Michael E Kelly relative of victim


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Michael Kelly

Guest
This is one of the first posts I've made to this board since recently discovering it. I'm 24, a university student and soon-to-be business owner from California (1st generation American) and am a relative of an apparent Titanic victim. As an Irish-American, family history has always been important to me. My uncle has been compiling a history of the Dwyers from Kilkenny, Ireland for several years. Recently, he visited my grandmother in California and brought with him a 200 or so page history of the Dwyers he has written.

It was upon reading my family tree that I discovered my great great uncle William Dwyer was a passenger of the Titanic. He and a few of his friends decided to leave Ireland, an extremely poor country at the time, to live in America. They could not afford even a 3rd class ticket and decided to stow away. A few female acquaintances accompanied them to the port of Queenstown (now Cobh) and watched them board the Titanic. As far as we know, none of them survived. So far, that is all I know of the story. I am not sure whether or not his body was ever recovered, but he is not listed as a victim, probably because of his passenger status.

I can honestly say that I was not surprised about finding this information in my family history. Even though it was the first time I had heard this story, I had known for some time that there was a personal connection between myself and the Titanic.

Let me say right off that I am not a believer in reincarnation. But as an Irish Catholic, I believe the spirits of our ancestors live through us. It's difficult to explain, and I don't discuss this with most people I know, but I've felt for many years since the discovery of the Titanic that a part of me died that April night in 1912. It had been even more difficult for myself to accept this until I read my family history. Then it all made sense.

Even more mysterious is a nightmare I had about the disaster not long before I read my family history, where I was drifting in the ocean not far from where the ship was sinking. I could feel the cold slowly killing me, and knowing there was no hope of rescue, looking up and saying a prayer shortly before everything went dim.

Last September on my first trip to Ireland to visit family, I took a direct flight from Los Angeles to London on a 747 with LCD screens for each passenger. One of the menu items on the screen was a skymap of where we were during the flight. I watched this periodically, but left it on as we flew past Nova Scotia towards Greenland. I couldn't help but look out the window and stare out over the ocean, thinking to myself about where the ship was when it went down and the more than 1500 victims, not knowing yet that I was related to one of them.

I am hoping that my membership here will help me discover other information about this relative, as well as provide me with a chance to work towards adding his name to the list of victims, as well as provide me with the ability to discuss with other members of this board, especially other relatives of Titanic victims.

Michael Kelly
 

Shane Kurup

Member
Jan 4, 2001
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Hi Michael!

Welcome to ET!. A very interesting story. I too have had a few strange dreams where I found myself on the Titanic, and another where I was talking to a survivor who died 10 years ago. They were both very strange.
I look forward to seeing more of your posts here!

Shane Kurup
 
Dec 2, 2000
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Easley South Carolina
Michael, I wish you the best of luck in researching your unfortunate reletive...and beleive me, you'll need it. Stowaways were not as uncommon as the shipping lines wished they were. In Simon Mills "Olympic,The Old Reliable", he noted several instances where some were actually caught, and not just on one voyage either.

For obvious reasons, the lines were not anxious to advertise the fact that stowing away could be done successfully.

The problem in this case is that unless he was caught, there would be no record of your uncle's ever being on the ship....and if he was, any record that would have been made would have gone down with the ship.

As I'm sure you can understand, Titanic researchers are very leery of claims of people being aboard whose names, for whatever reason, never made it onto the poassanger list. Fakers are as thick as fleas and undocumented stowaways would be nearly impossible to verify.

Cordially,
Michael H. Standart
 
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Rolf Vonk

Guest
Hi Michael,

Welcome aboard! Interesting to read your story. I'm Rolf from the southern Netherlands. As Dutch catholics we also believe that spirits of ancestors live in us. Though I didn't have any relative on Titanic I can imagine your story. I hope you will find more about your family via Titanic connections (are there more things about your great uncle which are interesting for ET?).

However, I wish you much luck with your research and I'm looking forward to your posts!

Regards,

Rolf (aka rollie)
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Michael Kelly

Guest
Hello, I'm glad to see a few replies already. I emailed my uncle about William and he tells me the family relative who told him the story now says he was not a stowaway. Apparently she doesn't recant any other part of the story, but can't say for certain the ship he boarded was the Titanic other than through the circumstantial evidence of the witnesses who accompanied William to Queenstown.

I suspect that if he were indeed a stoway afterall the family may have been ashamed of the fact and decided not to disclose it.

I've looked at the website of the Irish Titanic Historical Society, which lists about 6 Irish passengers who were not on the official passenger list. So this raises a possibility the records were lost if William in fact paid his way onto the ship. I've contacted the ITHS to see if there is any way they can assist in finding some kind of record of his death, either an official certificate in the County of Kilkenny or more probably, a publishing in the local newspaper or a church record where a requiem mass may have been offered for him, a custom in Catholicism. Hopefully we can either increase the likelihood he was on the Titanic, or prove the story is incorrect through this documentation. All we can say is that he is believed to have died in a shipwreck in 1912. Since the ITHS may have access to records of other ships that may have sailed out of Queenstown and were lost in 1912, we may be able to find an answer to this mystery through that information as well.

Nevertheless, I know this will be a frustrating search that may never yield any definitive answer.

Michael Kelly
 
Sep 21, 2005
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Dorset
Michael,

Hi, I'm Laura from England. You've definitely come to the right place to get a definitive answer! If anything the people here perservere till everything is exhausted! You'll get an answer of some shape or form, I can promise you that!

Laura
 
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Michael Kelly

Guest
Hello again all,

Things are moving at a faster pace than I expected. Thanks to some data on shipwrecks found on the internet, I have concluded that no other transcontinental commercial or passenger ships leaving an Irish port sank between the years of 1909 to 1915 except for the Titanic. However, Cobh was a large fishing village and has lost several smaller vessels over the years.
If we could determine that William actually intended to emigrate to America, this would seem to substantiate the earlier claim. I suspect my uncle (or another family member) will need to interrogate this relative who recalls the story.

I've received a reply from Noel Ray of the ITHS who has relayed my inquiry to their historian, Senan Molony. I've seen his name on the board and he seems to have established quite a (bad) reputation here. I have a handful of relatives in England; in addition two of my uncles were born in Blackpool and my mother lived there for a while as a child, so I have no reason to make derrogatory comments about the British (I can't say the same for my Irish cousins back home, though).

At this point, there isn't much more I can do to research this from my physical location in California. I will be mailing a letter to the Kilkenny Archaeological Society tomorrow for information on what records they have categorized and how much a search will be. Apparently most of these centers in Ireland now have everything on microfiche, something that had not been completed at the time my uncle was compiling our family history.

Michael Kelly
 
Dec 2, 2000
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Easley South Carolina
Michael, Senan does have something of a hot temper, but he's also an outstanding researcher. See some of his articals here as well as some of his postings to see what I mean. If anyone can dig up the information your looking for, he's the guy.

Cordially,
Michael H. Standart
 

Jason D. Tiller

Moderator
Member
Dec 3, 2000
8,243
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Niagara Falls, Ontario
Hi Michael,

Welcome aboard! That's an interesting story. A family member of mine's great great grandfather was a passenger on the Titanic in third class who unfortunately did not survive.

Senan is a wonderful researcher, Michael S. is right. I would also recommend that you read his articles and posts.

It's good to hear from you and I look forward to your posts.

Best regards,

Jason
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Senan Molony

Member
Jan 30, 2004
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Dublin
There were no Kilkenny newspaper reports in 1912 of any persons from that area being aboard the Titanic - not by the name of Dwyer and not by any other. There were simply no reports of the deaths or survival of any Kilkenny passengers. I have been through all the Irish newspapers for that entire year, naturally including all Kilkenny publications.
No persons by the name of Dwyer were validly ticketed for the Titanic.
The identity of a single Irish steerage ticket, in the name of a John Horgan, is not positively established. The holder of this ticket almost certainly came from Kerry, Cork or Limerick, however. Not Kilkenny.
Stowaways were not unheard of but are essentially unverifiable.
The Titanic had relatively few Irish steerage passengers at 113. More than 400 took the cheaper Celtic which sailed the next day.
 

Senan Molony

Member
Jan 30, 2004
1,689
16
161
Dublin
I should have said that someone stowing away at Queenstown ought to have been able to swim, since the Titanic was only accessible otherwise by tender.
And you had to have a valid ticket to get in the tender.
 
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bill m jones

Guest
Matthew Here

Anything is Possible, Stowaway's too. Kinda hard to say, not being there . Researh or not.
 
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bill m jones

Guest
Matthew Here

Anything is Possible, Stowaway's too. Kinda hard to say, not being there . Research or not.
 

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