William Melville – The Real James Bond 007


I often get asked what my first name is short for…………Melvin?…………Melanie? :-)

Truth is my real first name is Matthew and Mel is short for my middle name – Melville!

Melville was my mother’s maiden name and she was so rightly proud of it she decided to continue the tradition beyond her generation by sticking it smack bang in the middle of mine.

The reason she was proud was because many years ago my great great uncle William Melville had quite a job as head of Special Branch.

“Melville of the Yard” as he was known was born in Ireland in 1850 and moved to England to join the Metropolitan Police in 1872.

Within 7 years he was a detective sergeant in the CID and joined the Irish Special Branch in 1883.

For the next few years he was involved with the surveillance of Irish-American bombers, foiling plots to blow up Queen Victoria’s Jubilee celebrations, chasing Jack The Ripper and tackling French anarchists on Victoria Station.


In 1893 he was promoted to head of Special Branch and became much more visible as bodyguard to Queen Victoria and other heads of state as they visited, counting Harry Houdini as one of his friends.

Then it really started to get interesting!

From the Kerry Museum:

“In 1903 the War Office set up a Directorate of Military Operations, which needed a field operative to deal with intelligence gathering. Melville was headhunted for the job, and his role was to act as a general controller for War Office agents abroad as well as to undertake a number of secret missions of his own at home and abroad. Melville would report to Captain Francis Davies under the alias of ‘M’. On 1st December 1903 Melville began his new career as an espionage agent under the name of William Morgan, General Agent. His office was in Victoria St, adjacent to Scotland Yard.” 

He died in 1917 still teaching at his “Spy School” and working as hard as ever to safeguard the British people from terrorist threats.

So when you trot along to cinema to see the latest James Bond epic, just remember there was a real guy doing all that stuff over a hundred years ago…………………………and he’s why I’m called Mel!

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  • #1 MattR

    And what’s wrong with Matt?

    Reply Posted 6 years ago
  • #2 MelC

    Nothing Matt!

    My mother in her wisdom added Melville to my Cash’s name tapes when I went to boarding school.

    On the way back from the laundry one day an older boy – Paddy Hopkirk – spotted the name on my socks and that was it……I’ve been called Mel since 1983!

    My family are the only folks to still call me Matthew!

    Reply Posted 6 years ago
  • #3 will m

    Heyy, im a melville two, and my father was born in scotland but knows very lil about his family, imma have to do some reserch, maybe where related or something like that =D

    Reply Posted 6 years ago
  • #4 William John Lawrence

    He was my great grandfather

    Reply Posted 5 years ago
    • #5 Michael

      Tell us more william John Lawrence. You are welcome to join our growing ranks. You posted 672 days ago-nothing since!

      Reply Posted 4 years ago
  • #6 mike sullivan

    William melville was my great great uncle too Mel !

    My great grandmother was his sister Catherine (one of four sisters)
    Would you like to contact me?
    Be good to hear from you!

    My late father was god father to James Edward Melville in 1936

    Michael sullivan

    Reply Posted 5 years ago
  • #7 mike sullivan

    With thanks to Matthew for making this contact possible.
    Have tried twice to reply, but I suspect that due to some gremlin bugging my computer I have been blanked mid-message. So, just in case it happens again I’ll be brief.

    Would like to hear from you Richard, and indeed you too Mel, and who are you William John Lawrence?? We Melville realtives are coming out of the woodwork-I have long wondered where or indeed, if, there were others out there!

    I possess a copy of the Baptismal Certificate for James 1936, St Boniface RC Church Tooting London. My late father John J P Sullivan, was your Godfather James if you should read this! I am a year younger than you, 1937.

    Catherine, William’s eldest sister, was my great grandnother- 3 other sisters, Mary, Bridget and Lizzie of Boston USA. We all have relatives still living around Sneem Co Kerry.
    So here goes, hope you receive this one!

    Michael Sullivan. London.

    Reply Posted 5 years ago
  • #8 mike sullivan

    Would like to hear from you Richard and you too Mel

    Mike Sullivan

    Reply Posted 5 years ago
  • #9 mike sullivan

    Correction to mine of 14 November; Relied on my memory instead consulting family papers,mistake at my age!
    The Baptism was in fact at The Church of the English Martyrs, Streatham SW16.
    In those days it seems it was the custom to record Baptisim entries in Latin! This explains why I could not determine your grandmother’s name. James Edward Melville’s Godmother, was Catherine Mary M Rainey. incidentally, My late mother (died very recently) remembers her as being charming. Sarah Lady Melville, widow of Sir James was present also.
    Following the reception, my parents visited William’s widow Amelia, who at that time was living in the area. She would have been elderly in 1936.

    I will try to contact you.

    Not far from you, SE London.

    Regards Michael Sullivan.

    Reply Posted 5 years ago
  • #10 mike sullivan

    William John Lawrence. Yet another great great nephew?
    I am intrigued. Lawrence occurs as a first name in my ancestry. Do you have Sneem origins?
    Would you like to tell us more??

    Mike Sullivan, London.
    Great grandson of Catherine (nee Melville) Sullivan (of Sneem Co kerry )

    Reply Posted 5 years ago
  • #11 MelC

    Great to see this post making so many connections. Let me know when you and Richard connect and loop me in. Be great to meet you Mike!

    Reply Posted 5 years ago
  • #12 mike sullivan

    Be good to meet you too Mel, as you can see Richard and I have exchanged here, and by private email. I have suggested we meet at National Gallery, nothing fixed yet,perhaps we all three could meet up. Been looking for you guys for a long time!
    Always knew my lost realtives were out there somewhere!
    By the way, do either of you know who William John Lawrence is?
    Richard and I have already ‘filled in’ a few gaps in the family tree or should I say, trees!
    The bottom line is, we all three come from the same great great grandparents, now there’s a thought!
    Melville blood in us all! William had 4 sisters, Cook was misled big time!
    Mike ‘ The Sneem Connection’

    Reply Posted 5 years ago
  • #13 mike sullivan

    RIichard has my email address and telephone number, obviously can’t post either here. I’m perfectly happy for him to advise you of either/both should you like to contact me with a view to meeting anywhere around central London or in the NG Trafalgar Sq.
    Mike Sullivan

    Reply Posted 5 years ago
  • #14 mike sullivan

    1 December 2009
    Had lunch with Richard B today.Very enjoyable. Quite an emotional event for me. You were discussed by the way! (harmless stuff)
    Best wishes

    Reply Posted 5 years ago
  • #15 will m

    Heyy, im a melville two, and my father was born in scotland but knows very lil about his family, imma have to do some reserch, maybe where related or something like that =D

    Reply Posted 5 years ago
  • #16 patricksullivan

    Hey Mel- I hear from a recently found cousin, Michael Sullivan of Kent that we are cousins of some degree. My Great Grandmother (my fathers side) was a sister (Mary Ann Melville) of William. My Grandmother, Elizabeth Egan Sullivan married Jeremiah W. Sullivan (Michael and I might also be related on that side too). I live in Atlantic Beach, Florida and was born in Boston. Michael said you were on Facebook but I could not find you. Just wanted to say hello…glad to make the connect. If you can find me on Facebook send me an invite or just connect via EMAIL <pjs40cal@yahoo.com> . – Pat Sullivan

    Reply Posted 5 years ago
  • #17 Sue Rowbotham

    Hi Mel, Good to meet you. Fascinated by your gr-gr-uncle’s role leading up to the first world war. Do you know any more about the spy school he ran?


    Reply Posted 4 years ago
  • #18 Elizabeth Palmer

    I can’t believe I found this! I’m another..He was my great great (great?)uncle too! Grandmother on my father’s side was a Melville from a HUGE Catholic Family. I have to talk to my aunt about this more, but yes Catherine and James (William’s parents are the common thread on paper). In a letter from my Great Aunt Catherine it mentions a great uncle that worked “for a bit” in Scotland Yard as a detective or something whose son was knighted” Then there is a picture. I’d always been told the Melville side was “English not Irish”. I googled William and right on Wiki there was the same picture!
    Then as a youth I was told we were related to the author Herman Melville which is impossible. So a lot of gray area to get through. Perhaps you others can shed some light.
    My great grandparents were James Melville from Sneem b. Jan.1 1958 (Is this William’s brother?) d. Oct. 18 or Aug 12, 1912- Cranston, Rhode Island-wife Mary “Polly” Cunningham born in Port Clarence England Jan. 10, 1865 or 1871 d. in Cranston oct. 4, 1952. Mary is the woman who gave my great aunt Catherine the photo and tad of info.
    James Melville’s son George b. aug. 1885 in London (?) married Eustelle Jean Beagan in the U.S. – O’Beagan before they came to the US. She was born in the US although photos say different, it looks, Sep.3, 1891 d. Jan 6 , 1945- Dongan Hills, Staten Island…known as “Nana” – which was also my Grandma Eustelle’s nickname.
    Does anyone have a list of William’s siblings and mother’s maiden name? I have a James Laurence Melville and a Catherine O’Connor or Connor.
    Please connect with me- pass on info…and it sounds like I need to speak with Mr. Sullivan.
    There are more photos with info I will need to track down.
    My best and brilliant site Matt!
    Elizabeth “Betsy” Palmer

    Reply Posted 4 years ago
    • #19 Michael

      Hello Elizabeth-Michael Sullivan of London UK here!!.
      Read your post#17 with great interest. We are of course related. Would be delighted to exchange information with you.Briefly– William Melville (of ‘M’ fame) son of James Melville and Catherine Connor (both born in Templenoe, Kerry), had two brothers, George, who also joined the London Metropolitan police,married and had a daughter a nun, and a son(of whom as yet I have no details, another brother Richard Melville who never married and who died in very poor circumstances, and four sisters, Catherine, eldest who was my great grandmother and married John Laurence Sullivan in 1874(my paternal great grandfather) Bridget M who married Con Lane or as recently advised ‘Lyne’ (‘Lane’ probably being a local mispronounciation of Lyne-a very common occurrence in those days-a dialectic variation), Mary Ann M, who married John Egan of Tahilla in 1868, these being the great grand parents of my Cousin Patrick J Sullivan of Jacksonville Florida with whom I am in contact, and Elizabeth M, the only one of the four sisters to settle in the USA who married D.J. O’connell in Boston in or about 1920, no other details-can you help with her?. So, seven siblings in all, not three as incorrectly recorded in Andrew Cook’s biograpy of William Melville (page 15)- ” ‘M’ MI5′s First Spymaster’ published by Tempus in 2004.
      We are positively not related to the German writer Herman Melville.
      William’s elder son, also William, went to NZ as a young man, there is a grandson Andrew who came to London for the book launch.
      A second son, James, born in La Harve France where William and his first wife Kate were living(he was then working under cover for British intelegence-it’s all in the book) James became Sir James Melville KC (highest rank of attorney in the UK) and MP for Gateshead(Labour-Labor) and twice Solicitor General in the British Government) He died in 1931. My late father-his cousin, knew him.
      Now the part of your letter that really excites me. You refer to a letter from your great aunt Catherine who speaks of William (presumably referring to her brother who ‘worked for a bit for Scotland Yard’ (an understatement!!!). I would love to see a copy of it if it still exists-it would mean so much to see a letter written by my great grandmother Catherine Melville Sullivan, my late father was her favourite grandchild, indeed, her only grandchild ever to have met her, since all but two of her own 16 children left for America, and never returned with any of their own offspring.
      Is it possible for you to copy it for me? I would be so appreciative.
      English Melville’s! No way!! This is entirely inaccurate. The Melville family were long established Irish of distant Scottish origin dating back to 1690–’the battle of the Boyne’, when Catholic Scottish soldiers from the Leith area of Scotland, unable to return home after Catholic King James’s defeat by the Protestant William of Orange (Dutch) fled south. The first Melville therefore,-I assume, we can’t be certain- settled in Sneem or nearby.
      Your own great grandfather, another James, is a new name to me and I would like to know more. I have no knowledge of Mary Cunningham-tell me more. James? Can you make a connection with the first James of Templenoe? (as above para 1). All the other persons are unknown to me so far.
      Reluctant to post my email address but there must be some way we can exchange further. One final point before I forget-Melville was often pronounced and written as ‘Melvin’-a common error in Scotland as well as Ireland (where the name was and is, very rare, no Melville’s in Kerry today as far as I am aware) There is a ‘Clan Melville’ website by the way. It is a recognised Scottish Clan with a Clan castle still in existance, and a tartan, but our family are unquestionably Irish and have been for 400 years!
      Mike Sullivan, London

      Reply Posted 4 years ago
      • #20 Michael

        correction to my last regarding Herman Melville-should have wrttten ‘German American writer’-further investigation reveals he was in fact of Dutch descent.

        Posted 4 years ago
      • #21 Elizabeth Palmer

        My father is a bit daft and I could only find a few scans of the large volume he had sent me- mostly the Baegan side of the family. He did send me his Aunt Catherine’s letters several years ago, but I can’t get to them for at least another month. I believe my grandmother Eustelle Melville was Aunt Catherine’s sister and it was their mother Mary married to a James Melville-son of George. Then it gets even more confusing as it says George had a sister Elizabeth who died in Rhode Island? I’m sorry my info is not here and I am bothering my Father for info that does not match up to what he originally sent me. I do know the Aunt Catherine that wrote that letter would be a generation too young to be your Great Aunt Catherine.
        Michael, do you have the names of the 16 children? Would love to know the names of all Melville cousins that may have come to the US…it might clear up some things. There seems to be a lot of the same first names, even middle names, in the family- it’s confusing at the moment.
        I may have a way to get more info quicker. I do know I had passage lists and certificate’s all of which named our Melvilles’ as coming from Sneem..one Kerry…but Sneem was everywhere…so I have no idea where the English thing came in..oh one more thing, George Melville was lost track of, or possibly left his wife with all those children most of whom she had to put in an orphanage near NYC. The last known about him was he was working for Cunard in the UK.
        more later, after I do some spy work of my own.lol.
        And Welcome Felix! Now that is an exciting history!

        Posted 4 years ago
      • #22 John Egan

        I have been looking in to the Egan connection to Mary Melville following an enquiry and email from Patrick in Florida. This related to your email which suggested John and Mary married in 1868. This may, of course, not be the same John and Mary but I have suggested below why it might be. My great grandfather’s (John Egan) wife was Mary. In the 1901 census she gives her age as 50 (born circa 1851) in the 2011 census her age is listed as 65 (circa 1846). Either way this would have made her around the age of William Melville (1850). The only thing that doesn’t tie up is a marriage date of 1868. According to the 1911 census they were married 30 years in 1911 (circa 1881). This would fit with the age of my grandfather (29). However, and this is pure speculation, there was a step-son (Patrick O’Sullivan) listed in 1901. His age is shown as 30 (circa 1971) not long after 1868. Could Mary have been married twice? Depending on what her real age was she was either 5 or 10 years older than my great

        Posted 3 years ago
  • #23 Felix Lempriere

    William Melville is my Great Great Grandfather. I am descendent through his son also named William who married a woman named Viera who then had four children with her, the eldest of which was named Majorie who was my Grandmother (I think that is accurate). I am not entirely sure how our part of the family came to be here but we live in New Zealand and have done for some time.

    I have recently discovered that we have a teapot dated 30th November 1903 which was given to William Melville as a mark of respect and as a leaving gift when he finished working for the metropolitan police before he began working undercover. I have also found that we have some diamonds given to him by the Tsar of Russia at the time. I am not that familiar yet with his life but it is very interesting!

    Reply Posted 4 years ago
  • #24 Michael

    Welcome to the growing world-wide Melville connection Felix.
    Extraordinary that a teapot should make an appearance!
    William must have had a thing about teapots-he and his wife gave my paternal grandparents one on the occasion of their marriage in 1903-I’m looking at it as I write this!
    I’m having lunch with Mel Carson his great great grandson this week. No doubt your appearance will be discussed!
    I’m Williams great great nephew, his sister Catherine was my great grand mother. To learn more of William’s life refer to the biography by Andrew Cook mentioned in my previous recent post. The larger part of William’s papers and artifacts, many of considerable value, remain unseen in London Metropolitan Police archives- donated by Mary Melville I believe. Michael Sullivan. London.

    Reply Posted 4 years ago
  • #25 Michael

    Felix, William John Melville, eldest son of William snr, was according to the will, (1913) bequeathed his father’s gold ring, the pin given to William snr by Queen Alexandra, the ‘German Emperor’s’ cigarette case,another case from the Russian State, yet another presented by the Battenbergs, a tantalus?(some kind of lock up wine container- I had to look it up) and two hundred pounds, and a somewhat pointed reference to his son’s apparent lack of purpose as far as an occupation was concerned! Did you know all that? I think William John must have gone to NZ in 1914 or before?
    Andrew Melville came over from NZ with Betty Melville for the book launch in 2004. Do you know them? Best wishes,

    Reply Posted 4 years ago
  • #26 James Carson

    This is all getting very interesting. Has anyone constructed a family tree? Would be fascinating to see one.

    Reply Posted 4 years ago
  • #27 V

    Catherine Rainey, godmother in 1936 of James Melville
    was the daughter of William. She married Clifford Rainey,
    lived in Wimbledon. No children.

    There is another Katie – ( married Walter Scaife.) who was closely related – but I don’t know how. Their son , Denis.married Betsy and they had two sons

    William Melville’s eldest son, William, left England in 1900
    for S.Africa and then sailed to New Zealand where he enlisted for the war 1914-18. He had 3 daughters and a son.
    and died in 1939

    Reply Posted 4 years ago
  • #28 P M Melville

    Thank you for all the input on the Melville family! The family tree is growing taller by the day and so interesting!
    Michael Sullivan has certainly put a lot of input into the
    whole saga, well done and keep it up….Regards Patricia Melville

    Reply Posted 4 years ago
  • #29 Michael

    Kind of you to say so Patricia. But really it’s only successful so far, because so many have responded. Can’t help noticing though, that a few who clearly have more useful information, seem reluctant to share it here. No names-you know who you are!

    Reply Posted 4 years ago
  • #30 Michael

    Hello again Elizabeth Palmer. Still excited by the possibility of seeing a copy of a letter written by your great-aunt Catherine, it may offer useful information, extracting salient facts from it may be enough to provide me with clues.
    The George Melville you mention, is without a doubt one of William’s two brothers.George, like William, joined the London Metropolitan Police. (the other brother, Richard, remained in Ireland-never married).
    The three brothers certainly had a sister (1 of 4) Elizabeth Melville who became Mrs D. J. O’Connell of Boston. My great-aunt Eileen Sullivan (later Mrs Babbidge) writes in her diary entry for Tuesday November 16, 1920, “went to the home of my aunt Mrs Denis J O’Connell (Elizabeth Melville) of 375 Bunker Hill St, Charlestown, Mass”. It’s only conjecture, but she may have died in Rhode Island. Is she our most positive family connection so far?????
    Have a problem with ‘George’-he was born in Sneem in 1868. The George Melville of whom you speak, is not George of Sneem and the London Police (and William’s brother.) As the same popular names appear so frequently, it’s possible that your George (of the 16 children,) is of a related but different Melville family. It was, until fairly recent times, the custom to name the first born son after the father or paternal grandfather sometimes, and first born daughter after mother or grandmother. Name choice tended to be confined to perhaps a dozen or so very common names. Eustelle Melville is entirely new to me, she is unlikely to have been one of my relations, BUT not impossible! There is a suggestion that there may have been a fifth Melville sister, but I think that is unlikely since there is no evidence so far to prove it.
    Look forward to hearing from you, your contribution and that of Felix Lemprier (NZ) will provide, I hope, vital missing detail.
    It;s very difficult, virtually impossible to research records earlier than ‘An Gorta More’ -’the great hunger’ 1855-49. But it is entirely possible that many from Sneem, including both the Sullivan and Melville families, entered US before that wretched time.Have you considered using the excellent site’Cousins Connect’ ? it’s been invaluable in my research.

    Reply Posted 4 years ago
  • #31 Felix Lempriere

    Michael, no I didn’t know all that about William Melville Jnr, however I do know Betty Melville well and I was vaguely aware that she had something to do with the book launch, she is my mothers Aunt and our family see her often. My mother has visited her a few days ago and has borrowed Andrew Cook’s book from her so I will have a flick through it. I know of Andrew Melville only, he is Betty’s younger brother and the youngest brother of the William Meville Jnr’s children (Marjorie, Dorothy, Betty and Andrew). My mother has also said she knows and has visited Mary Melville in London before, though Im not sure when this was or how she knew her but it must have been some years ago. With regards to James Carson’s comment a family tree would be especially useful to get a visual on all of this! I believe I could produce a complete family tree of the NZ Melville’s.

    Reply Posted 4 years ago
    • #32 Andrew Melville

      Hi Felix ,

      Trevor Melville is the grandson of William. ( My father )
      I am the great grandson of William.


      Andrew Melville.

      Reply Posted 2 years ago
    • #33 dave sherwood

      Hi, Felix, I may have some information for you regarding the Melville family in New Zealand. You can contact me at dave.lou01@yahoo.co.au

      Reply Posted 2 years ago
      • #34 Michael Sullivan

        # Dave Sherwood, have you successfully contacted Felix? I have attempted without success to email you at the address you post on #33. Michael Sullivan. London. My email address appears in an earlier post, or respond to this post. Regards.

        Posted 2 years ago
  • #35 Michael

    Delighted to hear from you Felix! I believe that Mary Melville is long deceased, unless you know to the contrary. It was Mary apparently, who donated the major part of William’s personal papers and artifacts to the archives of the Metropolital Police in London thus effectively making it impossible for any of the family to view same,
    Your offer to produce a complete family tree of the New Zealand Melville family would be greatly appreciated by the family here in the UK and in the United States-believe me, we are all over the place! I would be happy to provide you with a fairly accurate visual of the UK Melville family tree.
    With regard to your end, I have a letter dated Jan 1975 from Mrs Maureen Lenten of Papakura who can claim (in 1975)William Melville as her great uncle. Do you know of this connection? It was a perfectly valid claim incidentally, well detailed.
    Mel (Melville) Carson and his wife are about to settle in Seattle USA, Mel was intrigued, as indeed was I, by your family diamonds!!! We can only conclude that the old boy gave them to his son William junior before he went to NZ sometime in the period immediately before the first WW.
    One point you could clear up. Mary Melville, her relationship to William and when if known, did she die?.All purely academic now,but would your mother have any idea why Mary donated the effects to the Met? Seems a very odd thing to do! Unsuccessful attempts have been made to view, but no response from the boys in blue. To be fair, there is no Met museum as such,just these closed to public archives. Andrew Cook was granted access to certain sensitive documents, so presumably he was granted access to the archives as well. I know what the artifacts are (though not the documents), I have a picture of them.
    To conclude, re page 15 of the Cook biography- inaccurate information regarding William’s siblings-led to much initial confusion at the start of this trail. No mention there of the four sisters-sloppy delegated research-not something a historian should do!.Rather begs the question doesn’t it-get that much wrong- any other errors?
    Thanks Felix, Mike Sullivan. London.

    Reply Posted 4 years ago
  • #36 Michael

    Mel-Guess you and Ashley are reading all this stuff somewhere.
    Good luck in your new life-great to have met you both, look after each other. Michael.

    Reply Posted 4 years ago
  • #37 Michael

    Thank you ‘V’ . The Rainey information is appreciated, as are the details on William Melville. I always assumed he went directly to NZ, so that is interesting. You are clearly in possession of accurate family knowledge. Are you related to us?? You must be! Catherine Rainey was as you say, baby James Edward’s Godmother-my late father John Sullivan-his Godfather.
    Perhaps you would be kind enough to make yourself known.
    Where are you?
    Michael Sullivan. (Catherine Melville Sullivan’s great grandson) London UK

    Reply Posted 4 years ago
  • #38 Michael

    Ian Fleming’s inspiration for 007 James Bond? Almost certainly Georgi Rosenblum, alias Sidney Reilly. Born Odessa. William Melville recruited him.
    Bond’s boss ‘M , was based on William Melville,alias William Morgan. Fleming would have known a great deal about Melville, apart from what he read in the newspapers, since he was in the business himself.

    Reply Posted 4 years ago
  • #39 Michael

    Have contacted ‘V’ by email. Thank you. ‘V’s input most helpful, as is yours. Perhaps a beer in April?
    Best wishes. Michael.

    Reply Posted 4 years ago
  • #40 Michael

    Richard. I can offer little evidence to support my theory that the Melville family in Sneem were founded by a Scottish soldier fleeing south after the battle of the Boyne 1690.
    The Jacobite army of Catholic James, deposed King of England, Scotland and Ireland, beaten by William after the last attempt to restore a Catholic monarchy, was composed of several French regiments, but the majority were badly equipped Irish troops raised by dispossessed Irish aristocrats, and a smaller number of Scottish troops, also badly equipped. Scottish Clan names found in Ireland originate from the period of ‘the plantations’- these settlers being entirely Protestant. However, James did have the support of some dispossessed Scottish Catholic lords who for opportunistic motives, raised men from ‘the old religion’ Melville, from Clan Melville, (the Clan system, never much more than a network of related families led by a Chieftain laying claim to an area won by force of arms, was by this time almost extinct, certainly in the lowlands where the name originates) may well have been one of these men who for reasons we shall never know, remained in the south of Ireland after the defeat. The present Scottish Clans are largely a Victorian re-invention. ‘Clan Melville’ today is resolutely Scottish -American-Protestant in character-see the site.
    I think it very unlikely that the name is French in origin. Regret that I cannot be more positive.

    Reply Posted 4 years ago
  • #41 Michael

    Noticed my error in post #23 to Felix.
    Should be Mel- his great great nephew. Apologies.

    Reply Posted 4 years ago
  • #42 Michael

    Hello again Elizabeth. Have read your latest to Mel, same forwarded to me, and I assume also to Patrick. In fact, read it three times and marvel at the complexity! The only useful comment I might make, is that it is entirely likely, that ‘your Melvilles’ are a closely related branch of ‘our Melvilles’ from Sneem. Obviously, the first known James Melville ( his wife positively identified as Catherine Connor) of Templenoe, and later Drimina and then ‘Melvilles’ bar-bakery -called at some point ‘Blue Bull’Sneem, is more than likely to have had brothers and first cousins, so a close blood relationship is certain. At that point in our shared history, since contemporary records are so poor, I can be of little if any use in helping you to connect with us. In short, we are of the same enormous extended family, but beyond that…..
    Your earlier blog entry, ‘it was their mother Mary married to James Melville, son of George’ is puzzling.
    I await with interest, any further documents or clues you may unearth.
    Best Wishes.

    Reply Posted 4 years ago
    • #43 Elizabeth Palmer

      Yes, my earlier comment, several of them, were incorrect…and I’m still not sure if the Ellis Island record I sent is correct. I originally had James as son of George. I think the confusion was that both George and his father James had wives named Mary. I also have a question mark next to James Melville b.1858 as having a father named George and again a James b. 1841- who doesn’t seem to mathematically fit in anywhere. The other passenger list I found on-line had a James and Mary Melville as having lived in Sneem. It also named the SS Campania as the ship. I assume this is the same couple although there was no listing of their children.
      Does anyone know if the Sneem records on-line, like the Baptismal records I found, exist somewhere on paper? You probably have this info http://churchrecords.irishgenealogy.ie/churchrecords/search.jsp?name=melville&location=sneem&dd=&mm=&yy=&submit=Search
      As you can see there are many Melvilles listed in Sneem and the area. Some of these are very obviously your relatives. Again, we have so many of the same first names repeated, even in the sponsors. The Melville-Sullivan connection is well documented. There is a Michael Melville sponsor to a marriage in 1872? and a William and Catherine Melville as sponsors of the Baptism of Dermont Neill in 1869 record-would that be William Melville of Scotland Yard before he moved?
      I probably already asked this, but does anyone know anything about William Melville “M”‘s father James (married to Catherine Connor) siblings or if William “M” had Melville cousins?

      Reply Posted 4 years ago
    • #44 Elizabeth Palmer

      P.S. There are also a James and Catherine Melville listed several times on the same web-site on Baptisms in Dublin. One has them as sponsors for Michael Connor…it’s a stretch maybe, but could there be a Dublin connection?

      Reply Posted 4 years ago
  • #45 Michael

    Elizabeth. At this point I wish to acknowledge that without Mel Carson’s blog, few if any of the above exchanges would have been possible. Thanks Mel.
    To try to answer your queries Elizabeth.
    No. Sneem records are not on line. And gaining access to hard parish records anywhere in Ireland is virtually impossible. With a few notable exceptions, parish priests are not inclined-that’s putting it politely-to help the Irish diaspora find roots. Sad but true.
    Dublin connection? Very unlikely indeed. Were it otherwise, I think it would have been known before now. Only girls in service might have gone to Dublin. Men looking for a means of making a life without poverty, would have left for America or England.
    William Melville and Catherine Connor both came from the same ‘townland’ ( a small area in a parish) of Templenoe. So we can assume they were from neighbouring tenant farms of a mere few acres.
    Some interesting information from ‘Griffiths Valuation’ 1850(a useful source by the way’)
    Landlord-JF Bland (local Anglo-Irish landowner) to whom W and C paid the following annual rents. (I Summarize) -
    Sneem Village land (undoubtedly the pub/bakery,now ‘The Blue Bull’) Building £4.00.
    Land (pertaining to above) eighty pennies annually.
    Driminabeg (by this time vacated by the family) House-5 shillings. Garden (for growing potatoes-not flowers!) 1 rood and 2 perches-2 shillings annually. Land -(Note this because this is ‘the farm’) 2 acres-13 shillings annually.
    Gives us some idea of how poor they were-poor but proud and determined to rise above poverty and second-class citizenship! Worth remembering too that the unimaginable after effects of the potato famine ‘An gorta mor’ -’the great death’-1845-49 were still very evident-we can only try to imagine how bad things were in Sneem. The village had excaped the worst in terms of death and starvation, but emigration prior to,during and for long after the tragedy, decimated the population. In some places, entire villages were emptied in less than twenty years.Not the most glorious chapter in British history I am bound to add.
    The William and Catherine acting as sponsers in 1869 would not be our W and C-he would have been 19 in 1869.
    Michael ‘Melvin’ a commonly used derivation of Melville in Scotland and Ireland then) married Mary Sullivan in Nov 1858. He is most likely to have been an uncle of our William of Scotland Yard. Their place of residence-Tahilla.
    Elizabeth, when you come across ‘Melvin’ you can safely assume it to be Melville.

    Reply Posted 4 years ago
  • #46 Michael

    noticed serious error-for William Melville substitute JAMES!!!
    Written in a hurry-not a good idea! I plead mental infermity!

    Reply Posted 4 years ago
    • #47 Elizabeth Palmer

      Thank you Michael. Yes I was actually amazed that there was on-line info from the link above. I assume these are Yours, Mel’s, and Patrick’s kin? Even listed under Sneem and Tahilla. Did you have a hand at helping this site?
      I have bothered my Father over this. I am still trying to get him to look for original letters. He did scan some photos. I don’t know if these would be of any interest to any of you. I’m sure the scans are most likely lo-res, but they may be of interest. 2 of George Melville, His children (my grandmother and her siblings), also a curious photo of 2 good looking young lads that reads “Melville cousins from London”, and one “Elizabeth Melville of Providence”. Please let me know if I should send these to the email addresses I have.
      Thanks again Mel and everyone else,

      Reply Posted 4 years ago
  • #48 Michael

    Hello Elizabeth,
    Yes, for the best part, the above posters without doubt, are blood related, ie, possessing common Melville ancestry.. Mel Carson, Patrick Sullivan, Richard Melville Ballerand, Felix Lemprier,our respective siblings, myself and several other men and women, some of whom have not yet posted, but whoes relationship to the Melville family is certain. Some (in NZ) are direct descendants of William’s elder son William jnr, others are directly descended from George Melville, William’s younger brother (also in the London Metropolitan Police). Others have an earlier connection, my cousins in USA, myself, are descended from two of William’s sisters, Catherine Melville Sullivan -my great grandmother, Mary Ann Melville Egan- great grandmother of Patrick and siblings, and others in USA, (Downing) are descended from a daughter (Catherine) of John Lawrence Sullivan and Catherine Melville (William’s sister) -marriage St Michael’s church Sneem in 1874. In short, we are all one way or another, descended from William’s parents, James Melvin (Melville- see reason for name change in previous posting) and Catherine Connor, both from Templenoe and later Driminabeg, then later still, Sneem, who married in Sneem in 1849( the year the potato famine-’the great death’ became less severe but was by no means over). They had 3 sons, 4 daughters.William(MI5 fame) George( Met police) Richard(never married, remained in Ireland) Catherine (Sullivan) Bridget (Lyne) Mary Ann (Egan) Elizabeth (O’Connell, Boston)-married names shown in brackets.
    WE!! Rather than I! Would LOVE to see any photographs, particularly ‘Melville cousins from London’ and those of George.
    Matthew ‘Mel’ Carson-great great grandson of George, began this site, essentially it is his creation. However, I have exploited it shamelessly! I don’t think he objects too much-he treated me to lunch! He and his lovely wife Ashley have recently moved to Seattle by the way.
    Roll out those pics please Elizabeth. And some information about youself would be nice!
    Greetings from a chilly London.

    Reply Posted 4 years ago
  • #49 Michael

    Melville connected readers of this blog, or anyone interested in William’s life, might like to read his biography. Well researched and illustrated, it is written by historian Andrew Cook and was published in 2004 by publisher TEMPUS Publishing Ltd. Title-’M Mi5′s First Spymaster’ ISBN 0 7524 2896 9 (reference will locate it in book shops) Melville family members, and particularly extended family members, should note that there is an error on page 15 regarding William’s siblings. Cook’s researcher failed to find his four sisters in local records. A few other, fairly minor errors, but it will tell you all you need to know about the man who inspired Ian Fleming’s ‘M’ and his times.

    Reply Posted 4 years ago
  • #50 Michael

    Elizabeth-thanks for Sneem parish record material-most helpful and appreciated.
    My email address is- mike_old.bean@yahoo.com
    Your scanned pics may be sent to same.
    Patrick. Suggest you look at this post from Elizabeth -your family is here.

    Reply Posted 4 years ago
  • #51 Michael

    ‘underscore’ between mike and old!

    Reply Posted 4 years ago
  • #52 Michael

    Mel and Ashley, how’s beautiful Seattle?

    Reply Posted 4 years ago
  • #53 Michael

    To James Carson from Michael Sullivan.

    Since I recently had the pleasure of meeting your brother Matthew ‘Mel’ and his wife Ashley shortly before they departed for Seattle, it seems appropriate at this point, to introduce myself. I know a little about you-Mel told me.
    As you say, this is all quite extraordinary. However, I have to remind myself that not everyone is as curious to find their roots, so I am really surprised at the response. And all started by Mel!
    To summarize, you and I are cousins about three times removed? William M would be my great-great uncle.(my great-grandmother’s brother) I live in London.

    Reply Posted 4 years ago
  • #54 Jimbo

    People might be interested in a new site on which the Melville family can be discussed. You can find it at
    www dot william-melville dot socialgo dot com

    At this site you can upload photos and the like and join in discussions about various strands of the family.

    Hope you enjoy it

    Reply Posted 4 years ago
  • #55 Michael

    Have a look at the photogaph of two boys posted on the new site designed by Mel Carson’s brother James Carson.
    Question, Are these William and James Melville?
    Someone in NZ should be able to answer this. Log on to-
    william-melville dot socialgo dot com.
    Elizabeth Palmer USA has the original.
    Regards, Michael Sullivan

    Reply Posted 4 years ago
  • #56 Michael

    May 9- 2011
    Seems this just about wraps it up folks. Just about everyone around the world who can claim relationship with William Melville, has contributed to this Website. It’s been a fascinating journey. Making contact with you all, and discovering my hitherto lost extended family, has been an enriching experience. Thanks everyone, and thank you Mel Carson for setting it up and permitting me to shamelessly exploit it!
    Wishing you and Ashley, and soon to be baby, every happiness and success in USA.
    Michael Sullivan. London. Great great nephew of the original ‘M’, Superintendent William Melville, MVO, MBE. of Sneem Co. Kerry, Ireland and Scotland Yard. 1850-1918

    Reply Posted 3 years ago
  • #57 P M Melville

    Thank you all for the very interesting input on the Melville family. I have to say that the Internet has made all of this
    possible and hopefully more stories of interest to everyone,
    will emerge over time. Good luck!

    Reply Posted 3 years ago
  • #58 Michael Sullivan

    To JOHN EGAN from Michael Sullivan, London .- great grand nephew of William Melville, Sneem, Ireland.
    Re your query of 2 days ago concerning-Mary Ann Melville Egan, sister of William Melville-great grandmother of Patrick Egan Sullivan of Florida and my one of my great-grand aunts. Mary Ann Melville Egan was one of William’s four sisters.( 3 brothers in total)
    My distant cousin Matthew ‘Mel’ Melville Carson has brought your enquiry to my attention.. I’ll see what I can uncover. Perhaps you might like to contact me. My email address appears in an ealier post above.

    Reply Posted 3 years ago
  • #59 william melville,jr

    My father recently passed away at age 82. His father William Randolph Melville is a bit of a mystery to us. Family lore is that he was born in Norway moved to NYC was a chemist and Major in US Army during WW1. Had a sister in Detroit area. Married Jean, divorced, married Helen Cowan,my grandmother. Died in August 1928 at age 54 before my father was born (12/31/1928).
    Does this link together in anyway?

    Reply Posted 3 years ago
    • #60 Patty Melville

      My husband is your father’s first cousin! I can put the pieces together for you!!! Would love to get in touch.

      Reply Posted 2 years ago
      • #61 Michael Sullivan

        To Patty Melville, post # 58. Kindly note that this site was created by my relative Matthew Melville Carson. It has developed as a forum for the Melville family whose origins are exclusively in Sneem, Co Kerry, Ireland and for known related families. William Melville jr, post # 57 to whom you respond, is in no way related to this family. See also post # 59. I suggest you contact him through ‘Cousin Connect’ or similar sites. Thank you.

        Posted 2 years ago
  • #62 Michael Sullivan

    Welcome to the Melville site William. My distant cousin Matthew ‘Mel’ (Melville) Carson has brought your enquiry to my attention. If you have any knowledge of a family connection, however distant, with the village of Sneem, Co Kerry, Ireland, then he, you and I are certainly related in some way. I am bound to say, that on reading your post, a relationship would appear to be unlikely. Thank you for your enquiry.
    Michael Sullivan (Great grandson of Catherine Melville Sullivan)

    Reply Posted 3 years ago
  • #63 Michael Sullivan

    Contributers to this site might be interested to note that on a website -’Clan Melville’-both William Melville and his son Sir James Melville KC MP, are listed as being “Melvilles of prominence”. No biographies are offered. ‘Clan Melville’ is an American website. Any implied positive Scottish Clan connection or association with Melville family members whose origins are in Sneem, Co Kerry, Ireland, should be regarded as being without any documentary evidence to support a positive connection-however romantic the idea may be!

    Reply Posted 3 years ago
  • #64 Patrick J Sullivan

    In regards to th questions posed by “John Egan”, John I have actual photographs of John and Mary Egan (they are ancient). Do you by any chance have any of the same as I would be happy to share. John and Mary were my Great Grandparents via their daughter Elizabeth “Egan” Sullivan. I also have what I believe to be a complete listing of all the siblings and most of their birthdates. Hope this finds you well.- Pat

    Reply Posted 3 years ago
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    #65 Celebrating St. Patrick’s Day in America | Mel Carson: Blog, Reviews & Photos on Tech, Taste & Travel

    [...] a Brit whose heritage is most definitely Irish on at least one side of the family, I find the whole “holiday” thing surrounding St. [...]

    Posted 3 years ago
  • #66 Edwina Neilson (nee Melville)

    This is my great grandfather. Our son is named James William Melville Neilson (James Neilson). We gave him “Melville” as a second name to keep the name going.

    Reply Posted 2 years ago
  • #67 Andrew Melville

    He was my Great Grandfather. I am the last Great Grandson holding the surname.
    My father Trevor Melville and his Sister Betty Nolan who are his grandchildren are still alive.
    They live in New Zealand.

    Reply Posted 2 years ago
  • #68 Annabelle Fowler (nee Melville)

    I am the third child to Trevor James Melville and his wife Gilian Melville (Andrew and Edwina who have commented above are my older siblings). We all live in New Zealand

    Reply Posted 2 years ago
  • #69 Michael Sullivan

    Hi Mel!! It’s a pleasant surprise to finally see a post from Andrew Melville! Also delighted to note that his siblings Annabellle and Edwina have finally made contact. This branch of the family, William’s direct descendants, have until now, been elusive! We suspected you might be in NZ- now we know for sure!
    Welcome Andrew, Annabelle and Edwina!! Hope you all stay in contact!
    Michael Sullivan. London. Great grandson of Catherine Melville Sullivan of Sneem Co Kerry.

    Reply Posted 2 years ago
  • #70 Michael Sullivan

    Hi Mel! Delighted to note that the elusive direct descendants of William Melville have finally made contact!
    Welcome Andrew, Annabelle and Edwina. Hope you all stay in contact-good to have you on Mel’s site!
    Michael Sullivan. London. Great-great nephew of William, great-grandson of his sister Catherine Melville Sullivan.

    Reply Posted 2 years ago
  • #71 Andrew Melville

    Hi Michael ,

    I was wondering if we meet at the MI5 book launch in London 2004.
    I was there with Betty Nolan , Williams granddaughter.

    Are you on Facebook if so i all add you or you can add me.

    Reply Posted 2 years ago
  • #72 Michael Sullivan

    Hi Andrew Melville,
    We didn’t meet in London at the launch of Andrew Cook’s bio of William. Simple explanation- Andrew Cook, and indeed the entire present Melville family, were at that time unaware of my existance. See page 15 of the biography, and you will see a reference to Williams siblings ’3 brothers, no sisters’ ( I para-phrase). Not correct. He also had 4 sisters. Catherine, the eldest, was my great-grandmother. Mary Ann, another sister, was the g-grandmother of our common cousin Patrick Sullivan (see an earlier post).Two others of whom I have details.
    I had been researching ,with little success, the Melville family history (as well as my own), for three years prior to the book’s publication. The book, the internet ,and particularly this Matthew Melville Carson’s website, enabled me to eventually contact almost all the present Melville family. You were, until now, the last to make contact! Great to hear from you! Yes, I am on facebook, although I seldom use it-prefer the more private email. Where in NZ are you? I’m in SE London. Incidentally, you must know your cousin Felix, also in NZ??. I’ve met several of George Melville’s descendants (William’s brother- also a Metropolitan Police officer) and enjoy regular contact with Patricia Melville (SA). Best wishes, Michael

    Reply Posted 2 years ago
  • #73 Mel Carson

    Edwina, Annabelle and Andrew – thanks for stopping by. I was at the book launch in 2004 with my cousin Richard. Do stay in touch. New Zealand is on our list to visit when Maggie is older so we may pay you a visit. Look us up if you’re ever in Seattle!

    Reply Posted 2 years ago
  • #74 Andrew Melville

    Yes please let me know if you are ever in NZ – I live in Auckland.

    Reply Posted 2 years ago
  • #75 Michael Sullivan

    Hi Mel-and all other Melville related posters!
    An exhibition celebrating the life and times of William Melville, is about to open in his home village of Sneem, Co Kerry, Ireland. The local historical group, has asked me to formally declare it open on 22 June, 2012. I have accepted their invitation, and will do the honours on behalf of you all.

    Reply Posted 2 years ago
  • #76 Michael Sullivan

    For a brief but comprenhensive account of William Melville’s life, I recommend ‘William Melville-pymaster’, by Helen O’Carroll, Curator of Kerry County Museum. Published 2008.

    Reply Posted 2 years ago
  • #77 Michael Sullivan

    correction-typo! …..Spymaster’

    Reply Posted 2 years ago
  • #78 Michael Sullivan

    ‘The William Melville Exhibition’ opened 22 June 2012 in Sneem, Co Kerry, birthplace of William Melville. To see the first photos of the opening day, go to-
    www DOT kerrygeopark.ie
    We are indebted to the Curator and Trustees of Kerry Museum for the well researched and lively narrative display. It is hoped that this display will remain a permanent feature in Sneem, the ancestral home of the Melville family. Now we need artifacts, documents, letters (copies accepted) etc-all William Melville and/or Metropolitan Police related. There must be many such items out there to fill the display cabinet you will see as a central feature of the expo. Can we have them please!!
    E-mail; kerrygeopark@gmail.com or write to John V O’Sullivan, Sneem, Co Kerry, Ireland. This appeal is directed to all members of the immediate and wider Melville family, who may well have such items they are willing to donate or loan. Thank you, Michael.

    Reply Posted 2 years ago
  • #79 Michael Sullivan

    Welcome to a newly discovered great grand-nephew of William Melville of Sneem and MI5 fame! Jackie Cahill of Sneem- a great-grandson of Bridget Melville Lane, yet another of William’s four sisters. A pleasure to have met you and your wife Theresa at the opening of the William Melville Exhibition 22 June 2012.

    Reply Posted 2 years ago
  • #80 Michael Sullivan

    ‘M MI5′s First Spymaster’, by
    William Melville’s biographer, the respected historian Andrew Cook, originally published by Tempus in 2004, has recently been re-printed in a paperback edition. It includes revisions and an interesting appendix.

    Reply Posted 2 years ago
  • #81 Michael Sullivan

    correction ‘artefacts’-English spelling!

    Reply Posted 2 years ago
  • #82 Michael Sullivan

    Update. Jackie Cahill (great grandson of Bridget Melville Lane-sister of William) and his wife Teresa, have two sons and three daughters. All resident Ireland.This family is almost certainly the sole surviving Melville related family still in Ireland.

    Reply Posted 2 years ago
  • #83 Michael Sullivan

    The newly opened William Melville Exhibition in Sneem, Co. Kerry, Ireland, is attracting increasing numbers of visitors daily, the majority being tourists. The narrative wall display is excellent, being a detailed account of his life, career and times. However, the expo content would be greatly enhanced by donations of photographs-copies would be perfectly acceptable if family members are reluctant to part with originals. Documents,letters, postcards written in his hand, also as copies if preferred, would be most welcome. Photographs of artefacts, eg, gifts to William during his career, would add real impact.I know there are items in the possession of Melville family members. Please help us to extend this collection. If you are proud of your connection with William Melville, and you can help, then kindly respond to this appeal. I will be happy to enter into correspondence. Thank you for considering this appeal.

    Reply Posted 2 years ago
  • #84 Michael Sullivan

    Sneem records show that a John Melville, son of John Melville senior and Mary Sullivan, was born and baptised June 1878. This suggests that John Melville senior, was a brother of James Melville-the ancestor of the present Melville family. We may conclude therefore, that another branch of the Melville family still exists. This might be of particular interest to Elizabeth Palmer, see post 18.

    Reply Posted 2 years ago
  • #85 Michael Sullivan

    Sneem records. Elizabeth Melville (shown as Melvin), one of William Melville’s four sisters, emigrated to Boston and became Mrs D J O’Connell, she was born in 1862. She was the only one of the seven Melville siblings to emigrate to the USA. Any O’Connell family members reading this?

    Reply Posted 2 years ago
  • #86 Michael Sullivan

    To Elizabeth Palmer. Elizabeth, noticed my error in post 43. Eleventh line down-should read ‘James Melville and Catherine Connor came from ….’ not William (his son). Are you in possession of any Melville-Sullivan letters or photographs you are prepared copy and donate to the recently established William Melville Exhibition in Sneem??
    The letter referring to Scotland Yard would be of particular interest. Your donation of same would be gratefully acknowledged in any accompanying captions. I believe you may possess letters and photographs of some importance.. Please email me. You have my address. Thank you.

    Reply Posted 2 years ago
    • #87 Elizabeth Palmer

      Oh dear,
      I missed a lot!
      I haven’t had access to my email for months. Let me read thru this. I have just moved and this week-organizing all the records I have that were stored apart-1/2 in NY, the other in L.A.. I will see what I can get to by next weekend. Too bad I missed the earlier boat. Things are sounding more possible that my Great Aunt may have had some facts in her letters from the 80s. I think I emailed you paragraphs of interest last summer when I got them out of storage. Looks like I only copied Mel and Patrick on that. Michael, let me send that email to you right now. I assume your email is the same as what I had earlier? The old bean? Then I will try catching up on all this news. So much I have missed.
      Also, I’ve just enlisted a great genealogy researcher who will be working on obtaining more info. We are going “old school” as they say, an actual bartering deal. His help in research and records in exchange for my records… of the 12 inch vinyl variety.
      Thanks much for the news of more Sneem Melvilles!

      Reply Posted 2 years ago
      • #88 Sheila

        Dear Elizabeth, I was very excited to be shown your comments on this webpage by my family who have been helping me research my family history. My mother’s father was John Melville who we believe is the John Melville, then age 18, who is listed on the ship’s manifest going to New York in November 1902. The family originally hailed from Middlesborough where the men (including John’s father, James Patrick Melville) worked in the iron works there. We have them on the UK 1891 and 1901 census, but could not understand why they ‘disappeared’ from the 1911 census, until we found the ship’s manifest for the voyage in 1902. They went to Providence, Rhode Island and we have managed to do research on some of the brothers and sisters and identify some of the places they lived, married etc and have gathered some documents to support things. For some reason, John returned (or never made the journey) to New York, but in any case ended up back in South Bank, Middlesborough where he settled with Kate (Kitty) Roach and had 7 children including my mother Mary (Polly) Melville. Three children (Eliza, Martin, and James) sadly died young. It would seem George Melville (my mother’s father’s younger brother) married Eustelle Jean and had, I think, 4 children: Elizabeth, Eustelle Mary, Catherine L, and William. If this seems to make sense to you, it would be super if you could somehow get in touch as my grandfather died shortly before I was born and I have never seen any photographs of him or his brothers and sisters. It would be so interesting to correspond and compare notes. My family have set up a email address for me at myfamhx[at]gmail[dot]com . With very best wishes.

        Posted 1 year ago
  • #89 Michael Sullivan

    Elizabeth, you refer again to letters from the 80′s. You would seem to have acccess to information that would be of considerable historical interest. My email address has not changed. Perhaps you could copy and forward same. I would also appreciate the pic of the two boys in Edwardian clothes you previously posted. This seems to have disappeared from the web for some reason. I’m almost certain these boys are William Melville’s two sons. The style of dress strongly supports this-the approximate date fits. Do any letters bear addresses, particularly UK and Irish addresses?
    We may then be able to establish a firm link between what appears to be, two branches of the same Irish family with origins in the same area, namely Sneem-Slievenashaska.
    Check your letters to see whether there is a reference to Elizabeth Melville-later Mrs D J O’Connell of Boston, Mass.(sister of William Melville) Without these letters, it’s unlikely we will ever be able to say for certain how the two families were/are linked. I’m afraid it’s now down to you Elizabeth. I have reached a dead-end. As far as I’m concerned, all available information so far, has been fully documented.

    Reply Posted 2 years ago
  • #90 Michael Sullivan

    Recent research by Elizabeth ‘Betsy’ Palmer and myself, has revealed a fourth Melville brother hitherto unknown! Ellis Island Passenger Records show that one James Melville aged 44, born 1858, son of James Melville and Catherine Connor of Sneem, Co Kerry, Ireland, arrived Ellis island Nov 29, 1902, Ship manifest number 0010. He was accompanied by his wife Mary aged 40 (manifest number 0011) and their children, John aged 18,George 16,Martin 11,Mary 9,Elizabeth 5,Catherine 3, and Maggie aged 2months.
    Records show that the family sailed on SS Campania out of Liverpool.
    Elizabeth ‘Betsy’ Palmer is a direct descendant of James Melville and Catherine Connor of Slievenashaska and Sneem. Welcome to the ever growing Melville family tree Betsy!

    Reply Posted 2 years ago
  • #91 Michael Sullivan

    Interesting news from the ‘William Melville Exhibition’ in Sneem, Co Kerry!!
    A total of 3,000 visitors enjoyed the display this year. The majority were tourists from the USA and the EEC, including many British. There is a sustained demand for William Melville’s biography- ‘M Mi5′s First Spymaster’- copies on sale in the exhibition and from all good book shops. Written by distinguished historian, broadcaster and former foreign affairs and defense specialist Andrew Cook, this biography is endorsed by Dame Stella Rimington, former Director General of MI5.

    Reply Posted 2 years ago
  • #92 Michael Sullivan

    Welcome Sheila! I have just read your very interesting communication with Elizabeth Palmer, Post 88.
    I would not dispute that your family settled in Middlesborough,, England, however, the Melville family originated in Sneem, Co. Kerry, Ireland. Like so many Irish at that time, they almost certainly settled in Middlesborough for economic reasons. At that time, Ireland as part of the crown, would be a logical destination, not least because of Britain’s then enormous industrial base. Clearly the family saw America as offering a better future.
    incidentally, I’m William Melville’s great great nephew. His sister Catherine was my great-grandmother.

    Reply Posted 1 year ago

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