Mary Ellen was born around 1853, most likely in Manchester, but possibly somewhere in Ireland as no birth cert has been found (official birth certs were not introduced in Ireland until 1864).
She left the family some time before 1873 when she married Dubliner John Levins, using the name Mary Ann Mullin. The birth of their first child a month after the wedding might explain the use of a fake name.
They lived in Salford and had five children, Mary Ann, Kathleen, Margaret, William Francis and Henry. Only two, Mary Ann and William, survived childhood.
The family emigrated to the US in 1885 (the same year her brother Jim’s family returned to Ireland, which may have been linked – did they move to the house her brother had left?) .
A sixth child, Lillian, was born in New York.
John and their son William fought with the 69th Infantry, better known as the Fighting Irish, in the Spanish-American War. William was only 16 when he signed up, but lied and said he was two years older.
John was injured and died in 1904. William went on to live a long life as a soldier, reaching the rank of Lt. Col. He was married twice and had two children with his first wife, Bertha McCarty, from whom there are a number of living descendants.
Mary Ann and Lillian both married Irish-American men, but neither had any surviving children. Mary Ann’s husband, Jeremiah D. Mahegin, committed suicide in 1911. Jeremiah’s sister Catherine was living with them; she and Mary Ann continued to live together.
After John’s death, Mary Ellen is recorded in the 1910, 1915 New York state, 1920 and 1925 New York state censuses as living with Lillian and her husband William Regan. She died aged 77 of heart disease (Myocarditis Chronic) on 8 Jan 1930.
William Regan died in March the same year and Lillian joined her sister Mary Ann and Catherine Mahegin.
All three women lived together until Lillian’s death aged 55 in 1941. Catherine Mahegin died the following year. Mary Ann lived until 1968 when she died aged 94in Colorado.