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Wednesday 21 March 2018

Turbulent home life spurs RTE historians


The tenacious yet patient investigative partnership of Steven and Kit Smyrl uncover intriguing information about the lives of the dead.

They've become renowned for chasing down clues to discover the rightful owners of unclaimed estates.

It means that individuals can lay claim to inheritances instead of the money or property going to the State. Familiar faces from RTE's Dead Money, they have their own story of how their interest in family history began.

Born to an English mother and a Unionist father from Belfast, Steven was four years old and Kit two when their parents separated in 1967.

"Our parents parted company, with Kit going to live with Dad in the north of Scotland and me staying with Mum in England," explains Steven Smyrl.

The two brothers saw each other only on holidays, but the turbulent family circumstances led Steven to develop an interest in family history.

"My mother went to live with her mother, who was living with her mother so there was me, my mother, my granny and my great-granny," explains Steven.

It was this long lineage that stimulated Steven's interest in becoming a genealogical legal researcher.

Steven Smyrl speaks in the RDS at 5.30pm today at 'Back to Our Past', a genealogy event.

Sunday Independent

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