Ellen Willis was born in Brooklyn, New York on 6 Nov 1905. Her father, Robert Willis, Jr was an Irish immigrant from County Cork.
Robert Willis, Jr. was born in 1855 in Cobh (then Queenstown), County Cork and had come to Brooklyn in 1864 with his parents, Robert Willis Sr. and Margaret Cantley, and five of his eight siblings. (His remaining two brothers and one sister were born in New York).
The Willis and Cantley families were doubly connected as Andrew Cantley Jr. (Margaret's brother) was married to Eliza Willis (Robert Jr.'s sister). This relationship was spelled out in testimony that Margaret Cantley Willis provided after her brother's death in support of a US Navy Pension for Andrew and Eliza's daughter Hannah.
From the marriage records of both Robert, Sr. and Eliza Willis, we see that their father John Willis was a painter and glazier, presumably for ship building industry in Cobh. John Willis can be found on Middleton St. in Templerobin, Cobh in the Griffiths Evaluation. This became the family occupation as both John's son Robert, Sr. and his grandson Robert, Jr. were painters.
Andrew Cantley, Jr. (Margaret's brother) and two of their other brothers, George and Thomas were baptized in Portsea, Hampshire, England. The baptismal records show that their father Andrew Cantley, Sr. was a ships carpenter who served on the HMS Hotspur. The HMS Hotspur was a 36 gun frigate which saw service between 1810 and 1821.
Map of County Cork with Cobh (Queenstown) highlighted.
Ireland's Valuation office conducted its first survey of property ownership in Ireland from 1848 to 1864. This survey became known as "Griffiths Valuation" after Richard Griffith who was the director of the office at that time. The survey was used to determine the amount of tax each person should pay towards the support of the poor within their poor law union. These links will provide access to the property listing as well as maps showing the dwelling locations.