Category Archives: Astle

Maternal Branches on the Family Tree: Mary Elizabeth Astle (1809-1889)

Mary Elizabeth Astle was born in April 1809, based on her age at death. She was the daughter of Daniel Astle and his wife, Jane, who might POSSIBLY be a Parker. Her paternal grandparents, James Astle and Elizabeth McLane, were Loyalists who left Dutchess County, New York for Quebec, where Daniel was born, and then finally to Northumberland County, New Brunswick.

Little is known about Daniel Astle, as he died fairly young, before 20 November 1817, when his probate was announced in the newspaper. He had some financial setbacks in the years before his death, with the sheriff selling his land, but if and how that is connected to his death is not known.

What is certain is that Daniel was survived by five children – three sons (George, John T. and James Daniel) and two daughters Mary and Hannah), all under the age of 9. At 8 years old, Mary was old enough to remember her father and the likely hardship faced by the young family after the death of her father.

Fourteen months after her father died, Mary and her siblings faced a new change in living circumstances when her mother, Jane, married (2) George Ripplee on 26 January 1819, Northumberland, New Brunswick, Canada.

George was an Irishman who arrived in New Brunswick in 1816.

The household continued to grow with three half siblings born – Margaret Ripplee, c1821, Jane, c1823 and Thomas, c1827.

The family lived in the small village of Nelson, but attended St. Paul’s Anglican Church in the larger town of Chatham.

In the latter part of the 1820s, Thomas Coleman, from Richmond, Sagadahoc, Maine, arrived in Nelson and decided to stay. He and Mary Elizabeth were married on 22 June 1830 in Nelson.

Thomas made his living as a farmer, based on the church entry for Thomas’s and Mary’s first child, William, baptized on 24 July 1834.

Sometime between William’s birth in 1834 and the 1840 U.S. census, the family left Canada and settled permanently in Calais, Washington, Maine.

The 1840 census revealed two additional children at home. Both were born between 1835 and 1840, but only one has been identified.

Mary Anne Coleman was born c1837, probably in Calais, Maine and she died sometimes after 7 September 1864. She married David/Daniel Moran on 31 March 1858, Boston, Suffolk, Massachusetts. They were the parents of at least two children – John Edward and Julia M., who died within a week of each other of diphtheria. John and Julia were aged 3 years and 8 months, respectively, when they died.

Neither Mary Anne nor her husband have been found after 1864, but they moved back and forth between New York City and Boston. With common names, neither has been found in 1870.

It seems likely that Thomas and Mary Elizabeth lost both their daughters at fairly young ages. In fact, it’s possible that they never saw Mary Anne again after she left home.

Perhaps to fill the void and lessen their feelings of loss, They took in a little girl named Margaret, who is at home with them in 1850 and called their adopted daughter. She was born in January 1846 in Maine, but her birth parents are unknown.

Margaret married Henry A. Day, 5 September 1868 in Topsfield, a small town near Calais. They had one known child, Herbert Franklin Day, born November 1883 in Calais.

Mary would have known her adopted grandson during the last years of her life, as well as six grandchildren born to her son, William.

She also knew six of her great grandchildren, which must have been very special.

Mary’s and Thomas’s son, William, remained in Calais and cared for his parents in their senior years.

Mary Elizabeth (Astle) Coleman survived her husband, Thomas, by 19 months, passing away the day after Christmas on 26 December 1889 in Calais, Washington, Maine.

Mary appeared in two documents during her lifetime, which added to my knowledge about her and her family.

Proving Mary Elizabeth’s parentage had me stumped for years. Finally, I found a land deed, filed more than 30 years after her father Daniel’s death, that named his heirs. Thomas and Mary Elizabeth Coleman of Calais, Maine were named with her mother, stepfather and Astle siblings.

Secondly, Mary and her son William sold Thomas’s land not long after he died. The 1880 census indicated that Mary was able to read and write, but the 1889 deed confirmed that fact, as she and William both signed their names to the sale, rather than having their consent noted with their (X) marks.

Compared to my other 3X great grandparents, Mary Elizabeth had a more comfortable life and endured fewer family losses.






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.