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An update to my query (just in case anyone is remotely interested). I have at last discovered that John Aspinall almost certainly travelled to USA in January 1870 and sadly died 7 weeks later of pneumonia. The sketchy death records I discovered make him the correct age, origin England, married and occupation of Stone Cutter. He was a Mason by profession so it all fits. Maybe he was pioneering a family move out to a better life. Having checked all the John Aspinalls on the 1861 census for Yorkshire he seems to be the only one I cannot otherwise track in 1871 so it looks as conclusive as anything ever can in this game.

Interestingly the ship this John travelled out on – the SS City of Boston – was tragically lost in February 1870 on her return voyage to Liverpool. 191 people were aboard and no trace was ever found of the ship. This is the beauty of family history – you find such interesting stuff along the way. Wonder if the ship was carrying a letter back to Jane – “arrived safely, will send you the fares when I have earned enough money”. I wonder how long it was until the family got news of the death.

The search for Jane’s burial goes on. One very slim possibility is that she was cremated and her ashes were sent to rest with John. But as there were less than 200 cremations in England/Wales in 1896 it does seem highly improbable. More likely is that her family had her buried secretly as she was estranged from second husband James Battye who had been in prison for violence to at least one family member and perhaps they did not want him to know where she was resting.