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So was she really Irish or Welsh?

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  • So was she really Irish or Welsh?

    All the films and documentaries I've seen about the Ripper case have always maintained she was Irish, and indeed she is recorded as telling her friends and lover she was Irish. But why then did she tell her land lady she was from wales and why was she known to speak Welsh?
    I read somewhere in a conversation with a friend she said she wanted to go to Ireland because that's where her people were, could her family have moved to Ireland from Wales perhaps? It seems unlikely as most people were leaving Ireland to find work in England, my own ancestors moved from Ireland to the north of England for the sake of employment.
    It doesn't really matter to the murder investigation I suppose since the Ripper was probably a stranger but it's bugged me for a while now.
    ...Confusion will be my epitaph as I crawl this cracked and broken path, if we make it we can all sit back and laugh, but I fear tomorrow I'll crying...

  • #2
    Mac Carthy said that she sometimes received letters from Ireland (from her mother). That could be a clue and confirm she was Irish.

    Amitiés,
    David

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    • #3
      My understanding from all accounts is that she was born in Ireland but that her family moved to Wales when she was still a very young child, so much of her memories of growing up would have been from Wales, as well as those of her teenage marriage. So one could imagine that depending on how much detail she wanted to go into, based on how well she knew a particular person, she might have answered the question "Where are you from?" with either Ireland or Wales.

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      • #4
        It's quite possible too she picked up the Welsh accent after living there.

        A friend of mine from Hull moved to Birkenhead, and stayed for many years. When he returned he was speaking scouse!

        Regional dialects are easily picked up and can become one's own after a while residing in the area!
        Regards Mike

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Mike Covell View Post
          It's quite possible too she picked up the Welsh accent after living there.

          A friend of mine from Hull moved to Birkenhead, and stayed for many years. When he returned he was speaking scouse!

          Regional dialects are easily picked up and can become one's own after a while residing in the area!
          Very true Mike, and that's a blessing!
          However, I believe Nancy's question was about her being Irish or not, and that is why, in this respect, what Mac Carthy said is significant - more than Barnett's words, that were, indeed, Mary's own words merely repeated.

          Amitiés,
          David

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          • #6
            Originally posted by nancyrowina View Post
            It seems unlikely as most people were leaving Ireland to find work in England
            That's not strictly true, Nancy - South Wales in particular saw comparatively large inward migrations of Irish families in the wake of the Potato Famine, drawn by the employment boom in "The Valleys" (coal and metal-works) and what were then some of the busiest industrial ports and docks in the world (Cardiff, Newport and - to a lesser extent - Swansea). North Wales, too, had its fair share of Irish immigrants, particularly in Flintshire/Deeside, and for broadly the same reasons - albeit the coal industry was practically non-existent in comparison with the South.
            Kind regards, Sam Flynn

            "Suche Nullen" (Nietzsche, Götzendämmerung, 1888)

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            • #7
              Hi David,
              Originally posted by DVV View Post
              what Mac Carthy said is significant
              What may also be significant is that it was not uncommon for immigrant families to split, or for people to return to the "mother country" for various reasons. Then, as now, not all immigrants remained permanently in their "second home" forever.

              Remember, too, that McCarthy only knew Kelly and Barnett for a period of months - if they'd lived on his books for several years one might attach more significance to the "letters from Ireland". As it was, the period during which this correspondence was received would only have reflected a snapshot of Kelly's life away from home.
              Last edited by Sam Flynn; 08-08-2008, 10:16 PM.
              Kind regards, Sam Flynn

              "Suche Nullen" (Nietzsche, Götzendämmerung, 1888)

              Comment


              • #8
                Hi Nancy
                As with so many things connected with kelly, this can end up as a circular argument in that the only detailed version of events we have comes from Kelly herself via Barnett. If we place any credence in Barnett/Kelly's account of her early life, then there is no ambiguity. This states quite unequivocally that Kelly was born in Limerick and that the family moved when she was "very young" to Wales.
                There is the mention of letters being received at McCarthy's for Kelly. However, a much firmer mention of letters from Ireland is contained in the account an of unnamed City Missionary who was interviewed and quoted as follows:
                "There is no doubt," says a City missionary, "that the impression has been very profound among these unhappy women. We have had special meetings for them, and at the very outset of our efforts we got thirty four of them away to homes, and we have had a good many others since. I knew the poor girl who has just been killed, and to look at, at all events, she was one of the smartest, nicest looking women in the neighbourhood. We have had her at some of our meetings, and a companion of hers was one we rescued. I know that she has been in correspondence with her mother. It is not true, as it has been stated, that she is a Welshwoman. She is of Irish parentage, and her mother, I believe, lives in Limerick. I used to hear a good deal about the letters from her mother there. You would not have supposed if you met her in the street that she belonged to the miserable class she did, as she was always neatly and respectably dressed, and looked quite nice and respectable."

                On the other side, one must bear in mind the account of an unnamed young woman who claimed to know Kelly and asserted that Kelly was Welsh and indeed spoke Welsh.
                I did conjecture in the Mary Kelly book that, if this account has any truth, it is possible that Kelly spoke Erse (Irish gaelic) and the young woman may have mistaken this for Welsh. But this is only conjecture.
                Hope this helps
                Chris

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                • #9
                  Chris, did you find her in workhouse records? Maybe this has been reconciled since but I missed it. Your thoughts please, Roy

                  http://www.casebook.org/forum/messages/4920/10474.html
                  Sink the Bismark

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                  • #10
                    Those city missionaries were evangelical weren't they? And Kelly would have been Catholic. I'd be surprised if she went near one of their meetings unless she felt like a nice cup of tea.

                    Also I'm pretty sure that de mortuis nil nisi bonum applies to all these accounts of Kelly. All the other victims sound like lovely women as well, I'm sure for the same reason.

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                    • #11
                      Well, all due respect to Mary, but I don't know that she would have been a devout Catholic, even if she was Irish...and fancying a nice cup of tea was reason enough to head off to the missionaries. Btw, I think they were generally evangelists, but first and foremost (cf. the work of the Wesleyans at the Old Mahogany Mission, a hop and a skip away from Ms Mary's stamping grounds), charity was the principal objective.

                      Mind you, there's no substantiated reason to believe that, even if MJK had given such an account to the missionary, it was necessarily true, however lovely it sounded.
                      best,

                      claire

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                      • #12
                        "There is no doubt," says a City missionary, "that the impression has been very profound among these unhappy women. We have had special meetings for them, and at the very outset of our efforts we got thirty four of them away to homes, and we have had a good many others since. I knew the poor girl who has just been killed, and to look at, at all events, she was one of the smartest, nicest looking women in the neighbourhood. We have had her at some of our meetings, and a companion of hers was one we rescued. I know that she has been in correspondence with her mother. It is not true, as it has been stated, that she is a Welshwoman. She is of Irish parentage, and her mother, I believe, lives in Limerick. I used to hear a good deal about the letters from her mother there. You would not have supposed if you met her in the street that she belonged to the miserable class she did, as she was always neatly and respectably dressed, and looked quite nice and respectable."


                        Chris,

                        Could you please tell me the source for this?

                        Thanks

                        Graham
                        Last edited by Graham; 12-14-2008, 02:13 AM.
                        We are suffering from a plethora of surmise, conjecture and hypothesis. - Sherlock Holmes, The Adventure Of Silver Blaze

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Graham View Post
                          "It is not true, as it has been stated, that she is a Welshwoman. She is of Irish parentage, and her mother, I believe, lives in Limerick."
                          None of which, annoyingly, negates Kelly's story of having moved to Wales when young, etc.
                          Kind regards, Sam Flynn

                          "Suche Nullen" (Nietzsche, Götzendämmerung, 1888)

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Sam Flynn View Post
                            None of which, annoyingly, negates Kelly's story of having moved to Wales when young, etc.
                            Sam,

                            Maybe so, and I can't argue against MJK being Irish and moving to Wales, etc., but I'd like to know the source of the "City Missionary's" statement, as I haven't seen it before.

                            Cheers,

                            Graham
                            We are suffering from a plethora of surmise, conjecture and hypothesis. - Sherlock Holmes, The Adventure Of Silver Blaze

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Graham View Post
                              I'd like to know the source of the "City Missionary's" statement, as I haven't seen it before.
                              Happy to oblige, Graham. The "missionary's position" was given in the Daily News, 12th November 1888.
                              Kind regards, Sam Flynn

                              "Suche Nullen" (Nietzsche, Götzendämmerung, 1888)

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