Grandson teams up with granny to find lost grand-aunt
An irishwoman living in Birmingham has teamed up with her grandson to try and find her long-lost sister. Nuala Lee, who was born Agnes Allen in Ballysadare, Co. Sligo, knew little about her father, Thomas Fallon, as he left home when she was just a month old.
While staying with her grandson, Matthew O’Sullivan, who is based in Co. Donegal, she explained how she wanted to do some research online.
“Over the years my grandmother would not talk about it much and even now there are many blanks, but over the past few weeks she opened up,” Matthew explained. “Together, with the help of the internet, we have done some investigating and what we’ve found out is both shocking and amazing.”
The pair discovered that Nuala’s father had moved to London and had worked as a hotel porter for several years in Kensington up until he died in the late 1960s.
In 1961, he had remarried to a woman named Kathleen J. Cahill who, they believe, was Irish and was born in 1925 or 1926. They know she was a hotel waitress and was aged 35 at the time of the marriage, while Thomas was 52.
They were married at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Roehampton, with a P. Cahill and B. Dwyer named as witnesses.
These relatively ordinary details took a dramatic turn, however, when Matthew and Nuala learnt of a secret birth.
“Kathleen and Thomas had become parents two years before they were married, producing a daughter” Matthew said.
He and his 84-year-old grandmother spent time trawling through birth records in London where they found a woman by the name of Bridget Cahill, who shares her mother’s maiden name and was born within the right timeframe. They are also waiting on a birth certificate for a Ms Martha Cahill, while a death certificate for a Kathleen Josephine Fallon who passed away in 1987 could provide another lead.
“This is all we have to go on so far,” he explained. “As you can understand this is a fragile situation as the child, who would now be an adult, might not be aware of things.”
Matthew has reached out to see if anyone has any information relating to this case. If so, please contact The Irish World.