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

Saturday 9 September 2017

DNA Diary: Is it a Wynne match? #2

shared surname and place of origin makes for a great start, with any new DNA match. But, it could be a coincidence. That was my concern when commencing the investigation into our match with ‘Cousin B’, from Australia.  We both share Wynne as an ancestral surname and we both trace their origins back to Dublin city, in the 1820s. But, that does not ‘prove’ we’re related through our Wynne lines. 

Fortunately, several known descendants of my great-great-grandfather, John Wynne, have already taken a DNA test. There is Mam and her brother Colm, from Dublin, their first cousin Larry, born in the U.K., as well as their 2C1R (second cousins once removed), Phyllis and her sister G, from America. Cousin B confirmed her 2C and her 3C1R, both from Australia, have tested too.

I'm no scientist, but my understanding is, if we can identify a specific segment of DNA, common in both my extended Wynne family and in Cousin B’s, we must have inherited that segment from the same ancestor. We still might not ever find out their name, but we’d know for sure they were related, somehow, to John Wynne, or maybe to his wife, Bridget Hynes.

Unfortunately, we all used different DNA testing companies, making it difficult to see who matches who. Then Larry and Cousin B agreed to join GEDmatch, a free DNA database, where we confirmed they match each other. They both share a segment of DNA with my mother, thus eliminating all Mam’s maternal ancestors from this equation, and enabling us concentrate solely on her paternal line. 

Ideally, we need everyone else to join GEDmatch too. Nevertheless, the preliminary results do look promising.

Phyllis and I have been working together and identified numerous matches between our Wynne family and the Australian Wynnes:

a) Mam and Cousin B are said to be between third and fifth cousins;
b) Likewise, for Larry and Cousin B, although they share less DNA;
c) Phyllis and M are also estimated as being between third and fifth cousins;
d) Phyllis and L have a more distant match - between fifth and eight cousins;
e) Larry and L are related, being a 'shared match' of Phyllis and L, though the extent of their relationship is, as yet, not known. 

This is not exactly the 'proof' we were looking for. But, while we’re waiting for everyone to join GEDmatch, it’s encouraging to see the number of ‘coincidences’ mounting up.

It’s a good sign, right?

Continued, here.

© Black Raven Genealogy

Saturday 2 September 2017

DNA Diary: Seeking to demolish a brick wall

John WYNNE, my great-great-grandfather, claimed he was ninety-one years old in 1911, and said he was born in Dublin city. Yet, in the years since this record was first found, nothing has shed light on his origins. He is my longest standing genealogy brick wall. All leads have been painstakingly exhausted, more than once, and my guess is DNA is our only chance of making progress.  

So, I was delighted when my mother received a new DNA match, with a lady in Australia, whose pedigree chart says she descends from Henry WYNNE, born in Dublin city, about 1825. The amount of DNA they share signifies a relationship between third and fifth cousins. She is Mam’s closest match, when our known relatives are taken out of the equation.

DNA match, at GEDmatch

I may be chasing a bunny down a hole, as far as our Wynne brick wall is concerned–the relationship could be on another line entirely–nonetheless, I’m happy to see where this clue takes us.

It turns out Henry Wynne was convicted of larceny in Dublin, twice, once in 1843 for stealing tools and again in 1844, when he helped himself to somebody else’s ‘stone lead’.[1] After his second offence, Henry was transported, for seven years, to Van Diemen's Land (Tasmania), even though it meant leaving a wife of two months behind in Dublin.

Quite a lot can be gleaned about Henry from his ‘convict papers’.[2] In 1844, aged nineteen years, he was 5 feet, four and a half inches tall, of stout build, sandy hair and hazel eyes. The prison registers, on the other hand, say his eyes were grey. He worked as a slater. His father was John Wynne, and his brothers were John, Edward and Richard.  JOHN, like my great-great-grandfather! Except, Henry was Protestant.

And, when our John Wynne married Bridget Hynes, on 16 September 1849, the ceremony took place in St Catherine’s Roman Catholic Church, Meath Street. A mixed marriage, you might think, except at that time in Irish history, a marriage between a Protestant (practising or otherwise) and a Catholic was invalid in law, unless it was conducted by the Protestant clergy. John and Bridget would have known this. And, from 1845 onward, it was compulsory for all non-Catholic marriages to be registered with the civil authorities. John and Bridget’s wasn’t. So, we ‘know’ they were Catholic.

Consequently, it’s doubtful John was Henry’s brother. But, there are some unsubstantiated rumours our Wynne family was once Protestant. Plus, the DNA match suggests a more distant relationship. It’s possible John’s father, or grandfather, married a Catholic and brought the children up in the Catholic faith, while Henry’s line remained Protestant.

If the fourth cousin relationship is anyway accurate, we’re looking at our common ancestors being John and Henry’s grandparents. They were probably born about 1770, or so. That’s likely too early for documentary evidence to ever confirm the precise relationship, and the connection might go back even further. Still, if we can locate Henry’s origins, it just might provide a vital clue regarding where to look for John’s.

Continued at Is it a Wynne match? #2

[1] Irish prison registers, 1790-1924, accessed on Findmypast. 
[2] Convict register, LINC Tasmania. 

© Black Raven Genealogy