Catherine Aspery – Solved!

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

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

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.  🙂

For more information on Catherine Aspery-Murphy: “The Original Catherine”

19 Responses

  1. Margaret Taylor

    I have been researching Matthew Talbot, husband of Phoebe Aspery, and have their marriage certificate. I also have other Aspery census returns. I would be very happy to hear from you. Phoebe and Kate’s (Catherine’s) mother was called Pritchard. Kate was born in West Bromwich, Staffordshire, where they lived before the family moved to the North East of England. William Murphy was Irish. Phoebe was my great grandfather’s 2nd wife and he left behind a young daughter (my grandma) from his 1st marriage when they went to Pennsylvania.Her mother died in childbirth. My gran never heard from him but was told by someone that he had been killed. I am very interested to know more. I was brought up in the vicinity of the village in England where they lived. My son has also sent an email.

  2. Andrew Taylor

    Dear Katie,
    Phoebe Aspery (Talbot), born in Escomb, England, and daughter of Henry Aspery, was my great-great-grandfather’s second wife, and the sister of Catherine Aspery who was married in 1870 to William Murphy. Matthew Talbot (Phoebe Aspery’s husband) left England around 1883, it is said, to seek work when industry declined sharply, and according to family information he became a manager of a steelworks in Pennsylvania; he lodged with Mr Will Murphy on arrival in the USA. My great grandmother, born 1880 (by Matthew Talbot’s first marriage to Ellen Elgey, who’d died in 1882 before he married Phoebe) enquired about Matthew Talbot via Irish relatives in England who’d known the Murphys, via a letter in 1913; and she heard he’d been killed at work in an industrial accident. (He’d left England when she was 2 and she was brought up by another family).

    My mother says this webpage with your research is the most exciting thing she’s seen in 30 years of extensive research on her family, and she has a lot more information about the Asperys and Talbots, a bit about Murphys too, and their background in England. I’m sure she’d be happy to share her research with you. I gather she’s posted a comment too.

    Kind regards,
    Dr Andrew Taylor (UK)

  3. Robert J Ralph

    I am a descendant of Thomas Aspery mentioned in the above post as the brother of Phoebe Talbot of Youngstown, OH. Thomas’s daughter Elizabeth Aspery Thomas is my mother’s grandmother. Thomas Aspery and his wife Martha Newbold Aspery are buried in the Oakwood Cemetery in Sharon PA. There are no markers but two of their children Henry Aspery and William Aspery have markers in the same plot.

    I went to the library in Youngstown OH last month and got a copy of Phoebe Talbot’s obituary in the paper on 30 Nov 1921. There is no mention of a husband but that she was staying with her daughter Mrs. Carl B Wenfeck of Youngstown at the time of her death and was to be buried at Belmont Park Cemetery. Her death certificate shows that Mrs Carl (it may be Cora) B Wenfecker was the informant .

    Do any of you know anything about this daughter, like her first name, her maiden name, who her father was, when she was born, died or buried? I have searched for the name Wenfeck and Wenfecker and have come up empty. I have a lot of information that I have on Thomas’s family that I am willing to share as well.

    Robert J Ralph

    1. Andrew Taylor

      I did a bit of research today, online. Phoebe Talbot’s Death Certificate, dated 29th November 1921, includes the information that she was widowed; that her husband’s name was ‘Mathey Talbot’; her occupation is given as ‘housewife’ and her address, Sharon Line Stop, Coitsville, Mahoney, Ohio. Her date of birth is given as 14th October 1861, her birthplace ‘England’, and her parents’ names are given as ‘Henry Aspersy’, and ‘Sarah Perchase’, both from England.

      Records also reveal that children were born to Phoebe and Matthew Talbot. George Henry, a glazier by trade, was born in 1892, and married Martha Wilson in Venango, PA in 1915 but sadly died the following year in Youngstown; and Sarah Talbot, born in Pennsylvania, appears on the 1920 US census, aged 30, in Mahoning, Ohio; she is living with Phoebe Talbot (whose age is inflated on the record by some four years to 65). As a ‘daughter’ living in the household Sarah is described as ‘widowed’, but has nonetheless resumed her maiden name of Talbot. (We aren’t informed what her late husband’s name was). Both her parents are described as being originally from England. Also in residence is a sixteen-year-old called Alice McCormick.

      Quite when and how Phoebe Talbot was widowed still remains a mystery, but records reveal that a ‘Mathias Talbot’ died in Cuyahoga, Cleveland, Ohio, in 1895, aged 43, which would be the correct age (we know Matthew Talbot was born in Barrow, England in 1852). Regrettably, there is no supporting detail whatever about background or family on this record, and thus it seems a little obsure, and his name is slightly different too. I’d very much like to find out for sure: I wonder whether there is any way of discovering more about the information passed down that an industrial accident ended Matthew Talbot’s life?

  4. Ed Bassford

    My mother was an Aspery and I’ve done a great deal of research into the English side of the family tree. Phoebe Talbot was indeed born (on 14 October 1852) as Phoebe Aspery, the twelfth child of Henry Aspery and Sarah Purchas, at Escomb, County Durham, where her parents had moved in 1846 or 1847, when the iron works opened. Henry had been an ironworker in Wolverhampton and, before that, in Eardington, Shropshire. He was born in Hollinswood, Shropshire, sometime between 1803 and 1812 (the records are very muddled).

    Matthew Talbot was her second husband, the first being Henry Jordan, who she married on 27 May 1873 at Sunderland Register Office. She had a son, Nehemiah Jordan, who was born on 5 July 1875, at 10 Hill Street, Stockton on Tees, County Durham. These are the notes I have on Phoebe:-

    Baptism, Auckland District
    Location: Bishop Auckland
    Church: Wesleyan Methodist Circuit
    Denomination: Methodist
    11 Jan 1853 Phoebe Asbury, of Witton Park, born 14 Oct 1852, daughter of Henry & Sarah Asbury

    Her marriage to Henry Jordan is confirmed by a marriage certificate.
    Phoebe was unable to write (marriage certificate and birth certificate of Nehemiah Jordan).

    Phoebe Aspery also married Matthew Talbot in 1883 at Auckland Register Office. She is described as Phoebe Aspery, Spinster, on the marriage certificate, despite her previous marriage to Henry Jordan. Henry Jordan was still living at the time of Phoebe Aspery’s second marriage.

    These are the census records of the English households where Phoebe lived until she left for America (and I;ve recorded them as written, complete with a variety of spellings and mis-spellings):-

    1861 Census
    Thompson Street, Escomb, Co Durham
    Henry Asperry, Head, Married, 56, Iron Refiner, born Holland Wood, Shropshire
    Sarah Asperry, Wife, Married, 51, born West Bromwich, Staffordshire
    Thomas Asperry, Son, Unmarried, 24, Puddler, Iron Works, born Wolverhampton, Staffordshire
    Sarah Asperry, Daughter, Unmarried, 21, Washerwoman, born Wolverhampton, Staffordshire
    Catherine Asperry, Daughter, Unmarried, 18, Servant, born Erdington, Shropshire
    Phoebe Asperry, Daughter, Unmarried, 8, Scholar, born Escomb, County Durham
    John Henry Asperry, Grandson, 2, born Escomb, County Durham

    1871 Census
    28 King Street, Witton Park, Escomb, Co Durham
    Henry Aspery, Head, Married, 59, Smelter Ironworks, born Hollinwood, Shropshire
    Sarah Aspery, Wife, Married, 56, born West Bromwich, Staffordshire
    Phebe Aspery, Daughter, Unmarried, 18, born Escomb, County Durham
    John H. Aspery, Son, Unmarried, 12, Scholar, born Escomb, County Durham
    John Wood, Border, Unmarried, 20, Puddler, born Blackburn, Lancashire
    John Jones, Border, Unmarried, 17, Puddler, born Dodford, Staffordshire

    1881 Census
    50 Nicholson Street, Stockton on Tees, Co Durham
    Henry Aspery, Head, Married, 72, Refiner, born Allanswood
    Sarah Aspery, Wife, Married, 70, born West Bromwich, Staffordshire
    Phoebe Jordan, Daughter, Married, 18, born Witton Park, County Durham
    Myer Jordan, Grandson, Unmarried, 6, Scholar, born Stockton, County Durham
    Matthew McKnoss, Lodger, Unmarried, 30, Puddler, born Sunderland, County Durham

    I hope this is helpful. I’m fascinated by what I’ve read here and will follow up my researches in England with a good look at the American branch of the family.

    Good luck!

    Ed Bassford
    3 x Great Grandson of Henry Aspery (who, incidentally, had 51 grandchildren and, by the time my generation arrived, must have achieved many hundreds of 3 x Great Grandchildren).

  5. Ed Bassford

    … and, yes, you’ve identified the right Catherine.

    These are her English census records:-

    (Full Census Records of Household)

    1851 Census, Auckland District
    Witton Park Ironworks, Escomb, Co Durham
    Henry Asprey, Head, Married, 44, Iron Refiner, born County of Sallop
    Sarah Asprey, Wife, Married, 41, born Bromwich, Staffordshire
    William Asprey, Son, 21, Iron Refiner, born Sedgley, Staffordshire
    Henry Asprey, Son, 18, Pudler, born Sedgley, Staffordshire
    John Asprey, Son, 16, Scholar, born Sedgley, Staffordshire
    Thomas Asprey, Son, 14, Scholar, born Wolverhampton
    Sarah Asprey, Daughter, 9, Scholar, born Wolverhampton
    Catherine Asprey, Daughter, 7, Scholar, born County of Sallop

    1861 Census, Auckland District
    Thompson Street, Escomb, Co Durham
    Henry Asperry, Head, Married, 56, Iron Refiner, born Holland Wood, Shropshire
    Sarah Asperry, Wife, Married, 51, born West Bromwich, Staffordshire
    Thomas Asperry, Son, Unmarried, 24, Puddler, Iron Works, born Wolverhampton, Staffordshire
    Sarah Asperry, Daughter, Unmarried, 21, Washerwoman, born Wolverhampton, Staffordshire
    Catherine Asperry, Daughter, Unmarried, 18, Servant, born Erdington, Shropshire
    Phoebe Asperry, Daughter, Unmarried, 8, Scholar, born Escomb, County Durham
    John Henry Asperry, Grandson, 2, born Escomb, County Durham

    1871 Census, Auckland District
    55 King Street, Witton Park, Escomb, Co Durham
    William Murphy, Head, Married, 30, Puddler, born Ireland
    Catherine Murphy, Wife, Married, 29, born W Bromwich, Staffordshire
    William Murphy, Son, 6, Scholar, born Escomb, County Durham
    Edward Murphy, Son, 3, Scholar, born Escomb, County Durham
    Martha Murphy, Daughter, 1, born Escomb, County Durham
    John Barnes, Lodger, Unmarried, 20, Puddler, born St Giles, Cambridgeshire

    1881 Census
    63 King Street, Witton Park, Escomb, Co Durham
    William Murphy, Head, Married, 38, Puddler
    Catherine Murphy, Wife, Married, 35,
    William Murphy, Son, Unmarried, 16, Iron Works Labourer
    Edward Murphy, Son, Unmarried, 14, Scholar
    Martha Murphy, Daughter, Unmarried, 11, Scholar
    Henry Murphy, Son, 8, Scholar
    John Murphy, Son, 7, Scholar
    James Murphy, Son, 5
    Thomas Murphy, Son, 5
    Martha Quin, Sister, Married, 27, Servant Domestic
    Mary Quin, Niece, 7, Scholar
    Edward Murphy, Father, Widower, 74

    1. Dear Ed,
      I’m the great granddaughter of Matthew Talbot and his 1st wife Margaret Elgey. They had a daughter who was described as ‘1 day old’ on the 1881 census. Margaret died in childbirth and my grandma became known as Margaret Ellen Talbot. She never really knew her father as he married Phoebe and left for America. I don’t think my gran ever knew he had remarried as her grandmother Ellen Elgey wouldn’t talk about him. She tried to locate him at the turn of the century but discovered Matthew had died. I’m sure Phoebe was still married to her 1st husband when she married Matthew.
      Do you have any American census records which include Matthew or his children by Phoebe? I would very much appreciate hearing more if you have.

      1. Bob Ralph


        Phoebe Talbot was my great great grandfather Thomas Aspery’s sister. She was named as his sister from Youngstown OH when he died about 1917. The death certificates I have confirm that as well. I have done quite a bit of research on Phoebe and have the names and birth information of all the children of Matthew and Phoebe and I believe spouses and children. I will be glad to share what I know with you. I think I have some evidence somewhere that Matthew was killed in an industrial accident in Youngstown about 1895. I am not sure of the dates. I will try to find you all the information I have gathered and post it her soon if you like or send it to you by email.

      2. Ed Bassford

        Margaret – You ask if I have any American census records which include Matthew or his children by Phoebe.

        I have nothing for Matthew Talbot, but there is this household in the 1920 census:-

        Coitsville Township, Mahoning County, Ohio
        PHOEBE TALBOT, Head, Home owned, Female, White, 65, Widow, Immigration 1883, Naturalized 1888, Can read & write, Born England, Father born England, Mother born England, Speaks English, No occupation
        SARAH TALBOT, Daughter, Female, White, 30, Widow, Can read & write, Born Pennsylvania, Father born England, Mother born England, Speaks English, No occupation
        ALICE McCORMICK, Grand daughter, Female, White, 16, Single, Attended school, Can read & write, Born Ohio, Father born Ohio, Mother born Pennsylvania, Speaks English, No occupation

        I assume Alice was the daughter of Sarah Talbot, who appears to be unmarried (although she is described as a widow). There is also a record of an unnamed female child, surname McCormick, born in Cleveland, Ohio, on 5 Jan 1903, parents James McCormick & Sarah J Talbot. This could easily be Alice McCormick – which suggests that, if Sarah Talbot was born in 1890 (as the census record suggests), she was only 12 or 13 when her daughter was born. Even the census record puts a difference of 14 years between the ages of Sarah and Alice.

      3. Margaret Taylor

        Dear Ed,
        Thanks for getting in touch. Bob Ralph has been sending me entries which follow Phoebe’s movements and I now have a good idea of when Matthew died. He died in 1895 in Cleveland, Ohio from typhoid. One of his sons, George Henry Talbot also died of typhoid in 1916. Another son, Matthew survived. Matthew and Phoebe’s daughter Sarah was born in 1885 so there is a discrepancy somewhere. I’ve seen the 1920 census which gives Sarah’s age as 30. Perhaps a later census with Sarah and her 2nd husband Carl Wenfecker would confirm her date birth as 1885. Bob found the pair on a passenger list where both give their ages as 27 and 28. The ship was the Egypt and date 1883 which tallies with what my grandmother believed. I would like to find any living descendants. They must be out there somewhere. I hope you are making great progress with your tree.

  6. Ed Bassford

    You may also be interested in this record. It’s a link to the transcription of some of the marriage records of St Peter’s Collegiate Church, Wolverhampton.

    Click to access stp-marr-males-a.pdf

    Hidden in there is the record of the marriage of Henry Asbury and Sarah Purchas on 25 October 1830.


  7. Margaret Taylor

    Dear Bob,
    Thanks for replying so promptly. I was in touch with Katie a couple of years ago and at the time we did not have a date for Matthew Talbot’s death. I am eager to know when and how he died.
    In 1913 someone called Pluck McElvaney passed on to my gran that Matthew “lived in the same house as the Murphys in “Sheperelle St .Penn” (which we now know is Sharpsville Street) but had subsequently died.This was the only piece of information she ever had about her father. I would also be very pleased to see any census records etc which you may have as well as names and addresses of their offspring

    1. Bob


      The only two census records that I have been able to find on Phoebe Talbot are the 1920 census in Mahoning Co OH and the 1900 Census in Cleveland OH. I also found her in the Youngtown OH City directory in 1916 and 1917 saying that she was a widow of Matthew and living with her son Matthew. The 1900 Census may be a key for finding out when and where Matthew passed. She was living at the same address as John and Matilda Aspery at 1946 Axtell St in Cuyahoga County OH Cleveland Ward 25 District 0130 on page 49 of the 1900 census. The head of the household was George Greene and his wife Elizabeth Greene. The three stepchildren of the head were George Talbert (b Sept 1891), Sarah Talbert (b Sep 1885), and Matthew Talbert (b Jul 1889). I believe that Matthew had died sometime before and Phoebe was using her middle name Elizabeth and had married Mr Greene in 1898. The children’s last names were spelled Talbert instead of Talbot (a very common mistake). I suspect that she was living at the same address as her brother John Aspery after Matthew had passed and married George Greene and either divorced him or he died and she returned her name to Phoebe Talbot by the time she was living in Youngstown. I really don’t know how to show those documents here, so I have described them to you here as best as I can. I can email you the documents as well as the descendants reports I have for Matthew. I believe that Matthew died before 1898 based on this evidence.

      1. Robert Ralph


        I will gladly maintain Phoebe’s findagrave site. I visited there this summer and saw the roster. Her son George Talbot who died in 1916 from typhoid is buried in an unmarked grave in the same plot as well as George’s infant daughter who died in 1917. The others buried in the plot are named Griffiths. If anyone knows the relationship of the Griffiths to the Talbots I would surely like to know. They may be related to George’s wife Martha Wilson Talbot.

        Bob Ralph

    1. andrew taylor

      Hello – I hope all is well with you in the US – after we were in contact about Asperys and Matthew Talbot, my ancestor, who emigrated to the US and married Phoebe Aspery.

      There is a remarkable coincidence which I consider heart-warming. When I was a child, I went with my grandmother, Sarah Jane Mulvina, the grand-daughter of Matthew Talbot, to feed the ducks on a large park in Sedgefield, Durham, UK, regularly.

      This site was established there in the 18. century by the Bishop of Durham, William Talbot, and his successors Chandler and Butler, for the public to enjoy. It is unlikely that Bishop Talbot was related to my grandma, but his gift remains.


      And so – a musical link – I am a professional musician. Mendelssohn: Midsummer Night’s Dream. Director Klemperer: Philharmonia, London; concertmaster Manoug Parikian

      Best to you, Andrew

      Mendelssohn – A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Wedding March (Janet Baker, reference rec.: Otto Klemperer) – YouTube [] Mendelssohn – A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Wedding March (Janet Baker, reference rec.: Otto Klemperer) Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy (1809-1847) A Midsummer Nightb


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