Blogging about your ancestors hugely increases the chances of connecting with their other descendants, and this year has been no exception. I love meeting new cousins and swapping ancestor stories with them. Plus, they usually have far more surviving family photos than my direct line.
And, so it was when I ‘met’ my third cousin from Australia. She’d gathered together quite a few tales about her great-grandfather, James Wynne. Like all family lore, these stories may have become a little distorted in the retelling, and they were likely prone to some exaggeration here and there, but undoubtedly they contained a kernel of truth, nonetheless.
James Wynne was my great-granduncle, born on 25 November 1857, in Thomas Street, Dublin city. He worked as a brush-maker, probably at the Varian Brush Factory in Talbot Street, just like most of his brothers. In 1892, he married Christina Kavanagh and together they had five children - John Augustin, Nora Isabel, James Percival, Moira J, and Edward Patrick.
Supposedly, James Wynne (1857-1935)
The above picture, thought to be of James Wynne, was found among his grandson’s possessions. Do you see a resemblance to either his brother Patrick or to his sister Mary, below? I’ve only found pictures of two of his siblings, so far.
Patrick Wynne (1868-1937) & Mary (Wynne) Finley (1860-1934)
According to the information passed down via James Wynne’s grandson, James was ‘a very fine singer’. Supposedly, he even became choirmaster for the Palestrina Choir of St Mary’s Pro-Cathedral. There’s no doubt we should take this claim with a pinch of salt, but another account makes him choirmaster of a Dominican choir in Dublin. Somewhere within this family lore lies the truth, and it’s fairly certain James was a man of music, with associations to a church choir.
A third story, also originally told by James Wynne’s grandson, again refers to his musical talents. James died of bronchitis on 15 March 1935, twelve years after the death of his wife, Christina. His grandson recollected, immediately after his funeral, ‘Lily [the wife of James Percival] put all his music, including his own compositions, under the copper and burnt it, which particularly upset Nora [his mother, and James Wynne’s daughter] and the whole family’.
That is the type of calamity that would probably have happened in our branch of the Wynnes too.
Image credits: James Wynne, courtesy of his great-granddaughter Kerry in Australia; Mary Wynne, courtesy of her great-granddaughter Phyllis in California; Patrick Wynne, author’s own collection.
© Black Raven Genealogy