Sunday 26 July 2020

Signature Silhouette #7 ~ James Mahon

For many of my ancestors, we have no photographs, no treasured heirlooms, not even a funeral card to remember them by. But of those who could read and write, a few left their signatures behind. They often signed historical census returns, for example, copies of which still survive. Apart from descendants, their signature may be all that remains of them today. So, it's my intention to feature a Signature Silhouette for each ancestor, on a regular basis, until they are all are preserved.

Here's one for my paternal great-great-grandfather, James Mahon:-

James Mahon (1827-1903)

Idea courtesy of Cathy Meder-Dempsey at Opening Doors in Brick Walls.

Source of signature: 1901 Census of Ireland, Mahon/Byrne household, Yellow Walls, Malahide, Dublin, The National Archives of Ireland.

Sunday 19 July 2020

Follow me down a rabbit hole ~ Origins in Ireland

This is the fourth post in a series (starting here) investigating a number of DNA cousins, likely related on my 'Hynes' line. On tracing their families back in time, their ancestors, a brother and sister, were found to have left Ireland for Queensland, Australia, in the 1860s.

In 1871, at the time of his marriage, Michael Rochford Hynes helpfully advised he was born in Broadford, Co. Clare, about 1844. His sister Anne Rochford Hynes, who married in 1865, less cooperatively stated she born in Woodville, Ireland, about 1843. Their parents were named as Edmond Hynes, a farmer, and Bridget Rochford.

John Grenhams's Irish Ancestors initially helped identify the twenty-nine parishes, home to both Hynes and Rochford families c. 1850. People tended to marry from within their own parish, or the adjoining ones, so this tool is often useful in pinpointing a couple's origins. Feakle, in Co. Clare, had the highest number of Rochford families (eleven), while twelve Hynes families lived in Rahoon, Co. Galway. However, Tulla, in Co. Clare, probably provided the best bet statistically, with five families sporting each surname. The tool brought us remarkably close to Broadford, in fairness.

Catholic parishes, NLI

According to Samuel Lewis in 1837, Broadford was a post town in the civil parish of Kilseily, in Co. Clare, eight miles north of Limerick. It was part of the Roman Catholic diocese of Killaloe, where the parish was also known as Killokennedy and Kilseily. At the time of his writing, a new Roman Catholic church was being built on a hill overlooking Broadford, while the Protestant congregation was served by a church situated in the village itself.

Unfortunately, the Catholic baptism registers for Broadford begin on 19 January 1844 and the marriage registers on 10 February 1844, just a bit too late for current research goals. Seemingly, prior records have been lost. A thorough search of the baptism register (thanks Aileen) failed to locate the likely baptism of Michael Rochford Hynes in 1844. Perhaps he was older than he thought. Further, the Church of Ireland records for the period, if relevant to this family, perished in the Four Courts in 1922. This might explain why no trace of Edmund Hynes and Bridget Rochford was found in Ireland.

Lewis described the district as being of 'good arable land under an improving system of tillage', with mountain pasture and bog as well. There were also a number of slate quarries selling good quality slate to the Limerick and Ennis markets. If Edmond Hynes was a farmer in Broadford, he would undoubtedly have paid rates (property tax) and been documented in Kilseily parish, in Griffith's Valuation. Before rates were introduced, he may also have been recorded in the Tithe Applotment Books for the parish. And he featured in both.

Kilseily townlands, Edmond Hynes property

The Valuation of Kilseily parish, dated December 1851 (and not 1856, as indexed by, shows Edmond Hynes lived in the townland of Woodfield, overlooking Doon lake, and farmed fifteen acres there. He farmed a further nineteen acres in the adjoining townland of Killaderry (O'Brien), where he sub-let a house to a Catherine Flanagan. He also leased an area of slate quarry in Hurdleston.

Broadford was a small village of only 383 inhabitants, according to Lewis, who probably quoted the 1831 census. So Edmond was almost certainly Michael Rochford Hynes' father. 'Woodville', where Anne Rochford Hynes said she was from, was likely a corruption of Woodfield, perhaps as a result of Anne's East Clare accent to an unaccustomed ear. Or, maybe it was a ploy on her part to sound 'posher' than she really was. Maybe she was ashamed of her 'small-farmer' background upon marrying Edward Tabuteau, the son of Irish gentry.

In 1827, Ned Hynes paid tithes on land in Woodfield, Kilseily. Ned is a common variant of Edmond. My guess is, this was Michael and Anne's father, who married in the 1820s or early 1830s, and probably had several more children. Next week, the goal is to track them down and follow their descendants forward, and maybe identify more DNA cousins.

A Timothy Hynes and a John Hynes also lived in Kilseily parish in 1851. They lived in the townland of Gortnalough, marked 18 on the above map. It seems likely John was Timothy's son. Timothy might have been Edmond's brother. So, unless Timothy was Edmond's father too, it's still possible my third-great-grandfather, also John Hynes, was Edmond's brother. My John Hynes was said to have been a carpenter, with ties to Limerick city, fourteen miles away. 

This story is continued here.

1. Marriages between 1829 and 1945 - Anne Rochford Hynes in 1865 and Michael Hynes in 1871, source images, Queensland Government, Family History Research Service.
2. Samuel Lewis, A Topographical Dictionary of Ireland, comprising the several counties, cities, boroughs, corporate, market, and post towns, parishes and villages, (London, 1837) v i, p. 226 and v ii, p.207-208. 
3. Catholic Parish Registers, Broadford, Diocese of Killaloe, accessed NLI.
4. Griffith's Valuation, Hynes, Kilseily, Co. Clare, accessed AskaboutIreland.
5. Map of Kilseily townlands, accessed Clare Library.
6. Tithe Applotment Books, 1823-1837, Hynes, Kilseily, Co. Clare (mis-filed under Hynes, Kilscoran, Co. Wexford) accessed The National Archives of Ireland.

Image: Sir John Tenniel's illustration of 'The White Rabbit', in Lewis Carroll's The Nursery Alice (London, 1890), accessed on Wikipedia.

Sunday 5 July 2020

Follow me down a rabbit hole - Michael Rochford Hynes

This is the third post in a series (starting here) exploring the DNA matches shared between members of my extended Wynne-Hynes family and descendants of Edward Mayne Mollier Tabuteau and Anne Rochford Hynes.

As noted last week, Edward and Anne settled in New Zealand in the late-1860s. Edward's birthplace was stated as 'Dublin, Ireland' in their son's WWI Attestation Form, while Anne's was frustratingly reduced to just 'Ireland' in the same document. Anne and my great-great-grandmother, Bridget (Hynes) Wynne, share a maiden name, hence my heightened interest in her origins.

The Rochford-Hynes family's origins in Ireland
Various online family trees indicate Edmund Hynes and Bridget Rochford were Anne Rochford Hynes' parents, however no record of the couple can be found back in Ireland.

Edward Tabuteau and Anne Rochford Hynes married in Queensland, Australia, on 27 November 1865, shortly before their move to New Zealand. They married in St John's 'Anglican' Church in Brisbane. Anne's parents were confirmed as Edmund Hynes, a farmer, and Bridget Rochford. Anne was then 22 years old, so born about 1843, with her place of birth given as 'Woodville', in Ireland.

"Woodville! where on earth is that?" I asked in disbelief, having forking out for information on her birthplace. 

Perhaps Woodville is a townland in Tipperary, Waterford, Kilkenny, Mayo or Dublin, going by Normally, immigrants give their county of origin as their birthplace, or maybe the name of the nearest large town, or at least their village—not some tiny townland in the middle of nowhere.

Anne seems very coy about admitting where she came from.

1865, Marriage, Anne Rochford Hynes, Source image,
Queensland Government

Michael Rochford Hynes
Except, that's not all that was found in Queensland, thankfully. Michael Rochford Hynes lived there too, and at around the same time as Anne. He was surely her brother. So his source marriage image was obtained too. This was the document provided to the civil authorities in Queensland, to register his marriage.

Michael married Anne Smith on 13 November 1871, in St Patrick's 'Catholic' church, in Gympie, a town 160 kilometres north of Brisbane. The marriage certificate confirmed Michael's parents as Edmund Hynes and Bridget Rotchford, a slightly different spelling of his mother's surname, though undoubtedly the same parents as Anne. The document also gave Michael's birthplace as Broadford, in Co. Clare.

At last, somewhere to pin-point on a map!

1871, Marriage, Michael Rochford Hynes, Source image,
Queensland Government

Our DNA matches with descendants of Michael Hynes and Anne Smith
Several of my Wynne-Hynes cousins have DNA matches shared in common with descendants of Anne Rocford Hynes. If any of these DNA matches descend from Michael Rochford Hynes, it's practically a given our ancestors were related to Edmund Hynes or Bridget Rochford. And, they do.

Michael and Anne had eight children:
  • Bridget Hynes was born in 1872, died in infancy;
  • Mary Bridget Hynes was born in 1874 and married Christopher Francis Fitzpatrick;
  • Margaret Ann Hynes was born in 1878 and married Richard Alexander MacLellan;
  • Edmond Patrick Hynes was born in 1880 and married Gertrude Jessie Mary King;
  • John Thomas Hynes was born in 1883 and died in 1928, unmarried;
  • Winifred Eileen Hynes was born about 1890 and married John Francis McGrath;
  • Michael Rochford Hynes was born about 1892 and died in 1951, unmarried;
  • Patrick William Hynes was born about 1893 and married Margaret Mary Lyons.
Members of my extended Wynne-Hynes family match three probable descendants of Michael and Anne (Smith) Hynes, one via their daughter Margaret (Hynes) MacLellan and two via their daughter Winifred (Hynes) McGrath. They've been labeled Axelsen, M1 and M2, respectively. None of them responded to my messages.

The first match, Axelsen, has no family tree online, but Margaret (Hynes) MacLellan's daughter Teresa married a Peter Axelsen. It's not such a common surname and he also shares DNA with the two McGrath matches, and with TL, a descendant of Anne Rochford Hynes discussed previously.

Axelsen shares DNA with Paul, who descends from my great-great-grandmother's daughter Agnes, and with my Aunt Anne, her first cousin Larry and myself, who all descend from her son Patrick, as well as with Phyllis, who descends from her daughter Mary.

M1 has an online family tree that shows her grandfather as Jack McGrath who died in 1996, and her great-grandfather as 'Rochford McGrath'. Doesn't that sound like we're on the right path! And, Winifred (Hynes) McGrath had a son John Joseph (i.e. Jack) born in 1917, who died in 1996. M1 shares DNA with Paul, with my Aunt Anne, with Larry and with me.

M2 has no online family tree, but he shares DNA with M1 and Axelsen, and with TL too. He also matches Paul, my first cousin Aileen, my Aunt Anne and me, as well as Holly, who descends from my great-great-grandmother's son John.

Plus, and this is key—M1 has an estimated 4th-6th cousin match with Janet, a descendant of my great-great-grandmother's sister, Catherine (Hynes) Tucker. We know this because Janet is named as a shared match between M1 and Paul, and between M1 and me. She may also have an estimated 5th-8th cousin match with other descendants of Michael Rochford Hynes and/or Anne Rochford Hynes, but such distant matches do not appear on's shared matches lists. provides no way to tell whether or not we all share some of the same segments of DNA, which would confirm we inherited them from the same specific ancestor(s). Nevertheless, it certainly smacks of us all being of the same family—the Hynes family—a fuzzy triangulation, of sorts.

Little doubt remains that my great-great-great-grandparents, John Hynes and Margaret (maiden name unknown, but maybe Hayes), the parents of Bridget (Hynes) Wynne and Catherine (Hynes) Tucker, were somehow related to Edmund Hynes and Bridget Rochford. John and Edmund could even have been brothers! John had a son named Edward, which in Ireland at least is a variant of Edmund.

Several of these matches share only single 'large' segments of DNA, which may have been carried down for generations, so our relationship might be far more distant. Thus, caution is needed, especially as the limited functionality at provides no further information about the segments in question. Still... 

Certain 'conflicts' in the paperwork remain unresolved, e.g. How does Anne Rochford Hynes' birth in Woodville reconcile with Michael Rochford Hynes' birth in Broadford? Were the Rochford-Hynes family Catholic or Protestant? Why is there no sign of Edmund Hynes and Bridget Rochford in Irish records? Tune in next week for more answers. There was a Hynes family in Broadford that may fit the bill.

Continued here.

1. 'New Zealand, World War I Service Records', Attestation for General Service, 1917, Joseph Agustus Moliere Tabuteau, accessed Archives New Zealand Te Rua Mahara o te Kāwanatanga.
2. Marriages between 1829 and 1945 - Anne Rochford Hynes in 1865 and Michael Hynes in 1871, source images, Queensland Government, Family History Research Service.
3. Births: Bridget Hynes in 1872, Mary Bridget Hynes in 1874, Margaret Ann Hynes in 1878, Edmund Patrick Hynes in 1880, John Thomas Hynes in 1883, Teresa Frances MacLellan in 1911 and John Joseph McGrath in 1917; Marriages:; MacLellan-Hynes in 1902, McGrath-Hynes in 1916 and Axelsen-MacLellan in 1942; index accessed on Queensland Government, Family History Research Service.

Image: Sir John Tenniel's illustration of 'The White Rabbit', in Lewis Carroll's The Nursery Alice (London, 1890), accessed on Wikipedia.