Wednesday, February 10, 2016

The Children of Nicholas Ackley and Their Families

A Comment About Comments

I am hoping this blog will be a forum for people who are researching the Ackley name as well as a place to learn about our Ackley ancestors. I am including discussion questions at the end of each post in an effort to stimulate comments/questions, but so far no one is taking the bait (I know it is only a sample size of one, but surely someone had a question or comment about what was in the post about Nicholas Ackley. Anyone? Anyone?). I want to encourage anyone who might be reading the blog (there are a few - I can see how many page views there are every day) to leave comments/questions at the bottom of any post they read, preferably related to the post content. However, if you have a question or comment related to genealogy that is off-topic and you think others would either be able to help you or be interested in it, by all means put a comment out there.

It occurred to me that it might not be obvious how to leave a comment, and also that some people might be scared off because it looks like you have to have some kind of account to leave a comment. Here are some hints on how to leave comments:

First, scroll down to the end of the post you want to comment on -- note that each post has its own comments section, so if you want to make a comment specific to a post make sure you are in the right section. You should see something like this:

Notice where it says "1 comment:" -- if there are no comments yet it will say "No comments". This is clickable, so click on it to see any existing comments and also get a box where you can add your comment. It will look something like this:

By the way, that isn't a "real" comment -- I asked my sister to test the comments feature to make sure it was working -- isn't she nice! Enter your comment where it says "Enter your comment...". Below that there is a drop-down (where it says "Comment as") that will allow you to pick how you want to identify yourself in your comment; here is what the choices look like in that drop-down:

If you have any of the accounts listed in the first six choices you can use one of them to identify yourself; if not, you can choose Name/URL or Anonymous (if you choose Anonymous, it might be a good idea to put your first name or some other way of identifying you at the end of your comment just so others know who they are responding to if they choose to reply). If you choose Name/URL you will see a box that looks like this:

You can enter any name you want in the "Name:" box -- it doesn't check anything. You can leave URL empty. Once you have entered something, click "Continue". Then click on the blue "Publish" button, and you should then get a box that looks like this:

Click in the box next to where it says "I'm not a robot". Sometimes it will just put a check-mark in the box and move on, and sometimes it will ask you to verify by clicking on something additional. Once you've done that, you'll need to click the blue "Publish" button one more time. I have it set up so that I must review all comments before they get published online, so you should see a box like this:

I get an e-mail notifying me every time a comment is entered, so I know when approvals are needed. I'm doing this just to make sure nothing inappropriate is entered; I don't really anticipate any problems with that, but just in case...

So, don't be shy -- if you have something to say or a question to ask, put it out there. I really do want this blog to be a place where we can all share.

Nick's Kids

As we learned in the previous post, Nicholas and his first wife Hannah had ten children. Their children were Thomas, Nathaniel, John, Samuel, James, Elizabeth, Hanna, Mary, Sarah, and Lydia. For this post I will just give the basic facts as I know them – who they married, their children, and relevant dates. At some later point I will go into more detail on each child and their families. I’ve tried to provide sources as much as possible; however, the quality of the sources varies. There are several sources that are transcriptions of vital records from the time period (for example, Manwaring’s books on Connecticut probate records or the transcriptions of East Haddam vital records that appeared in the New England Historical and Genealogical Register), published genealogies (such as Dawes-Gates), and online resources (such as Find-A-Grave). Use your judgement on how much you trust the accuracy of these various sources; the order listed above is my opinion as to how reliable they tend to be, from most reliable to least reliable. Don’t get me wrong about Find-A-Grave – I think it is a great resource and I have contributed to it, but since there are no requirements to show documentation for the names, dates, and locations that are entered by users you can’t always assume that the information you get there is accurate. I have found some good clues on Find-A-Grave, but I have also found some information that is flat-out wrong or misleading, so use what you find there with caution.

A note about Manwaring’s volumes on Connecticut probate records – many of the handwritten records that he transcribed and summarized can be found online in Ancestry’s Connecticut, Wills and Probate Records, 1609-1999. If you’ve ever looked at any of the handwritten records, you can appreciate how patient and diligent Manwaring must have been – some of them are pretty hard to decipher.

The children of Nicholas and Hannah were:

1. Hannah Ackley was born about 16589, and died 19 Dec 17189. She married Edward Purple in 167514, who died 4 Jan 17199. Their children (all of whom were mentioned in Edward’s will, found in Manwaring, Vol. II, p. 4233) were :

   a. Richard, born 168917, died Oct 17579
   b. Edward
   c. John

2. Elizabeth Mary Ackley was born about 16609, and died 20 Mar 16989. She married Abel Shaylor (also spelled Shalor, Shaler, Shailor) before 20 Mar 1696 (this date is established from her listing in Nicholas’ will as Elizabeth Shalor; the will was approved on 20 Mar 1696, so they had to have been married before that. See Manwaring, Vol. I, p. 3932). They had one child:

   a. Elizabeth

3. Sarah Ackley was born about 16619, and died about 1721. Sarah married William Spencer5, who was born about 1652 in Massachusetts9 and died about 1713 in East Haddam9. Their children (all of whom were mentioned in his will, found in Manwaring, Vol. II, p. 3023) were:

   a. Mary, born 1 Sep 1687 in East Haddam6
   b. Alexander, born 16 Jul 1694 in East Haddam6, died about 176011
   c. Sarah, born 1 Mar 1696 in East Haddam6
   d. Hannah, born 16 Jul 1698 in East Haddam6
   e. William, born 3 Jun 1706 in East Haddam6

4. Sgt. John Ackley was born about 1662 in Hartford1, and died 25 Aug 1736 in East Haddam1,4. John married Rebecca Spencer, daughter of John and Rebecca (Hayward) Spencer in Hartford on 23 May 16991. Their children were:

   a. John, born 1700
   b. Thankful, born about 17031, died 9 Mar 1771 in Meriden1
   c. Rebecca, born 1704, died Feb 1744/5 in Colchester13
   d. Benjamin, born 1708 in East Haddam1, died after Jun 17611
   e. Sarah
   f. Mary, born 1708
   g. Nathaniel, born about 1715, died 27 Apr 1792 in Millington1

5. Thomas Ackley was born about 1664 in Hartford9, and died 16 Jan 1703/4 in East Haddam3. Thomas married Hannah ? about 16951. Hannah married Benjamin Trowbridge after the death of Thomas. John and Nathaniel Ackley were appointed guardians of the children3. Children:

   a. Hannah, born 24 Oct 1696 in East Haddam13, died 3 Mar 1772/3 in Colchester10
   b. Ann, born 17 Sep 1698 in East Haddam6
   c. Thomas, born 28 Jan 1700 in East Haddam6
   d. Job, born 14 Mar 1702 in East Haddam6

6. Nathaniel Ackley was born about 1666, and died 27 Feb 1709/10 in East Haddam3. He never married, but left some money to Esther Hungerford in his will; she was presumed to be his fiancĂ©.

7. Lydia Ackley was born about 1670, and died 17 Apr 1755 in East Haddam9. She married Thomas Robinson2, who died 20 Oct 17253. Thomas and Lydia had just one child:

   a. Mary, born 23 Aug 1695 in East Haddam6, died 7 Feb 1774 in East Haddam9

8. Mary Ackley was born about 1674, and died 6 Jun 1726. She married Thomas Crippen. Their children:

   a. Thomas, born 3 Dec 1696 in East Haddam6
   b. Elizabeth, born 14 Jun 1699 in East Haddam6
   c. Hannah, born 25 May 1703 in East Haddam6
   d. Lydia
   e. Experience

9. James Ackley was born about 16781, and died 19 Sep 174611,12. He married Elizabeth ? about 17061. She died 19 Sep 16551. There is some question about Elizabeth’s maiden name. The name Comedy seems to be the most common name found on the internet, but there doesn’t seem to be much in the way of actual records to support that name. Another name that seems to be out there is Cowdery, but no documentation there either; this needs more research. Children:

   a. James, born 17 Jul 1707 in East Haddam6, died 31 Dec 1777 in East Hampton12
   b. Nicholas, born 16 Dec 1708 in East Haddam6
   c. Nathaniel, born 7 Nov 1712 in East Haddam6, died 18 Sep 1794 in Millington1,9
   d. Gideon, born 14 Apr 1716 in East Haddam7, died 1 Dec 1803 in East Haddam12
   e. Desire, born 24 Feb 1717 in East Haddam7, died 17889
   f. Elizabeth, born 16 Jan 1722 in East Haddam7, died Mar 17959
   g. Benajah, born 10 Jul 1729 in East Haddam7

10. Sgt. Samuel Ackley was born about 16809, and died 27 Apr 1745 in East Haddam10,11. He married Bethia ? about 17001. Their children were:

   a. Samuel, born 8 Dec 1703 in East Haddam6, died 18 Jan 1729/303.
   b. Jerusha, born 29 Mar 1707 in East Haddam6, died Aug 1736 in East Haddam10.
   c. Deborah, born 1 Jul 1709 in East Haddam6
   d. Lydia born 4 Aug 1712 in East Haddam6, died 1741
   e. Simeon born 10 Jan 1714 in East Haddam6, died 1791 in East Haddam11.
   f. Stephen born 25 Jul 1717 in East Haddam6
   g. Elijah born 28 Mar 1719 in East Haddam6, died 14 Feb 1807 in Chatham11
   h. Isaac born 6 Oct 1721 in East Haddam6, died 17 Dec 1798 in East Haddam9
   i. Bezaleel born 4 Feb 1723/4 in East Haddam8, died 1776
   j. Nathaniel born 14 Jun 1726 in East Haddam8, died 14 Mar 17941

There was a note in Dawes-Gates that I found helpful in sorting out the three Nathaniel Ackleys in the third generation. Note that John, James, and Samuel each had a son named Nathaniel. The note below from Dawes-Gates Ancestral Lines explains who was who:

Discussion Questions

  • Which of Nicholas’ children are you descended from?
  • Can you add any facts or corrections to what is presented here (preferably with sources)?
  • Do you have any family stories/legends you can add about these Ackley descendants?

Link of the Day

Today’s link is for Manwaring, Vol. I. All of the Manwaring volumes can be very helpful in finding death dates for Connecticut ancestors, and many of the summaries include a list of the children of the deceased. This can also be found on Google books, but I got it on a site called They have a boatload of books they have scanned that you can access for free.

Quote of the Day

"A pessimist is one who makes difficulties of his opportunities and an optimist is one who makes opportunities of his difficulties."       

--Harry S. Truman


  1. Ferris, Mary Walton, Dawes-Gates Ancestral Lines: A Memorial Volume Containing the American Ancestry of Mary Beman (Gates) Dawes Vol. II (Wisconsin: Cuneo Press, 1931), p. 33-54.
  2. Manwaring, Charles William, A Digest of the Early Connecticut Probate Records 1635-1700 Vol. I (Hartford, Connecticut: R. S. Peck, & Co., 1904).
  3. Manwaring, Charles William, A Digest of the Early Connecticut Probate Records 1700-1729 Vol. II (Hartford, Connecticut: R. S. Peck, & Co., 1904).
  4. Manwaring, Charles William, A Digest of the Early Connecticut Probate Records 1729-1750 Vol. III (Hartford, Connecticut: R. S. Peck, & Co., 1906).
  5. Savage, James, A Genealogical Dictionary of the First Settlers of New England Showing Three Generations of Those Who Came Before May, 1692, on the Basis of Farmer’s Register, Vol. I (Boston: Little, Brown, and Co., 1860).
  6. “First Book East Haddam Land Records”, The New England Historical and Genealogical Register, Volume XI, Samuel G. Drake, Editor. (Boston: C. Benjamin Richardson, 1857), p. 273-278.
  7. “First Book East Haddam Land Records”, The New England Historical and Genealogical Register, Volume XII, Samuel G. Drake, Editor. (Boston: C. Benjamin Richardson, 1858), p. 42-47.
  8. “First Book East Haddam Land Records”, The New England Historical and Genealogical Register, Volume XIII, Samuel G. Drake, Editor, (Boston: C. Benjamin Richardson,1859), p. 125-130.
  9. U.S., Find A Grave Index, 1600s-Current [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2012.
  10. Connecticut Town Death Records, pre-1870 (Barbour Collection) [database on-line]. Provo, Utah: Operations Inc, 2006.
  11. Connecticut, Wills and Probate Records, 1609-1999 [database on-line]. Provo, Utah: Operations, Inc., 2015.
  12. Connecticut, Deaths and Burials Index, 1650-1934 [database on-line]. Provo, Utah: Operations, Inc., 2011.
  13. Edmund West, compiler. Family Data Collection - Individual Records [database on-line]. Provo, Utah: Operations Inc, 2000.
  14. U.S., New England Marriages Prior to 1700 [database on-line]. Provo, Utah: Operations Inc, 2012.

Next Post Topic

Nicholas Ackley’s ancestors


  1. A genealogy compiled by My father's (John J Ackley) brother in law Marvin Beasley, lists Nicholas Ackley as having 12 children. The two not mentioned are first born Benjamin Ackley (b. abt.1656-d. abt.1682), and Nicholas Ackley, (b. abt. 1656- d. abt 1682) Clearly, something is wrong/missing from this listing. Without source citations, the doubts will remain. Adding to the uncertainty, the birth order in my record differs from Mike Ackley's. My record lists the order as:Benjamin, Nicholas, Hannah, Sgt. John, Nathaniel, Lydia, Mary, Thomas, Elizabeth Mary, James, Sgt. Samuel, Sarah. A good example of why Mike's research is certainly more accurate would be that Sarah Ackley is said to be born in 1690 in my record and died about the same year as Mike's citation, 1721. But, my record does not list any of Sarah's 5 children. Mike's lists Sarah's first born as Mary b. Sept. 1687 2+ years before my record's listing of Sarah herself's birth in 1690! Fortunately, many of the names/ dates do agree in the two records. Thank you Mike for the fact checking thoroughness of your research.

  2. Yes, John, there are some sources that list Nicholas and Benjamin as children of Nicholas, such as "A Catalogue of the Names of the Early Puritan Settlers of the Colony of Connecticut" by Royal Ralph Hinman (p. 19), and "A History of the Towns of Haddam and East Haddam" by David D. Field (p. 43). But in a note at the bottom of page 40 of "Dawes-Gates Ancestral Lines, Vol. II" by Mary Walton Ferris, the author states that Nicholas and Benjamin are more likely grandsons of Nicholas. In light of that, plus the fact that there is no other documentation on them and they don't appear in Nicholas' will, I didn't include them. In hindsight, for completeness I probably should have at least mentioned them along with my doubts as to whether they were his children. Thanks for bringing it to light!