Category Archives: Astle

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.

Revisiting Loyalist James Astle – Needed: English Astle Y-DNA!

Loyalist James Astle is my 5X great grandfather. Through the decades – yes, decades – I’ve gathered tidbits of his life from marriage until death, but I’ve never found a shred of evidence as to his parentage, or the parents of his wife, Elizabeth McLane/McLean, for that matter.

I’ve written about my Astle family several times through the years, but I don’t think I’ve blogged about all the puzzle pieces I’ve found at one time. For this post, a timeline will do nicely to put the facts about James and his family in chronological order.

First, James was probably born on Mars in England around 1745. Both he and his wife, Elizabeth McLane, appear to have been of legal age when they married as no permissions are mentioned in the church record.

There are NO other Astles or McLane/McLean persons who married in Dutchess County in the same time period as James and Elizabeth except for one Mary McLean who married Heugh McGuire on 25 January 1780 in Amenia, Dutchess, New York. Nothing further has been found on this couple.

James Astle died in Northumberland County, New Brunswick, Canada before 15 March 1815 when the notice of his estate administration was published.

Timeline of Loyalist James Astle’s Life

1770, 23 Nov – married Elizabeth McLane, Dutch Reformed Church, Schenectady, New York

1773, 17 May – daughter Hannah born
1773, 1 June – daughter Hannah buried

1773 – James Astle took out a mortgage on a lot in the Kayoderoserra Land Grant

1774, 19 June – daughter Angelica baptized, Schenectady, NY

c1778 – birth of Hannah, who married Benjamin Davis, and is thought to be James’s daughter, probably in New York

c1779 – birth of son John, probably in New York

c1783 – son Daniel born in Quebec, possibly Sorel

1784James Astle Sr. and James Astle Jr. on Paspebiac, Quebec passenger list

c1785 – birth of son Joseph, reported as New Brunswick in the census, but likely Quebec, based on the 1786 census, below

1786 – Quebec Census – James Astle, tailor, married – had females aged 12 and 7, males 6, 2 and 1 in his Paspebiac, Quebec, Canada home

c1788 – birth of Elizabeth, who married John Mitchell, and is though to be James’s daughter, probably in Quebec

1789 – Aug 1800 – lived in Restigouche, Chaleur Bay, based on a deposition given by James on 26 February 1801

1801 – received land on the Miramichi River;

1802 – Overseer of Fisheries, Miramichi

1805, March – served on a grand jury

1806, March – Overseer of the Poor

1807, March – reappointed Overseer of the Poor

1809 – Poundkeeper, Miramichi

1809, 20 June – land grant of 400 acres on the Miramichi River

1815 – Overseer of the Poor

1815, 15 March – Notice published for estate administration of James Astle

1820, 3 April – Widow Elizabeth Astle released her dower rights on land James had owned.

Next, let’s look at a map to see where James made his homes:

Source: Google Maps

Before the start of the American Revolution, James lived and married in Dutchess County, New York.

Exactly how he and his family traveled from Schenectady to Quebec, and his whereabouts from 1774 until the 1783 end of the American Revolution, are unknown.

I am a huge believer in the FAN (Friends, Associates, Neighbors) Club and often use this method to gather information about ancestral families.

While this method works well with the Astle records in Canada, it has proved to be a failure in New York and the American colonies, with the few exceptions noted in the timeline.

ASTLE is an extremely uncommon surname in the American colonies. It sometimes is spelled as ASTILL or ASTLES.

There is a Benjamin Astill who left a Suffolk County, Massachusetts will in 1738. He was from Jamaica, had a wife and three children and named brothers living in England.

There is a Daniel Astle who served in the British Army in New York during the French and Indian War. However, he is too young to have a son marrying in 1770. He could perhaps be a brother of James Astle (who named a son Daniel), but attempts to pinpoint Daniel’s origins in England have not been successful.

In my timeline above, I noted the 1784 Paspebiac lists included one James Astle Sr. and a James Astle Jr. There are descendants of each James – both 4X great grandsons – who have taken Y-DNA tests that indicate a likely common ancestor within about 6 generations.

Although both Jameses were in Paspebiac at the same time, my James (Sr.) and his family arrived in the brig Polly, while (unmarried) James Jr. arrived in the Snow Liberty and had active military service during the war. While James Sr. and family removed to Restigouche and then the Miramichi area, James Jr. settled in New Carlisle, Quebec, where he married and had a large family. James Jr. died in 1823, at the reported age of 64 years, giving a birth year of around 1759.

Unless my James was significantly older than my estimate and had an earlier marriage (no evidence found), then he is too young to be the father of James Jr. Cousins or even uncle-nephew are definitely possibilities, though.

While the Astle surname was rare in colonial America, that wasn’t the case in England and the counties most likely to be the home of the two James Astles are Derby, Stafford and Cheshire.

There is an Astle Project on FamilyTree DNA. However, it is very small and needs lots of English Astles to take a Y-DNA test and share their results. If your surname is ASTLE and you are aware of your English origins, please consider taking a Y-DNA test.

I think the only way more might be learned about the origins of both James Astles is through DNA testing. The paper trails seem to end with the 1770 New York marriage.



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.