DNA and Ancestry.com Help Uncover Ashton Ancestors

The longer I go without writing a new post the harder it becomes to write one. One reason is that so much has been happening I really don’t know where to start.so at e I’ll just start where I left off.  My last post was about my family genealogy. At the end of the last post I wrote that I would tell you how DNA helped me discover some new cousins. So here goes…

DNA and the Daughters of John Sherrington Ashton and Mary Warwick

My great-grandfather John Sherrington Ashton III married Mary E Warwick in April of 1881. For many years, I thought that they had five children. Recently, though I discovered they actually had six!

Mary Catherine Ashton was their first child. She was born in 1882. Son Edward was born in 1883, he was followed by William in 1884. Blanche was born in 1886 and Horace in 1889.

Those were the five children that I had discovered  through my genealogy research. My mother only knew William or “Uncle Bill” as she knew him. She often would tell my that he lived out in Pennsylvania near the Devon horse show.

Alice Matilda Ashton

John and Mary’s last child was Alice Matilda who was born in 1890. While I knew about Mary and had her listed in my tree, I did not know about Alice until I was notified of an extremely high 3rd to 4th cousin match with a James Smith from New York. When my wife and I looked at his tree we saw his grandmothers maiden name was Alice Ashton and she was born in 1891. The first place we looked for Alice was the 1900 census. We found a nine-year old Alice Ashton living with a Danse family in Monroe Township in Middlesex County New Jersey. She was listed as a servant!

Alice  Matilda Smith

We then went back and searched birth records for an Alice Ashton born in New Jersey in 1891. What we found was an unnamed female born on March 7, 1891 to John and Mary Ashton. So we returned to the 1900 census. Luckily the 1900 census lists not only birth years but months. Alice was listed as being born in March of 1891. Bingo!

Alice married twice. Her second husband was Sydney Andrew Smith. Sydney and Alice had six children. Their third child Daniel Howard Smith was born in 1914 and was James Smith’s (my match) grandfather.!

Alice died in 1932 at the age of 41. Her father John Sherrington did not pass away until six years later in 1938.

Mary Catherine Ashton 

As I wrote earlier while I know of the existence of Mary Catherine Ashton I didn’t know what ever happened to her.  The  lack of an 1890 census creates one of the great black holes in genealogical research. There was an 1890 census but  it was destroyed by a fire. The problem that’s created can be seen in the case of Mary Catherine.

Typically the first thing you do when you establish someone’s birthday you look for that person in the next census. The child is usually recorded in that census with their parents. As such, since Mary Catherine was born in 1882 the first place you would look for her would be in the 1890 census. But like I wrote that census is gone. The next place would be in the 1900 census.. sometimes children born early in the decade have already left the family which was Mary’s case. Anyway, there is no Mary Ashton in the 1900 census that I had come across so all that was in my tree was her birthday and mother and father.

A High DNA Match Helps Find Mary Catherine

That was the case until I got a very high 4 to 6th cousin match on Ancestry DNA with a glgottlieb1. Initially, when I saw the name Gottlieb I thought the connection would be through my father’s side of the family both his sides of the family have German  roots. But when I looked at the tree for the person in question the first name I saw was Mary Catherine Ashton.

Lawrence Emil Gottlieb was the father of the person tested. Lawrence was born in Philadelphia in 1908.  In the Gottlieb tree, Lawrence’s mother is Mary Catherine Ashton and his father is Jacob Emil Gottlieb.  Checking the 1910 census. In the 1910 census I found a Mary Gottlieb married to a Jacob Emil. Mary’s birth year was listed as 1882 and her place of birth was New Jersey. Mary and Emil have three children Francis, Clarence, and Lawrence. So far it’s the right family.

The Trail to John Sherrington Gottlieb

In the 1920 census the family had moved to Baltimore. They now had five children Catherine and John S. Catherine was born around 1911 and John S in 1917. Soon my wife found John S’s death date and confirmation that his name was in fact John Sherrington Gottlieb! The name and the high DNA match is enough for me to declare John’s mother Mary Ashton the daughter of my great-grandfather John Sherrington Ashton III!

As I was writing this post I realized that I did not have a death date for Mary Catherine. A search at Ancestry.com resulted in finding the death of a Mary Gottlieb who was born in 1882 in 1920. This has to be Mary Ashton but I will need to do a little more research to confirm it.

The one thing that struck me was that both of the daughters of John Sherrington III and Mary Warwick died before John. And since they were both in different states, did he even know of their passing?

In my next post about the Ashton family I will go back as far as I have trace the line to James Ashton and Ann Done.