Monday, June 18, 2018

52 Ancestors: Effie Times Two



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 https://jollettetc.blogspot.com
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. 

from FamilySearch

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.
 
1880 Western Branch, Nansemond Co, VA
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.
 
Tombstone of Stephen Slade and Mary Morrison Slade
Olive Branch Cemetery, Portsmouth, VA
photo courtesy of Steve Poole
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.

Wendy
© 2018, Wendy Mathias. All rights reserved.

22 comments:

  1. I wonder about census takers sometimes. My 2G Grandmother Henrietta and her single daughter Maime (Mary Ann) in 1930 were listed as "May C" for Henrietta, age 81 and "Kate O" for Maime age 60. That's the only time and where those names come from are beyond me. Kate is short for "I didn't hear that, I'll just put Kate".

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    1. HA HA - yeah, that must be it. Sometimes I can HEAR a reason for the error and I can SEE why a name was transcribed/indexed incorrectly, but that enumerator did nothing for Henrietta and Maime!

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  2. Funny where one tiny thing on a record or a gravestone can take you!!!
    Good sleuthing and reasoning!

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    1. Yes, it's like someone turning on the light.

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  3. A good case study for not taking any information about an ancestor at face value!

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    1. Thanks - especially family lore and legends.

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  4. What a challenge to sort out the records for these two ladies with the same name. I hope you find enough records to confirm your theories.

    About the possible move to Tennessee and back to Virginia. My great-grandparents moved from Butler County, PA, to West Virginia, then back to the same town in Butler County some years later. But, they did stay in WV long enough to have children and record their births there.

    Good luck with this, Wendy!

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    1. I'm sure a short move was possible and why would Mary Morrison say she was from Tennessee if she wasn't. I'll keep looking for records in Tennessee just to be sure.

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  5. Fascinating. I have several ancestors who either changed their own names or their were changed over time for various reasons by government representatives etc, it's always a big challenge to "nut" out a plausible explaination.

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    1. Wouldn't it have been nice for someone to leave a footnote about those changes so we wouldn't be left scratching our heads?

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  6. Well researched and carefully reasoned explanation of all the Effie names! I enjoyed following along and have to agree with your conclusion.

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    1. After reading Laura Mattingly's comment where Mary Ann / Maime was entered as Kate, I have started wondering if Kate was a real nickname for Mary.

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  7. Great post! Oh the common dilemma of same names, nicknames, middle names, made-up names, changed names and on and on! Good luck!

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  8. Girl, I do not know how you keep this stuff straight! No wonder Mary Morrison Slade got lost in her old age! I'm lost too!

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    1. That's why I have a genealogy program.

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  9. Wow, that's a lot of "same name" stuff!

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  10. I enjoyed reading your post, Wendy. You did a great job of working out who was who. Kate could well have been a nickname unrelated to an actual name. My dad is James Thomas but goes by Terry. There is no connection between the two names except that there was a famous English comedian by the name of Terry Thomas and somehow my Dad was given that nickname. So random :)

    Sue
    Kindredpast.com

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    1. Thanks, Sue. Your example gives me hope!

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  11. A great account of your detailed research and lessons to us all. If only our ancestors could speak or have left a Journal. The baptismal record of my great grandmother Maria Rawcliffe is just simply Maria. But then in later official documents she is listed as Martha Maria. She had a younger sister Martha who,died at 4 months when Maria was only four years old, so could hardly have remembered her, followed by the death of her mother two years later. A puzzle - which is why Family History is such an absorbing hobby!

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    1. Children named for a deceased sibling seems to be common in some places but I have not run into that personally. My ancestors left me other stumbling blocks instead.

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