Duke Ormsby of Ballinglen

We don’t know how this Duke fits into any of the known family lines, but we think he got married 3 times.

There are 3 marriages listed in parish records for a Duke Ormsby living in Ballinglen whose father is a farmer called William Ormsby. The second and third marriages are definitely the same guy because he has the exact same profession. The first marriage appears to be the same (how may Duke Ormsbys could there have been in Ballinglen whose fathers were farmers named William Ormsby?) But there are a few weird things – first, the Duke who married in 1855 was a farmer, but when he married again, he had changed profession and become a Colporteur. Second, his religion has changed (could be connected to the change of profession) and third some of his children left for New York in {DATE} and were listed on the passenger list as orphans.

The change of profession is perfectly possible, because colporteurs were evangelical religious people who distributed publications, books, religious tracts, etc. Here is an article I found on Google books that describes the life of a colporteur and refers to the growth of the profession. If Duke changed his religion, he might well have been one of those recruited to spread the word to people in the area.

That doesn’t explain his “orphaned” children though.

Here are the 3 marriage records

Married Mary Wills in 1855

Children (via LDS):

    Marsella b 1865

– traveled to New York as an ‘orphan’ in 1876 aged 11. Appears on 1880 census as a servant working at 139 East Fiftieth Street in Manhattan. Married Frederick Joe Becker in 1888 and moved to Monmouth County NJ where she had a daughter, Julia, and appears on both the 1900 and 1920 censuses. By 1920, Marcella and Frederick were living with Julia, her husband and their two children. No death found as yet.

Matilda b 1867 – traveled to New York as an ‘orphan’ in 1876 aged 9. Married Peter Smith April 1894 NY and had a daughter, Robina. Lived in New York but by 1920, is on Long Island (Nassau County). No death found as yet.

Anna b 1869 – traveled to New York as an ‘orphan’ in 1876 aged 7.

Mary Jane b1856 – married George Manly 1878. In 1880, she was at 1844 Second Avenue in New York with a 10 month old son, George. But then it gets interesting. In 1910, she was still in New York but her husband was gone. She has 3 children – George O, Walter F and Helen M. Imagine my surprise when I also found her in 1930 living with Duke Compton Ormsby in San Francisco. Her daughter Helen married Duke! So there has to be some family connection that brought them together in the first place.

Note: In 1910, her brother John D Ormsby is also living with her. Aged 34, born in 1876 and emigrated in 1887.

Married Eliza o’ Brien in 1871

Agnes Kate – married Eugine Stranahan June 1893 in NY.

Married Mary Jane McDonald in 1888


We have neither a birth or death date for this Duke and the only thing we know of his lineage is his father’s name – William Ormsby, farmer.


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