Emily Margaret Sale was born in Launceston on 3 Feb 1866, a daughter of John Townsend Sale (1832-1912) and his wife Frances Margaret Barber (1835-1912). Her father was the bank manager at the Union Bank in Paterson Street, Launceston. Emily was christened at the Holy Trinity Church on 26 Apr 1866. She had one sister, Elizabeth, and four brothers: William, c.1861-1942; Henry, 1868-1885; Arthur, 1870-1901; and John who married Blanche Scott, whose portrait appears in the Launceston Family Album.
Emily married Thomas Mylius Savage English on 30 Apr 1901 at St Peter's Anglican Church, St Leonards. Their son Patrick was born on 13 May 1902 at West Devonport.