Casto Genealogy 101

There is a lot of misinformation about the Casto family on the internet so I thought there should be one place to put down what is known and what is not known about their origins and various branches.  Many times one piece of bad information is copied, shared, re-posted, and included in family trees with no other sourcing other than another “Ancestry family tree”.  I recently came across one error and found it in over 250 trees on Ancestry.  Not a single one listed a source other than another Ancestry family tree.   IF YOU HAVE A RELIABLE SOURCE THAT CONTRADICTS ANY OF THE STATEMENTS BELOW, PLEASE SHARE IT WITH ME!  Email:

What we know and how we know it:

1. The Casto name was originally Costello.  (Y-chromosome tests connect us to the Costello family in Ireland plus early New Jersey records have the “lo” ending.  The family came from Ireland).

2. The earliest documented Casto was William Casto who married Elizabeth Abbott in the early 1700’s.  He “quitclaimed” her land at Alloways Creek in 1714 (formal renunciation of any claim to it) and purchased 63 1/2 acres in 1733 (when his supposed sons, William & David, would have been too young to purchase land).  [source: early NJ records]

3. There are two main branches of the Casto family in America—descendants of DAVID, who was the “father” of ALL the West Virginia lines  and descendants of WILLIAM, whose family moved from New Jersey to western states such as Utah.  William’s descendants were early members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (Mormons).  The Y-chromosome test mentioned above shows that David and William were very close relations, either brothers or first cousins.  There is no documented evidence to show they are the sons of William Casto who married Elizabeth Abbott but given the location and lack of any other male Castos found in New Jersey at that time period, it is assumed they are.

4. There is a lot of confusion about Azariah Casto.  He was a real person but he was not the first Casto in America in 1696, nor was he the father or grandfather of William and David Casto.  (Azariah was the son of William Casto (1717-1778) and his first wife, Purthenia Purple (William Casto’s bible lists his children).

5. David Casto was the “father” of the West Virginia branch of the Casto family.  There is no documentation providing a birth date for him or a death date.  The best “guess” is 1721-1770.  Why do I say that?  A) There is a record of his marriage to Phoebe Gandy in Cape May Co., New Jersey in August of 1752.  B) The birthdates of his children    C) Stories that indicate both he and his wife died around 1770 and his orphaned children were raised by various other families.

6. William Casto (1717-1778) left a will and bible which listed his wives and children.  There are hundreds of trees online that list his name as “William C. Casto” – this is incorrect.  There are several thousand that list his father was William Azariah Casto which is also not supported by any documentation whatsoever.

An Example of a BAD Tree:

The reason we list sources is so that other researchers can verify the information we are sharing.  An example of bad information:  one tree I recently looked at (screenshot below) had William’s name as “William C”, listed his parents as Azariah & Hannah (Golden) Casto, and listed a source for his death as  the Winchester Virginia National Cemetery.  Let’s address all the errors:

1. If you click on the source links, the first one (AGBI) lists a book with a specific page for a David Casto.  I looked it up—the book exists but there is no mention of a Casto family anywhere in it. 

2. The Winchester Cemetery listing is for a David Casto of West Virginia.  As a matter of fact, there are two listings on Findagrave for David Casto with this same picture.  One claims it is for David Casto (1753-1802) and the other says it is for David Casto (1840-1862).  If the person who created the first listing would have looked, it could not possible be for David Casto 1753-1802 because it is a Civil War marker and clearly states “W. Va.” on it (West Virginia split from Virgina in 1861 and became a state in 1863).  The listing is for David Casto has absolutely nothing to do with William Casto 1717-1778.

3. This page shows William Casto’s wife as Phoebe Gandy and lists source as the U.S. and International Marriage Records, 1560-1900.  If you follow the link, it clearly shows DAVID and Phoebe, not William and Phoebe.  In addition, that particular Ancestry source is not reliable because it does not show what original document has the marriage of David and Phoebe.

4. William Casto’s son by his second wife, Sarah, was Azariah Casto who married Hannah Golden (  William’s bible and will both list his son Azariah.  (  This person has this couple listed as William’s parents.  Their source?  Ancestry Family Trees.

5. If you notice on the left in the timeline, it lists William’s father died in 1720 and then a sister was born in 1730 (ten years after he died) (mother would have been 58) and another in 1736 (mother would have been 64).  What garbage! 

The person who posted this should be ashamed!