Thursday, March 3, 2011

Women's History Month - Fearless Females - the Mary Ellen Gorry club

Am I named after any one in my family...

Do I share a name with any female ancestors...

Where to begin, lol...

If you read this blog, then you already know the answer to this, but as this is today's "Fearless Females" blogging prompt, I thought I'd talk about it again...also, I was just exchanging e-mails with Tom M. about how confusing it can be when a name is repeated over and over again in a family - when you're looking at records, you might not know which person that record belongs to. At the same time, a repeated name can be a great clue as to whether or not a person IS part of the family - when I was trying to find Gus Haase's parents, the fact that he had a son named Edward made me think the Edward and Eva Haase I found were probably his parents (and they were).

Anyway, back to me...

I have always liked my name. It's definitely an old-fashioned name, not one you come across to much anymore (unless you know a lot of Irish Catholics, which I do), but barring everything else - documents, photos, stories, everything - my name has always made me feel connected to my family history. Always. Who knows...maybe that's why I became so interested in genealogy to begin with.

As I've written before, I am the latest in a long line of Marys, Mary Ellens, and Mary Ellen Gorrys (some by birth, some by marriage). My dad's sister was Mary Ellen Gorry. My grandfather's mother was Mary Ellen (Tormey) Gorry. Her husband's mother was Mary Ellen (Horgan) Gorry (and a sister who died in infancy was Mary Gorry). HER husband's mother was Mary (Corr) Gorry (and his sister was Mary Gorry). And HER husband's mother (and possibly sister) were both Mary Gorry. Unoriginal? Yes. a tangible connection to great-grandmothers and aunts past? Absolutely.

Then there are my other Mary Ellen connections. My maternal aunt (and godmother) is Ellen. Her mom (and my grandmother) is Mary. HER mom (and my great-grandmother) is Ellen. HER mom (and my great great grandmother) was...anyone want to guess? Sense the pattern?...Mary. So my name connects me to my mom's side of the family as well.

No wonder I tend to identify with my Irish roots...

It makes me sad when I think I might be the last Mary Ellen Gorry, at least on my branch of the Gorry tree. There aren't a lot of Gorry branches as far as I know - on my line, there are my two brothers and the three sons of my dad's male cousins by his dad's brother. Those are the only Gorry men on my branch as far back as my 4th great grandfather Cornelius Gorry (1812-1897), so unless any of my brothers or cousins marry a Mary or have a daughter named Mary, I'm it. It's a nice club to be a part of, and I'm determined to make all the Marys and Ellens and Mary Ellens proud... :)


  1. I believe there was considerable urging back then on the part of grandparents to keep certain names alive in the family. I remember that with my grandfather. Today, maybe not so much, at least as far as names. Just the urging to provide grandchildren, whatever you choose to name them.

  2. I think you're absolutely right!