From the title of the Dukes of Albany (House of Stuart), hence a name borne by their retainers. It is an infrequent surname in England and Scotland. The city of Albany, NY (formerly the Dutch settlement of Beverwijck or Fort Orange) was named for James Stuart, Duke of York and Albany; he was the brother of King Charles II and later king in his own right as James II. In 1664 he financed a fleet to take over the Dutch colony of New Netherland (now New York state). The American family name was apparently adopted at this period. The word Albany is from Latin Albania, Gaelic Albainn, genitive of Alba "Scotland". It is the same word as English Albion, an old name for the whole of Britain.