Posted by on Jun 8, 2014 |


According to the 1900 United States Federal Census, not only had Ellen taken her sister and nephew into her home, but she also took in her mother, Mary Nestor. In 1900, Mary is listed as a 58-year-old widow, who was born in July 1842. Mary then shows up in the 1910 census, as a 66-year-old widow, and her name drops off the 1920 census. Therefore, assuming that she died between 1910 and 1920, I decided to look for her death certificate.

But what town did she die in?

According to the census records, she was living with the Cardinal family at 93 Ferris Street in Charlestown in 1900. In 1910, the family had moved to 73 Cleveland Avenue in Everett. And although Mary dropped off the census records in 1920, we know that the family had already moved to 5 Robinson Road in Malden. So, if she died during the ten-year period between 1910 and 1920, it would have been either in Everett or Malden.

Since I’ve been so lucky with Malden, I reached out to the City Clerk there first. It was a good bet.

According to her death certificate, Mary (Carroll) Nestor, was born in Ireland on August 30, 1846 to Edward Carroll and Mary McQuaid. Both of her parents were also born in Ireland. She married Francis Nestor and the couple had seven children. She died on January 26, 1917 at the age of 70. And just like daughter Lizzie, son-in-law Patrick, grandson Edward and daughter Ellen, she’s buried at Holy Cross Cemetery.

The new information leaves us with some questions:

1) When and where did Mary marry Francis?

If the 1881 census is to be trusted, their oldest child, Catherine, was born 1859 making Mary a 13-year-old mother. Could she and Francis have been married that young? The reason that I’m questioning the 1881 census is that it says that Francis and Mary were both born in 1836, which would make them ten years older than the birth date on Mary’s death certificate. So, until I have another document to back up the 1946 birth date, I’ll be a little wary of it.

2) When did Mary immigrate to Canada?

Since we know that Lizzie was born in Montreal and Mary was born in Ireland, obviously Mary moved to Canada sometime before 1868. And if her eldest child, Catherine, was born in Quebec, that narrows our search to before 1859.

Very early into this project, I wondered, “Isn’t it odd that an English-speaking Irish family would move to French-speaking Montreal?” But, that’s when I read an interesting line in the parish history of Saint Patrick’s Basilica— the church that Patrick and Lizzie were married in:

St. Patrick’s Church was opened on March 17th, 1847 to serve the needs of the Irish immigrants who had come to Montreal in great numbers due to the famine and other troubles in Ireland.

The Irish Potato Famine occurred between 1845 and 1852. During that time, over 1 million people died and another million fled the country. Could Mary have come over as a result of famine? Mary would have been between 1 and 6 years old during that time-frame, so if The Great Famine was the reason for Mary’s immigration to Canada, she obviously would have been a baby in tow.

Although it will take more digging to find the answers to these questions, it’s pretty cool that we’ve traced Lizzie’s roots back to mid 19th century Europe.

Sources Used for this blog post:

City Clerk Malden, Massachusetts


St. Patrick’s Basilica (Montreal, Quebec, Canada)