A CORKMAN believed to be the first cousin of Irish twins Bill and John Kelly who died within weeks of each other in London has come forward, The Irish Post can reveal.
Turners Cross native William Kelly, known as Bill, passed away in Whittington Hospital, London on January 29.
When Bill’s friends in the Muswell Hill area of North London began searching for a next of kin, they discovered his twin brother John, who was living in nearby Archway, had died alone in recent weeks.
The Irish Post appeal to the public for help in tracking down a living relative was launched to trace their next of kin and a Go Fund Me page was set up to contribute to the costs involved with holding a cremation, burial or funeral.
Seán Kelly believes he is a first cousin of the twins, with details from his family matching those discovered by a genealogy organisation tracing the Kelly’s family.
“My uncle Dennis Kelly had three children, Jack [nicknamed John], Bill and Mary,” he told The Irish Post.
“He died in 1947 and the mother and kids went over to London soon after.”
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Padraic Grennan, business development manager of Finders, a genealogist organisation that is attempting to trace the Kelly family, confirmed that Dennis Kelly was the name of Bill and John’s father, after unearthing Bill’s birth certificate.
It was further revealed that Dennis Kelly’s occupation was listed as a barman on the birth cert, which confirmed that Bill Kelly was born on August 27, 1938.
“They ran a place called The Oval Bar on South Main Street in the city,” Mr Kelly said.
“I think it was shortly after my uncle died that his wife and the kids headed over to England.”
There was some contact between the two families after they emigrated and Mr Kelly has a letter from 1992 from his cousin Bill Kelly, addressed to his late mother.
In the letter, Bill said that Jack (the name he called his brother), and his sister Mary were fine and spoke about an acquaintance called Carmel, who came from Fermoy, Co. Cork.
“I was very happy to receive your letter,” he wrote to his aunt Mary Kelly on June 28, 1992.
“Carmel was home in Fermoy, her father was having heart surgery. Thank you with all my heart for including Carmel and myself in the Friends of Knock Shrine.
“I know Our Lady will bless both of us. Both Jack and Mary are fine.”
Mr Grennan revealed that Finders researchers also found a marriage certificate for Dennis and Katherine Kelly, nee Murphy, who were married on January 22, 1929.
“Dennis Kelly is listed as a shop assistant on the marriage cert, so this would have been nine years before the twins were born,” he told The Irish Post.
“Katherine later changed her name to Hannah and had three children – Hannah Mary Kelly, William Kelly and John Kelly.”
Neither Mary, nor her twin brothers John and Bill ever married.
Once Finders verify that Seán Kelly is a cousin of the twins, Mr Kelly is intent on burying them in their native Cork.
“Dennis is buried in St Finbarr’s cemetery in the city here so if they are my cousins, we’ll bury them here with him,” he said.
“If we can’t do that, we’ll bury them in our own cemetery up the road.”
Finders will now be tasked with verifying that Seán Kelly is a cousin of the twins and if it is proven to be true, Mr Kelly plans to facilitate with burial arrangments.
A fundraiser set up by The Irish Post to cover funeral expenses for the brothers has received almost £2000 in donations overnight, with one London Irish company donating an extra £2,000.
CEO of The Irish Post, Mr Elgin Loane, has also confirmed that the newspaper will make a £1000 donation.