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Possible Origins and Ancestry of Mathew Stanley of Topsfield, Massachusetts Bay Colony

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Possible Origins and Ancestry of Mathew Stanley of Topsfield, Massachusetts Bay Colony

There are several theories on the origins of Matthew Stanley (died 1686). Some suggest Matthew is related to the Hartford Stanleys (which seems unlikely). Possibly he was indentured (hired out) at about 16 which was fitting for the times that Matthew of Topsfield and George of Beverly are related to Christopher of Boston who d. in 1646. In Daggett's account of Attleaboro, MA, a Matthew Stanley of Martha's Vineyard who later settled at Topsfield is mentioned. The Saugus iron Works was staffed by persons from Middlesex. An Edmund Chapman settled at Marblehead, MA in the 1640's. An Edmund Chapman and his servant Matthew Stanley of Middlesex, England were pardoned by Charles.

Research Notes

Research notes by Stephen Stanley (Summary of Feb. 2018):


Mathew Stanley/Standley was born c. 1628 in England. His birthplace and parentage, have not been proven, although undocumented theories abound. The most frequently cited, attribute his parentage to the John Stanley Family of Ashford, or Tenderden, Kent, and Hartford Connecticut. NO evidence of a connection between the Connecticut and Massachusetts Stanleys has ever been produced. In fact, it has been claimed that the IGI records of the two English 17th C. immigrant Stanley families, were conflated, and then, widely replicated, online, to this day.

The Thames River district of Stepney, Middlesex, England has also been proposed, from the Staneley family, of mariners of Limehouse, and from the 1627 marriage of a Matthew Staneley (b.1608), mariner, and Ursula Dorrell/Darrell? of nearby Ratcliffe, at St. Dunstan's Parish, Stepney. No baptismal record exists for a younger Matthew, in Stepney, born to the senior Matthew and Ursula Dorrell Staneley. An East Ham, Essex England origin has also been proposed.


1. There is a baptismal record for a Mathew Staneley/Staveley? born to John Stanley/Staveley, in 1623/24, in the Briggate district of Leeds, at St. Peter's Parish, West Yorkshire.

2. There is also a Probate record of a Margery Staneley, widow of Vicar Leonard Staneley, of Pettistree, Suffolk, in 1621, leaving her bequest to her grandson, Mathew Staneley, "...when 17, if he live." The father of this Mathew, is John Staneley b.1583, to Vicar Leonard and Margery, in Aldringham, Suffolk. No further Suffolk records on this John have been found, and no definite proof that this John, and the father John of Mathew Staneley born in Stepney, in 1608, are the same.

3. There was also a Mathew Staneley of St. Giles Cripplegate, who died in 1626, a servant of Barrister Augustine Garland, with no proven connection to the Matthew b, 1608, of Stepney. In fact there are two more Matthew Stanley/Standleys, of that time, in the London/Middlesex area.

4. There is recorded in the Calendar of State Papers, aMathew Standley, servant to Edmund Chapman, Esq., of the "King's Household," in 1640. He and his servant Mathew Stanley, were charged with assault, in a Middlesex Coroner's Inquistion, and subsequently acquitted, by the King's Secretary, Sir Francis Windebank, not long before the onset of the English Civil War. Edmund Chapman, of East Greenwich, Kent, kept the King's Armoury there, and was the grandson of the Royal Shipbuilder, Richard Chapman, of Deptford, Kent. Edmund Chapman was also married to Amie/Ann/Amy Brett, daughter of Thomas Brett Esq. of Terling Essex, also related to, and benefactor of, William Pynchon, prominant early settler of the Massachusetts Bay Colony.

5. There is also a Matthew Stanley, who married an Elizabeth Wilson, at St. Olave's Southwark, in 1647.

6. Finally, there is an attestation in the Daggett Family History of Attleboro MA, that there was an immigrant Matthew Stanley, who, it is said, came from England to settle early on the island of Martha's Vineyard, in the 1640's. Source records for the Daggett History have been recently discovered, and are being cataloged, at the time of this writing.


The several Matthew/Mathew Stanley/Staveley/Standleys of early-to-mid-17th C. England, are thus numerous in the historical records, and not easily distinguished as the same individual, or even members of the same Stanley Line, much less the same as our Massachusetts immigrant ancestor, Mathew Stanley/Standley (1628?-1686), of early Salem and later, Tospfield, Massachusetts.

Those Matthew Stanleys cited above, provide clues, even theories, of origin and parentage, of the Mathew Stanley Line of Massachusetts. Future English Stanley DNA testing may shed some further light on our Mathew's geographical origins. (My own Ancestry and Family Tree Stanley DNA profiles have been posted online, to enable genetic comparisons.)


This list was copied from Mathew Stanley's profile.

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