James & James Astle: Possible Cheshire, England Connection

Thank you to guest blogger Marilyn Astle for this exciting news about possible English origins for James and James Astle, both in Quebec, Canada by 1784.

FTDNA Sale Through 26 April 2021

If you are an English Astle descendant, particularly from Cheshire, England, and would like to test your Y-DNA, FTDNA currently has a sale through 26 April 2021. This is the only company which offers Y-DNA tests. The sale price for Y-37 markers is $99. For Y-111 markers, the cost is $199, but provides more information.

As mentioned in the recent post Revisiting James Astle, Loyalist, descendants of the two James Astles who arrived in Quebec in 1784 have participated in Y-DNA testing. One of the men tested is a 4th great grandson of James Astles (c1755* – 1823) and Sarah Flowers.

The other participant is a 4th great grandson of James Astle(s) (c1745 – 1815) and Elizabeth MacLean. They are not related to each other within 6 generations, the limit of the known genealogy of each. A third Astle man, a descendant of Isaac Astle (c1640-1673) of England, has also been tested.

  • DNA testing looks at the Y chromosome, inherited only by males. As the Y chromosome changes very slowly over the millennia it can be used to answer questions about ancestral origins many more generations back than can the more common autosomal DNA tests.

The three Astle men tested have all been found to belong to the Y-DNA haplogroup I-M253. Each of the Y-DNA haplogroups is a branch of the human Y-DNA tree characterized by a unique pattern of mutations in the Y chromosome that have arisen over long periods of time and may be associated with particular geographic areas and human migrations.

The Y-DNA haplogroup I appears to have arisen in Europe as it is almost non-existent outside of European populations and represents about one fifth of European males. The subgroup I-M253 is most frequent in Scandinavia, Iceland and northwest Europe.

This is consistent with inferences about the origin of the Astle surname as it occurs in the East Midlands of England. Two men named Astill have also tested and been placed in haplogroup R-M269, the most common Y-DNA haplogroup in Europe.

Looking specifically at the three Astle men tested, we see the following:

In comparing Y-DNA37 markers, which show 2 mismatches, the probability that the tested descendants of the two James Astles shared a common ancestor within the last…

…8 generations is 62.26%.
…10 generations is 81.18%.
…12 generations is 90.84%.

In comparing Y-DNA37 markers, which show 3 mismatches, the probability that the descendant of James Astles and Sarah Flowers and the descendant of Isaac Astle shared a common ancestor within the last…

…8 generations is 62.38%.
…10 generations is 81.28%.
…12 generations is 90.91%.

In comparing Y-DNA37 markers, which show 5 mismatches, the probability that the descendant of James Astle and Elizabeth MacLean and the descendant of Isaac Astle shared a common ancestor within the last…

…8 generations is 47.66%.
…10 generations is 68.53%.
…12 generations is 81.88%.

Going forward, more men with the surname Astle and variations need to test, if possible at the 111 marker level but at least at the 37 marker level.

Arranging for the DNA of those already tested to be analyzed at the 111 marker level could also provide more specificity in the relationships. With DNA Day upon us, now might be the time to learn more about the Astle(s) origins.

* I have used the estimated birth date of 1755 based on James’ own statement of age recorded in the 1816 Untitled Relief Book rather than the one inferred from age cited by his survivors at his burial.

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