historical Project began in 2001 as a means of sharing the history and genealogy of the people of Berne, NY. It has been a volunteer effort spearheaded by Hal Miller and offers an amazing amount of information for historians and genealogists alike.

Join us as we explore our Berne Heritage. We'll follow the scenic Helderberg Trail, now State Route 443, as it wanders through the Helderberg hills in Western Albany County, along the same route taken by our forefathers....

In 1977 The Town of Berne Bicentennial Commission, with the extensive help of the Berne Historical Society published Our Heritage, a detailed history of the Town of Berne. In the Forward, by Euretha Wolford Stapleton, then Historian, Town of Berne, wrote in part, "The editors and authors of this volume recognize that a history such as this is never complete or perfectly accurate. It is our hope that in time other sources and document will be discovered and the material added to our archives so that future generations will benefit."
     The early history of Knox Knox, New York Sesquicentennial New York, published in 1973 contains a similar caveat, "It is the hope that the community will continue to become more conscious of its past heritage and many more pertinent fact of our history will be disclosed."

     Thanks to 10 years of research on the Internet plus the books written by professional genealogists William V. H. Barker and Henry Z Jones I have found considerably more about the early settlement of the towns of Berne and Knox. Both towns have the same early history because until 1822 Knox was part of Berne. Our Heritage is excellent history except for the first chapter on the early settlement of Berne. The same with the Knox history.

     To share these new facts I wrote Berne and Knox, Our Geman Heritage. The history of the settlement of these two towns covers the period from the first settlers to 1787. Even though during this period the terms Berne and Knox and not exist, I use them to make it clearer to the readers where certain events took place. German is the language they spoke and modern Germany is the area most of them came from.

     The book tells when the earliest settlers came, where they came from, why they came to Berne and Knox, and where they first settled. A second book I am now writing will go into the history of some of the individual families.

     The first book is available from Ralph Miller, Historian, Town of Berne, 1136, Helderberg Trail, Berne NY, 12023, or from John Elberfeld. 66 Beebe Rd., Berne, NY, 12023. The cost is $20 if picked up at their house, or $25 if mailed.

      A reprint of Our Heritage is available from the Berne Town for Clerk at $15 if picked up at the Town Hall office, or $20 if mailed. Checks should be made out to Town of Berne and mailed to Berne Town Clerk, PO Box 57, Berne, NY 12023

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The current day Town of Berne is located southwest of Albany, New York in the western section of Albany County. Originally settled in the 1750's, many descendants of the original founding families still live here.


Town Seal

The TIN HORN represents the Anti-Rent movement. It sounds the spirit of courage and freedom displayed at the risk of life and property, a community action to rid the land of tyrannical and unjust powers.

The SIMMONS AX depicts the efforts of early industrialization, a spirit of industry deep in the past and the present; it is the sharp edge of a people honest and persevering.

The OUTLINE OF THE GEOGRAPHICAL TOWN OF BERNE shows the place we are proud to live, through heritage and hope.

The SUNBURST radiates from behind these symbols, expressing the glory of our heritage and the hope of our future.

 

(from "Our Heritage" copyright 1977, Town of Berne, published by Hope Farm Press, Cornwallville, New York, 1977)