Tuesday, March 28, 2017

William AXTELL 1587-1638 Berkhamstead, Hertford, England

William AXTELL is my ex-husband's 9th great-grandfather [in his mother's RICE lines], our children's 10th great-grandfather. He is the father of Thomas AXTELL, the immigrant from England to New England, who arrived in Massachusetts colony before 1642.

William was born aproximately 1587 in or around Berkhamstead in Hertfordshire, although I have not seen a record of his christening, nor of his marriage details. Axtell Genealogy online suggests his father was John Axtell, son of John Axtell. However, I have yet not seen proof of these statements.
Photo of Town Hall is by Robert Stainforth.

Much of my information on the AXTELL family has come from the online details of The Axtell Family Organization, referencing articles in NEHGS Register in various years. Note: many past archived copies of the Register are available both on paid sites [NEHGS] and free sites. Additional details are from early Massachusetts records.

The AXTELL surname (with many spelling variants) comes from Old Norse language, click for more explanation on this origin. There were few Axtells living in Berkhamstead during this early time, as far as I have found. William AXTELL is up at the tip of my research, and there are fewer likely documents and records for such individuals.

William apparently married Thomasine CUTLER about 1610-1612. A Thomasin Cutler, daughter of "Jhon Cutler" was baptised November 9th, 1589 in Lexden, Essex, the county to the east of Hertfordshire. She is not confirmed as the correct wife of William, but is certainly a possible clue to follow up.

William and Thomasine had the following children, baptised at St Peter church in Berkhamstead [image on right], daughters' dates are not proven:
   1.  John, b. abt 1614
   2.  William, bap 1 Dec 1616
   3.  Thomas [ancestor], bap 26 Jan 1618/19, bur 8 Mar 1645/6 Sudbury,
             Massachusetts; m. Mary _____, abt 1637 in England; 3 known children
   4.  [Col.] Daniel, bap 26 May 1622, d. 19 Oct 1660 London ['the Regicide']
   5.  Samuell, bap 15 Dec 1624
   6.  Sarah, b. abt 1628
   7.  Jane, b. abt 1630
   8.  Ann, b. abt 1633

I have  not found significant details of the spouses and children of any of the above 8 children except for the direct ancestor, Thomas.

An article in NEHGS 1899, July, by S.J. Axtell, indicates information about "the will of William Axtell, d. 1637, that mentions his wife, Thomasine, and sons John, William, Thomas, Daniel, and Samuel."  This sent me searching for the will, which I found today. I will have to pore over this will, as the language and writing is a bit challenging - see below for the snippet from the first part of the will. I'll be transcribing it as much as I can. The National Archives in England names this the will of
"William Axtell Bargemaster
 of Berkhamstead St Peter, Hertfordshire" 

The will was probated June 1st, 1638. I do not have his actual death date - clearly he would have died at some point after the will was written on 14 November 1637. In addition, I do not have a burial date as yet for his wife, Thomasine, who appears to have outlived him as she is mentioned in his will.

Bluntly, I have little information on him: no birth record, no marriage record, no death/burial record, no history. Simply these few crumbs of possible information to continue searching, perhaps when I get to Salt Lake City this fall. However, his will provides several clues - giving his occupation, plus his children and wife's names.
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If you have any further details or suggestions about William AXTELL or his family, I would love to hear from you; contact through my email address at the very bottom of the blog page.  

Blooger has a glitch which is stopping me from replying to your comments, but please do know that I appreciate your comments very much. You make my day! Thanks so much for stopping by to read my family blog. 


S Hathaway said...


Just today I located the records of "Thomasin CUTLER" of Lexden. I, too, believe she is likely the wife of William AXTELL so very many of us have been searching for.

Thanks so much for adding credence to this possibility that I may have identified my 9th-g-grandmother!


Celia Lewis said...

Cool, S.Hathaway!
It is not proof without more clues linking her to William Axtell - oh to have found a marriage record, eh?? Sigh. Still, it seems highly possible, and worth pursuing more details. Perhaps another will might pop up - such as John Cutler's will naming his daughter Thomasine Axtell! I dream... but there could be such a will.
Happy hunting! - Celia


Family, friends, and others - I hope you enjoy these pages about our ancestors and their lives. Genealogy has become somewhat of an obsession, more than a hobby, and definitely a wonderful mystery to dig into and discover. Enjoy my writing, and contact me at celia.winky at gmail dot com if you have anything to add to the stories. ... Celia Lewis