I don't think they are the same family. The James I refer to was born in 1844 in Liverpool, but his father was Thomas Ascroft, not William. The family appear to have been stonemasons or builders. I know of a William Ascroft born 1771 and 2 cousins called William both born in 1874. So the name William does run in the family, but it is not an uncommon name. My family all seem to be either from Wigan or Liverpool, not Barrow and I've never seen any of them called AsHcroft, always Ascroft. Still that doesn't mean there is no connection.
Good luck with your search
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