William Henry Roll

Welcome to the new and improved Roll Family Windmill website! We have upgraded our authoring tools to design and create content and present it to you with style. We will be better able to maintain content and share information about the genealogy of the Roll and allied families.

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old: Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn. At the going down of the sun and in the morning, We will remember them. --Laurence Binyon,"Ode of Remembrance"

I have gathered a posie of other men's flowers, and nothing but the string that binds them is mine own. --Michel Eyquem de Montaigne

Documenting your family history is a lifelong pursuit, a task of pleasure and research that is never completely finished.

Not to know one's ancestors, is to be a tree without roots, a stream without a source. --Kung-fut-se

The wind whispers through the trees, recalling words and dreams and memories of those who left us long ago. --Unknown

St. Basil of Caesarea, born about 330 A.D., said, "A tree is known by its fruit; a man by his deeds. A good deed is never lost; he who sows courtesy reaps friendship, and he who plants kindness gathers love."


This website was created the old-fashioned way; it has been hand coded.

keep calm

Howard I. Becker
Inventor and Local Historian of the Lower Mohawk Valley

Howard I. Becker 1895-1978: not related to our Roll family


Howard Irving Becker was born in Watervliet, New York, in 1895, lived in Vischer Ferry, Saratoga county, New York, for over 40 years. He was married to Beatrice M. Reid, who predeceased him. He died March 1, 1977.

As an engineer with General Electric Corporation, he was granted over 30 patents. Retiring in 1957.

General Electric's Schenectady Works

General Electric's Schenectady Works

He looked forward to retirement when he could devote more time to his local history avocation. He served as town historian for Clifton Park, and Long Lake townships, New York. He wrote several books about the history of Clifton Park and the the upper Mohawk Valley region. He had a particular interest in the geography, mapping, land deeds and patents, in the valley around Niskayuna, and Vischer Ferry. He was a member of the Amity Reformed Church in Vischer Ferry, and of several fraternal and historical societies.

Mr. Becker is listed here because his book Canastigione, deals with land issues on the lower Mohawk River in the 17th century. Jan Mangelsen, the progenitor of the Roll family in America, is included as owner of parcels of land.

Only 50 copies of Canastigione were printed, and I own number 47. I coveted the book for many years, and finally bought the book in 2013. An autographed first edition, and a rare book with only one printing, the price, including insurance and shipping was four hundred seven dollars.

The volume is in the public domain. I plan to scan the book and place the images in a PDF file online for free access.

Harold I. Becker book notice

Schenectady Gazette, Wednesday, 6 Jan 1954

Canastigione title page

A portion of the title page of my copy of the book Canastigione

He donated his collection of historical research materials and postcard collection to the Clifton Park-Halfmoon Public Library, where his books and research notes can be found. The library website is at http://www.cphlibrary.org.

Some of the books Mr. Becker wrote, compiled or published are:

Becker, Howard I. Canastigione Alias Canestigione, Conestijounie, Canestiguna, Nestaguina, Nestigione, Niskayuna : the early history of the formation of that part of Canastigione on the north side of the Mohawk River at Niskayuna including the village of Vischers Ferry and the lower end of Clifton Park, Sartoga County. Rexford, N.Y.: H.I. Becker, 1953. (N.b. The name of the book on the cover is spelled differently from the name on the title page.)

Becker, Howard I. Early maps of the lower Mohawk River area. Rexford, N.Y. : H.I. Becker, 1953.

Becker, Howard I. Early town roads, Clifton Park. Rexford, N.Y.: H.I. Becker, 1959.

Becker, Howard I. Town of Clifton Park cemetery epitaphs. Rexford, N.Y.: H.I. Becker, 1954. An updated version of the book, Clifton Park Cemetery Records, is online.

Ritchie, Henry C.. Town of Half Moon cemeteries. Rexford, N.Y.: H. I. Becker, 1963.