Posts Tagged ‘Aspery’

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Murphy & Aspery

I feel pretty confident on what I’ve found so far with the Murphy and Asperys, so I’ve created a public Ancestry.com tree and have attached most of my sources. Let me know if you’re interested and I’ll email you the link. This includes the surnames: Murphy, Quinn, Aspery, and Perchase.  The Murphys moved out of Ireland in the early 1800’s and were always on the go throughout Wales, England, and then finally ended up in Pennsylvania.  Their movements seemed to be guided by the rise and fall of various ironworks around the UK.

Richards & Williams

Margaret Ann Richards (Murphy Patterson) had a sister named Bessie and parents John Richards and Ann Williams. Family lore is that Ann died when the girls were young and John moved them with their step-mother to Pennsylvania from Yorkshire, England in 1882.  I’ve found a potential 1881 census record of a Margaret, Bessie and parents John and Ann in Yorkshire.  But, it also includes other siblings Polly, Joseph, and Elizabeth.  As far as I know, Margaret never mentioned having any other siblings, other than Bessie.  I’m still trying to figure all this out.

Duncan & Rostron

This line includes surnames: Duncan, Glass, Ford, Rostron, Barwell, Kane, and Sullivan.  I’m looking for a descendant of either James Duncan (1769-1861) or Hugh Duncan (1799-1870) to compare DNA with. Also looking for an obituary for Jennie Salina (Ford) Duncan who died in 1936 in Effingham, Illinois.

Zillifro

Definitely need to find a descendant of Samuel Willis (abt 1823-?) or Sarah Jane Hilliard (abt 1818-?) to compare DNA with because I have NO IDEA if these are the correct grandparents of Loretta Alice (Zillifro) Hutchinson. She claimed that her “real” mother was a native american that died during childbirth – which, I know, is very unlikely, but I think it’s still possible that her real mother did die during childbirth and her father, Egbert Zillifro, remarried very quickly after. I’d really like to connect with someone from the supposed step-mother’s line to get to the bottom of it.

Hutchinson

I spent so much time on this line, almost an entire year exclusively, that I barely look at it anymore. It includes the surnames: Hutchison, Moorhead, Campbell, Patton, Jamison, Shryock, Anderson, and Blackstone.  They are Irish and Scottish immigrants from the late 1700’s and ended up in the area of Indiana, PA and Butler, PA. This is the line that connects to Fergus Moorhead, our Revolutionary War ancestor and would qualify the women in my family to join the Daughters of the American Revolution. Unfortunately, the application rules are so stringent that I completely lost interest.

Updegraff

The Updegraffs are well documented back to the late 1500’s.  It’s my oldest line and they have interesting connections to the creation of the Mennonite church, William Penn, and early Philadelphia. But, I have little to no information on any of the women that married into the Updegraff family (it’s a very lopsided tree!). I’m particularly interested in the Millers of Hagerstown, MD and Somerset, PA.

Pirolt & Rauscher

Oh, my Austrian ancestors!  I feel like I will never know their story. I have a couple leads. One is that my grandfather’s brother supposedly died in WW2 at the Battle of Monte Cassino. If I could be on the show “Who Do You Think You Are,” I would definitely want to do this family line.

The Story of William Murphy

It all started when I pulled a death certificate for William Murphy at the Pennsylvania State Archives. You never know when you’ll get what you’re looking for, especially when researching a name like Murphy.

I got lucky this time though. William Murphy, my 3rd great grandfather, lived at 307 McClure Ave in the 1920 census with his daughter Sarah and son-in-law John J. Davis. 307 McClure was the address listed on the death certificate.  It was a match!

William Murphy died 11 February 1923 of atherosclerosis.  The death certificate says he was “about 75″ which I found out later is off by 8 years; he was really 83.

He worked as a watchman at the Steel Carnegie Works and the National Malleable Castings Co in Sharon for 23 years up until his death.

According to the death certificate, William’s parents were Edward Murphy and Martha Quinn.

Murphy Lineage

Surprisingly, Edward and Martha Murphy with child William were easy to find.  They stuck out at me because they also had two daughters: Sarah and Mary. William had twin daughters named Sarah and Mary. Maybe he named them after his sisters? With more investigation, it became clear that this was “my” William Murphy family.

As I followed William and his parents, Edward and Martha through the years, history became much more personal (as what usually happens when you do genealogy). The Great Famine occurred in the 1840’s when one million people died of starvation and another one million emigrated.

Edward and Martha moved to Monmouthshire, Wales most likely in search of work and better living conditions. Their first (known) son, William was born in Wales when Edward and Martha were 28 years old. For the 1840’s, that was a very late age to be starting a family, but in Ireland it was difficult to form new households and the average marriage age increased.

Here’s their census timeline:

Edward Murphy Family

Edward Murphy’s occupation was a puddler. At 12 years old, William worked with his father at the Iron Mill as a “roller.”

Sisters, Sarah and Mary disappeared after 1841; they may have died or gone into servitude.

The family then moved to Durham, England, again in search of better living conditions and work, specifically to the Witton Park Ironworks. William worked as a puddler.

He married his wife, Catherine Aspery, in Escombe in the 1860’s. The family continues:

William Murphy Family

In the 1871 census, William had three children: William, Edward, and Martha.  Exactly like his parents in 1851.

William’s father, Edward Murphy, Sr., now a widow, was living in the household in 1881 . William’s sister, Martha was also living with them and her daughter, Mary Quinn.

The Witton Park Ironworks closed in 1884, which probably explains the move to Grangetown.

His oldest son, William, is not listed in the 1891 census with them because he had already moved to Pennsylvania, one year ahead of his family.  Then in 1892, they immigrated to America.

Murphy in Pennsylvania

William’s wife Catherine died in 1902 of “liver troubles.”  He lived with his daughter Mary and then with his other daughter Sarah until he passed away in 1923.

He had ten children total, nine we know of: Edward, Martha, William, Henry “Harry,” Thomas, John, James, Mary, and Sarah.  As of right now, I’m not sure whether Edward, Martha, or Thomas came to America with their family.

Harry married Celia Mable Luce and had two sons: Harry William and James Russell. They were divorced after only a couple of years. Harry moved in with his sister-in-law in Youngstown until his death in 1956.

John worked as a machinist at the National Malleable and Steel Castings Co.  He married an Irish immigrant named Katherine.

James was a laborer who married Margaret Richards, a Welsh immigrant. James and Margaret had six children (including my great grandmother Elizabeth). James died at a young age in 1917 of typhoid.

William’s family moved a lot; Ireland to Wales to England and America. He worked from the age of 12 until his death at 83 years old. Despite being born in Wales he always listed his birthplace as Ireland. His children were born in Durham, England but they often listed Ireland as their birthplace.

The paper trail on William is fascinating and gives a lot of insight into the Irish migration, working conditions, and life in the 1800’s.

My next to-do is to find obituaries. :)

Related Posts:
Catherine (Aspery) Murphy
Harry Murphy
James Joseph Murphy
Murphy Family Album

The Original Catherine

Grandma Kate

I was named after my Grandma Kate, born Katherine Irene Murphy. She passed away before I was born, but I’ve always felt a special connection with her.

Grandma Kate was named after her aunt, Katherine Murphy-Arnaut, who died unexpectedly at 29 years old.

Katherine Murphy-Arnaut (right)

I was pretty excited to find that Katherine Murphy-Arnaut’s grandmother was also named Catherine! (spelled with a “C” instead)

I didn’t think I would learn much about Catherine Aspery, after all, she is my 3rd great grandmother who spent very little of her life in America, was likely very poor, and whose married name was incredibly common: Murphy.

After exchanging info with some other Aspery-Murphy descendants and a serendipitous visit to the Pennsylvania State Archives and Library, I was able to make some interesting conclusions (don’t ever understimate the importance of your 3rd and 4th cousins!).

Catherine Aspery was born in Erdington, Shropshire County, United Kingdom May 1844 to Henry Aspery and Sarah Perchase. She was raised in Escomb, Durham County (Northern England) with her six siblings: William, Henry, John, Thomas, Sarah and Phoebe.

Catherine married William Murphy around 1872 and they had eight children, six of which I know: William, Harry, John, James, May and Sarah. Her children’s names resemble closely with her siblings'; I wouldn’t be surprised if the two missing children were named Thomas and Phoebe!

Her husband, William worked at the ironworks in Witton Park. He had moved there from Ireland in search of work.  But, after a significant industrial boom and years of poor working conditions, the Witton Park ironworks had gone into a serious decline and closed by the 1880’s.

Catherine and William immigrated to America in 1892 and settled in Sharon, Mercer County, Pennsylvania. Some of Catherine’s siblings had already come to Pennsylvania many years earlier. Their son William arrived in Sharon one year earlier (1891), most likely to arrange a housing situation before the rest of his family arrived. The Murphy family lived at 86 Sharpsville Street.

The Sharon Eagle, Wednesday, January 29, 1902

Catherine passed away on 21 January 1902 from “liver troubles,” having been ill for three weeks. She was buried at St. Mary’s Cemetery, a Catholic cemetery managed by the Sacred Heart Church. She left her husband and eight children.

I really look forward to finding more about Catherine, her husband, and children.

Relationship: Catherine Aspery –> James Joseph Murphy –> Elizabeth Murphy –> Katherine Murphy –> Barbara Updegraff –> Me

(Note: Is it a “C” or a “K”?  Almost all of Catherine Aspery’s records, multiple census, birth and death certificates list her name as Catherine – except for the obituary above)

Catherine Aspery – Solved?

I think I may have actually figured out who her parents were and where she came from.  Here’s how it went:

Thomas Aspery
I started researching Thomas Aspery a couple weeks ago, from the list I made of possible relatives (see previous post).  He had the same uncommon last name, was born in England, same generation as Catherine, and lived in Sharon, PA.  They must have been related!

New Castle News 3 Sep 1917

First, I ordered a couple obituaries for Thomas.  This one lists a father named John Aspery and a sister, Phoebe Talbot of Youngstown.

Phoebe Talbot
Luckily, Phoebe Talbot was not a very common name combination, so it was pretty easy to find her death certificate on familysearch.org.

Phoebe (Aspery) Talbot’s Death Certificate

The father is listed as Henry Aspery, not John as Thomas’ obituary said.  Both records are secondary though… maybe the father’s name was “John Henry?”  Another possible issue is Phoebe’s birth year of 1861, making her 22 years younger than brother Thomas.  Either way, the mother’s name is extra helpful: Sarah Perchase.

Sarah Perchase
I began searching England census records for a Sarah, married to either a John or Henry, with children Thomas and Phoebe (and maybe my Catherine!). One census record was particularly promising.

Here we have Sarah with husband Henry and children Thomas, Phoebe, and a Catherine! The grandson named “John Henry” fits with my theory about the father’s name.

Thomas’ age is only slightly off from his obituary, but Phoebe’s is about 8 years off her death certificate age and if this is my Catherine, her age is off by 9 years compared to the 1900 US census.

I found Phoebe in 4 more census records, all of which were consistent with the birth year of about 1853 (within 2 years), so it’s likely the informant on her death certificate just didn’t know exactly.

At this point, I decided that the Thomas and Phoebe in the US is the same Thomas and Phoebe in England, and that they were children of (John) Henry Aspery and Sarah Perchase.  But that still left the question, is this “my” Catherine?

I was at the Pennsylvania State Archives in Harrisburg pulling some death certificates and found they have a microfilm of Mercer County death records for 1898-1906.  Catherine died sometime between 1900 and 1906, so I started looking and here’s what I found:

Of course I was on the microfilm machine that doesn’t make copies, so here is a cell phone photo of the image.  That’s my Catherine Aspery-Murphy and her parents were Henry and Sarah!  She died 21 January 1902 at 52 years old (or 56, or 59 depending on who you’re asking!)  With all this I now know lots about Catherine, her parents, siblings, and birthplace.  I may be inferring too much, but I think it all makes perfect sense.  :)

Using Inferential Genealogy for Catherine Aspery

Earlier this year, I attended the Fairfax Genealogical Society Spring Conference and there were two lectures by Thomas W. Jones that were particularly helpful: “Using ‘Correlation’ to Reveal Facts that No Record States” and “Inferential Genealogy: Deducing Ancestors’ Identities Indirectly.”

I learned that I was not doing nearly enough to get past my brick walls.

Leaving the conference with fresh ideas and enthusiasm, I decided tackle the Catherine Aspery-Murphy family line.

Catherine Aspery

In a nutshell, Catherine was the wife of John William Murphy; mother to William, Harry M, John, James Joseph, May, Sarah T and four additional unknown children.  She was born about May 1854 in England and arrived in America in 1892 with husband and children. They moved to Mercer County, Pennsylvania.

Most of what I know is from the 1900 census and I hate only using one record for her birth year.  Catherine’s maiden name comes from three of her children’s death certificates all with independent sources.  Her own death certificate has not been located and I suspect she died between 1900 and 1906 (the year death certificates were required in PA).

Reasonably Exhaustive Search

As the Genealogical Proof Standard states, we must “search beyond the person, family, event, or record of most-direct impact on the project.” So, I’m going to investigate all the other Aspery families in England and the Mercer County area.  I can do this because the name Aspery is not very common. This method probably wouldn’t work for my Murphy relatives!

A quick search for Asperys in the 1861 U.K. census on Ancestry.com & FamilySearch.org comes up with 150-200 Aspery hits.  A search for Asperys in the 1900 U.S. census on HeritageQuest comes up with less than 20 hits and most of them are in the same area as “my” Catherine Aspery-Murphy. One of them must be a sibling or cousin!

I’ve started a spreadsheet with possible relatives (about 30 long now, some overlapping) and will keep it growing and ruling out those that don’t match. So far there are no obvious connections to Catherine.

I’m interested to hear if anyone has a best practice or recommendation on deducing ancestors’ identities indirectly? Any thoughts on this strategy?

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