Two sisters in Ireland are searching for their mother whom they have not seen in over 50 years. The women believe that the answer to all their questions could be in the United States and are now appealing to the public for help.
Eileen (55) and Bridget (61) Gormley, originally from Sligo but now living in Dublin, believe that their mother Nora Agnes Gormley may have traveled to the United States to live with two aunts. In the early 1960s tragic circumstances led to the single mother being left alone and her children in the care of the Sisters of Mercy. Nora eventually disappeared from her children’s life and now the family is hoping to find some answers as to what happened to her.
The sisters hope the public can shed some light on Nora’s life. The Sligo woman had two aunts who moved to the United States in the early 1900s. She may have she contacted them and decided to emigrate.
One of her aunts, Marie Anne Gormanley, born in 1885, moved to Chicago in 1902, passing through Ellis Island on the way. She married a Thomas P. Gallagher and they went on to have three children, Mary, Eileen and Patrick.
Marie Anne’s sister, Bridget Gormanley, also traveled to the US where she married an Irishman by the surname of Houlihan. No further details are known at this point, but investigations are continuing.
Padraic Grennan, of Finders International in Dublin, told IrishCentral, “Finders are doing everything in our power to locate Nora Agnes Gormley. No death records have been returned which would indicate that she is still living, so if anyone has any information of her whereabouts we would very much appreciate if you could get in touch with us.”
Initially the sisters, Eileen and Bridget, and another sister Rosaleen (now deceased) were being raised by their single mother Nora in the small family home in the Tubbercurry area of Sligo. Nora lived with her parents and one of her siblings.
In November 1960 Nora’s mother passed away and in early February 1961, a group of nuns from the Sisters of Mercy arrived at the family home and took the three children into care. The youngest of the children, Bridget, was nine days old at the time.
The three children were then taken to Banada Abbey Industrial School, Tubbercurry, County Sligo. On February 9, 1961, a committal order was made at Tubbercurry District Court, which admitted Eileen (6), Rosaleen (2) and Bridget to Banada Abbey where they remained until they were 18.
Their mother Nora visited her children initially, but after a few months, the visits stopped. The children have not seen their mother since.
In 1991, Rosaleen, who had special needs, passed away in state care.
The two remaining sisters, Eileen and Bridget, have spent many years doing research and engaging with various tracing agencies in an effort to locate their mother and to find out what happened to her. None of their efforts has been successful.
Bridget recently read a story in the national press in Ireland about two elderly brothers who were reunited in their eighties, having spent their whole lives not knowing of each other’s existence. A company called Finders International, which specialists in tracing missing beneficiaries and unknown next of kin to unclaimed estates worldwide, and features prominently on the BBC’s TV program “Heir Hunters,” was responsible for reuniting those brothers, and this prompted Bridget to contact them.
Finders is now carrying out extensive research in the United Kingdom and the United States on behalf of the Gormley sisters as they have reason to believe that Nora may have traveled to either destination, possibly to start her life over.
If you have any information that may be helpful, please do not hesitate to email Finders International at [email protected] of by telephone on 003531 6917252.