Photo – Mary Ellen Morrissey

People on our trees fall off. Not always because we’ve kicked them off! Rather because they disappear from records. It’s especially true of women who’s name changes upon marriage create universally challenging scenarios for genealogists.

It’s great fun to track them down and reintegrate them into the family narrative. Meet Mary Ellen “Mamie” Morrissey, my paternal grandaunt.

mary-ellen-morrissey-photo
Mary Ellen Morrissey, undated photograph, from Bertha Morrissey research collection, privately held by Jean Morrissey Sanner.

Born 15 Aug 1861 in Richmond1)Virginia Births and Christenings, 1853-1917, Richmond, 15 Aug 1861, Mary E Morrissey; FamilySearch.org, (www.familysearch.org : accessed 16 Nov 2016), citing FHL microfilm 2,048,445. Mary Ellen is found with her family in the 18702)1870 U.S. Census, Henrico County, Virginia, population schedule, Monroe Ward, Richmond Post Office, p 205 (printed), dwelling 1131, family 1470, James Morrissey; digital images, Ancestry.com (www.ancestry.com : accessed 16 Nov 2016), citing NARA microfilm M593. and 1880 U.S. Census.3)1880 U.S. Census, Richmond City, Henrico County, Virginia, population schedule, enumeration district 95, p 54 (printed), family 565, James Morrissay; digital images Ancestry.com, (www.ancestry.com : accessed 16 Nov 2016), citing NARA microfilm T9, roll 1372. She does not appear in the 1900 Census, but this wouldn’t be unusual if she married. I had given up on finding Mary Ellen until I began searching Virginia Historical Newspapers at the Library of Virginia website.4)www.virginiachronicle.com

There I found on 1 Mar 1881, the Richmond Dispatch newspaper states, “Catholic Items. – Miss Mary Morrissey, daughter of Mr. James Morrissey, of this city, left last week for Baltimore to enter upon her novitiate previous to becoming a Sister of Charity.”5)“Catholic Items,” Richmond Dispatch, Richmond, Virginia, 1 Mar 1881, p 1, col 4; digital images, Newspapers.com (www.newspapers.com : accessed 16 Nov 2016.

But, again I lost her. I couldn’t find Mary Ellen in Baltimore or anywhere else. My Aunt Berbs stated that she passed in 1905, but I had no records to back that up. It wasn’t until I was given Aunt Berbs research notes that I found her and this awesome photograph. Also, within Aunt Berb’s records is a funeral card.6)Mary Ellen Morrissey, funeral card, 17 Jan 1805, Emittsburg, Maryland; Bertha Morrissey research collection, privately held by Jean Morrissey Sanner, [address held for private use], Chesterfield County, Virginia, 16 Nov 2016.

mary-ellen-morrissey-funeral-card

More work on Mary Ellen’s life is needed regarding her work with the Sisters of Charity.

 

 

References   [ + ]

1. Virginia Births and Christenings, 1853-1917, Richmond, 15 Aug 1861, Mary E Morrissey; FamilySearch.org, (www.familysearch.org : accessed 16 Nov 2016), citing FHL microfilm 2,048,445.
2. 1870 U.S. Census, Henrico County, Virginia, population schedule, Monroe Ward, Richmond Post Office, p 205 (printed), dwelling 1131, family 1470, James Morrissey; digital images, Ancestry.com (www.ancestry.com : accessed 16 Nov 2016), citing NARA microfilm M593.
3. 1880 U.S. Census, Richmond City, Henrico County, Virginia, population schedule, enumeration district 95, p 54 (printed), family 565, James Morrissay; digital images Ancestry.com, (www.ancestry.com : accessed 16 Nov 2016), citing NARA microfilm T9, roll 1372.
4. www.virginiachronicle.com
5. “Catholic Items,” Richmond Dispatch, Richmond, Virginia, 1 Mar 1881, p 1, col 4; digital images, Newspapers.com (www.newspapers.com : accessed 16 Nov 2016.
6. Mary Ellen Morrissey, funeral card, 17 Jan 1805, Emittsburg, Maryland; Bertha Morrissey research collection, privately held by Jean Morrissey Sanner, [address held for private use], Chesterfield County, Virginia, 16 Nov 2016.

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