Data Description

The data that is provided mostly consists of numeric and textual data however when the data is all put together, it paints a very detailed image. It contains very general categories that don’t get into the best detail of the individuals.
The first two columns include the soldier’s full first and last name. From just looking at the first two columns, you can gather a few pieces of information. One being that everyone in this militia were men. This doesn’t come as a surprise to me because of the time period. A second piece of information that sticks out comes from their last names. You can tell some of the individual’s backgrounds just by reading their last names. The next three columns are their enlistment dates. This is an interesting piece of interesting because we can now find out when a majority of these men decided to sign up for militia. We can use this data to see if something happened around the date of their enlistment that motivated them to sign up. We can also tell get an assumption of who is in charge of who by the seniority of the enlistment date. Generally speaking that is how the military works, there is a strong emphasis on seniority. The next column includes when the men were born. The maximum age given in this document is 58 years old while the youngest being only 16. The average age of this militia is 28.87766 which would be rounded up to 29. The next column tells us where they were born. I feel that this is one of the more interesting and important columns in this data set. We now know where these men come from and there’s a surprising amount of individuals who come from European countries who signed up for fight for their new home. Another surprising piece of information is that there’s quite a few men from Britain who have signed up to fight their home country. The following column is equally as interesting and that is their current jobs. For the most part, the men who have signed up come from bluer collar type jobs. There aren’t any many men signed up for the militia that have a prestigious type job where they would be making a lot of money for the time. This doesn’t come as a surprise though because they would most likely be against a change in government because that would most likely result in them having to change their business. The following two columns tells us who their officer in charge and which company they were part in. Unfortunately I didn’t find much use for this information mostly because for many of the enlistees, there were no information provided for their company and also I couldn’t find much information about the officers that were in charge of them. The remaining columns give details about their physical appearance. The following columns are very informative because it really helps paint a picture of what these men looked like for us. For example, the smallest height on this chart was recorded as 4 foot 11 while the tallest is 6 1/4 feet. The remaining three columns deal with their complexion, skin color, and eye color. For the complexion column, the men were generalized into a few general categories being dark, brown, fair, and a few others.
By reading this piece of data, one could get a very good feel about the current condition of the Militia during that time. Giving the sense that maybe they weren’t the largest, most intimidating group of guys. However they were brave enough to sign up to fight and defend the people that they care about.

Visualization 1

There are several stories that can be told from the Albany Militia Muster Roster. From how the small militia looked, to the jobs that they had in their normal lives. It’s very interesting to see where the individuals come from and how old they were when they originally enlisted.
There is certainly a lot of personal information provided in the roster that paints a very descriptive story. The story that one of my visual focuses on are the racial backgrounds. The story behind this visualization is to illustrate what the militia looked like during this time with focus on the skin color of these men. With a majority of this militia being black, I was curious as to why that was. Were these men forced into signing up or were they truly volunteering to fight for freedom that they weren’t even promised? And also what were the negative impacts of having men who were forced into signing up. This visualization provides us with a few possibilities as to how they go their numbers and how effective they were. If the men categorized as “Black, Brown, Negro, Dark and Swarthy” voluntarily signed up for this militia, then I would say that they were a pretty effective militia. My reasoning behind this is because if all these men chose to sign themselves up, they must feel that they have something to fight for and protect. Sadly, I don’t feel that this was a reason why a majority of these men signed up. On the other hand, if these men were forced to sign up because they were slaves and they were told to, then I would say that it would lessen their effectiveness. This is because they are a majority of the militia and since they are being forced to fight for something they may not believe in, then these men may not be entirely motivated to die for the cause. On the other hand, there is a possibility that these men were promised their freedom in exchange for enlisting. I feel that this is the sad reality of what happened, however I’m not sure if this would mean that they will readily put their life on the line for something that they were just “promised”.

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Process Documentation

I sorted and grouped the different complexions provided and assumed the description of the complexion correlated with their race. For example I grouped “Black, Brown, Negro, Dark and Swarthy” assuming that they are all African Americans. I also grouped “Fair, Pale, Ready, Reddy, Ruddy, and Sandy” with the assumption that they all are Caucasian. And then I left Indians alone because they are Native to the land. I also excluded “Freckled” and “Pockpitted” because they both can be used to describe Indians, Blacks and Whites. I thought that this would be an interesting way to sort this data because all of these individuals either made the voluntary decision to sign up for this Militia, were forced, or given some type of deal to join and they come from all walks of life. Especially during this time period, there was a very large gap in social equality between blacks, whites and Indians. One would assume that a majority of the soldiers on this muster roster would be White because they have a whole lot more to lose and they were treated a whole lot better by society. I would have thought that since society has been so oppressive towards African Americans, there would be a tremendous dividend between the two with the Whites in the majority. Much to my surprise, the African Americans were in the majority leading by well over 100. I found this very interesting and once I saw this, I had to ask myself was this all voluntary? Maybe it was and they just had a love for the country and a desire to defend it. Another interesting fact is that there was only individuals that fell under the category of “Indian”. However I will admit that I was not entirely surprised. Foreign powers were coming into their land and trying to control it. Why would they want to sign up for a fight that really has nothing to do with them because either way, there will be a foreign country controlling their way of life.
I decided to use a simple bar graph to illustrate the different groups because it’s a simple yet powerful image where you can tell which group of people made up the majority of the militia. I also chose to compare the groups by just the numbers so that people can easily see the numerical difference between the groups. I feel that there is a different impact on the viewer of the graph when they see the actual amount of people compared to it being a percentage.


During this time period, there were tensions growing between the colonies and their imperialistic government governing them from across the Atlantic Ocean. With things starting to heat up, it became clear that there was soon to be some bloodshed. With this in mind, both sides started to enlist troops to strengthen their forces. This was the main reason why there was a formation of the Albany militia because they knew very well that the fighting would soon come to them. A major event that made the Americans realize that they should prepare for something was the French and Indian War. Although the Americans fought along side the British against the French and Native Americans, things were still not right between the two and this feeling grew larger after the war. For one, the war had been incredibly costly. It had a sever impact on the British economy and the Brits believed that the Americans should help pay for it. [1] This idea would result in ridicules taxes like the Stamp Act, and the Sugar act. The stamp act was enacted in 1765 and required that almost everything printed be printed on stamped paper, which would be a direct tax on the people. This is one was in which the British Parliament felt that they could get the colonist to help pay for the war. [2] It was acts like this that finally put the colonists over the edge. It was also taxes like these that gave birth to the infamous “No taxation without representation”. However there’s one big question that is still not answered, why the African Americans made of a majority of the Militia? Both the British and the Colonists took advantage of enslaved men by promising their freedom in exchange for fighting for their armies. This explains why there were a large number of enlistees of Blacks in the Albany roster. During the course of the revolutionary war, an estimated total of 25,000 to 30,000 both free and enslaved black men fought in numerous battles for both sides. [3] Although many of these men have been oppressed and were slaves, they played a vital role in the gain of our independence and had very pivotal roles on the military that resulted in our freedom. “Blacks on either side served as infantrymen, spies, couriers, cooks and guides. Some were rewarded with their freedom.” [3] For example there was a slave named James who served the revolutionists as a spy during a very climatic time in the revolution. He pretended to enlist in the Loyalist army and then he relayed important military information to the Americans, which gave the Americans the advantage in battle.
Although many of these men didn’t truly volunteer to join the ranks, they still fought with true effort in order for the revolution to succeed. They were given a deal to for their freedom and many took that opportunity which explains why the number of black enlisted men outnumbers the whites.

Visualization 2

Where a person is born defines a lot about them, especially a soldier. If a Soldier feels that his homeland is under threat, he will be willing to sacrifice himself in order to defend it. That is usually what separates Soldiers from people who get paid to fight. There is a sense of pride, country and a need to defend it. A second part of the data set provided that I will be focusing on will where these soldiers come from. Whether they come from a foreign country, or they list that they come from one of the states, it tells a whole lot about them and their story. Where these soldiers come from and where they say they come from are very different and tells us a lot about themselves and their sense of nationalism. For example, if an individual says that they are from New York when they sign up, that person could be from another country however he has a strong sense of pride about his new-found home there for he is willing to fight for it. On the other hand, an individual who declares that he is from another country may not feel the same sense of pride. But it should go without being said that either way, any individual who signed up for the militia is brave.

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As you can see in the image, a majority of individuals from this roster identified themselves as either coming from Ireland or Germany followed by England. This doesn’t come as a surprise because a majority of the people who came to New York in the first place were from Europe. All of the following militiamen come from New York and the surrounding areas. The huge difference between New York born troops and European born militiamen has mostly to do with the age of the newly formed government and country. The younger population mostly make up the American born militiamen and on the other hand, the older are the majority and they are the first generation to colonies the new land. I would predict that in the following years as the war progressed, more and more New York born men would enlist because they would eventually be old enough to fight. Some people may ask why sign up to fight for a country and land where they aren’t even from? Surprisingly, 71 individuals were actually born in England and would be fighting their own homeland. Initially I would have thought that it would have been 2nd generation men signing up for the Militia to fight the British. I was pleasantly surprised when I saw that a majority of the soldiers were born in Europe. They all signed up to accomplish a common goal and were tired of being oppressed by an imperialist government governing them from across the Atlantic Ocean. I think that it’s very impressive that these people from all different backgrounds were able to come together in order to defend what they called their new homes.

Process Documentation

I created this visualization by grouping the men by areas where they say they come from. For example the men who were born in New York, I combined them into one group even though they may have said that they come from different countries. I did it this way because it shows a powerful image of where these men come from. And it’s important to see where a majority of these come from. It also shows how all of these men come from all different walks of life and it also paints an image in our mind of what the militia looked like. The larger and darker the boxes get means that more men come from what area. And it’s important to note that the larger, darker boxes are almost all European countries.


The Albany militia mustered men from all walks of life. The information provided paints a picture of a misfit group of men. They came from all different countries and came together to fight a common enemy. The formation of this militia was very important. Because this was a government ruled by the British parliament, they were unable to form their own military. Therefor they had to form this militia in order to protect themselves. Many of the men, especially the younger ones had little to no military training. On the other hand, there were few who were veterans from the Indian wars. [4]
Contrary to what I said earlier asking why men would sign up to fight against their own home land of England and whether or not it would hinder their commitment to the fight for freedom, the men who signed up for the militia were the most patriotic. As stated previously, there was no army for these men to enlist in to fight in yet however when this changed, many of these militiamen enlisted in the Continental Army. And since these militiamen were fighting since the beginning, they were filled with patriotism and truly had a desire for freedom. [4]
There are several events that led to these men from all different backgrounds to come together for a mutual cause. In general, all of the events were moves made by the British government that frustrated the 13 colonies and eventually resulted in them being fed up and enlisting in the ranks of the militia. One of the first things that the British government did was the proclamation of 1763. In this particular situation, King George lll essentially told the settlers that they cant settle west of the Appalachian Mountains without guaranteed protection (which they promised). This made the settlers unhappy with the government because it was their first attempt at interfering with the colonies. [5] The other acts by the British government were mentioned before. The sugar and stamp acts were both taxes on the settlers, which made them, pay more and they had no say in it. All in all, the colonies began to get fed up with a government governing them from across an ocean. These acts drove more and more men to enlist in militias. We could feel the tension by looking at the number of men who enlisted who originally came from England. 80 men enlisted in the Albany militia because they were fed up with the current government and their unfair taxation and laws.

Further research questions

The visualizations provided tell a lot about the militia and allows us to understand the circumstances during that time. Although the visualizations helped us answer several important questions, there are still some outliers that I would love to understand better.
One question that I still have is, why is there a Native American category under the complexion row? And why are there so few of them? I posed this question earlier but was unable to come to reasoning behind it. With assumption that there were indeed Native Americans fighting in the militia and it wasn’t a typo, it would definitely bee interesting as to why there were so little of them. I would have to research their names by looking for them in the excel spreadsheet. Once I find out the names I would continue my research and find out who they were and where they’re from. I think that there are two reasons as to why they may have enlisted. One being that they would love for a chance to fight the British again considering they had just lost a war against them. Another reason could be that they were offered some type of deal similar to what the slaves were offered in exchange for enlisting. As for the question regarding the amount of Native Americans who enlisted, I would think that they wouldn’t want to enlist in a fight that wasn’t really theirs. And also they had just suffered from a loss against the British so I would image they wouldn’t want to enlist so quickly.

A second question that came from the data regards the promise that the African Americans who enlisted in the militia were given. I would like to find out whether or not they got their freedom once they came back from fighting. Especially on the British side because they did end up losing the war. It’s possible that the salves who became on the soldiers side became prisoners and even slaves again. It’s also possible that because there was virtually zero equality or representation for the Blacks, that they never got what they were promised. In order to obtain the answer to these questions, I would maybe have to look at some bibliographies of slaves during the war. More specifically those who enlisted in both the Loyalist and the Militia. I would be able to see if they have similar or different outcomes and if the effects of the was impacted if they ever received their freedom or not.