Jane, Wife of Daniel Astle and George Ripplee, New Brunswick, Canada

I’ve spent many years unraveling the story of Loyalist James Astle and have had a fair amount of success.

However, his son Daniel, who was born about 1783, probably at Sorel, Quebec, before his parents moved to New Brunswick, has left but a few bread crumbs to tell the story of his life.

In fact, Daniel was assumed to be unmarried and having no descendants when he died by November 1817. It was then that his brother, John, published notice of the administration of Daniel’s estate.

Proof that Daniel had not only married, but had several children was found in a land deed recorded in 1848, 31 years after Daniel’s death.

This page isn’t the easiest to read, but here is the pertinent portion of the deed proving his connection to his father, James, and naming his widow and surviving children:

This indenture made the twenty first day of October in the year of our Lord on thousand eight hundred and forty eight Between George Ripple of the parish of Nelson in the County of Northumberland farmer and Jane his wife James Astle of the same place Yeoman John Astle of the same place Yeoman and Elizabeth his wife George Astle of the parish of Stanley in the County of York and Elizabeth his wife Thomas Coleman of Calais in the State of Maine Yeoman and Elizabeth his wife and Abraham Clark of the parish of Nelson County of Northumberland and Hannah his wife of the first part and James Mitchell of the parish of Blissfield aforesaid farmer of the second part. . . . .

Witnesseth. . .being on the north side of the southwest branch of the River Miramichi in the parish of Blissfield . . . . .being a one- seventh part of Lots twenty eight and thirty nine formerly granted to . . . James Astle deceased . . . . at the upper boundary of the lands assigned to Angelica Walls . . . . the said Jane wife of George Ripple as the widow of Daniel Astle deceased and the said James Astle, John Astle, George Astle, Elizabeth Coleman and Hannah Clark as children and heirs of Daniel Astle deceased. . . . .

This is my favorite kind of deed as all the heirs are named plus I have the name of Daniel’s widow’s second husband.

One piece of information I have yet to uncover is Jane (MNU) Astle Ripplee’s maiden name.

No marriage record for Daniel and Jane Astle has been found, although they probably married about 1807 as their first child was born in November 1808.

However, there are some possible clues found in the names of Daniel and Jane’s FAN club and, later, in the Ripplee FAN club.

When Jane married (2) George “Rapplee” on 26 Jan 1819, the witnesses were Christopher Parker and William Barclay.

I have found no other connections to any Barclays, but the Parker surname is a different story. Could it be that Christopher Parker was the bride’s witness and William Barclay stood up for the groom?

On 22 January 1839, twenty years after George Ripplee married Jane, Hannah Astle, daughter of Daniel and Jane, married Abraham Clarke in Newcastle, Northumberland, New Brunswick, Canada. Margaret Parker was one of the witnesses.

Further, when Jane’s son, John, married Elizabeth Parker on 19 Feb 1846, witnesses were Rowland Crocker and William Parker.

There also seem to be a lot of Parker business dealings with the Astles, but only with those Astles who belong to Daniel’s family. Daniel’s sons, James and John, both had land dealings with Parkers and George and Jane Ripplee were jointly bound with Christopher Parker in 1819 for a total sum of £620.

Next, on 20 Apr 1824, Richard Simonds won a judgment against George Ripplee and Christopher Parker for £392.13s.8p. (reason not stated) and on 6 Nov 1825, John A. Street won £79.1s. for trespass against George Ripplee and Christopher Parker.

In addition, in 1829, one Christopher Parker sold seven lots of land in St. Mary’s on the Nashwaak, some land in Nelson and a lot in St. John to George, Hugh and William Parker of Nelson for £1150. The witnesses were George Ripplee and W. Sterling. The land had originally been granted to members of the disbanded 42nd Regiment.

In 1810, Christopher Parker received a land grant in Newcastle. 400 acres were granted to him, along with seven others – James Anderson, George Flet, William Knight, John Newman, John Power, Jonathan Sherwood and Stephen Sherwood.

On 1 June 1816, Christopher Parker and William Nesmith were approved as estate administrators for John Beauhannon in Miramichi (which is the area where the Astles and Parkers lived.)

On 19 November 1822, Christopher Parker was the sole signer on a petition to establish a school in Nelson.

There is also an 1836 land petition for Northumberland County on which Christopher Parker’s name is found.

On 27 August 1841, Ann Parker, widow of Christopher Parker, Tavern keeper, sold land:

Northumberland County DB 38:664
Source: FamilySearch

This portion of the land deed identifies it as property purchased on 25 October 1823 with George Ripplee.

In 1851, we find Ann, already widowed and head of household with daughter Ann, aged 37, born c1814, daughter Mary, 24, born c1827 son Christopher, 20, born c1831, son Thomas, 18,  born c1833 and son James, 15, born c1836. Hugh Parker, likely another son, is next door with his own household and is aged 32, born c1819.

Ann Parker, 1851 Census
Source: Library & Archives Canada

Two doors away is one William Parker and wife Ellen, both 30, born c1821. William might be yet another child of Ann.

In 1861, Ann was living in Derby, Northumberland, New Brunswick, Canada:

Ann Parker, 1861 Census
Source: Library & Archives Canada

Her age matches her age at death, so born c1792. Her son, Christopher, was born c1830, son Thomas, c1833, son James, c1836 and daughter Ann, apparently unmarried, c1812. Hugh Parker, living next door, might have been another son. He was 43, born c1818.

The widow of Christopher Parker, Ann, died 8 December 1870, aged 78, at Derby. In her will, she named William Parker as executor along with son-in-law William Wilson. Bequests were left to daughter Ann and sons Christopher, Thomas and James.

Northumberland County has a loss of records for c1840 when Christopher Parker died, so no will or probate is available. Based on Ann’s birth being in the early 1790s, Christopher Parker would clearly have been a contemporary of Daniel Astle (born c1783) and George Ripplee (born c1781).

A newspaper announcement stated that Jane Ripplee died on 2 Oct 1854 at the home of his (sic) son, J.T. Astle.

Children of Daniel and Jane (Parker?) Astle:

1. George (N.? or Hiram?), born c1809; married (1) Margaret Russell, 27 November 1833, John. Both were of Portland, St. John. Witnesses were R. Payne and A. Robertson (2) Elizabeth F. Lyons, 28 March 1839.  One of their children was Margaret Grace who married Charles Bamford.

2. Mary Elizabeth, born c1811; died 26 December 1889, Calais, Washington, Maine; married Thomas Coleman, 22 June 1830, Nelson, Northumberland, New Brunswick.

3. John T(homas?), born c1812; married (1) Elizabeth Parker, 19 February 1846 (2) Eliza Weston, 11 October 1855. John was listed as an insolvent lumberer in 1858-9.

4. James D(aniel), born c1815; married Rebecca Vanderbeck, 27 March 1851.

5. Hannah, born c1817; married Abram Clarke, 22 Jan 1839. Witnesses were John Astels and Margaret Parker.

Okay, readers – Do I seem to be on the right track and do you have any suggestions for further research? I haven’t found any reliable trees or other resources online.

Using State Censuses for Genealogical Research

Have you used state census records in your genealogy research? If not, you are overlooking a potentially fabulous resource.

Passaic, New Jersey 1895 Census
Source: Ancestry

This is an entry from the 1895 New Jersey state census taken in Passaic. The “head” of this multi-family household is Mickael Scserbak, followed by Annie, Julia and Mickael.

Michael was my grandmother’s baby brother, born in January 1895. There is no place on this page to enter the exact date of the enumeration, but baby Michael, who I knew about because my Nana told me about him, died in October 1895. It sounded like crib death as Nana said he didn’t wake up from a nap.

Had I not asked my grandmother if she had any siblings who died young, the only government record in which infant Michael is found is this census record.

In addition to finding Michael in the family, a quick look at others who lived in the same house include John Scserbak, who was Michael’s brother, John Knopp, who hailed from the same village as the Scerbaks, and Susan Murcsko, who was the younger sister of Anna Scserbak. This is a little gold mine of information about immigrants from Udol, Slovakia, as is the rest of the neighborhood. In some cases, these families returned to Europe or made multiple moves back and forth across the Atlantic. Michael and Anna Scerbak, my great grandparents, returned to Slovakia about 1898 and are not found in any other U.S. census.

Which states took censuses?

First, the states that took censuses of their own often took them at the five-year mark in between the federal census years. That’s not a firm rule, but, in general, it works.

For detailed information on all the U.S. state census records, I’d recommend Ann S. Lainhart’s book to add to your reference library:

It’s available on everyone’s favorite online shopping site for about $24.

The number of censuses taken by each state varies quite a bit – Connecticut, Idaho, Kentucky, Montana, New Hampshire, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Vermont and West Virginia took NO state censuses. Several others took only one or very few, some of which are incomplete. Tennessee took a state census in 1891, which could be very useful, since the 1890 U.S. census is mostly gone. However, only males 21 and older were enumerated.

Where can state census records be found?

Many state censuses have been digitized and are available on either Ancestry and/or FamilySearch. Most of the states that took censuses did so in the 1800s, although a few exist from the 1700s and several took them into the 1900s. New York, Rhode Island, South Dakota and Florida continued the practice until 1935 and/or 1945.

To find state censuses on Ancestry, search the census records by century. Next, browse. This will bring up the card catalog:

Enter the state name in the keyword box:

Notice that the state census years are near the top of the list, but they aren’t in chronological order. Ancestry has the 1865, 1855, 1875 and 1895 New Jersey state censuses.

However, New Jersey also took censuses in 1885, 1905 and 1915.

When I searched specifically for the 1885 census, this appeared:

The lesson to be learned here is that if you don’t see the census year you want in the results list, add the year to the state name and search again!

To find the state censuses on FamilySearch, look for the state name in the catalog and scroll down to CENSUS:

The list that comes up in the hits contains both federal and state censuses. A number of the New Jersey censuses have an index.

Here are several examples of state census records from other states:

Cape Girardeau, Missouri, 1868 listed all members in the household:

Goshen, Massachusetts, 1855 also enumerated everyone in the home:

Keokuk, Iowa, 1844, followed the 1840 census practice of only listing the heads of household and they were recorded in alphabetical order:

There are some definite positives and definite negatives to state censuses. The plus side is that if a state census exists for the locality in which you are searching, you may find new information and/or be able to confirm information found in other records. Sometimes the census data will be unique, as with my grandmother’s baby brother and the fact that it’s the only U.S. census record in which her parents appear.

The negative side of these records include the fact that while the records are fairly plentiful, they are often incomplete. At times, only one town or one county census survived for a given year. I encountered that problem with the Missouri state censuses. Also, sometimes, even after 1850, the state decided to only include the name of the head of household, which limits the tidbits to be gleaned.

However, everyone should be doing a reasonably exhaustive search for each family in the family tree. State censuses records are a sometimes unexpected gem, only to be discovered by leaving no stone unturned.



Saturday Night Genealogy Fun: The Time Machine

Randy Seaver has issued an interesting challenge for this week’s Saturday Night Genealogy Fun:

1)  Determine which event in your ancestral history that you would love to be a witness to via a Time Machine.  Assume that you could observe the event, but not participate in it.

It only took me but a few seconds to make my time travel choice. I would visit Parr Town, New Brunswick, Canada – which today is St. John –  in the summer of  1785.

I would want to attend the wedding of Loyalist Robert Carlisle and his bride Catherine, whose maiden name has forever eluded me and others. Based on a couple of land deeds where Robert had no wife to release dower rights in the first one, but Catherine did in the second one,  it seems quite certain that Robert and Catherine married that summer, probably in July.

As I watched the wedding, I would learn Catherine’s maiden name, but also would hope to learn something about both her and Robert’s family. Aside from Robert’s military service being in Nova Scotia (and not the American colonies), I know little about him and nothing about his parents or any siblings.

A side benefit of being in Parr Town so early on is that many of my other Loyalist ancestors also passed through there – the Adams, Parker, Burt and Stewart families – and I might be able to get a glimpse of them as they go about their daily lives, too.

Randy, I liked this challenge. If only we could time travel. . . . .