A BRADFORD man has made contact with a long lost strand of his family after leaving a message at the grave of a relative in America.

John Murphy left his contact details in a plastic wallet on a trip to New Jersey and, a few weeks after returning home, he received an email from a granddaughter of his great uncle.

Mr Murphy, of Cooper Lane, was in America on a family holiday and was on an excursion called The Soprano Trail when he found the grave of Kathryn and Michael Conroy.

He also found a listing for Michael Conroy at Ellis Island, New York, from 1911, stating that he was from a place only four miles from Mr Murphy’s family’s roots in County Laois, Ireland.

He said: “Two years ago my uncle passed away in London. Sadly, his death also saw the loss of my late mum’s maiden name, Conroy. It was my uncle Mick who, years ago, sent me a picture of his father sat in his back garden in Ireland with his brother, Michael Conroy.

“I’ve always found it charming to find notes or dates written on the back of often the most vague of photographs. Thankfully, this print had such a detail, taken in 1952. The Michael Conroy in the picture, my great uncle, had emigrated to Newark, New Jersey, and I believe this was his first return home. Earlier last year I had seen a press cutting promoting The Soprano Trail in New Jersey and suggested to my wife it would be wonderful to be able to do this as we were both fans of the series.

“In The Sopranos, the character of Dr Jennifer Melfi has an office in Montclair. I then discovered the resting place of Michael Conroy is the Immaculate Conception Cemetery, on Grove Street, Montclair.

“At the grave I left a plastic sealed wallet, containing a family synopsis, photographs and my email address. On advice from the cemetery office, I secured the wallet onto the memorial step with rocks, not on the lawn, as the cutter would destroy it.

“Then, the week before Christmas, I received the most fantastic gift – an email from America, from a granddaughter of my great uncle in Bloomfield, New Jersey, with some wonderful news of the Conroy family on the other side of the pond. The name lives on.”

The name will also live on here because Mr Murphy has had it emblazoned on the back of special shirt.

“It just goes to show, don’t give up, and patience can pay dividends.”