Sunday, 15 October 2017

Wynne family: Taking the search to Co. Tipperary #6

John Wynne, the potential ‘DNA cousin’ of my great-great-grandfather, died in Melbourne, Australia, in 1872, having emigrated from his home in Dublin city, twelve years previously. On his death certificate, it was claimed he was born in Co. Tipperary, about 1798, though the names of his parents were ‘unknown’. If he was from Co. Tipperary, and if we were related to him, there’s a good chance our Wynne family originated in Tipperary, too. Right?

Sadly, the chances of finding John Wynne in Co. Tipperary are slim. Unlike, our family, these Wynnes were Protestant. And, Protestant church registers, for that time in Irish history, are as rare as hen’s teeth. Plus, few of the registers that did survive the civil war are searchable online. 

Still, I had to check.

And, as I suspected, no likely Protestant Wynne family was identified in Co. Tipperary.[1] In fact, the entire county seemed devoid of any Wynne families at all, apart from one extended family, living in the townland of Twomilebridge, not far from Clonmel, in the Roman Catholic parish of Powerstown, in South Tipperary, close to the border with Co. Waterford.

Was this where we came from, originally?

The John Wynne living there was a blacksmith cum farmer. Occupations often run in families, but my John Wynne worked as a sales assistant in Dublin, while John Wynne, his prospective ‘DNA cousin’, was a slater by trade. So, no match. Then again, the amount of shared DNA suggests the relationship occurred a few generations prior, allowing time for a change in occupation and religion.    

The Catholic parish registers for Gambonsfield, a parish neighbouring Powerstown, show John Wynne married Maria Mangan, in 1841. Their surviving daughters - Johanna, Mary, Honora, and Anastatia – were all baptised in Powerstown.

Richard Wynne lived in Powerstown too; his daughter Anastatia was christened there, in 1839. John Wynne was her Godfather, suggesting John and Richard may have been brothers. They may also have had an elder sister Mary, who married James Carroll, in the parish, in 1833.

Catholic Parishes, Registers held by the NLI

The Powerstown registers date to the first decade of the nineteenth century, and show two older Wynne women, both undoubtedly from the same family, though it’s difficult to determine their precise relationship to John and Richard. Joanna Wynne married Denis Hunt in 1811, thirty years before John’s marriage, and Anastatia Wynne married Mathew Grady in 1824. Perhaps they were their elder sisters, or maybe their aunts. It’s even possible one was their widowed mother remarrying.

Unfortunately, there is nothing much to connect this family with our ‘DNA cousins’, just one tenuous and probably coincidental link - the name Richard Wynne was not a common name, but it was shared by members of both families.

There’s absolutely nothing connecting them with my own Wynne family.


Previously, I found the baptism of a John Wynne, in the registers of Saints Michael and John's parish, in Dublin city, dated 1822. There’s an outside chance it’s my great-great-grandfather’s. It meets all the known criteria – albeit, everything ‘known’ stems from the 1901 census, when John claimed he was born in Dublin city, about 1821.

In this baptism, the child’s parents were named as John Wynne and Honora Minor. A couple, spelling their names John Wynn and Honora Minihan, quite possibly the same couple, christened their son Robert, in the same parish, in 1831.

I had also, previously, linked this couple with their namesakes in St Mary’s Parish, Clonmel. John Wynn and Honora Minehan had a daughter Mary, baptised there in 1820, and a daughter Catherine, in 1828. Was this the same family, alternatively living in both Dublin and Tipperary? It’s only two and a half hours drive now, but, in the 1820s, it was a long journey by horse and coach, and maybe a tad expensive for most pockets.

Clonmel is only two miles from Twomilebridge, so proximity alone suggests a relationship between the Tipperary Wynnes, not to mention the similar family names. Nonetheless, while it’s curious the same corner of the country cropped up twice in my own family research, there’s still nothing actually linking us there.

[1] Transcription of parish registers, online at (€), 19 Sep. 2017.

See first post in this series: DNA Diary: Seeking to demolish a brick wall.

© Black Raven Genealogy

Saturday, 7 October 2017

Identifying the 'Australian’ Wynnes, back in Dublin #5

With all the information garnered from Australian records, it was easy to locate our target Wynne family - the potential DNA cousins of my great-great-grandfather back in Dublin. And, like many semi-skilled workers in nineteenth-century Ireland, this ‘cousin’, also named John Wynne, moved from one tenement dwelling to another, while remaining in the same general area of the city.

His identified addresses between 1821 and 1851 are reflected by the red stars on the map below.

John Wynne (c.1898-1872) (married to 1) Anne Doyle 2) Mary Brodie
Wynne residences, Dublin City, 1821 – 1851 (click on image to enlarge)[1]

We know from the record of John Wynne’s death in Australia in 1872, he married Ann Doyle, in Dublin, about 1823, and had six children with her – James (dead), Richard (1826), Henry (1828), Thomas (dead), Edward (1835) and Jane (dead). Other sources indicate, John married a second time, to Mary Brodie, with whom he had a son, John William, in Dublin, about 1841.

And, for the most part, although some dates were misremembered, there is supporting evidence of this in the records of Dublin city.

John and Anne Wynne lived in Werburgh Street in 1821, when their son James Thomas was baptised. Then, the family spent some years in St Mark’s parish, just over a mile to the east, where Richard, Elizabeth and Jane were born. Henry, Thomas and Edward were probably born in St Mark’s parish too, but their baptism records have not been found. The register of Jane’s baptism provides the family’s address as Denzille Street, as well as confirming John Wynne’s occupation - as a slater - increasing the likelihood this is the right family.

While most sources indicate the family were of the Protestant persuasion, Elizabeth and Jane were also baptised in St Andrew’s Roman Catholic church, suggesting their mother may have been Catholic. This view is perhaps confirmed by the insertion of the letters ‘R.C.’ in the burial register next to Anne Wynne, who died aged forty-two years, in August 1840. (St Andrew's R.C. parish covers much of the same district as St Mark's Church of Ireland parish.)

Burial register, Anne Wynne, 1840, St Mark’s Parish, Dublin

In 1841, 1842, and 1843, John Wynne, a slater, was recorded as living at 8 Peter Street. Only the fairly well-to-do were named in the Dublin city street directories, so perhaps John's business was doing particularly well around this time. But, from 1844 onward, he was no longer listed, suggesting he probably returned to tenement-type accommodation.[2]

Although no record of the event has been found, it would seem, soon after Anne’s death, John married Mary Brodie. No record of John William was found, but the baptism of a James Wynne, son of John Wynne and Mary Broody [sic], took place in St Nicholas R.C. parish on 2 September 1844. Nearly three months later, on 26 November, the three-month-old James Wynne died at home, in Whitefriar Street, and was buried in St Peter’s COI parish.

Sadly, it seems, John Wynne lost his second wife at an early age, too.  Mary Wynne of Whitefriar Street, aged thirty-six years, was buried in the graveyard at St Peter’s, on the 5 January 1846. Within a week, a second infant, James Wynne of Whitefriar Street, was buried in the same graveyard. And, in 1851, a surviving extract from the Irish census confirms John Wynne headed the only Wynne household in Whitefriar Street.[3]

John Wynne of Whitefriar Street was the only man of that name recorded as resident in Dublin’s south city, in 1851, apart from my own great-great-grandfather, who lived in Thomas Street.

[1] Excerpt from map of Dublin City, Pettigrew & Oulton, Dublin Almanack & General Register of Ireland, 1840, accessed at SWilson.Info.
[2] Pettigrew & Oulton, Dublin Almanack & General Register of Ireland, 1840 to 1844, various online sources.
[3] David Chart, ‘Dublin city, Head of household extract from 1851 census of Ireland’, National Archives, accessed on (€) 
[4] Dublin birth and death details from the church baptism and burial registers, accessed on

Note: The Wynne surname, although spelled consistently in this article, was subject to numerous spelling variations (including Wynne, Wynn, Winne and Winn) in the nineteenth-century records.

See start of discussion about this DNA match, here

© Black Raven Genealogy

Saturday, 23 September 2017

Wynne origins: Seeking answers in Australia #4

This week, I’m staying on the trail of our new DNA match, hoping the records of their Wynne lineage will point to the origins of my brick-wall ancestor - John Wynne, born about 1821 in Dublin city. John’s potential second-cousin, Henry Wynne, along with Henry’s brothers, Richard and John, were all born in Dublin too, but they made their homes in Australia. Henry’s brother Edward Wynne remained in Dublin, where I traced him from the time of his marriage, but no direct association with our family was uncovered.

Australian records are often far more informative than their Irish equivalent, typically providing the names and address of the subject’s parents. The three Wynne brothers all married and died in Australia, creating plenty of opportunity for these details to have been recorded.

We already know the boys father was John Wynne, a slater, with a one-time address in Dublin city. But, from the indexed record of Henry Wynne’s death, we learn his mother was Annie Doyle - another clue to help hone in on earlier records of family back, back in Dublin.  

Henry Wynne, 1876, deaths index, Victoria

John William Wynne married Agnes Anne Browne, on 1 April 1867, in Sydney. Their marriage certificate confirms John William was the son of John Wynne, a slater, from Dublin, and Mary Brodie – a different mother to Henry. Still, it’s quite likely we’ve identified the right man. This John William was named as an executor to Henry’s will, and Mary Ann Nelch, the wife of Richard Wynne, was a witness at his wedding.  

So, most likely, John William was Henry and Richard’s half-brother. There were already some indications Henry and Richard’s mother died young. In 1842, Richard’s ‘Assisted Immigrant’ record, named his parents as John and Ann, with a additional note saying his father was still alive, indirectly suggesting his mother wasn’t. And, unlike many of the other convicts transported to Australia in 1844, Henry’s mother’s name was omitted from the register, perhaps also signifying she was deceased.

In 1861, John Wynne senior followed his sons to Australia. He lived in Sydney for four years, before moving to Melbourne, where he died on 25 May 1872. Thanks to our DNA cousin, I have a copy of his death certificate. Unfortunately, at the time of his death, his parent’s names were unknown, but there was plenty of other information relevant to the search.  
From the death record of John Wynne, 1872

John Wynne was supposedly seventy-four years old when he died in 1872, indicating he was born about 1798. He married Ann Doyle in Dublin, when he was twenty-five years old, so about 1823. His death record contains no mention of Mary Brodie, or their son John William, but six children from his first marriage were listed - James (dead), Richard (46), Henry (44), Thomas (dead), Edward (37) and Jane (dead). Henry and Richard were said to have been three years younger than other records have indicated, implying all dates mentioned here may be similarly understated.

That’s plenty of information to identify this family in Dublin city. 

And, maybe the biggest clue provided by John Wynne’s death certificate is the claim he was born in Tipperary. If this Wynne line originated there, and we were related to them, our Wynne line may have come from Tipperary too. This gives us a completely new line of inquiry and just might open a window in our brick-wall!

See start of discussion about this DNA match, here.

Continued, here.

© Black Raven Genealogy

Saturday, 16 September 2017

Checking for a ‘Wynne’ connection in Dublin #3

Mam and her new DNA match, Cousin B, share 37 centimorgans of DNA, across two segments. It’s a small match, putting them in the third to fifth cousin range. Cousin B’s great-grandfather, Henry Wynne, was born in Dublin city, about 1825. Henry also had three brothers – Richard, Edward and John. IF Mam and Cousin B are related via their Wynne lines, and IF they are fifth cousins, then, Henry and his brothers were my great-great-grandfather’s second cousins.

Of the four brothers, only Edward Wynne remained in Dublin - the others all eventually found their way to Australia. So, any evidence of an ongoing relationship between our two families would most likely to be found in the records relating to Edward.

Depicting the estimate fifth cousin relationship

Edward Wynne was born about 1835, he wasn’t sure exactly when, given the spread in his age reported over his lifetime. He married Anne Mills, in St Peter's (Church of Ireland) parish, in Dublin city, on 29 November 1858. Like his father John, Edward was a slater by trade, unlike our John Wynne who worked as a shop assistant. The witnesses to Edward and Anne’s marriage were Mary Nolan and Anne Mooney, of no known relationship, to either of our families.

Edward and Anne had four children - John Edward in 1859, Henry in 1861, Bridget in 1863 and Richard Edward in 1866. Their respective Godmothers - Mary Nolan, Susanna Shaw, Margarita Horlahan and Sara Thompson - are of no known significance to our search, and were likely on Anne Mills’ side, given the children were baptised in the Roman Catholic faith. Sadly, the two eldest children did not survive.[1]

William Malone, a ‘missionary’ employed by the Presbyterian church in Ormond Quay, kept a record of his visits to Protestant households in Dublin city, giving us an insight into Edward’s life, in 1875.  Malone wrote: 
“Wynne, 89 Capel Street, Epis[copalian]. Spoke to him about his intemperate habits and told him of his danger, to which he listened attentively. Prayed with him and his two children. Wife not present, being a Roman Catholic. These two children, Richard and Bridget, are to be sent to Dominick St. Sab. School.”[2] 

Edward’s ‘intemperate habits’ likely contributed to his frequent stays in the workhouse. His admittance was recorded in 1865, with further visits in the 1870s and 1880s, and more frequent visits in 1895, 1896, and 1897, until his death there, in May 1897.[3] Yet, unlike many who died in the workhouse, he was not abandoned to a pauper’s grave, but was buried in a family plot, with a headstone, at Glasnevin Cemetery.[4]

Despite his illness, Edward rarely ran afoul of the law. Once, in 1883, he was sentenced to spend twenty-four hours in the Richmond Penitentiary, for drunkenness. The prison register contains Edward’s physical description. He was only four feet, ten and a half inches - short, even by Dublin standards. He had dark hair, blue eyes and a fresh complexion, not unlike many in our Wynne family.[5]

But, regrettably, that was the only ‘connection’ found. 

[1] Church marriage and baptism registers,
[2] Dublin Presbyterian Colporteur’s Notebook, 1875’, available to members of the Irish Genealogical Research Society.
[3] Admittance register, North Dublin Union Workhouse, accessed on ($)FindmyPast.
[4] Burial register, Glasnevin Cemetery, Glasnevin Trust.
[5] Prison register, Richmond Penitentiary, accessed on ($)FindmyPast.

See start of series about this DNA match, here.  

Continued, here.

© Black Raven Genealogy