Wednesday, June 29, 2011

All’s Well That’s Studwell

After following so many Pennsylvania German lines, I’m heading back to New England to follow the Studwells, with a brief stop in New York first.

My maternal side has some deep roots in the US.  I had already traced the Gaskill line back to colonial New England, so it’s no surprise to find a Gaskill married to someone with New England roots.  Wilder Gaskill first married Lucy (last name unknown), but it was his second wife, Mary Studwell, who gave birth to my great-great-grandfather, James.  I lucked out that I had a surname to follow.

As it turns out, there’s already been quite a bit of research done on the Studwell family.  Like, the Gaskills, they were a prominent, early, New England family.  Mary was born in 1773 in Greenwich, CT, but, along with her father, Gabriel, and extended family, she later moved to New York. 

Specifically, the Studwells moved to Cayuga County about the same time the county was formed--1799.  In a coincidence, shortly thereafter, it’s likely the Murrays from my paternal side would have been settling there also.  I’ve traced the Murrays back to my 2x great-grandfather’s birth in Cayuga County in 1812.  I’m sure the population was small, but I doubt if the families knew each other.  The Studwells were landowners in Cayuga County and, well, the Murrays were not.  The Murrays were more likely to have been laborers on the Erie Canal.

But back to the Studwells—The Studwells received land grants after the Revolutionary War, hence the move to NY.  I've seen references to Gabriel receiving a Revolutionary War land grant and found references to his service, but he’s not in the DAR database and a few other reliable places I checked.  I think it's more likely that one of his brothers, Henry or Anthony, received the grant.  I need to do some more research in this area to see what I might be able to dig up in military records.  At any rate, Gabriel can be found in the 1800 an 1820 census records in Cayuga County.  He died in Genoa, NY in 1831.

The 1790 census, consistent with the wealth of information I found online and found in several family genealogies, puts Gabriel in Connecticut.  In transcriptions of Connecticut records, there are wills, real estate transactions, etc, that reference the Studwells in Fairfield County, CT.  Gabriel was born about 1734 to Thomas and Jemima (last name unknown). They lived in Greenwich where they were landowners.

Thomas, born about 1671, was the youngest of two sons of Thomas Studwell and Martha (last name unknown).  Thomas senior, in turn, was the son of Joseph Stedwell (born around 1645) and Mary Lyon.  Details in the records suggest a very high probability he is the Joseph Studwell who was the son of the immigrant Thomas Studwell, although there is not a definitive connection. 

So, here we are already at the end of this trail with our immigrant Thomas, born in England around 1620, in Connecticut no later than 1656 (possibly arriving via Virginia), and who later helped establish Rye, NY.  I found this article about the founders of Rye, but I wasn't sure about how (or what) sources were used.  Nevertheless, I was particularly interested in the statement that Thomas sometimes spelled his name Stedwell.  

Maybe a NEHGS membership is in my future.


  1. Were your Gaskills from Salem, Massachusetts. My ancestry goes back far in Salem and Beverly, Mass- in fact, I was born in Beverly. There was a Samuel Gaskill who married Provided Southwick in 1662 (my 8x great aunt). Lots of Gaskills still live in this area.

  2. My grandmother was a Gaskill (PA->NY->NH->RI->MA) and we go back to Samuel & Provided. Also, I saw your old post on the Southwicks. When I get to my Southwick post, I figure I'll just have a link to your post. I won't need to write anything!