Posted by on May 31, 2014 |


When we learned that Lizzie didn’t have any direct descendants, we had to adjust our research strategy from finding grandchildren to finding great-nieces and great-nephews. We just had to determine which branch of the Nestor family tree to explore.

Two facts pointed us in a promising direction. First, Lizzie lived with her sister Ellen’s family for the rest of her life. Second, Lizzie’s Postcards were found in the attic of Ellen’s daughter. So, we decided to start with Ellen.

Ellen Nestor was born on July 31, 1872 and baptized on August 4th at St. Patrick’s Parish in Montreal. According to US Federal censuses, she immigrated to the United States between 1894 and 1896, and married cigar maker, Joseph Carline, between the second half of 1896 and the first half of 1897 (Note 1). And although immigration dates from three consecutive censuses tell us that Joseph arrived between 1895 and 1897, one fact remains consistent : Ellen was always listed as arriving one year before Joseph:

1910: 1894 vs. 1895

1920: 1896 vs. 1897

1930: 1895 vs. 1896

Ellen and Joseph had nine children: Mary, Ellen, Joseph, Angeline, Gertrude, Gerard, Nestor, Edward, and Francis.

She died at 2:45 a.m. on Saturday, November 30, 1950 after a three month battle with a Cerebral Thrombosis.

Here’s her obituary:

Mrs. Joseph Cardinal Dies at Her Home

Mrs. Ellen M. Cardinal, 76, widow of Joseph N. Cardinal of 5 Robinson rd. passed away at her home this morning following a lingering illness.
Mrs. Cardinal, who resided at the Robinson rd. address for the past 36 years, was a native of Montreal and the daughter of the late Francis and Mary (Carroll) Nestor. She was a member of the Ladies Sodality of Sacred Hearts church.

She leaves eight children, Mrs. Mary Phillips of Revere, Mrs. Ellen Carline of Billerica, Joseph Cardinal of Boston, Gerard Cardinal of Medford, Edward Cardinal of South Boston, Francis Cardinal of this city, and Mrs. Gertrude Doucette and Miss Angeline Cardinal at home: 18 grandchildren and four great-grandchildren: one sister, Mrs. Elizabeth Milligan, who resided with the deceased; and one brother, John Nestor of Everett. Her husband passed away 16 years ago.

The funeral will be held from the family home Tuesday morning, with a solemn high mass of requiem at nine in Sacred Hearts church. Interment will be at Holy Cross Cemetery.

Taking a look at the data holistically, an interesting theory emerges. Considering that Patrick died on November 10, 1894 and Ellen immigrated between 1894 and 1896, perhaps she came to help Lizzie? Could she have taken care of Edward while Lizzie worked at the cigar factory?

And then we have the question of whether Ellen knew Joseph before she left Canada? Since it appears that she came to the United States before him, and that he was a cigar maker at a cigar factory, could Ellen have met Joseph through Lizzie?

If our theory is correct, we know a lot about Ellen and Joseph. When 26 year-old Lizzie lost her husband, her 22 year-old sister relocated from Canada to help. Ellen married Joseph about a year later, but rather than abandoning Lizzie, the newlyweds took her and Edward into their home. Since no occupation is ever listed for Ellen, it’s probably safe to conclude that she was a stay-at-home mom, who not only raised her nine children, but also looked after her nephew Edward while Lizzie commuted to Boston to work at the M.C.A. Cigar Factory.

Considering that Lizzie then lived with the Cardinals for the rest of her life, she would have been close with Ellen’s children. As a member of the household, she probably would have attended all of the Cardinal family gatherings, including graduations, weddings, and their children’s christenings. Perhaps pictures of these events, and therefore Lizzie herself, exist?

Hopefully I won’t hit the same resistance that I did the first time I reached out.

Sources Used in this Post:

Church Records:


    • Malden Evening News, “Mrs Joseph Cardinal Dies at Her Home,” December 30, 1950, sec. Obituaries. p.3, c.3.

City Clerk, Malden Massachusetts

Post Notes:

  1. The 1930 census asked a very specific question about the age at which a person was married. It states that Ellen was 24 and Joseph was 33. Knowing Ellen’s birthday (July 31, 1872) that means that she was married somewhere between July 31, 1896 and July 30, 1897. (The dates that she would have been 24). This is consistent with the data in both the 1900 and 1910 censuses that state the the Cardinals were married for 4 years and 13 years respectively.
  2. Census records tell us that Ellen and Joseph had nine children, yet her obituary lists eight. Sadly, it looks like she outlived her son, Nestor F. Cardinal.