Toponymies of places in New York's Capital District

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The toponymies of places in New York's Capital District are a varied lot, from non-English languages such as Native American, Dutch, and German to places named for famous people or families, of either local or national fame. Also, in the early 1800s, many places in the Hudson Valley, Capital District and points west were either named or renamed after places from Classical Antiquity (e.g. Athens, Cairo, Carthage, Greece, Ilion, Ithaca, Phoenicia, Rome, Syracuse, Troy, Utica)


Place Name
County Toponymy Language of origin Year
Notes or previous names
Albany Albany Duke of Albany[1][Note 1] English 1636 Fort Orange, Fuyck, Beverwyck, Williamstadt
Altamont Albany High mountain[4] 1887 Knowersville
(city and town)
Montgomery Amsterdam, Netherlands Dutch
Ancram Columbia town in Scotland where the Livingston family originated[5] Scottish 1814 Livingston Forge, Scotchtown, Gallatin
(town and village)
Washington Argyllshire, Scotland where early settlers were from Scottish
Athens Greene Athens, Greece
Austerlitz Columbia Battle of Austerlitz German 1818
Ballston Saratoga Eliphalet Ball a surname Ball's Town, Ballton
Bethlehem Albany in honor of the religious in the community English
Bleecker Fulton Barent Bleecker, early settler surname of possible Dutch origin
Brunswick Rensselaer possibly for Brunswick-Lüneburg, Germany German 1807
Boght Albany bend of river Dutch Groesbeck's Corners
Cairo Greene Cairo, Egypt 1808
Canaan Columbia Canaan, Connecticut 1788 Kings District
Canajoharie (town and village) Montgomery Canajoharie, a town, translated as "a washed kettle" Iroquoian languages
Coeymans Albany Barent Pieterse Coeymans surname of possible Dutch origin
Cohoes Albany Cohos, translated as "pine tree" Algonquian
Gloversville Fulton Glove factory in the city English
Mechanicville Saratoga occupation of early residents 1829
Pittstown Rensselaer William Pitt, 1st Earl of Chatham[6] English 1761 George III named the town in honor of the leading statesman—and Prime Minister—of the time
Saratoga Springs Saratoga The mineral springs discovered by Sir William Johnson in 1767 Native American Known to be a corruption of a Native American name Se-rach-to-que; it is unsure whether it means "hillside country of the great water", "place of the swift water", or even "floating scum upon the water"
Schenectady Schenectady Schau-naugh-ta-da, translated as "on that side of the pinery" or "place beyond the pine plains" Mohawk language
Troy Rensselaer Classical Troy, from Homer's Iliad Greek 1789


  1. ^ James Stuart (1633–1701), brother and successor of Charles II, was both the Duke of York and Duke of Albany before being crowned James II of England and James VII of Scotland in 1685. His title of Duke of York is the source of the name of the province of New York.[1] Duke of Albany was a Scottish title given since 1398, generally to a younger son of the King of Scots.[2] The name is ultimately derived from Alba, the Gaelic name for Scotland.[3]


  1. ^ a b Brodhead 1874, p. 744
  2. ^ Encyclopædia Britannica Eleventh Edition (Albany, Dukes of). Encyclopædia Britannica Company; 1910. OCLC 197297659. p. 487.
  3. ^ Leslie 1888, p. 354
  4. ^ Grade 7, Altamont Grade School (1946). "History of Altamont". Village of Altamont. Retrieved 2011-08-03. 
  5. ^ Masters, Hillary. "Town of Ancram, NY History". Town of Ancram. Retrieved 2011-08-03. 
  6. ^ Weise 1880, p. 90


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