12 January 2016

Kitty (Catherine) ASHTON and Peter MATTHEW

UPDATED 2020...

Briefly...  Kitty ASHTON was born in Yorkshire, England, probably in 1777 or 1778. She married Peter MATTHEW in 1803, and died in 1862. Associated surnames include HUDSON, LEAPER and GELDER, and perhaps MOUNTAIN. If you think we are related, please contact me as explained below.

So far the earliest record I've found for my great-great-great-grandmother Kitty (or Catherine) ASHTON is her marriage in 1803; but 1841, 1851 and 1861 census records suggest that she was born in about 1777 or 1778 at Swinton, Yorkshire. The question is... which Swinton?!

CuriousFox lists four places named Swinton in Yorkshire:  Swinton near Malton (North Yorkshire);  Swinton near Masham (North Yorkshire);  Swinton (West Yorkshire); and Swinton Bridge (West Yorkshire). My initial reaction was that, based on the location of other events for the family, I should focus on the Swinton near Malton, which is in the parish of Appleton le Street. However, later research showed that the extended family had some links to West Yorkshire, so I'm keeping an open mind.

On 6 Feb 1803, at Kirby Misperton, North Yorkshire, England, Kitty ASHTON of the parish of Kirby Misperton was married (by banns) to Peter MATTHEW of the parish of Crambe. Both signed. Witnesses were Mary MATTHEW, John HARWOOD and Isabella BOWER. (Names of the last two witnesses are rather difficult to read, but they both appear as witnesses to other marriages in this register.)

Parish register of marriages, Kirby Misperton, held by North Yorkshire County Record Office

The Bishop's Transcript of the burial register for Crambe, Yorkshire (North Riding) says 'Peter MATTHEW, abode Barton, buried 3rd April 1832 aged 74' (Borthwick Institute for Archives ref.PR-CRAM 8 page 22). If this is Kitty's husband, he was a lot older than her. I have not yet found a will or other document to prove or disprove my theory.

Census enumerator's returns for Barton-le-Willows, North Yorkshire, 30 Mar 1851, list Kitty MATTHEW as the head of the household, 'widow aged 73, grocer, born Swinton, Yorkshire'. The household included her son-in-law William LEAPER, his wife Jane and their children.

1851 census entry for Kitty Matthew at Barton-le-Willows
Part of the 1851 census return for Barton-le-Willows (re Kitty MATTHEW, born Swinton)

Census enumerator's returns for Barton-le-Willows, 7 Apr 1861, list Kitty MATHEW (only one 'T' here) as 'mother-in-law, widow aged 83, born Swinton, Yorkshire, deaf', living with William LEAPER and his wife Jane, four children and two grandchildren.

In the 1841 census, Kitty was not with Jane and William LEAPER or Christiana and William HUDSON, who were then at Barton-le-Willows. I eventually found her, but not easily, because her given name is not shown in census indexes. Aged 63, she was at Pontefract with her son-in-law William GELDER and his young children. His wife, Kitty's daughter Elizabeth, died in 1840.

I bought the death certificate for Kitty MATTHEWS who died 25 May 1862 at Barton-le-Willows, aged 84, widow of Peter MATTHEWS, a farm labourer. (The name is usually spelled MATTHEW but the certificate has an S.) The informant was William LEAPER of Barton-le-Willows.

FreeBMD indexed the given name as Kelly instead of Kitty. The envelope icon shows that there is a Postem for this entry. Postems are explained on http://bit.ly/UkApostm.

When I saw the handwriting in the General Register Office index, I could understand that mistake.

'Kitty' looks a bit like 'Kelly' in this GRO index entry

Questions and 'To Do' List
  1. Search for any ASHTON references (especially a baptism for Kitty or Catherine ASHTON in the late 1770s) in parish registers and Bishop's Transcripts for Kirby Misperton, Appleton-le-Street, Malton and nearby parishes. ParLoc (parish locator programme) lists these parishes within a 5 mile radius of Appleton-le-Street (North Yorkshire):  Barton-le-Street;  Bulmer;  Hovingham;  Huttons Ambo;  Kirby Misperton;  New Malton;  New Malton, St Leonard;  New Malton, St Michael;  Normanby;  Norton;  Old Malton;  Parnham (?);  Salton;  Slingsby;  Terrington.

  2. If searches in North Yorkshire are negative, try parishes around Swinton in West Yorkshire. ParLoc lists these parishes within a 2 mile radius of Swinton in West Yorkshire: Adwick upon Dearne; Bolton upon Dearne; Mexborough; Wath upon Dearne. My HUDSON and BARBER families had Bolton upon Dearne connections, but I will investigate North Yorkshire first.

  3. How many children did Peter and Kitty MATTHEW have? I already know of three - Elizabeth (married William GELDER), Christiana (married William HUDSON) and Jane (married William LEAPER). Are there any clues in their records or records of their descendants?

  4. Was Kitty related to James ASHTON and Thomas ASHTON who witnessed marriages at Kirby Misperton in 1804-1807?

  5. Hannah ASHTON witnessed the marriage of a Mary MATTHEW and Joseph MOUNTAIN in 1804 at Kirby Misperton. Was this Mary MATTHEW the same one who witnessed the marriage of Peter MATTHEW and Kitty ASHTON in 1803?

  6. Try to contact anyone researching ASHTON or MATTHEW in the Swinton or Kirby Misperton area. Use the suggestions in my talk Who Else is Researching Your Family?

  7. Personally repeat the parish register and Bishop's Transcript searches previously done by a volunteer using microfilm at the Borthwick Institute in York.

  8. Thoroughly search Crambe parish records.

  9. Do separate searches in each record set in the Yorkshire collection on FindMyPast. Repeat the search when more records are added later this year. Periodically repeat any searches with negative results in case database errors are corrected.

  10. Pay attention to FamilyTreeDNA matches on the X-chromosome. They could be through Kitty ASHTON or her parents or Peter MATTHEW or his mother.

  11. Look for wills and probate records for all family members.

  12. Check that I've added postems to all relevant entries in FreeBMD.

  13. Check that I've added all relevant people to LostCousins.

  14. Update this list as my research progresses!

Sources used in this research include

How to contact me

If you think we are related, please contact me by email at genieblogs@gmail.com or by post as explained here. I also welcome comments (including suggestions for research strategies or sources).

(This post first appeared on http://judy-webster.blogspot.com.au/2015/01/kitty-catherine-ashton-1-of-52-ancestors.html


  1. Wow! You've got quite a list of things to do. That's great! I'm a little more haphazard in my research, though so far that has worked for me. But, I know it'd be helpful to be more methodical! And, I have definitely "discovered" the same thing more than once!

    1. Hi Dana. I know what you mean about being more methodical. I don't have much time for my own research, and I have a tendency to jump from one family line to another as the whim takes me, instead of following a proper research plan. I'm hoping that the 52 Ancestors challenge will help me to focus on what I need to do to get past the inevitable dead ends.

  2. Wonderful research Judy. Your ‘to do’list is a great idea. I very much enjoyed your journey into this ancestor’s life, tricky as she was!

    1. Thanks Sharn. Kitty has always fascinated me. It's strange how certain ancestors interest us more than others, even when there is no obvious reason for that.


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