Friday, 8 June 2018

Further reflections: Andrew Byrne and Anne Clynch

On further reflection, I'm no longer certain I correctly identified my third great-grandfather in Griffith's Valuation. Andrew Byrne did live in Athgarvan when the survey was conducted, but perhaps not at cottage 2e, as indicated below by Griffith. Possibly, there was some confusion over two distinct Athgarvan families both sharing similar sounding surnames, with members of the extended Berns family being recorded under the name Byrne. 

Excerpt Griffith’s Valuation, Athgarvan, Co. Kildare, 1853

Some time ago, using records held at the Valuation Office in Dublin, I traced the subsequent occupiers of the properties designated 2a to 2h, above. Within a year or two of 1853, Thomas Berns had replaced Elizabeth Byrne at 2b, John Berns had replaced John Byrne at 2c, and Andrew Berns had replaced Andrew Byrne at 2e. Coincidence? It now seems more likely to me that the Berns lived in these houses all along, and Andrew Berns, not Andrew Byrne, lived at 2e in 1853.

But, there was no other Andrew Byrne listed in Athgarvan per Griffith's Valuation, and we know from church records he lived in the village. This means my third great-grandparents must have shared their home with someone else, and that person was the leaseholder. The records show Andrew Byrne soon replaced Patrick Clynch as the leaseholder of 2a, so my Byrne family may have lived with Patrick Clynch all along, too. 

Andrew Byrne's wife was born Anne Clynch. She was probably related to Patrick Clynch, and may even have been his daughter. Well, that's my working hypothesis anyway. Why else would the Byrnes have inherited Patrick's house and garden? I discussed our 'Clynch Connection' previously, and mentioned 'a fly in the ointment' about my theory.

Andrew Byrne married Anne Clynch in Suncroft Parish. And, couples typically got married in the parish where the bride was residing. If Anne was Patrick's daughter, or even his sister, and she lived with him in Athgarvan, they would normally have married in Newbridge Parish. Suncroft was over fives miles from Athgarvan. Newbridge was half the distance.

Granda’s proposed path to Patrick Clynch

Still, Suncroft was well within commuting distance, and now I've found proof Anne Clynch had ties to Athgarvan, prior to her marriage. On 10 June 1830, more than three years before she married Andrew, Anne sponsored the baptism of Judy Bernes. Judy's parents were Michael Bernes and Betty Gannon from Athgarvan - her mother may even have been the same Elizabeth Byrne, perhaps Berns, found living at 2b, on Griffith's map.

Baptism Register for Judy Bernes, 10 June 1830, Newbridge parish

This all goes in favour of Anne and Patrick being related. But, I'm still waiting for that first DNA match between a known Byrne descendant and a known descendant of Patrick Clynch, to help make my case. 

Sources: Blackrath and Athgarvan, Co. Kildare, Griffith's Valuation, 1853, Ask about Ireland; Cancelled Books for Athgarvan, Co. Kildare, Valuation Office, Dublin; Baptism Register (1820-1832), Newbridge, Diocese of Kildare and Leighlin, p. 118, NLI.


  1. Dara, these different but similar spellings drive me crazy also! I hope DNA helps you solve the mystery.

  2. Yes, Marian, in most cases it's just spelling variations of the same surname, but there's always exceptions to every rule.

  3. Well done turning over every stone! It would have been so easy to stop, assuming you had found your family.

    1. In truth, I'm only turning over every stone to see if that's where the previous generation are hiding, Wendy.

  4. Just when you've got it figured out those doubts creep in. Your meticulousness will pay off in the end, even if it's a long slog now. I have those same concerns with my Ryan family in Tipperary. Thank goodness, like in your family, one was named Andrew. Not a rare name, but not as common as John or Michael.

    1. I agree totally, Ellie, given, nearly everyone else in Ireland was called John, James, Patrick, Thomas or Michael, Andrew wasn't a bad name for an ancestor to have. ;-)


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