She was the youngest child of Joseph Dawson Wormald (b. 1830) and Mary Millar Anderson. Her parents were married in Edinburgh in 1859. She was born in Edinburgh in 1876. Her grandparents were John Wormald and Mary Dawson. Her parents died when she was - either or less than - five years old. She was looked after by her eldest brother, (later Sir) John Wormald, until she reached adult age.
It is not currently known how her parents died; together and/or at the same time suggests a disaster, accident or illness. Her eldest brother left his studies at Edinburgh University to look after the large family of siblings. In 1881 they were living at 290, Gt. Clowes Street, Broughton, Salford, Lancashire with John Wormald then stating his age as being 20.