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 A Ripperologist Article 
This article originally appeared in Ripperologist No. 17, June 1998. Ripperologist is the most respected Ripper periodical on the market and has garnered our highest recommendation for serious students of the case. For more information, view our Ripperologist page. Our thanks to the editor of Ripperologist for permission to reprint this article.
THE ORIGINS OF MARY KELLY
by Peter Birchwood

I've been in business as a professional genealogist for about 30 years now and have been interested in the Ripper for longer than that. Its only recently that I have thought of employing my skills such as they are in trying to put some fact into some of the Ripper research. Those of you who connect to Stephen Ryder's internet "Casebook" site may have noticed some critical work of mine on the genealogical information in Paul Feldman's book on the "Diary." I have also been doing some work on the origins of that most mysterious of victims, Mary Jane Kelly.

The story of her life as she apparently told it to her friends was that she was born in Limerick, Ireland and moved with her family to Wales. The place they lived in was either Camarvon or Carmarthen and she was quite young when they moved there. Her father was John Kelly who worked in an Iron Foundry and she had six or seven brothers and one sister. She married young to a collier known as Davis or Davies who was killed in a mine accident shortly after the marriage. She then moved to Cardiff where, after some months in an infirmary she turned to prostitution. Now when you're working on family histories it's usually best to firstly assume that the information that you have got is largely correct. If it isn't then you can resort to other search procedures. In short, investigate the most likely story first!

Some work in the records of the two named counties led me to the family of a John Kelly living at 2 William Street, Carnarvon. The family comprises:

John Kelly,

head,

36

General Labourer

born Ireland.

 

Mary Kelly

wife,

37

 

born Ireland.

 

John Kelly

son

14

scholar

born Boston, America.

Dennis Kelly

son

10

scholar

born America.

Daniel Kelly

son

9

scholar

born America.

Joseph Kelly

son

6

scholar

born Ireland.

 

Ignatius Kelly

son

3

 

born Ireland.

 

James Kelly

Winifred Kelly

son

daughter

2 weeks

2 weeks

 

born Carnarvon.

born Carnarvon.

Here we have a family of Kelly's who agree closely with the information given. There are no other Kelly families in Wales who agree as well. There was an Iron Foundry in Carnarvon within walking distance of William Street and it is conceivable that John may have worked there. In 1891 John is a Railway Plate Layer. His son, John jr. has left the house, married and is a hairdresser at 23 Bangor Street Camarvon. Dennis, Daniel and Ignatius are still at home. Dennis is a Colour shop assistant, Daniel is also a hairdresser and Ignatius is Daniel's assistant. By 1921 1 believe Daniel is an Umbrella Maker and Repairer at 4 Pool Hill, Carnarvon. James is born as James Patrick Kelly on the 17th March 1881 the son of John Kelly and Mary Cane.

Where is Mary Jane Kelly? She does not seem to appear under the names Kelly/Davis/Davies anywhere in Wales. If this is her family, then she would be the oldest child. There is a possible birth for her in Ireland although there are problems with it and I'm not completely satisfied that it's the right one. The birth is on the 5th June 1868 in Banagher, Kings County. This was the adjoining county to County Limerick and is a few miles from the border. The parents are John Kelly and Mary Coyne. The maiden name of the mother is an acceptable variant of Cane, considering illiteracy and general bad handwriting but this would make her four or five years younger than usually thought. There is no marriage in Wales for her to a Davis/Davies between 1878 (when this family left Ireland for Wales) and 1881. As in later life, she used the name Kelly, it is possible that she was never legally married. My reasons for believing this to be her family are: the composition of the family (six boys, one girt) the father's name and the place of residence. As the first girl child it would be normal to name her after her mother as indeed the first boy (John Jr.) was named after his father.

As my main business is locating missing heirs it wasn't a problem to locate the descendents of this family. I've spoken to several members of this family but regretfully no-one can remember back to the family so I haven't managed to confirm yet the connection between Mary Jane Kelly and the William Street family. My investigations are continuing on this, on proving or disproving the so-called Maybrick descendents and on trying to make a living!


Related pages:
  Mary Jane Kelly
       Home: Timeline - Mary Jane Kelly 
       Dissertations: Did Kelly Have a Heart? 
       Dissertations: Did Mary Kelly Survive? 
       Dissertations: Estimating Mary Kellys Time of Death 
       Dissertations: Is Truth Stranger Than Fiction? A Response to Des McKenna 
       Dissertations: Kit, Kitty, Kitten: The Story of Kitty Ronan 
       Dissertations: Mary Kelly 
       Dissertations: Mary Kelly is Dead 
       Dissertations: McCarthy, Kelly and Breezer's Hill 
       Dissertations: Providence Row Night Refuge 
       Dissertations: Reinvestigating Murder: The Kelly Enigma 
       Dissertations: Room 13 Millers Court 
       Dissertations: The Enigmas of Millers Court 
       Dissertations: The Enigmas of Millers Court 
       Dissertations: The Funeral of Mary Jane Kelly 
       Dissertations: The Kelly Crime Scene Photographs 
       Dissertations: The Mystery of Mary Jane Kelly 
       Dissertations: The Whitechapel Dossier: Dorset Street and Miller’s... 
       Dissertations: Time is on My Side 
       Dissertations: What Happened at Miller's Court? 
       Message Boards: Mary Jane Kelly 
       Official Documents: Dr. Bond's Post Mortem on Mary Kelly 
       Official Documents: Mary Jane Kelly's Inquest 
       Press Reports: Atlanta Constitution - 12 November 1888 
       Press Reports: Barking and East Ham Advertiser - 24 November 1888 
       Press Reports: Bismarck Daily Tribune - 10 November 1888 
       Press Reports: Boston Daily Globe - 10 November 1888 
       Press Reports: Boston Daily Globe - 9 November 1888 
       Press Reports: Bournemouth Visitors Directory - 14 November 1888 
       Press Reports: Croydon Advertiser - 10 November 1888 
       Press Reports: Croydon Advertiser - 17 November 1888 
       Press Reports: Croydon Times - 14 November 1888 
       Press Reports: Daily News - 10 November 1888 
       Press Reports: Daily News - 12 November 1888 
       Press Reports: Daily News - 13 November 1888 
       Press Reports: Daily News - 14 November 1888 
       Press Reports: Daily News - 15 November 1888 
       Press Reports: Daily News - 16 November 1888 
       Press Reports: Daily News - 19 November 1888 
       Press Reports: Daily News - 20 November 1888 
       Press Reports: Daily Telegraph - 10 November 1888 
       Press Reports: Daily Telegraph - 12 November 1888 
       Press Reports: Daily Telegraph - 13 November 1888 
       Press Reports: Daily Telegraph - 16 November 1888 
       Press Reports: East and West Ham Gazette - 10 November 1888 
       Press Reports: East London Advertiser - 17 November 1888 
       Press Reports: East London Advertiser - 24 November 1888 
       Press Reports: East London Observer - 10 November 1888 
       Press Reports: East London Observer - 17 November 1888 
       Press Reports: Eastern Post - 10 November 1888 
       Press Reports: Eastern Post - 17 November 1888 
       Press Reports: Echo - 10 November 1888 
       Press Reports: Echo - 12 November 1888 
       Press Reports: Echo - 13 November 1888 
       Press Reports: Echo - 9 November 1888 
       Press Reports: Edwardsville Intelligencer - 14 November 1888 
       Press Reports: Evening News - 10 November 1888 
       Press Reports: Evening News - 12 November 1888 
       Press Reports: Evening News - 13 November 1888 
       Press Reports: Evening News - 14 November 1888 
       Press Reports: Evening News - 19 November 1888 
       Press Reports: Evening News - 9 November 1888 
       Press Reports: Evening Star - 10 November 1888 
       Press Reports: Evening Star - 9 November 1888 
       Press Reports: Florida Times - 10 November 1888 
       Press Reports: Frederick News - 10 November 1888 
       Press Reports: Galveston Daily News - 11 November 1888 
       Press Reports: Globe [Canada] - 12 November 1888 
       Press Reports: Globe [Canada] - 13 November 1888 
       Press Reports: Graphic - 17 November 1888 
       Press Reports: Illustrated Police News - 17 November 1888 
       Press Reports: Irish Times - 10 November 1888 
       Press Reports: Irish Times - 12 November 1888 
       Press Reports: Irish Times - 13 November 1888 
       Press Reports: Kellogg Enterprise - 16 November 1888 
       Press Reports: Macclesfield Courier and Herald - 17 November 1888 
       Press Reports: Macleod Gazette - 11 November 1888 
       Press Reports: Manchester Guardian - 10 November 1888 
       Press Reports: Manchester Guardian - 14 November 1888 
       Press Reports: Manitoba Daily Free Press - 10 November 1888 
       Press Reports: Marion Daily Star - 10 November 1888 
       Press Reports: Marion Daily Star - 12 November 1888 
       Press Reports: Montreal Daily Star - 14 November 1888 
       Press Reports: Montreal Gazette - 12 November 1888 
       Press Reports: Morning Advertiser - 10 November 1888 
       Press Reports: Morning Advertiser - 12 November 1888 
       Press Reports: Morning Advertiser - 13 November 1888 
       Press Reports: Morning Advertiser - 15 November 1888 
       Press Reports: Morning Advertiser - 16 November 1888 
       Press Reports: Morning Advertiser - 20 November 1888 
       Press Reports: Munster News - 10 November 1888 
       Press Reports: Munster News - 14 November 1888 
       Press Reports: New York Herald - 10 November 1888 
       Press Reports: New York Herald - 11 November 1888 
       Press Reports: New York Times - 10 November 1888 
       Press Reports: New York Tribune - 10 November 1888 
       Press Reports: New York World - 10 November 1888 
       Press Reports: New York World - 11 November 1888 
       Press Reports: Ottawa Citizen - 10 November 1888 
       Press Reports: Ottawa Free Press - 9 November 1888 
       Press Reports: Pall Mall Gazette - 10 November 1888 
       Press Reports: Pall Mall Gazette - 12 November 1888 
       Press Reports: Pall Mall Gazette - 13 November 1888 
       Press Reports: Pall Mall Gazette - 14 November 1888 
       Press Reports: Pall Mall Gazette - 19 November 1888 
       Press Reports: Penny Illustrated Paper - 17 November 1888 
       Press Reports: Penny Illustrated Paper - 24 November 1888 
       Press Reports: Port Philip Herald - 10 November 1888 
       Press Reports: St. James Gazette - 10 November 1888 
       Press Reports: St. James Gazette - 13 November 1888 
       Press Reports: St. James Gazette - 14 November 1888 
       Press Reports: Star - 10 November 1888 
       Press Reports: Star - 12 November 1888 
       Press Reports: Star - 13 November 1888 
       Press Reports: Star - 14 November 1888 
       Press Reports: Star - 19 November 1888 
       Press Reports: Star - 9 November 1888 
       Press Reports: Syracuse Herald - 11 November 1888 
       Press Reports: Thanet Advertiser - 17 November 1888 
       Press Reports: Times [London] - 10 November 1888 
       Press Reports: Times [London] - 12 November 1888 
       Press Reports: Times [London] - 13 November 1888 
       Press Reports: Times [London] - 14 November 1888 
       Press Reports: Times [London] - 19 November 1888 
       Press Reports: Times [London] - 20 November 1888 
       Press Reports: Trenton Times - 10 November 1888 
       Press Reports: Trenton Times - 12 November 1888 
       Press Reports: Trenton Times - 9 November 1888 
       Press Reports: Walthamstow and Leyton Guardian - 24 November 1888 
       Press Reports: Weekly Herald - 16 November 1888 
       Ripper Media: Jack l’Eventreur: Le Secret de Mary Jane K. 
       Ripper Media: Mary Jane Kelly: La derniere victime 
       Ripper Media: The Inquest of the Final Victim of Jack the Ripper, Mary ... 
       Ripper Media: Will the Real Mary Kelly? 
       Victims: A Violet From Mother's Grave 
       Victims: Mary Jane Kelly 
       Victims: Testimonies of George Hutchinson and Sara Lewis 
       Victorian London: Dorset Street 
       Victorian London: Overcrowding in a School Room 
       Witnesses: Elizabeth Phoenix 
       Witnesses: Lizzie Albrook 
       Witnesses: Thomas Bowyer 
       Witnesses: Walter Beck