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Thursday 18 January 2018

Search for family of estranged Irish twins who died just weeks apart in London

Genealogy group share research details of two men in hope to find family

Mr Bill Kelly was a regular church-goer at Our Lady of Muswell Roman Catholic Church, London
Mr Bill Kelly was a regular church-goer at Our Lady of Muswell Roman Catholic Church, London
Denise Calnan

Denise Calnan

A massive search is underway for the next-of-kin of two Irish brothers who died within weeks of each other in London.

The bodies of Mr William and John Kelly (77) are currently unclaimed in two separate morgues in the city.

William, known as Bill, and his brother John are both originally from Turners Cross in Cork city, but moved to England at the age of 18.

Mr Bill Turner passed away on January 29 in Muswell HIll, north London.

Following his passing, a friend Margaret Deeney went in search of a relative, only to discover his estranged twin brother John, who lived in Archway, had also passed away.

“They had a sister Mary who died about two years ago,” Mrs Deeney told the Irish Post.

“We found out through the undertakers from her funeral that there was another brother called John and we got his address to let him know Bill had passed away.”

Margaret arrived at the given address and called the emergency services after she failed to gain access to the house.

They discovered John Kelly had also passed away recently.

His body is now in the coroners' office in Hornsey, while Bill is at the mortuary in Whittington Hospital.

Described as an "honest man" and a "devout Catholic", Bill was well known in his local area but never spoke about his personal life and people were not aware he had a twin brother in the capital city.

“The hope is of course to find someone belonging to them,” Mrs Deeney said.

“But if not, we’d like to bury them together in the one funeral.”

A group that specialise in tracing people's roots and backgrounds in Ireland said that the twins were born in 1938 to Hannah née Murphy and Denis Kelly.

Ireland Reaching Out work on tracing people's roots before they come to Ireland, as well as 'reverse genealogy' which sees them research Irish parishes to find out more about the people who left them.

Clare Doyle of Ireland Reaching Out contacted on reading the Kelly brothers' story and said the group had conducted some research into the family today.

"I was able to find out the mother's name was Murphy," she said.

"I then rang the civil registration locally in Cork and found on the records the two men were named as William K Kelly and John J Kelly.

"Hannah Murphy and Denis Kelly were living in Turners Cross at the time and Denis was registered as a barman when the two children were born.

"If any of these facts help people's memories it would be fantastic.

"Right now, we are dealing with numerous queries like this. So many of this generation went to London and have no contact back home.

"This goes on every week."

A spokesperson for Whittington Hospital confirmed to that the hospital is currently using 'Finders' to help source any next-of-kin.

The company traces known relatives of deceased.

The hospital also said that if the company is unable to locate any living relatives then Whittington Health will arrange for a burial for Mr Bill Kelly.

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