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


  1. Dara, following along on your detailed analysess helps me think through some of the DNA matches I have from areas where I know my relatives are from. Thanks for sharing your reasoning!

  2. Wishing you every success, Marian, I've no doubt DNA is a powerful tool to help overcome our brick-walls. It's just a matter of time before we start seeing the breakthroughs.


I look forward to reading your comments, even more especially if you're related to someone mentioned in this post.

Comments are visible publicly. You may also contact me privately by email - blackraven.genealogy [at] gmail [dot] com.