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Paul Morphy’s family

The book of the First American Chess Congress contains a short biography of Paul Morphy (see page 503). Paul Morphy was born on June 22nd, 1837. His father, Alonzo Morphy, was born in November 1798 and died in November 1856. Alonzo had one brother and two sisters. He married a daughter of Joseph B. Le Carpentier, who died in 1850. According to this reference, Alonzo Morphy had 6 children, but only 4, two boys Paul and his elder brother Edward and 2 sisters, were still alive in 1859.

The book by Regina Morphy-Voitier Life of Paul Morphy in the Vieux Carré of New-Orleans and Abroad contains much more details about Paul Morphy’s family.

Regina mentions that Morphy’s family originated from an Irish Murphy family, with Michael Murphy settling in Spain in the 18th century and changing his name to Morphy.

His son, Don Diego, Paul’s grandfather, was first married to Mollie Creagh. They had three children, Diego Jr, Mathilda and Eléna. Diego Jr. married Eulalie Dubord. They had a boy, Diego E. Morphy, who died in 1895 “at the age of seventy-eight”.

Mollie Creagh died in 1796 in Charleston, South Carolina. Don Diego married in 1798 Louisa Peire. They had five children: Alonzo, born on November 23rd, 1798, Ernest (Paul’s famous uncle with whom he played chess while a child, and who will die in Quincy, Illinois, in 1874), Emma, Lelia and Esméralda.

Emma will marry David Hincks, Lelia will marry Dr. Edward Bahier and Esméralda will never marry. Alonzo will marry Louise Telcide Le Carpentier, daughter of Joseph B. Le Carpentier and Modeste Blache, in 1820.

Additional information can be found on Paul Morphy’s ancestry (edochess.ca), in particular the birth dates of Paul’s siblings: Malvina (February 5, 1830), Edward (December 26, 1834) and Helena (October 21, 1839).   
                                                          
We can also find a lot of information, although there are some inconsistencies, by looking at the family tree of Philippe Blache, available here: Paul Charles MORPHY : généalogie par Philippe BLACHE (mancepes) – Geneanet   

For example clicking on Malvina Morphy, we can see that she married on August 15th, 1849 with John Dorius Sybrandt, and that they had 4 children: Marie (ca 1856 – 1920), Edward (1857 – 1900), Alonzo (1858 – 1930) and John Edward (1864 – 1913).

Finaly, a lot of information, including some primary sources, can be found on https://www.familysearch.org/ (it may required a free identification to access the information):

I realize that this list of people may become a bit tedious. So let’s stop it for now and have a look at the book Old Families of Louisiana, by Arthur and Kernion, reprinted in 1971 from a 1931 book. The Morphy’s family is described from page 54 to 58.

According to this book, Don Diego and Mollie Creagh had a second son called Ernest and two daughters, Matilde and Eléonore. The first names of the daughters are a bit different from the ones given my Regina Morphy-Voitier (see top of this article), but what is more mysterious is the existence of a son called Ernest. Is he the Ernest Morphy that we know, the chess player who died in 1874 ? Or is it a second boy called Ernest who might have died in a young age ? Or is it just a mistake, and Ernest is listed as the son of Mollie instead of Louisa Peire ? To me, this is a mystery.

                                                          

References

Morphy-Voitier, Regina. Life of Paul Morphy in the Vieux Carré of New-Orleans and Abroad, 1926.
Fiske, Daniel Willard. The Book of the First American Chess Congress. New York: Rudd & Carleton, 1859. https://archive.org/details/bub_gb_DfAKyaxSWSwC.

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