Researching Women in Religious Orders  

To research a woman in a religious order, you can do a Basic Search from the Ancestry Library Edition (Ancestry LE) landing page if you already have some information about her. For example, let’s suppose that you are researching Sister Mary Xavier, who was born ca. 1860 in Ireland, and worked at an orphans’ home in South St. Louis in the 1920s. In this case, use these search terms:

• FIRST & MIDDLE NAME(S) Sister Mary Xavier (Exact)
• PLACE YOUR ANCESTOR MIGHT HAVE LIVED Saint Louis, Missouri, USA
• ADD EVENT—BIRTH YEAR 1860 (- or + 5 years)
• ADD EVENT—BIRTH LOCATION Ireland
• ADD EVENT—ANY EVENT 1920 (- or + 5 years)
• ADD EVENT—LOCATION Saint Louis, Missouri, USA
• KEYWORD(S) orphan

If you didn’t know her birth year or birth location initially, you could do the search without those search terms and still locate her in the 1920 U.S. Census.

If you didn’t have a particular sister’s name, you could still do a search for nuns working in an orphans’ home in South Saint Louis ca. 1920. Use these search terms:

• FIRST & MIDDLE NAME(S) Sister (Exact)
• PLACE YOUR ANCESTOR MIGHT HAVE LIVED Saint Louis, Missouri, USA
• ADD EVENT—ANY EVENT 1920 (- or + 5 years)
• ADD EVENT—LOCATION Saint Louis, Missouri, USA
• KEYWORD(S) “orphan home” (Exact)

You can use Ancestry LE at Central Library and our branches.

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