Monday: Map Day!

Columbia County, New York

Peter Turck’s Home

Continuing our look at Mary Turck Clark and her family, today we look at a map of Columbia County, New York, the birthplace of Mary’s father Peter Turck, most of his eight siblings, and home of Mary’s paternal grandparents—Peter Turck’s parents—Jacob A. and Anna Maria “Maritje” (Klein) Turck. For more on the Turcks and New York, you may want to read our previous posts on Peter and Rachael (Gay) Turck’s New York, 1829/32 and Mary Turck’s Greene County, New York.

Today we’ll be looking at Columbia County, one of the predominantly Dutch-American counties along the Hudson River, south of Albany, New York. Columbia County lies east of Greene county, just across the Hudson river. Here’s a detail from a map we looked at previously, showing the relationship between Greene and Columbia counties:

Burr, David H., Map of the State of New-York and the surrounding country by David H. Burr. Compiled from his large map of the State, 1832.[…] Entered according to Act of Congress Jany. 5th., 1829 by David H. Burr of the State of New York. Engd. by Rawdon, Clark & Co., Albany & Rawdon, Wright & Co., New York [detail]. Credit, David Rumsey Map Collection, David Rumsey Map Center, Stanford Libraries, non-commercial use permitted under Creative Commons license. Click image to open larger map in new window.

Our new map is from the same atlas, and shows many more details of Peter Turck’s Columbia County, circa 1829:

Columbia County, New York, 1829

Burr, David H. Map of the County of Columbia. Published by the Surveyor General, pursuant to an Act of the Legislature. Entered according to an Act of Congress Jany. 5th. 1829 by David H. Burr of the State of New York. Engd. by Rawdon, Clark & Co., Albany & Rawdon, Wright & Co., New York. Credit, David Rumsey Map Collection, David Rumsey Map Center, Stanford Libraries, non-commercial use permitted under Creative Commons license. Click image to open larger map in new window.

There is much to see in this map, and we will come back and refer to it in future posts as we look into the history of the Turck family, including Peter Turck’s birth and youth, before meeting and marrying Rachael Gay sometime around 1820. For now, let’s begin by noting a few items and places.

Turck Towns and Villages

Several Columbia county towns and villages figure prominently in Peter Turck’s life. Kinderhook is a town and a village in the northern part of the county. It is outlined in green on this map. Peter Turck was born in Kinderhook on March 11, 1798. I’m not sure whether he was born in the town of Kinderhook, or the village.

Transcribed records show that Peter was baptized as “Peter Durk” at the [Dutch] Reformed Church in the town of Gallatin on June 9, 1798. Gallatin is the large town outlined in blue, at the southern end of the county. Our mapmakers appear to have omitted a symbol for the Reformed Church of Gallatin. There are several churches still the area; the most likely church for Turck baptisms is also known as the Vedder Church, near the village of Ancram. The church building and its burying ground still exist.

Other Columbia county locations that figure in Turck family history include Germantown, on the east bank of the Hudson in the southwest corner of the county, and the town and village of Claverack. Germantown, outlined in pink on our map, was the birthplace or baptism location for most of Peter Turck’s siblings.

Claverack, the town—and village—near the center of the county, is outlined in blue on our map. It straddles the Columbia Turnpike, a substantial road running from the county’s eastern border with Massachusetts, westerly and downhill to the riverfront town and city of Hudson. Many members of the Turck family remained in this area until at least the mid-1800s.

More Turck birthplaces

The city of Hudson lies directly across the river from the village of Athens, Greene County, New York. Peter and Rachael (Gay) Turck’s first child, Mary, was born in Athens in 1821. Mary’s brother Joseph R. Turck was born there in 1823, and her sister Adamy was probably born there, or nearby, in 1825.

Mary Turck’s sister Elizabeth, was born just south of Athens, in Catskill, Greene county, in 1828. Catskill village was the site of a river ferry, joining Greene and Columbia counties. Both the village and ferry are shown on today’s map.

Mary’s mother—Peter Turck’s wife—Rachael Gay, was also a Greene county woman. She was born north of Athens in the town of Coxsackie, on January 23, 1798.

Columbia, Greene and neighboring Ulster and Dutchess counties played an important part in the lives of the Turck and Gay families and their descendants, including Mary Turck Clark. Enjoy today’s map; we will come back to it as we follow the Peter Turck family from their roots in the Hudson River valley to new lives as Mequon, Wisconsin, pioneers.

8 thoughts on “Monday: Map Day!

    • Excellent question, and worth a full blog post!

      But for now, the short answer is that spelling—of names and many other words—was just not very consistent before the late-1800s or so. This was true for educated folk, as well as those with limited or no schooling, in Europe and North America (and presumably elsewhere).

      So it’s no surprise that the Turck family surname was spelled—by them and various others— TURCK, TURK and even DURK during the 18th- and 19th-centuries. And since Peter Turck and his kin spoke both an American variant of Dutch as well as English, then it’s likely that TURCK, TURK and DURK would all sound about the same when spoken in their community.

      Other variations pop up in documents and indexes. One common mis-transcription sees Turck and mis-interprets the cursive curlicues as Turek.

      And in the later 1800s, some of the descendants toyed with a German-inspired spelling of Türck (with umlaut). This Germanic spelling is never found in the family’s New York documents, circa 1660-1860 and later.

      Liked by 1 person

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