Next Phase of Research


Throughout my research I had been confused, sometimes misled by primary and secondary sources, and sometimes completely at a loss. But the whole process is completely satisfying. There is always quite a bit mystery involved which leaves me on edge, searching for the next clue that will propel me in some other direction. Our Mesiers are elusive, complex, interesting, and at times even frustrating as their motives are so diverse and outwardly contradictive. I find myself often biased – I want them to be this, or to have done that so they can be my proper heroes. Maybe that is the historian’s cross!

At the close of last semester, I have developed a deep love for the family. I believe that they are incredibly curious and demonstrate the multifaceted nature of New York’s history. Through researching their own experiences in their own contexts, I’ve also developed an even deeper love for New York history. I’ve always loved my home in the Hudson Valley, and I have an attraction to its story. Our Mesiers, therefore, are the perfect subject of my interest, and this project has proven to be extremely rewarding. I feel warmed at the thought of it.

My research is no where never over or even near coming to an end (in fact, these things can never be complete). I’ve only scratched the surface and have faced quiet a few road blocked – which often led to facing the humbling experience of being wrong. It’s only result is a greater open-mind and better perception. I love this experience; it has been the best aspect of the project’s continuing development. The feeling of revelation is wonderful, and that only derives from confusion!

There is a lot to be done, still. I am still struggling to find information on Abram Mesier (1663-1719) and his son Peter Mesier (1700 – 1770). Any primary sources coming from the period after 1700 to 1776 (in New York) are sparse. This seems to be the result of the fire in 1911 at the capital in Albany which destroyed much of the state’s archival documents. UGH! I am so grieved at this event! More than a hundred years later I directly feel the loss. It has been so frustrating. What we do know about these two figures is what must have been their industrious nature, which left a prominent legacy which Peter Mesier (1733 – 1805), his brothers (and in-laws) would perpetuate as long as they continued their own roles and status in the city and then in Duchess County. Therefore, you can imagine my frustration at not knowing how this came to be!

Picture of the the 1911 Fire from inside the Capital Building

It seems to be the case that my internet searches (databases, digital transcriptions, digital scans, etc) are no longer yielding new results. I knew this would eventually bring me into the next phase of my research, which will now shift to focus on physical archival documents. This means taking trips the New York Historical Society and the New York Public Library, both which seem to carry files which may prove to be helpful in finding information on these two elusive Mesiers, Abram (1663 – 1719) and Peter (1700-1770).

I’m excited for this, and I’m sending out emails to the archivist who manage the boxes as to prepare for future visits. Hopefully we’ll uncover some new clues!


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