This week’s 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks theme is “Same Name.” For YEARS I have known my father’s paternal grandmother as “Mary Effie Morrison Slade.” We always thought it was funny that her sister was also named Effie, Effie Mae to be exact. As young wives and mothers, Mary Effie Morrison Slade and Effie Mae Morrison Hanrahan lived next door to one another at 416 and 418 Randolph Street in Portsmouth, Virginia.
|Mary Morrison Slade|
at her son Fred Slade Sr's house
7 Tanner Place, Portsmouth, VA
My research into my dad’s side of the family has been sporadic; results have been little. Brick walls aplenty! It’s time to shine the light on Mary “Effie” Morrison Slade.
Census records indicate that Mary Morrison was born about 1878 in Tennessee. However, I cannot find her there in 1880. By 1900 she was already married to my great-grandfather Stephen Slade and living in Princess Anne County, now Virginia Beach. Virginia has made death records available online, but OF COURSE Mary Morrison’s is not there! Fortunately, her sister’s is. Effie’s daughter Frances Evelyn Hanrahan Williams named her mother’s parents as Robert Morrison and Evelyn Hosier.
When searches for Robert and Evelyn together came up empty, I tried searching for them separately. Robert Morrison produced just too many hits, so I tried Evelyn Hosier. There was nothing promising there either as most of the Evelyn Hosiers were an older Evelyn married to a man named Hosier.
I have had good luck with birth records at FamilySearch, so I tried my hand with “Effie Morrison.” BINGO. Up popped “Effa Morrison,” born to Robert Morrison and NOT Evelyn BUT Cornelia F.
Then all these little Morrison children popped up: Emma, Kate M., an unnamed Male child, and Rosa V. But no Mary Effie. All were born in Norfolk, Nansemond County, Virginia. Not a one in Tennessee.
Did the Morrisons move to Tennessee for a short period and then return to the same spot in Virginia? That does not seem reasonable to me.
The only time Robert and Cornelia Morrison appear in a census together is 1880 with one child: Kate M. Could this be my Mary Morrison? Was she Katherine Mary? Mary Katherine? Mary Kate? Not Mary Effie at all? I cannot help thinking that since those other children were registered, surely Mary would have been also.
Another argument that Kate M could be Mary is that there is no other sign of Kate after the 1880 census. The other children all died in infancy, and their deaths are listed in the death index on FamilySearch. Had Kate died, certainly her death would have been noted as well.
A recent reminder to review old notes was spot on in pointing out the obvious. I went to Find-a-Grave to double-check Mary Morrison Slade’s death date on her tombstone. Whoever created the memorial posted her name as “Mary Cornelius Morrison Slade.” If I were a betting gal, I would bet they meant “Cornelia.” Then when I looked again at census records, I saw she was entered as “Mary C. Slade.” I had always assumed the “C” was the result of either enumerator error or error in transcription. Now I have a new thought.
While I will not say conclusively “case closed,” I have corrected my database replacing “Mary Effie” with “Mary Cornelia.” Still, my gut feeling is that she and Kate were one and the same. Maybe “Kate” was just a cute nickname.
While I’m tossing out theories, here is another one in answer to the question, “Why did Effie’s daughter Frances Evelyn think her grandmother’s name was Evelyn Hosier?” I imagine she was told she was named after her grandmother. In Frances Evelyn’s mind, that must have meant the name “Evelyn.” In the birth and death records of her children, Cornelia Morrison was always listed as Cornelia F. In 1860, there was no Cornelia Hosier but there was a Frances, age 8, living with parents Richard and Sarah, and a passel of siblings. In 1870, Cornelia age 17 was in the household, but no Frances. Her name was apparently Cornelia Frances Hosier. Not Evelyn.
© 2018, Wendy Mathias. All rights reserved.