Mystery Solved: James Kavanagh Reunites Family

A vintage frame, old letters and a series of Instagram stories that led to a family reunited.

James Kavanagh, a well known Irish personality, discovered hidden letters and cards in the back of an antique photo frame when he purchased it from the Vintage Shop in Phibsborough. The letters, dated from 1942 were sent to a Mrs. Brophy residing at 44 Merrion Road, Ballsbridge.

Appearing on the Ray D’arcy Show, James explained

“I opened up the back and found around 10 old letters and handmade Christmas cards addressed to Mrs. Brophy with an address in Ballsbridge.”

Once he discovered the letters, he immediately put the discovery on his Instagram stories. From this, he received a response from Anna Fitzgerald claiming to know the baby in the photo as her great aunt Meave. Furthermore, Ellen Creedon also contacted James, as she recognized the woman in the letter as her great Aunt Kitty. Ellen and Anne soon worked out they were third cousins and their mother’s are second cousins and are now planning a re-union in the near future.

The frame originally belonged to Kitty, but when she passed away she left it to Anna’s great grandmother, where she lived in her house with her daughters Meave and Brenda. Meave passed away in May of 2018, where the house and the contents were left to Anna’s mother Michelle, who sold the frame to the Antique shop, where James came across it, and the rest as they say, is history..

The picture of the man in the back of the frame is Walter, who is Ellen’s great grandfather’s brother. Walter traveled to Brooklyn between the 1901 census and the 1911 census and nobody heard much from him after. Sadly Walter died before 1918 and is believed to have fled from Ireland, for reasons unknown. Perhaps that is the next mystery James can solve.

Sarah Malone