US 1930 Census - did Nuns use their "real" names

Discussion in 'Ask The Experts' started by kernowmaid, Feb 27, 2017.

  1. kernowmaid

    kernowmaid Well-Known Member

    Offline
    Messages:
    576
    Likes Received:
    2,519
    Location:
    St Austell, Cornwall
    I think those RC ancestors are "having a go" at me for being a non-believer!...

    I am 99% sure (no proof, just a hunch) that the ELLEN CLARKE in this census is my Gt Gt Aunt. It is for an establishment called Home for the Aged Poor, run by the Little Sisters of the Poor in Brooklyn, New York. (No idea how to reference this - possibly Brooklyn/Kings/Dist 20?).

    Ellen CLARKE 1930.png

    Ellen Clarke appears 3rd in the list of names, and also - top right - is written (in the "enumerated by" box) "Sister Gabriel de l'Assomption" "Ellen Clarke".

    Do you think this means that Sister Gabriel IS Ellen Clarke? Or that 2 women did the enumerating?

    The first names in the census are all "Assistants" - mostly female - and none are apparently names of nuns. Would the Census have insisted that they use their birth names?

    And if she WAS a nun - would she have been able to make a Will (which left money for Masses in addition to bequests to Pastors AND FAMILY MEMBERS)?

    I know NOTHING about how the RC Church is operated!

    Jane
     
  2. arthurk

    arthurk Well-Known Member

    Offline
    Messages:
    920
    Likes Received:
    3,211
    Location:
    Cheshire, England
    Unfortunately the screenshot is cut off and the 3rd line is missing, but I've found the entry and image at FamilySearch. There the search results gave it as one of a batch of 6 pages, and apart from p.4, which is blank, all have the same two names at the top.

    On p.3, though, "Ellen" has been squeezed on the line after "l'Assomption", with "Clarke" underneath. If it had been a different person, I doubt they'd have written it like that - plus, the writing all looks the same.

    So I'd be fairly confident that Sister Gabriel and Ellen Clarke are one and the same, though of course it would be good to find some definite confirmation of this.
     
    kernowmaid likes this.
  3. GrannyBarb

    GrannyBarb Custodian of the Family Accounts

    Offline
    Messages:
    1,376
    Likes Received:
    6,655
    Location:
    Lower Alabama, USA
    Here is the U.S. contact page and links to current locations:

    Code:
    http://littlesistersofthepoor.org/contact-us/
    I don't see a location in Brooklyn, only the Bronx and Queens. I don't know if they can help answer your question, but it's worth a shot. ;)
     
    kernowmaid likes this.
  4. Philippa

    Philippa Always a lady.

    Offline
    Messages:
    763
    Likes Received:
    11,578
    Location:
    Canberra, Australia
    I don't know anything about the rules and regulations for gathering census information, but I would imagine that for all things "official" nuns would be recorded by both their religious and "real" names. An example I came across only this morning seems to verify that. In the death notices of our local paper is an announcement of the passing of Sister Mary ............ followed by her bracketed surname with her religious order mentioned further along in the announcement. I have seen others recorded the same way over the years.
     
    kernowmaid and Ma-dotcom like this.
  5. CaroleF

    CaroleF Well-Known Member

    Offline
    Messages:
    119
    Likes Received:
    446
    Location:
    Near Bath
    As others here have said I'd be pretty confident that Sister Gabriel *is* Ellen Clarke though I know nothing of the rules governing US censuses.

    Again I don't know how this woman's particular religious order might have operated. My only knowledge is of the (male) Benedictine order in the UK. They take an oath of poverty, stability and obedience when they become monks and all their worldly possessions are given to their community. ie from that point on they have NO personal possessions at all. Well in theory they don't, but I think the rule is bent a bit where things like shoes, pens etc are concerned. They certainly have no money of their own.
     
    kernowmaid likes this.
  6. AnnaJenny

    AnnaJenny Well-Known Member

    Offline
    Messages:
    140
    Likes Received:
    802
    Location:
    Peterborough England
    I have traced a number of Nuns over various census years. Mostly in Texas. The bad news is that there seems to be no hard and fast rule. It sees to be at the whim of the recorder! On one year the WHOLE CONVENT were called Mary but with their family name. Therefore the index was no use at all you have to trail through the whole convent.

    On another point. Has the convent got an archivist? The order I am researching has published books about their history. From not really thinking much about them, I am now full of admiration for these particular women. Early feminists indeed.
     
  7. kernowmaid

    kernowmaid Well-Known Member

    Offline
    Messages:
    576
    Likes Received:
    2,519
    Location:
    St Austell, Cornwall
    Well, I think I've answered one of my own questions - would a Nun have money to leave? ...

    Browsing through (English) Probates, I came across one for "Clarke, Mary of Little Sisters of the Poor" who died October 1996 and left £1409 to a seaman.

    Maybe the Gods are smiling on me again!

    Jane
     
    Ma-dotcom, Daft Bat, CaroleF and 2 others like this.
  8. CharliePoole

    CharliePoole New Member

    Offline
    Messages:
    1
    Likes Received:
    13
    Location:
    Poulsbo, Washington, USA
    First post! In fact I joined to answer this - albeit old - post because it resonated with my personal experience both as a child and in later life trying to research my family.

    Cultural experience is funny... growing up in an Irish-Catholic family in the US, there are a few things I was required to know from a very early age...

    "Uncle Jack" was "Father John" when speaking outside the family. He was a Diocesan Priest (i.e. not a member of a religious order but "just" a priest working for the Diocese as an assistant pastor) so he kept his full name given at baptism, including his last name.

    "Uncle Jim" was baptized "James Bernard Poole" but was ordained as Father John Francis Poole, CP. He was a member of the Congregation of the Passion of Jesus Christ or Passionists. Like many orders, they take a new name at ordination.

    As far as I know, most male orders keep the last name, which makes genealogy a bit easier. Women on the other hand...

    Three of my aunts were nuns. At home, when they visited, they were Aunts Catherine, Teresa and Margaret. Formally, they were Sister Mary Rosarita, Sister Mary St. Raphael and Sister Margaret Maureen. Note that all of them have a form of "Mary" as one of their names - "Maureen" in the last one. That was the way their order, the Sisters of St. Joseph, did it. And, of course, they no longer had last names, being considered married to Christ.

    Of course, as a child, I didn't really get the social implications of the priests having last names, while the nuns didn't. Given our general culture in the 1950s it seemed "normal."

    One thing you may find in many Catholic families is that someone takes on the role of "gatekeeper" for access to family members in religious orders. In my family, three aunts who lived together were the only ones who could give us info or arrange contact with the nuns. (Not that it was impossible to reach them - they all had addresses and the convents had phones - but it was not something we would ever do directly.) A consequence for this my research is that all that information has now disappeared, since all parties are deceased.

    Things I have found helpful to recover it information about both nuns and priests...

    * Contact the archivist or historian of the particular religious order.

    * Use Catholic newspapers and periodicals. In the New York area (Diocese of Brooklyn) "The Tablet" is valuable in this way. For example, I was able to find the ordination and taking of vows of each member of my family and those records contained the same information about religious names, which I knew from my childhood. In the case of the priests I found out a lot about their jobs in the church and some public writings too.

    * Find where they are buried. There's often a lot of information associated with the death and burial records.

    * Remember, my experience is with a generation born in the first half of the twentieth century. Things may be different today and were certainly different in the past.

    Hope this rambling helps someone. It helped me to write it.
     
    Amle, Ma-dotcom, arthurk and 10 others like this.
  9. Half Hour

    Half Hour Well-Known Member

    Offline
    Messages:
    1,178
    Likes Received:
    8,276
    Location:
    Owen Sound, Ontario
    Thank you @CharliePoole
    Although to the best of my knowledge I don't have any Catholic or other known priests or nuns I found this very interesting and I am sure helpful for a lot of people.
     
    Ma-dotcom likes this.
  10. kernowmaid

    kernowmaid Well-Known Member

    Offline
    Messages:
    576
    Likes Received:
    2,519
    Location:
    St Austell, Cornwall
    Thank you @CharliePoole
    One day I'll get back to Ellen and follow your advice.

    Jane
     
    Ma-dotcom likes this.

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice