Was Edward Starbuck from Derbyshire? Part 3

Image from Pixabay

Many Starbuck family historians and New England researchers believed Edward Starbuck came from Derbyshire, but no original record has been found to prove that. There is an excellent possibility for his baptism in the parish records of Derby in February 1603/4, but with church records in other Starbucky Territory locations such as Sawley starting long after Edward’s birth year it’s impossible to be sure the Derby baptism belongs to him.[1] However, corroborating evidence from DNA testing shows that Edward was from Derbyshire, or nearby, which strengthens the possibility the Derby baptism belongs to him.  

Types of DNA Tests

atDNA: The DNA kits available from Ancestry, 23 & Me and other companies test autosomal-DNA, often abbreviated atDNA. This type of DNA helps us find close-ish relatives, up to approximately fifth or sixth cousins. Genealogical relationships beyond that are difficult to prove with autosomal DNA testing alone.[2] These tests might be able to identify a common ancestor who was born about 200 years ago but that doesn’t get us back into the 1600s.

Y-DNA: What does get us back far enough is Y-DNA testing. This is for paternal (surname) lines only because it tests the Y chromosome. All males inherit it, often unchanged, from their fathers.[3] For additional details on Y-DNA see A Little More on DNA.

Testing Starbuck Men

We used Y-DNA tests from four Starbuck men for our analysis.[4] Testers A and B are descendants of Edward Starbuck. They were born in the United States. Testers C and D were born in England. The following table lists each tester, their genetic distance from Tester A and approximately how many generations might be between them and their common ancestor.[5] The total genetic distance for tester D is broken down between faster changing markers (f) and slower changing markers (s). The faster changing ones are expected to mutate more rapidly and may change within a generation or two. Slower markers might pass unchanged for centuries. Where and when each tester’s last known paper trail Starbuck ancestor lived is also included.[6]

TesterGenetic distance to Tester AApproximate number of generations to common ancestor with ATime and location of most distantly identified Starbuck ancestor
A00Edward Starbuck (1603/04-1690/91)[7]
B1 (DYS 513)6-12Edward Starbuck (1603/04-1690/91)[8]
C2 (DYS 513 & 712)8-18Joseph Starbuck born approximately 1687 and died 3 Dec 1740 in Hose, Leicestershire[9]
D3 (f)& 2 (s) = 5 (DYS 391, 513, Y-GATA-A 10 and DYS 385 & 449)12-24William Starbuck born approximately 1610 and died in Shottle, Derbyshire. Bur 12 Feb 1673/4 in Duffield, Derbyshire.[10]

Testers A and B are clearly a close genetic match. Though their common ancestor isn’t known, they are so close genetically they must both be descendants of Edward and his son, Nathaniel, the only male in Edward’s family who survived to adulthood. Testers A and B may also have a grandchild or great-grandchild of Edward’s in common.

Tester C was born in the UK and traced his ancestry back to Joseph Starbuck of Hose, Leicestershire. Hose is very close to Starbucky Territory, approximately twenty-five miles away from Sawley, Derbyshire which is a significant area for Starbucks. Tester D’s most distant identified ancestor was also from near Starbucky Territory. His death place, Duffield parish, is approximately twenty miles from Sawley. The ancestors of Testers C and D lived near each other in the 1600s and very close to Edward Starbuck’s likely origin.  

There is no question the Starbuck line which moved over into Leicestershire and the one which moved to Duffield are connected to Edward Starbuck. Not only did the most distantly identified ancestors of Testers C and D live near Edward’s origin, but each of the men tested were all in haplogroup R-M198, which is uncommon in England. For men in a rare haplogroup to share a surname, have close genetic distance, and have ancestors from the same area, there is no doubt they share common ancestors and ancestral locations.


Y-DNA testing has added to the evidence that Edward Starbuck was from the area of England we’ve labeled Starbucky Territory. Not only is the Starbuck surname concentrated there more heavily in the 1500s and 1600s than any other area that has been searched, but many past researchers believed Edward was from that part of England. Y-DNA evidence has shown Edward was closely related to branches of the Starbuck family which never left England and can trace their ancestry back to the same Starbucky Territory.

Only one baptism at the right time and in the right area has been found for an Edward Starbuck. His baptism on 27 Feb 1603/4, as the son of Edward Starbuck, is a near perfect match for Edward’s stated age at death, 86 years, on 4 February 1690/91 on the island of Nantucket.[11] It is logical to accept this baptism as that of the immigrant Edward Starbuck.

What’s more…

One Starbuck researcher, Charles Banks, was very interested in William Starbuck events in Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire. It is unknown whether he and other early researchers knew about the existence of a potential brother of Edward Starbuck named William, but his interest in that given name may be an indication. A William Starbuck was also baptized in Derby-All Saints, on 7 June 1607.[12] While it’s possible this William is the earliest identified ancestor of Tester D, there is no way to be certain of that relationship.

An Edward Starbuck appeared in the Nottingham records in the 1620s, but by the mid-1630s no trace of any Edward was found anywhere in Starbucky Territory. No burial record for an Edward baptized about 1604 has been found at any date up to 1700 in or near Derby, Sawley and Dracott, or Nottingham. Unless the Edward baptized in Derby died young without any burial record it is likely he died elsewhere.

There is a 1631 record in Derby-St Peter parish for the baptism of a Sara, a daughter of Edward (originally designated a daughter of William, which was crossed out and rewritten Edward).[13] She is the right age to be the daughter of the immigrant Edward Starbuck. This event is the last time a record was made within Starbucky Territory on an Edward Starbuck. Sara’s baptism was not long before Edward’s immigration in 1638.

Many early researchers believed Edward Starbuck was from Derbyshire, and the papers of Charles Banks show he thought Edward came from the very specific area we call Starbucky Territory. Y-DNA evidence points to that same place. Though no original record exists to prove Edward’s origin was Derby, there is enough support for that supposition that subsequent research on English Starbucks centered on Starbucky Territory. 

[1] “England, Derbyshire, Church of England Parish Registers, 1537-1918,” database with images, Family Search (www.familysearch.org : 22 July 2022), February 1603/4, Edward Starbuck.

[2] ISOGG Wiki, “Autosomal DNA,” rev. 22:09, 21 October 2020.

[3] Blaine T. Bettinger, The Family Tree Guide to DNA Testing and Genetic Genealogy (New York, New York: Family Tree Books, 2019), 93.

[4] Thank you to Jeanette Van Norden, the administrator of the Huffman/Starbuck Project who accepted DNA results from our testers. Group members can see the charted STR markers (DYS numbers) on the website. FamilyTreeDNA.com, familytreedna.com (https://www.familytreedna.com/public/HuffmanStarbuckProject/default.aspx?section=ycolorized : accessed 15 November 2022), Huffman/Starbuck project.

[5] These numbers are derived from Family Tree DNA’s TiP (Time Predictor) feature. For each tester, the generations which fall between 90 and 100 percent are listed. They were all at the 100% guaranteed to be related at greater numbers of generations, but we are after how recent the most common ancestor may have lived, not how far back the relationship is guaranteed.

[6] FamilyTreeDNA.com, familytreedna.com (https://www.familytreedna.com/public/HuffmanStarbuckProject/default.aspx?section=ycolorized : accessed 15 November 2022), Huffman/Starbuck project

[7] Information relayed by Tester A who remains anonymous.

[8] Information relayed by close relative of Tester B who remains anonymous.

[9] Archdeaconry of Leicester, Leicestershire, England housed in the Leicestershire Record Office, in Wigston Magna, Leicestershire, Will of Joseph Starbuck of Hose, Leicestershire, 1741; Leics RO ref: 1741 (A-S) accessed 6 Jan 2022.

[10] Professionally researched Starbuck line contracted by Tester D who remains anonymous. Burial of William Starbuck: “England, Derbyshire, Church of England Parish Registers, 1537-1918,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org : accessed 19 October 2020), Willm Starbucke, 12 Feb 1673; citing Burial, Duffield, Duffield, Derbyshire, England, Derbyshire Record Office, England; FHL microfilm 1,041,428.

[11] “England, Derbyshire, Church of England Parish Registers, 1537-1918,” database with images, Family Search (www.familysearch.org : accessed 12 May 2014), Edward Starbuck baptized Feb 1603/4.

Nantucket, Nantucket, Massachusetts, Births, marriages, intentions of marriage, publishments, and deaths, ca 1662-1835: death of Edward Starbuck, 4 Feb 1690/91, FHL film 906,220, item 1; digital image 10/257, Family Search (www.familysearch.org : accessed 24 February 2022). Also in FHL collection of Massachusetts Town Clerk, Vital & Town Records. 

[12] “England, Derbyshire, Church of England Parish Registers, 1537-1918,” database with images, Family Search (www.familysearch.org : 22 July 2022), William Starbuck, 7 June 1607.

[13] “Derbyshire, England, Church of England Baptisms, Marriages, and Burials, 1538-1812,” database with images, Ancestry (www.ancestry.com : 22 July 2022), Sarah Starbuck, 21 March 1631.

Author: ancestorquests

I'm Keri-Lynn, an "amateur professional" genealogist. I have a degree in Family History and have researching my family lines for many years.