Skip to main content

European and Early American Historical Roots of my Brother-in-Law

Paul has been doing genealogy research since 2016. He has known ancestors from Germany, Austria, and Switzerland.

My Brother-in-Law John Ackley

John Ackley and my sister Connie; picture was taken in 2002.

John Ackley and my sister Connie; picture was taken in 2002.

Researching my Brother-in-Law's Genealogy

John Ackley is my brother-in-law. He is the husband of my sister Connie Kuehn. I have known John since he married my sister in November 2002.

John is from Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, but he has been residing with my sister in the Burlington area since 2002.

Since 2016, I have been researching my brother-in-law's genealogy with the assistance of What I have discovered is fascinating! John has interesting paternal ancestors who lived in England during the 15th, 16th, and 17th centuries.

In the 17th century, his paternal ancestors emigrated to Connecticut in the present United States. Later, his great-grandfathers served in the Revolutionary War, the War of 1812, and the Civil War.

In this article, with the aid of records, I highlight the European and early American historical roots of my brother-in-law John Ackley.

Interesting Historical European Roots of John Ackley

My genealogy research of John Ackley on revealed that my brother-in-law has extremely interesting European roots.

Most of John's ancestors are from England and Ireland. He does, however, also have ancestors from France, Switzerland, Italy, and the Netherlands.

I have found that all of John's interesting historical ancestors have his paternal great-grandmother Cynthia Scull (1850-1907) as a descendant.

Some of my brother-in-law's interesting historical ancestors include

  1. Admiral Sir George Somers — the discoverer of Bermuda
  2. Sir William Somers — court jester to Henry VIII
  3. Sir Anthony Poyntz — great-grandfather of Sir Isaac Newton
  4. Lady Elisabeth Braye — goddaughter of Elizabeth I

1. Admiral Sir George Somers (1554–1610)

Admiral Sir George Somers is the 8th great-grandfather of John Ackley. Somers was born at Lyme Regis, Dorsetshire, England in 1554 and died in Bermuda in 1610.

According to the Virginia Biographical Encyclopedia, Somers took no active part in American colonial affairs until 1609 when he sailed with Sir Thomas Gates and Captain Newport in the expedition of that year.

At that time, Somers had already distinguished himself in the military and naval service. He commanded many expeditions and in 1595 accompanied Captain Amias Preston to the West Indies.

Sir George Somers was knighted at White Hall on July 23, 1603, as a reward for his services. He also represented Lyme Regis in Parliament for many years.

Somers was appointed admiral for the American colony and was on the Sea Adventure to take command when his vessel was cast away in a storm. He was the first on the ship to sight land before the vessel landed in Bermuda. He stayed in Bermuda while two vessels were built to travel to Virginia. After arriving in Virginia, Somers saw starving colonists before returning to Bermuda for supplies. Somers encountered another storm before arriving in Bermuda where he died on November 9, 1610.

2. Sir William Somers (1475–1560)

Sir William Somers is the 11th great-grandfather of John Ackley. He was born in 1475 in Shropshire, England, and died on June 15, 1560, in Shoreditch, Somerset, England.

Sir William Somers was a court jester to King Henry VIII. He is believed to be unmarried but had a son, Johane/John Somers born in 1500 in Kent, England.

A Royal Court Jester

A royal court jester who entertained the King's guests

A royal court jester who entertained the King's guests

3. Sir Anthony Poyntz (1480-1544)

Sir Anthony Poyntz is the 13th great-grandfather of John Ackley. He was born in 1480 in Iron Acton, Gloucestershire, England, and died November 29, 1544, in Devon England.

Sir Anthony Poyntz was the Sheriff of Iron Acton, an English diplomat, and a naval commander. He was also the great-grandfather of Sir Isaac Newton.

Sir Isaac Newton

Sir Isaac Newton was an English mathematician who discovered gravity.

Sir Isaac Newton was an English mathematician who discovered gravity.

4. Lady Elisabeth Braye (1513-1574)

Lady Elisabeth Braye is the 12th great-grandmother of John Ackley. She was born in 1513 in Eaton Bray, Bedfordshire, England, and died in 1574 in Hertfordshire, England. Lady Elisabeth was the goddaughter of Queen Elizabeth I, the Tudor Queen of England.

Lady Elisabeth Braye's father (1500-1539) was the 1st Lord Bray and Sheriff of Bedfordshire, Surrey, and Sussex.

Queen Elizabeth I The Tutor Queen of England

Queen Elizabeth I

Queen Elizabeth I

Historical Early American Roots of John Ackley

According to an record, DNA evidence suggests that my brother-in-law's early American paternal great-grandfathers are descendants of Nicholas Ackley who emigrated to Connecticut from England in the 1600s.

Three of John Ackley's great-grandfathers who played a part in early American history include:

  1. John Nelson Ackley (1726-1787)
  2. William Ackley (1760-1840)
  3. Joseph Ackley (1846-1932)

1. John Nelson Ackley (1726-1787)

John Nelson Ackley is my brother-in-law's fifth great-grandfather. He was born to an unknown mother and father on February 1, 1726, in Cheltenham, Montgomery, Pennsylvania.

Based on the Pennsylvania, United States Marriage Records 1700-1821, John Nelson Ackley married Elizabeth Lowzley on June 28, 1757. They had five sons and one daughter.

Ackley was a Quaker. U.S. Quaker Meeting Records 1681-1935 reveal that he attended a Philadelphia monthly meeting on January 29, 1778.

U.S. Revolutionary War Rolls 1775-1783 showed that John Nelson Ackley served as a private during the war. In October 1778, he is listed as being a member of the Poor's Regiment of Militia in Massachusetts.

John Nelson Ackley died in 1787. Pennsylvania and New Jersey Church and Town Records 1669-2013 record Ackley being buried in Philadelphia.

2. William Ackley (1760-1840)

William Ackley is the 4th great-grandfather of my brother-in-law. He was born on March 20, 1760, in New Jersey.

According to the U.S. Army, Register of Enlistments 1798-1914, William Ackley enlisted in the Army in 1813. He most probably saw action in the War of 1812 that lasted until 1815.

It is unknown how many children William Ackley had.

3. Joseph R. Ackley (1846–1932)

Joseph R. Ackley is the first great-grandfather of my brother-in-law. He was born in New Jersey on April 25, 1846. In 1866, Joseph Ackley married Cynthia Scull.

According to an entry by rbpspenser on, Joseph Ackley was a Civil War veteran who served in Company D of the 26th Infantry. In 1862, he enlisted as a private.

While in the Army, Joseph Ackley was attached to the 2nd Brigade, 2nd Division, 6th Army Corps of the Army of Potomac. He saw action in the Battle of Fredericksburg, Virginia, from October 31 through November 19, 1862. Ackley was also in the Chancellorsville Campaign from April 27 through May 6, 1863.

After his discharge from the Army on June 27, 1863, Joseph Ackley lived in New Jersey in the 1870s and was an engineer in a sawmill in Delaware in 1880. In 1905, Ackley was a member of the Tabernacle M.E. Church in Camden, New Jersey. Joseph Ackley died in Camden on June 13, 1932.

Joseph Ackley's son, George Ackley (1868-1928) is my brother-in-law's grandfather. His father is Arnold Joseph Ackley (1910-1999.)

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2022 Paul Richard Kuehn