Axtell Genealogy-- Past Research
The core of published Axtell genealogical research is the following five publications
spaced roughly one generation apart:
- Notes on the Axtell Family, communicated by William S. Appleton, New England
Historical and Genealogical Register, April, 1868, p.143-144. This brief entry
shows the first 3 American generations. "My object in writing this is to call
attention to the fact, that Thomas Axtell may have been a near relative of Daniel Axtell,
the regicide. The latter was born at Berkhampstead in Hertfordshire, in 1622, and a Thomas
Axtill was baptized at St. Peter's in that place, 26 January, 1619. Also, Mary, daughter
of Thomas Axtill, and Mary his wife, were baptized there 23 September, 1639, and Henry,
son of the same parent, 15 October, 1641. The daughter probably died young, but this Henry
may not improbably have been the settler in Marlborough. The name of Axtell is not a
common one, and the use of the Christian name of Daniel in this country would warrant us
in seeking our early emigrant at the home of the regicide." In the same issue (p.
160), W. S. Appleton traces the Merriam family (Hannah Merriam is an ancestor common to
all English-American Axtells ). In the January 1876 issue Notes and Queries, Mr. Appleton
reveals that he is descended from Thomas of Sudbury, and hopes to connect the Taunton
Axtells with the Sudbury settler, but there are no clues how he fits into the family. In
Jan. 1890, he reports, "The connection with this country of the name and family of
Axtell is decidedly interesting." He reports on several early Axtell wills. His last
Axtell contribution to the NEHGR is July 1891, in a reply to his own query he notes that
"Lady" Rebecca Axtell of South Carolina warranted her title because her husband
was a "landgrave" in the Carolina colony (from Daniel the Regicide's lineage).
Axtell researchers owe much to this early, inquisitive relative.
- The Axtell Record: Descendants of Henry Axtell of Morris Co., NJ by Ephraim S.
Axtell. 68p. 1886.
-Reprints available from me for my cost of $4 postpaid. These are 5 1/2 by 8 1/2 folded
and stapled booklets made from photocopies. Email me at email@example.com. The NEHGS
library in Boston also has a copy.
This account starts with "The Axtell Memorial," from material that Rev. Seth J.
Axtell and Rev. Luther Axtell gathered more than 20 years earlier. It follows only the
line that includes Maj. Henry (5-20), but has more narrative--and less flattering
narrative--than the 1945 compilation. For instance, this poem about Luther (5-25) and
Hannah Condit is recorded:
When the children of Israel wanted bread,
The Lord He sent them Manna;
When Luther Axtell wanted a wife,
The Devil sent him Hannah.
The Preface to The Axtell Record (1886):
More than twenty years ago there was an effort made by the Rev. Seth J. Axtell, of West
Medway, Mass., and the Rev. Luther Axtell, of Pike Run, Washington Co., Pa., to collect
material from which to construct an "Axtell Memorial;" it being their intention
to trace each line of the descendants of Thomas Axtell, who was born in England in 1619,
and who came to Mass. about the year 1642, and who they believed to be the progenitor of
all the Axtells in the United States. For this purpose they entered into a correspondence
with every one of the name whose post office address they could ascertain. In order to
facilitate the enterprise, they caused to be printed a circular for distribution,
containing an outline of the "Axtell Genealogy," for four generations, counting
Thomas as the first. One of the circulars coming into the possession of the compiler of
this book, he resolved to commence with the genealogy of his great-grandfather, Major
Henry Axtell (in the 5th generation,) and trace it down, in all its branches, to the
present time. On account of his descendants being scattered into almost every State and
Territory in the Union, and their neglect to answer requests for family records he has
found it a greater task than he anticipated, and one that he has been able to complete in
but few of the branches. He has made the family tree as perfect as the material in his
reach will permit, and he hopes, in a future edition, that those who are interested will
assist him to supply, to some extent, the deficiencies.
MACOMB, MICH., SEPT. 12th, 1885.
- The Axtell Family in America. First Five Generations., by Seth Jones Axtell. New
England Historical and Genealogical Register, April, 1899, p.227-234. This
descendancy follows American Axtells through about 1800. Apparently, this was also
published as a booklet, The Axtell Memorial. Does anyone have a copy?
- Axtell Genealogy, by Carson A. Axtell. Privately printed, 1945. 303p. plus
index. Original 1945 hardcover copies have some photographs; paperback reprints are text
-Reprints available from Clayton M. Axtell, Jr., 700 Security Mutual Bldg.,
80 Exchange Street, Binghamton, NY 13901. Cost is $15.75 or $25.00 for both
this and the 1962 Supplement. Higginson
Book Company has photocopied reprints of the original with photos for
This paternal descendancy with biographical sketches is the most commonly cited source for
American Axtell genealogy. Because it is a secondary source, the information should not be
cited as definitive. There are many known spelling errors in names, for instance. In the
foreword, Carson expresses his indebtedness to Ephraim S. Axtell and Seth J. Axtell. The Gleanings from England and Elsewhere introduction incorporates
much material from the above researchers (and, as a result, is a bit rambling towards the
end). Carson researched the book from 1922 to 1945. It covers 5439 individuals with over
1000 biographical entries. Few families have such a thorough work on which to base further
research. The book has the biases expected for a family history, especially
for a family with deep Puritanical roots like the Axtells. Information tends
to be scant about women and taboo
subjects like out-of-wedlock births. All information in this
book is also available free as a GEDCOM file on this website.
The Preface to Axtell Genealogy (1945):
In presenting this genealogical and biographical history of the Axtell family I wish to
say that but few realize the vast amount of labor and no small expense necessary for its
accomplishment, the hundreds and hundreds of letters, the hours spent in study of the
musty old records of the early generations, in checking of dates, in following down
generation after generation in all its branches and compiling the data in a comprehensive
manner, the writing and re-writing of the copy as additional information was received, the
preparing of the final copy with the proof-reading and corrections.
I first became interested in the Axtell genealogy in general while tracing my own
lineage, finding so little to build on, and thought a complete record should be made. A
search of the genealogical sections of the big libraries of New England, the early home to
the family, produced but little. Using this little as a starting point I followed down to
the present as well as traced back to the beginning.
I am indebted in its preparation to Ephraim S. Axtell for the record of Maj. Henry
Axtell and his descendants; to Rev. Seth J. Axtell for his booklet of the first five
generations in America as well as some of the English background; to Mrs. Sarah L.
(Axtell) Hall for the manuscript of her father, Luther M. Axtell; to H. H. Mundy as well
as numerous booklets and manuscripts generously loaned; also to the fine co-operation of
the individual members of the family at large, particularly to the Rev. Seth J. Axtell,
who compiled much data down to 1900.
I am also indebted to Silas Blake Axtell for his untiring efforts as well as his
financial support, without which the publication of both the Axtell Tercentenary and this
Genealogy would not have been possible.
CARSON A. AXTELL
- Axtell Supplement, by Gladys Axtell Brooks. Privately printed, 1962.
Unnumbered (about 250p.) with index.
Carson's daughter continued her father's work with this update. It's a
"bridge" or "scrapbook" style study, written as if it's
an addendum. It makes little sense if you don't have the 1945 work handy. Included are a few
corrections and several thousand additions. Most of this supplement is vital statistics.
She tended to follow maternal lines down four or five generations, greatly augmenting the
scope of the surname study. She also ran up against the problem of inserting individuals
into a sequentially-numbered genealogy (see Axtell Genealogy
Numbering System). There is currently no consolidated index for the 1945 Genealogy and
Supplement, but I'm working towards it.
Other publications of interest to Axtell researchers:
- New England Historical and Genealogical Register. A quarterly started 1846 by the
New England Historic Genealogical Society (To:
NEHGS Website). I have photocopies of all mentions of Axtell (about 60 pages)
and will provide copies to Axtell researchers (To:
List of references to "Axtell" in the NEHGR).
- Axtell Tercentary: 1643 - 1943. 6" x 9", string-bound. This booklet by
Carson A. Axtell has his "Gleanings from England and
Elsewhere" introduction, his biography of Thomas Axtell, and a chart of the first
6 generations of American Axtell men. There are several photographs that are also in the
1945 Genealogy. The print of Daniel Axtell, Regicide and the Axtell Coat-of-Arms
reproduced at this website came from this booklet. [Note: At the time of publication, 1643
was thought to be the Axtell's arrival year because of a recorded land transaction
involving Thomas in Sudbury. By 1952, the commonly accepted arrival year was 1642,
possibly because of information in Hudson's History of Sudbury.]
- The Axtell Heritage. (1952 Reunion Booklet, 23 p.) "An Address by Silas B. Axtell,
Hon. President of the Axtell Family Organization, and Remarks of Paul H. Axtell--given at
the Dinner in honor of Mr. And Mrs. Carson Augustus Axtell at the Second Quintennial
Meeting, August 22, 23 and 24, 1952, at Longfellow's famous Wayside Inn, restored by Henry
Ford, at South Sudbury, Massachusetts." (To:
Text of Silas B. Axtell's Address) In his address, Silas discusses the English
heritage of Axtells and speculates about a possible connection back to 1327. Note: The
speech (in the Conclusion) says that the monk, Johannes Axstyl, was William's father, but
their dates are too far apart for that scenario to be reasonable. Paul H. Axtell lists
some notable Axtells. There is a picture of the 1947 reunion, a list of Revolutionary War
soldiers, and biographies with photos of AFO officers.
- Hudson's History of Marlborough (MA) with a short account of the descendants of
- History of Sudbury by Alfred S. Hudson (1889). Recorded here is the arrival of
Thomas Axtell in 1642. Occasionally, you may see the arrival date erroneously as 1643
because that is the year that Thomas first acquired land in Sudbury (from Edmund Rice).
- Puritan Village: The Formation of a New England Town by Sumner Chilton Powell.
Wesleyan Univ. Press 1963 5 1/2"x8" 215 pp. ISBN 0-8195-6014-6. A scholarly work
that is not easy to read, but full of detail about life in Sudbury when Thomas and Mary
first immigrated. Axtells are mentioned several times. Documented here is that William
Axtell served as Mayor of Berkhamstead about 1638 and as town clerk in 1639. (To: Review of Puritan Village for Axtell
- New England's Generation: The Great Migration and the Formation of Society and
Culture in the Seventeenth Century by Virginia DeJohn Anderson. Cambridge Univ. Press
1991 6"x9" 242 pp. ISBN (paper) 0-521-44764-X. I haven't seen this book,
but it gets cited as a good indication of life in 17th century New England and should be
good to get a sense of why early settlers left England and how they lived once they
- History of Morris Co. (NJ) --cited in the Axtell Record (1886).
- History of Hertfordshire, England by Chauncey. -mentioned in The Axtell Record as
the source showing that "John Akstyle" signed his monastery over to Henry VIII
- Into the wilderness : Axtell, Condit, Dilley, and our allied ancestors by V.
Winthrop O'Hara. 1954
Pages: 14, 4, 5 leaves ; 32 cm.
Library of Congress Call # CS71.O375 1954; Dewey Class # 929'.2'0973
The main subject of this booklet is the O'Hara genealogy. I haven't seen this book. It is
available at the Minnesota Historical Society.
- More about the Axtells : Augustus Elbridge and his descendants by Helene A.
Corbett & Gretchen L. Defabaugh (1989).
Also, More about the Axtells : Augustus Elbridge and his descendants : supplement #1
These are available at the Minnesota Historic Society. I haven't seen them. Augustus
Elbridge Axtell (7-208) lived 1822-1907 in Ohio.
- Who Begot Thee? Some Genealogical and Historical Notes made in the effort to trace
the American progenitors of one individual living in America in 1903. By Gilbert O.
Bent. Boston. Printed for Private Distribution. 78 p. 1903.
This book is listed in the Book Notices of the July 1903 NEHGR. "This genealogy
begins with John Bent, 1596-1672, who 'became one of the founders of the town of Sudbury
in the Massachusetts Bay Colony.'" Axtell is one of 54 progenitors listed. I have not
seen this book.
- Genealogy of the Daniel Dod Family (1615-1940) --information about our Dodd
- Cory Genealogy --Lineal ancestors of Captain James Cory and of his descendants.
Privately printed. 1937.
This is listed under Recent Books in the Oct. 1938 NEHGR. Rhoda Axtell (6-40) b.
1775 was his mother.
- The Dictionary of Surnames by Hanks and Hodges, Oxford Press, 1988.
This gives the progression Asketill -> Asktill -> Akstill -> Akstell ->
Axtell. See Research on the Origins of Axtell.
- Bardsley's Dictionary of British and Welsh Surnames, 1901. This may be Silas B.'s
source for a Ralph Axcil about 1327 in his speech The Axtell
- Corbett's State Trials -mentioned in The Axtell Record as the source of Daniel
the Regicide's capital trial information and his pre-execution prayer.
In the Jan. 1906 NEHGR, Cyrus R. Axtell (son of Seth J.) is listed under Genealogies
in Preparation, but apparently nothing was published from his effort.
Please help update this list with any publications you know of.
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