Known as May, her father, George Henry Carlsson, was born in 1859 in Gothenburg, Sweden. His wife was born in 1869 in Wattle Hill, Victoria. They married on 8 April 1896 at St Mary's Church, St Kilda, Victoria (Marriage Registration 2664/1896). Mary Ellen (May) was the eldest of 6 children born to this marriage. Her siblings were: Catherine Alice Ducrow born Mulwarrie 1902; George William Enos born Mulline 1904; Norman Thomas born Mulline 1906; Lawrence John born Cottesloe 1910; Eric Patrick born Kalgoorlie 1910.