I hardly know where to begin to blog about my Ashley ancestors! There are many people researching this complicated family tree — which has created much confusion and disagreement about who begat who!!
I’ve spent many long hours reading about the Ashley family and, to the best of my knowledge as of the date of this blog, this is what I believe to be true about my Ashley ancestors.
In a previous blog, I wrote about how I broke down a genealogical “brick wall” and discovered the name of my great, great, great grandmother, Nancy Mariah Ashley, and her parents, Alden Ashley and Rheuamy Green.
The problem with tracing your family history before 1850 is that the censuses list only the name of the head of household and the number of males and females in the household, broken down by age range.
So you have to rely on other documents and published family histories to research your family tree.
A website that I found very helpful in researching my ancestors from New York State, including the Ashleys, is called Old Fulton Post Cards.
It’s a free online collection of scanned and searchable New York newspapers starting in 1795.
One article I found on the Old Fulton Post Cards website is a notice of the reading of Alden Ashley’s will which was published in the Albany NY Evening Journal in 1856.
This document proved invaluable in researching my Ashley ancestors!!
The people of the State of New York by the grace of God free and independent to all ? or may concern and especially to Reuamy Ashley, Lewis Ashley and Alden Ashley of the town of Chatham, Columbia County, NY; Nelson Ashley of ?, Winnebago County, ?; Betsey Mosher, wife of Caleb Mosher, and Albania Roberts, wife of James Roberts of Sylvania, ? county, Ohio; Nancy Maria Wickham, wife of Alfred S Wickham of Saint Johnsville, Montgomery County, New York; Paulina J Fredenburgh, wife of James Fredenburgh of Constantia in the county of Oswego, New York; Amy Hasson, wife of James Hasson of ? Goodman Chester in the province of Lower Canada and Smith Reynolds of ?, Berkshire County, in the State of Massachusetts, the widow, next of kin and heirs at law of Alden Ashley, late of said town of Chatham, county of Columbia and state of New York, deceased, send greeting.
Whereas Herman Ashley and Horatio Ashley of the said town of Chatham, who are named as executors in a certain instrument in writing purporting to be the last will and testament of the said Alden Ashley, deceased, and relating to both real and personal estate have applied for proof thereof before the surrogate of our county of Columbia, you are therefore cited and required personally to be and appear (if you shall see ?) before the said surrogate at his office in the city of Hudson, on the 10th day of November next, at 10 o’clock in the forenoon of that day, then and there to attend the probate of said will.
In testimony whereof, we have caused the seal of office of our said surrogate to be hereupon affixed. Witness Robert B ? Esquire, surrogate of our said county of Columbia at Hudson, the 20th day of September in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and fifty-six.
R B Monell, Surrogate
Three of Alden’s children are not listed in the probate notice because they died prior to 1856: Alvania died in 1832, Caroline in 1835 and Mary Ann in 1849. And the notice lists Herman Ashley as one of the executors; the name should be German, not Herman.
Ashleys of America was a quarterly newsletter published by the family association of the same name. Ashleys of America, Inc. was founded on 29 Aug 1970 at the Scotland Trinitarian Congregational church in Bridgewater, Massachusetts.
The purpose of the Association was, “to collect, preserve and publish about the Ashley family in America“.
This is an article from Vol II, No. 3 of the Ashleys in America newsletter that was published in April of 1972:
I put together the information that’s in the probate notice along with the article in the Ashleys of America newsletter, and added the research that I did on Ancestry and other websites, and this is what I’ve learned about the children of Alden and Rheuamy Green Ashley:
- Albania Ashley (b: 18 Dec 1807); married James Roberts
- Alvania Ashley (b: 12 Aug 1809)
- Betsey Ashley (b: 21 Jul 1811); married Caleb Mosher
- Caroline Ashley (b: 15 May 1813); married Alanson Reynolds
- Amy Ashley (b: 13 Nov 1814); married James Hasson
- Lewis Ashley (b: 31 Oct 1816); married Dorcas Dorothy (maiden name unknown)
- German Ashley (b: 20 Aug 1818); married Sarah Ann Shufelt
- Alden Ashley (b: 25 Jul 1821); married Cornelia Cornwell
- Nelson Green Ashley (b: 21 Jul 1823); married Catherine B. Vanvalkenburg
- Nancy Mariah Ashley (b: 1 Apr 1825); married Alfred S Wickham – my great, great, great grandparents
- Perlina “Jane” Ashley (b: 1 Jul 1827); married James P. Fredenberg
- Horatio R Ashley (b: about 1829); married Ann Rice
- Almira Ashley (b: about 1830) – not listed in Ashleys of America but is living with Alden and Rheuamy in the 1850 census
- Mary Ann Ashley (b: 21 Jan 1834); died in 1849
- Floralle R Ashley (b: ???) – listed in the Ashleys of America article but not in the probate notice. I couldn’t find any family trees or documents on Ancestry or other websites.
From these and other resources, I can trace my Ashley ancestors back to Joseph Ashley who was born on 11 Jan 1675 in Rochester, Plymouth, Massachusetts. My next blog will be about Joseph and his family.