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Digital Subscriptions > Family Tree > Family Tree October 2018 > Investigating murder

Investigating murder

Patricia O’Sullivan’s family could be a family historian’s dream… apart from one dark chapter involving a murder on the other side of the world
Hennessy/ O’Sullivan family tree (created R Morgan)

My family, with its long generational spans, could be a family historian’s dream – just four hops to get back to the 18th century, plus a clutch of relatives in their 70s, 80s and 90s to feed my thirst to know about my forebears.

The bachelor farmer cousins in Barnacurra, a tiny hamlet close to Newmarket in rural north Co Cork were a particularly rich source, but it was a more recent story that seemed to remain in the shadows.

Hennessy/ O’Sullivan family tree (created R Morgan)

Patrick O’Sullivan, my grandfather, together with his brother Mortimor, had served in the Hong Kong Police

Force. We knew that they had joined as young men and Patrick retired back to Ireland in 1921, aged 45, but his brother had been ‘killed by a gang in Gresson Street in 1918’. However, in saying that, our knowledge about him had almost been exhausted. My aunts, some of whom had been born in Hong Kong, had various snippets of stories about their parents’ time in the British colony, but of Mortimor and his family all we had was one photo of the Police Inspector and his wife, Nora, and one of Nora with their two small girls and my grandparents. The widow had remarried and moved with her daughters to America, and all contact had been lost.

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