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Our family history is absolutely riddled with historical gaps and mysteries, my own life being born in Liverpool of Scouse parents but brought up on a council estate in Buckinghamshire detached me from any regular meaningful conversations with a lot of the older generation. My Dad’s side The Murphy’s is more transparent, but my Mother was a Flannery and there are many contradictory tales, it doesn’t help that my Grandparents both died withing a year of each other a couple of years before I was born.

After my parents and Grandparents died the link to the past became even more fragile. My last Auntie died in 2008, my two eldest cousins both died in the last two years, the past is slipping away, and I’ve been very conscious of it.

I recently applied for and got Irish Citizenship through my paternal Grandmother Elizabeth Doyle who whilst she lived in Liverpool for most of her life was born in County Wicklow. My Grandad John Murphy was born in Old Swan, his parents were Irish, yet one of their parents was born in Liverpool. The Irish diaspora isn’t just a mass immigration to Liverpool during the Great Famine, it certainly is where and where the bulk of the people came from but there was plenty of back and forth going on too for many years.

During a post mentioning the 60’s Liverpool music scene I asked Ripley if he remembered Lee Curtis and the All Stars to which he snorted ‘of course I do? (Sorry Rippers). I then proudly announced he was my cousin, and even though I’d never met him my Mum would always go on about him and I also remember watching them on TV when I was very young. Since those days I had thought Lee’s father Chris, also the father of his more famous brother Joe Flannery (Manager of The Beatles) and my Grandfather Tom Flannery were brothers

Then came the most astonishing post I’ve ever read on here in almost 20 years from KAMF.

‘My Dad is the drummer for Lee Curtis and the All Stars’.

I spoke with KAMF who confirmed, his Dad currently sits in a seat previously occupied by Pete Best, just wow, where on earth do I go with this?

KAMF’s Dad sort of took over because he phoned me up and we had a chat, he’s a really good guy and he told me Lee would be happy to talk with me and gave me his number. So I called Peter (Lee) up and we talked for almost an hour. What a life he’s led, he's 81 now, he spent a couple of years in Hamburg in the early 60’s as so many Scouse bands did and as a hangover from those days has a German ‘fan club’ who come over and see him play to this day (Throwung their corsets and teeth onto the stage). They played (Pre-Coronavirus) every Thursday night, there was lots more but what a conversation we had and we’ve agreed to meet up when they are able to play again.

One thing bothered me though, our conversations didn’t add up in parts. I cross referenced my cousin who also phoned Lee, he had met Lee's Dad Chris Flannery plenty of times having visited their home regularly with his mum, my cousin also agreed with me there were lots missing, plenty not adding up and something was wrong.


It drove me nuts, so I had a go at Find My Past, a genealogy site.

It’s murderous (although it gets easier as you keep searching) I gathered loads of information, but it seems each answer opened another question. Some of it was quite distressing, I found my Grandmother (age 3 at entry) and her two young sisters on the Workhouse register together. Further digging revealed it's not as bad as it sounds perhaps, they were in The Fazakerley Cottage Home which wasn’t a Workhouse more a massive barracks for poor children in care. The three girls pop up again in the 1901 census all living with the Flannery family in a tenement building , numbers 2 and 5 Newsham Street off Scotland Road,. Eventually two of the girls married two of the Flannery brothers one being my Grandfather, the other being the father of Chris Flannery born in 1906, I had finally cracked it, Chris wasn’t my Grandad’s brother he was his nephew, his father Joe was Tom’s brother. Suddenly it all made sense.

These were proper slum dwellings by the way their lives must have been dreadful, the photographs tell a grim tale indeed..

Now the mystery we will never solve. My mother was a devout Catholic, so was her mother, so were all of her sisters. In Joe Flannery’s book the very first chapter is dedicated to his childhood, how his family were from East Dublin and Mayo, all Irish Catholics, how he almost trained to become a Priest (Him being gay may well have caused a problem there but anyway..) and was still a devout Catholic at the time of the book, he is aged 82.

So, the mystery is, with this background how was my Grandfather who whilst marrying a Catholic woman, had a Catholic brother and Catholic kids end up being an Orangeman who never ever went into a Catholic church, even to see his daughters married?

The point of the post is, has anybody else had a go at this, have they opened up a Pandoras Box of mysteries, tragedies or eye openers. I still have loads to do on this and I have some cousins on the job too but I doubt I’ll ever find out how Grandad Tom with 100 of years of Catholicism in his family became a member of The Orange Order?

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