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James Henry Ellis (bef. 1801 - 1884)

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James Henry Ellis
Born before in Northam, Devon, Englandmap
Ancestors ancestors
Husband of — married before Jun 1826 [location unknown]
Husband of — married 9 Jun 1838 in Prince County, Prince Edward Islandmap
Descendants descendants
Died in Prince Edward Island, Canadamap
Profile manager: Dawn Ellis private message [send private message]
Profile last modified 17 May 2019 | Created 7 Aug 2012
This page has been accessed 622 times.


James was baptised on 22 Mar 1801 in Northan, Devon, England. He is the son of William Ellis[1] and Hannah Tawton. [2][3]

He emigrated to the Island with his parents around 1818. James Ellis was employed in his father's shipyard before he set up his own. He was also a farmer. [4]. His shipyard was described as being on the Bideford shore, not far from his father's original business[5]. A shipyard, in those days, might simply be a place near the water where one ship was built at a time.

His first wife was Jane Ramsay, daughter of a local magistrate John Ramsey, who was called "Justice John". Justice John was a grandson of the first John Ramsey, who emigrated from Scotland around 1770, and who settled in the Port Hill area.

In the PEI Baptismal Index, children listed for James (or Henry) Ellis and Jane were: Agnes (1826), two Mary Anns (1828, 1832), John (1830), Robert (1832), Margaret (1834) and Jane (1837). The place of birth, when given, was New Bideford or Lot 12, and the church was the Church of England in Richmond. [6].

Jane Ramsay Ellis died around 1837, and the widower James married Marion McArthur in June 9, 1838. Children of James and his second wife Marion/Marianne McArthur were: Hannah (1839); Ellen (1842), William (1843); Sarah (1844); James Henry (1846), George (1850); Cornelius Edmund (1852), and Thomas Birch (1854). Marion had a daughter Harriet from a previous relationship with William Lerwell or Warwell.

James was in the 1841 census in Lot 12. 22 years of his 999 year lease had expired. He had a household of 13, all members of the Church of England, and all but one had been born on the Island. There were 3 males under 16 (John and Robert and ?), and 2 between 16 and 45 (James and apprentice?). There were 6 females under 16 (Agnes was 15, Mary Ann, Jane, Hannah, Harriet and ?), and 2 between 16 and 45 (Marion and servant?). [7].

In the 1861 census there were 11 in the household. One married couple (James and Marion); Four boys between 5-15 (Thomas, Cornelius, George and James); one male between 16-21 (?); and 2 males over 60 (James and ?); then 2 females 15-21 (Sarah, Ellen?); one female 21-45 (Hannah) and one female 46-60 (Marion). Robert, age 29 and not yet married, was not living at home, unless the two males over 60 is a mistake and one is Robert.

In the 1881 census James and Marion were living with their son James H. in Lot 13.

James was buried on 29 February 1884 in St. James' Church of England Cemetery, Port Hill. [8] The Summerside Journal said he died at age 83.[9] Marion died in 1905.[10]


  1. Paternal relationship is confirmed through Y-chromosome DNA testing. Thiren Ellis, Robert Ellis, and an anonymous Ellis cousin all match, confirming their direct paternal lines back to their MRCA Robert Ellis.
  2. DCRS Northam Parish Register Transcript, 1538-1836, LDS mfm #0917204, item 2,, p. 237, baptism of James Ellis, transcribed by W. H. Rogers, Esq, Family History Library.
  3. James was baptized as James, and had a younger brother Henry; however, on PEI Baptismal records for his children, his name was given as James or Henry. The Henry could be a mistake; with so many Ellis sons having their children baptized in the same parish mistakes were likely to happen. Note that even when they were in the same household, James was never Sr. and his son Jr.; he was James and his son was James H.
  4. , Past and Present of PEI, McKinnon & Warburton
  5. History of the Ellis Family, Preston Ellis
  6. The church records say Jane Ramsay, but her name was transcribed as June Ramsay on a couple of baptismal records in the PEI Baptismal Index
  7. 1841 Census of PEI, PARO Collections Database. There could be a couple of children missing from the baptismal records, unless the additional young people in the 1841 census for this household were apprentices, servants or other relatives. James had a lease for his property by 1819, and we don't know exactly when he and Jane were married, so there could have been one or two children born before Agnes in 1826. It seems odd that James would not have named his first son William, or that Jane would not have named an earlier daughter Margaret, after her mother. As well, in his second marriage, there was a gap between Hannah and Ellen
  8. Pre-1906 Death Index. St. James Church, Port Hill St. James Cemetery, and personal visit
  9. Summerside Journal April 10 1884 page 3
  10. "Mrs. James Ellis of Northam, relict of the late James Ellis, formerly a prominent shipbuilder at Bideford is seriously ill...Mrs. Ellis is one of the pioneers of Prince County, being almost 100 years." Guardian June 6 1905


Thanks to Elizabeth S for starting this profile.

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It may be possible to confirm family relationships with James by comparing test results with other carriers of his Y-chromosome or his mother's mitochondrial DNA. However, there are no known yDNA or mtDNA test-takers in his direct paternal or maternal line. It is likely that these autosomal DNA test-takers will share DNA with James:

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On 15 Dec 2014 at 06:50 GMT Dawn Ellis wrote:

Ellis-2570 and Ellis-3021 appear to represent the same person because: I believe these are the same. I haven't got to him yet, but the James I have also had a son named John, mother was Jane Ramsay.

James is 22 degrees from Mags Gaulden, 20 degrees from Dennis Wilson and 18 degrees from Henry VIII of England on our single family tree. Login to find your connection.