Sunday 8 November 2020

Patrick Hynes: my great-great-granduncle, or not?

Pat Hynes, named as the son of John Hynes and Margaret Hayes, died in Victoria, Australia, in 1885. My third-great-grandparents were John Hynes and Margaret Hayes. The question is, was Patrick their son?

BDM Victoria, Australia, Death 4067/1885, Pat Hynes

John Hynes and Margaret Hayes married in Limerick city, Ireland, in February 1826, and had a daughter Bridget (my ancestor) baptised there in July 1830, followed by a son John in June 1833, and a son Edmond in August 1835. In addition, although their baptism records have not been found, they had a daughter Catherine, born about 1837, and a more recently discovered daughter Mary Ann, born about 1829.

Given Patrick was said to have been 51 years old when he died, so born about 1834, he'd fit right in. Unfortunately, his 'obituary' in a local Australian newspaper did not contain any information regarding his origins. It merely provided the date and cause of his death, and the time of his funeral.
HYNES-On 1st June [1885], Patrick Hynes, near Linton, of hydatids [tapeworms, according to Google]. Funeral Wednesday, 2 o'clock. 
In life, acording to a case taken at the Ballarat Circuit Court, Patrick Hynes came across as an unpleasant character, certainly not someone who'd make an attractive addition to the family tree. It seems, he stabbed a young bullock in the chest with a hay knife, so savagely it had to be put down. He acted either out of malice borne against his brother-in-law, one Patrick Maloney, or in annoyance at finding the steer in his farmyard. Who does that to a defenseless animal?

Argus, 18 April 1866, p. 5

The fore-mentioned brother-in-law, Patrick Maloney, or Moloney as he was more commonly called, married Hanora Kearn[s] in 1863. Hanora was presumably a sister of Mary Kearns, Patrick's wife. They lived near each other at Lucky Womans, in Happy Valley (though it seems it was anything but 'happy'!), a small post town in county Grenville, about 100 miles north-east of Melbourne.

Showing Patrick Hynes + Pat Moloney, near neighbours, in Argyle parish,
Co. Grenville (1889, Dept. of Mines, Melbourne)

Patrick Hynes and Mary Kearns, members of the Catholic church, married in the Presbytery at Ballarat, Victoria, on 21 January 1857. Both gave their birthplace as Co. Clare, Ireland, and not Limerick city. Patrick was a bachelor, 25 years old (so born about 1831), and worked as a miner. His father John was said to have been a farmer.

Co. Clare - now that's not the showstopper. Clare and Limerick are adjacent counties. There are already noted DNA connections between my Hynes ancestors and a Hynes family from Broadford, Co. Clare, going back as far as the 1820s.

BUT, by all accounts my third-great-grandfather was a carpenter, while Patrick's father was a farmer. A carpenter might easily pick up sticks and move county, but an Irish farmer has a particular affinity to his land. He wouldn't move county willy-nilly, now in Co. Clare, now in Limerick city. You'd completely understand if you've ever watched the movie, The Field?

My third cousin Phyllis, a whiz-kid on, built a 'dummy' tree for Patrick Hynes and his family. He appears in over 30 other online family trees on Ancestry, where there is an unproven suggestion he was from Caher, Co. Clare, 15 miles north of Broadford and 40 miles north of Limerick city.

Most notably though, not one known descendant of my third-great-grandparents, including three people in my generation and three people in my mother's generation, share DNA with the owner of any of these 30+ family trees - certainly an unlikely outcome for proposed 4th cousins, give or take.

There was no mention of a second 'John Hynes & Margaret Hayes' couple in the Catholic Parish Registers held at the National Library, and indexed by Findmypast. However, there could have been two couples sporting these same names, both of child-bearing age and both living in Munster at the same time. Agreed, this is not the most radical idea out there, but it's something to be borne in mind, nonetheless.

1. Death index, Pat Hynes, 4067/1885, Victoria BDM
2.Marriage register and baptism registers, St Mary's Cathedral, Limerick city, accessed Findmypast.
3. Ballarat Star, 9 Jun 1885, p. 2; Argus, 18 Apr 1866, p. 5; accessed Trove.
4. Marriage index, Moloney-Kearn, 392/1863, Vixctoria BDM.
5. 'Parish of Argyle, County of Grenville', Geologically surveyed by F.M. Krause, Melbourne Dept. of Mines, 29 July, 1889, accessedTrove.
6. Copy marriage register, Hynes-Kernes, 494/1857, Victoria BDM.


  1. I loved this line, "Patrick Hynes came across as an unpleasant character, certainly not someone who'd make a happy addition to the family tree."

  2. A fun blog post, not just about Patrick and his possible place in your family tree but also the name places (Lucky Womans in Happy Valley comes to mind). I enjoyed following along as you shared this story.

    1. I love Australian place names too Marian, even the English one, though the Aboriginal ones are even better.

  3. I love a good mystery to solve! I've seen many trees on Ancestry that are just copies of each other, I don't put a lot of faith in them anymore. I know you know this, but I'd be interested in how Pat named his children, (if any).


I'd love to hear your thoughts on this!