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The webmaster of this site is Norma Burns Farmilo now at

I hope that the BURNS FAMILY DNA PROJECT will help solve some of your genealogy questions. It will definitely tell you if you're "barking up the wrong tree".

The 12/25 marker test is simple - just swab the inside of your cheek. The costs start at $99. This test will tell you within 14 generations whether you are related to someone.

We need males with the BURNS last name for this study. Please ask your male BURNS relatives to join our study. Click on the BURNS DNA link above to join our study or write to

Besides the following families from Ireland, there are some Irish BURNS Families on the Indiana & NY links. Click on the above links.

From: "Marilyn" To: now Subject: family tree/Burns Date: Sunday, 1 April 2012 22:22:49 -0700 HI, My name is Marilyn. I read your e-mail about the Burns family. My Grandfather was Floyd L. Burns born April 19th 1892 in Snyder Colorado. He had 5 siblings. His father was Robert Teaport Burns , born March 10th 1849, Ontario Canada. He married Helen A. Boyer born 1858, New York. Robert's father was from Ireland. It might be we are related, I want to find more information going back to Ireland. If you can give me any information I would like to hear from you. My e-mail is or call me at 360 425-4573. Thank you, Marilyn

From: Fox Hill
To: Norma R Farmilo
Sent: Monday, September 05, 2005 9:22 PM
Subject: Simon Byrne
From: "Ramona Holbrook"

Hi Norma, I was looking at all the wonderful information you have collected, and thought I might ask, Do you have any info on Byrnes in Iowa? Here is why I ask..

My great great grandfather was Simon Byrne. Based on a conversation with my great aunt, it appears that Simon may have been his middle name.. Iím thinking John would be the first name.

Which ever he was his date of birth keeps changing with the census, but we may have nailed it down to 1817 ish, where he was born in Ireland or Scotland depending on the census ( great fun huh?0

The FAMILY story is that his father was Irish from maybe Wicklow, his mother may have been Scottish and he was born in England on a visit they made there. He devoutly considered himself Irish. He left Ireland with his family in 1930 at the age of 13 (thatís where the 1817 comes in, although my Uncle feels he was born in 1812. We believe they settled in Canada for a bit, then, Simon (and perhaps a brother) came to the US. He married Bridget Ryan, from County Tipperary ( Fact). The 1860 census says his daughter Mary was born in 1850 in Illinois, however I just located the 1850 census, and John S and Bridget and Mary were living in Dubuque Iowa. There was also a 1 year old son, who there is no futher record of. They settles and remained in Debuque, raising a family..Mary, John, William, Thomas, Michael Esther, Catherine and another Mary. Bridget disappears between 1880 and 1885, and the youngest child appears in 1880. Simon and sons William and Thomas lest Dubuque in 1885ish and ended up in South Dakota. Mary went along and was married there. Simon lived with her for a bit, then moved back with William. John married and went to St. Louis. One of the Maryís ended up in St. Louis ( I have found a copy of her death cert, as well as Johns). I have an idea that Ester may have been sent off to live with an Aunt Catherine Byrne who was a nun in Illinois.

If any of this is familiar, or helpful to others, I am trying to locate the ancestors for both (John) Simon Byrne and Bridget Ryan ( who may have been a McNamara at some time)

Thank you, Ramona Holbrook

Hi Norma,
A quick summary of the Burns (Byrne) family... John Burns (b. circa 1813) and wife Mariah Fox (b. circa 1822) arrived in St. Andrews on the ship Star in 1848 with 5 children; Simon b. circa 1836, Catherine b. circa 1840, Peter Joseph b. circa 1845 (death certificate states 8 April 1845), Daniel b. circa 1846 and Mary b. circa 1848. A sixth child John Jr. was born in St. Andrews; a baptismal record from St. Andrews RC church on 21 April 1850 gives his age as 3 weeks.

The family is found in the St. Andrews census in 1851, in St. Stephen in 1861 and in Dumbarton in both 1871 and 1881. The daughter Mary is only found with the family in the 1851 census and probably dies sometime before the next census. The eldest son Simon marries sometime after 1861 and settles in Sunbury County. By 1881 Peter, Daniel and John have all married.

The marriage of Peter Burns of Pleasant Ridge and Margaret F. Cloney of Brockway Settlement by Edmund Doyle, priest was found in the Charlotte County marriages on 24 April 1878.

Peter, his wife Margaret (Cloney) and their eldest daughter Mary are all found in the 1881 Dumbarton census in under the spelling "Peater Byrns".

Daniel Burns has also married (and is a widower) by 1881. He is found living with his parents and a daughter Mary (born circa 1877) in the Dumbarton census. A marriage was located for a Daniel Burns and an Ellen McCann on 4 September 1872 by James Quinn, priest that is most likely for this same Daniel Burns. Correspondence with a McCann descendant confirms that Ellen (McCann) Burns [daughter of Patrick McCann and Ellen Fitzmaurice] died on 1 July 1878 which would fit with Daniel being a widower in 1881.

Living next door to the Burns parents in the 1881 Dumbarton census is the youngest son John Jr. and a wife Gertrude (born circa 1864) and a son Kevin, noted as age 1/12 or born circa March 1881.

Also living in the household with the Burns parents in 1881 is their daughter Catherine, still single. We believe that we've found Catherine Burns in the April 1891 census of Dumbarton with Daniel's daughter Mary and no sign of the parents. Possibly the parents are deceased or have made the move to Gorham with their son. Catherine is the only Burns family member still in Charlotte County after 1881 that we've been able to locate although we believe that at some point she also must have moved to Gorham.

This Summary was from the Cloney family They did a nice job putting the information togther.

John Byrne and family which included two Brother Patrick 48 & James 35 same age as John. live in Munney (Money) Co Wicklow Ireland They were tenants on the Fitzwilliam Estate. In the book by Jim Rees (nice guy, great help) Surplus People they are listed twice in 1847 no brothers but a Sister Betty 18, in 1848 the year they sailed the sister was not listed the Brothers were added. They Sailed on The Star from New Ross 4/21/1848 and landed in St Andrews in 5/18/1848.Pg 132, Also John is name on Pg 110 of the same book.

We do have more information if you want it. I do know that Peter has more detail than I do, He would be good to talk to. We Both will be leaving for New Brunswick at the end of Sept. to look for more info.

PS The Change in the name from Byrne to Burns shows up once they were in the US. Also Simon & Family live on the west coast British Columbia & California. He did have a large number Children, Peter (Paul's brother) would know more.


Generation No. 1
1. DENNIS O'BYRNE was born 18 Nov 1832 in Ireland, and died Feb 1907 in Channing, Texas. He married MARY O'DONNELL 26 Jan 1860. She was born 1843 in Ireland, and died 19 Jul 1888 in Mentz, Texas. Mary is buried as Mary Burns, at St. Roch's Catholic cemetery in the Bernard(o) Prairie area of Colorado County, with her sons John and Patrick.

Children of DENNIS O'BYRNE and MARY O'DONNELL are:
i. MARY BURNS, b. Ireland; d. El Paso, Texas; m. [HUSBAND] MANNING. No issue.
ii. JOHN BURNS, b. 19 Jun 1862, Ireland; d. 25 Sep 1886, Columbus, Texas. John died of "fever", and is buried in Mentz, Texas, at St. Roch's Catholic Cemetery.
iii. CATHERINE BURNS, b. 17 Apr 1865, Carrick, Donegal Co., Ireland; d. 02 Jan 1945, Dallas, Texas.
iv. ANN BURNS, b. 22 May 1868; d. 23 Dec 1947, Channing, Texas.
v. CONALDOR BURNS, b. 22 May 1868, Ireland; d. 10 Mar 1937, Channing, Texas.
vi. PATRICK BURNS, b. 24 Dec 1870, Ireland; d. 04 Oct 1886, Columbus, Texas. Patrick died of "fever", and is buried in Mentz, Texas, at the St. Roch's Catholic Cemetery.
vii. MICHAEL BURNS, b. 19 Apr 1872; d. Bef. 1884. MICHAEL may have died in infancy.
viii. ANA BURNS, b. 18 Sep 1873; d. Bef. 1884. ANA may have died in infancy.
ix. BRIDGET BURNS, b. 1874, Ireland; d. 1878, At Sea.
x. ISABELLE BURNS, b. 09 Dec 1884, Texas; d. 26 Mar 1976, Channing, Texas.
xi. MARGARET BURNS, b. Aft. 1885, Texas; d. El Paso, Texas.

Generation No. 2
2. CATHERINE BURNS (DENNIS O'BYRNE) was born 17 Apr 1865 in Carrick, Donegal Co., Ireland, and died 02 Jan 1945 in Dallas, Texas. She married CONNELL C. CARR 08 Feb 1888 in St. Mary's Cathedral, San Antonio, Texas, son of [FATHER] CARR. He was born 1854 in Kilcar, Donegal Co., Ireland, and died 1907 in Dalhart, Texas.
Catherine was born in 4-17-1865 (died 1-2-1945), in Carrick, Donegal Co., Ireland. Carrick is a neighboring village (3 miles) to Kilcar, the center of the Donegal tweed industry, and the birthplace of Catherine's husband, Connell C. Cart. Connell was born in Kilcar, in 1853 or 1854 (died 1907). The families O'Byrne, Carr and Kilday were all related, in Ireland.

i. MARY HELEN CARR (CATHERINE BURNS, DENNIS O'BYRNE) , b. 30 Dec 1888, New Braunfels, Texas; d. 14 Mar 1956, Dalhart, Texas.
ii. CATHERINE CARR (CATHERINE BURNS, DENNIS O'BYRNE), b. Bet. 1888 - 1894; d. Bet. 1893 - 1899.
iv. EUGENE FRANCIS CARR (CATHERINE BURNS, DENNIS O'BYRNE), b. 26 Feb 1902; d. 02 Apr 1993; m. LUCILE MARIE STAGNER; b. Jan 1907.

3. MARGARET BURNS (DENNIS O'BYRNE) was born Aft. 1885 in Texas, and died in El Paso, Texas. She married [HUSBAND] MITCHELL.

Generation No. 3
4. MARY HELEN CARR (CATHERINE BURNS, DENNIS O'BYRNE) was born 30 Dec 1888 in New Braunfels, Texas, and died 14 Mar 1956 in Dalhart, Texas. She married DAVID RALPH CHILDERS 05 Apr 1915 in Dalhart, Texas, son of ABSOLAM CHILDERS and JENNIE BURT. He was born 25 Feb 1890 in McNeill, Alabama, and died 13 Mar 1973 in Dalhart, Texas.
i. JENNIE CATHERINE CHILDERS (MARY HELEN CARR, CATHERINE BURNS, DENNIS O'BYRNE) , b. 07 Nov 1916, Dalhart, Texas; d. 23 Sep 1987, Dalhart, Texas; m. JAMES HENRY PEEPLES, 29 Mar 1937, Dalhart, Texas; b. 31 May 1913; d. 26 May 1955, Dalhart, Texas.
ii. MARY HELEN CHILDERS (MARY HELEN CARR, CATHERINE BURNS, DENNIS O'BYRNE), b. 21 Feb 1918, Dalhart, Texas; d. 21 Oct 1975, Pauma Vally, California; m. (1) THOMAS MORRISON III, 01 Mar 1938, Dalhart, Texas; m. (2) MALCOLM GRAEME STEWART, JR., 21 Jun 1947; b. 12 Mar 1919, Dalhart, Texas; d. 09 Jul 1997, Dalhart, Texas.
iii. FRANCES ANN CHILDERS (MARY HELEN CARR, CATHERINE BURNS, DENNIS O'BYRNE), b. 01 Nov 1919, Dalhart, Texas; m. RAWLINGS STINE POOLE, 04 Apr 1942, Washington, D.C.; b. 28 Oct 1913, Roxbury, Maryland; d. 27 Nov 1984, Washington, D.C.
iv. DOROTHY MARGARET CHILDERS (MARY HELEN CARR, CATHERINE BURNS, DENNIS O'BYRNE), b. 30 Aug 1921, Dalhart, Texas; m. DONALD BRONNELL CLINE, 29 Sep 1947; b. 09 Nov 1920, Columbus, Ohio; d. 28 Mar 2004, Albuquerque, New Mexico.
v. LOIS ISABEL CHILDERS (MARY HELEN CARR, CATHERINE BURNS, DENNIS O'BYRNE), b. 04 Apr 1923, Dalhart, Texas; m. DONALD WALLACE LEACH, 18 Apr 1949; b. 06 Dec 1902, Middletown, Connecticut; d. 09 Jul 1998, Old Lyme, Connecticut.
vi. CHARLOTTE LOUISE CHILDERS (MARY HELEN CARR, CATHERINE BURNS, DENNIS O'BYRNE), b. 27 Nov 1926, Dalhart, Texas; m. GENE FRANCIS RAHLL, 15 Oct 1966, Dalhart, Texas; b. 03 Dec 1928.

From: Mike
Sent: Tuesday, August 24, 2004 12:29 PM
Subject: BURNES DNA project

My name is MICHAEL HARAN. My motherís father was JOHN BYRNE from Drogheda Ireland (by way of Liverpool). My motherís only brother (JOHN BYRNE) is deceased and had only 3 adopted sons. To my knowledge there are no living male BYRNE cousins. It sounds like this project is not for me, but I am interested in the BYRNE line.

Sent: Thursday, July 08, 2004 12:06 PM

Hello again:

I have a GR GR GR grandfather MICHAEL BYRNE (b.abt 1811) married BRIDGET LEE (b. abt 1808) in Ireland and their son was BERNARD BYRNE born about Apr. 1833 in Ireland. Trying to find where in Ireland they came from. They settled in the Perth area of Lanark county, Ontario, Canada. Any helpful hints on researching would be great also. Any contacts with BURNS/BYRNES or variants in the Ontario area would be great. Thanks, GARY BURNS

PS spelling used to be BYRNE at time of MICHAEL and BRIDGET.

2) MARGARET BYRNE b.abt.1834/35
3) FRANCIS BYRNE b. abt 1835
4) THOMAS BYRNE b. Mar.2 1838
5) MARY BYRNE b. abt 1839
6) ELLEN BYRNE b.abt 1841
7) PATRICK BYRNE b. abt 1844
8) LAWRENCE BYRNE abt 1847
9) JOHN F BYRNE b. abt 1849

Family As of 1851 Census North Burgess, Lanark County, Ontario: MICHAEL BYRNES, BIDDY MRS, BARKLEY 16, MARGARET 16, FRANCIS 15, THOMAS 12, MARY 11, ELLEN 9, PATRICK 6, LAWRENCE 4, JOHN 2. They lived at Con 8, Lot 24, North Burgess Twsp, Lanark County, Ontario, Canada. They had 65 acres.

MICHAEL BYRNE here since abt July 1833. "Notes of ANN MACPHAIL, Algonquin College, Perth, Ont. Feb.19/02"

Burgess Twsp con 8, Lot18 Survey taken from diary of Rev. JOHN MACDONALD, Catholic priest, at the town of Perth (Vol.1 +2)

MICHAEL BYRNE 61 is listed in the 1871 Census-North Burgess, but died sometime before 1881(died at approx. 69-71 years of age.) BRIDGET BYRNE (nee LEE) is listed in this census (1881 North burgess as living with JOHN BYRNE 30 and ROSE BYRNE 26, BRIDGET BYRNE 4, MICHAEL BYRNE 1, and BRIDGET BYRNE 73 is listed as a widow.

Thank you. Hoping you can help, GARY BURNS

Sent: Friday, March 30, 2001 5:25 PM

JAMES BURNS was born in Illnois on July 1846. Both parents were born in Ireland. Possibly a brother was born in IL.

These are the two sons that I know of: JAMES BURNS, JR (JAMES) born Feb 1882 in Iowa: father born in IL and mother born in Iowa. He was a day laborer.

WILLIAM BURNS (JAMES) born Iowa. Father born in IL, mother born in Iowa. Two birthdates 4-22-1878 and March 1877. WILLIAM BURNS was married to BERTHA OLSON the daughter of RASMUS NESJI and CHRISTINE OLSON. Also two dates of marriage: 11-5-1908 and 9-6-1909. They got married either in Thompson or Forest City, Iowa. They lived in Thompson after they got married.

Thanks JoAnn


I went to your website on BURNS and could not connect to any of the BURNS' there.

My dad was PATRICK BURNS born in 1884 in County Down, Northern Ireland. He came to the USA in 1912 and lived in Pittsburgh PA until he died in 1964.

If you want information on him and his family I can give it to you.

ED BURNS wrote:

I have been in touch with many of you regarding the transcriptions I have been making of the baptismal and marriage records of the RC Parishes of Upper and Lower Killevy, Co. Armagh. I have stuck to the names in my family, such as BURNS (BYRNE), RICE, HANLON, WHITE, MARTIN, KELLY, FITZPATRICK, etc., and a few others like HOLLYWOOD, DORAN, and MCALISTER, but other names came along for the ride.

If anyone wants these records, or has not received a complete set of them, let me know. I have available:
Lower Killevy - Baptismal Records - Feb. 1835 - Dec. 1850
Lower Killevy - Marriage Records - Feb. 1835 - Dec. 1848

Upper Killevy - Baptismal Records - Oct. 1832 - Jan. 1851
Upper Killevy - Marriage Records - Nov. 1832 - Dec. 1847
(Dec. 1843 - Dec. 1845 are missing)

If you write me with a request, let me know what format you use, Excel 97, Excel 95 or text (which can be read with any common word processor).

Gr granddaughter of MATTHEW A RICE (m. VIOLA BRECHTEL)
Gr gr granddaughter of BERNARD C RICE (m. KATHERINE SWORDS)
Gr gr gr granddaughter of ANNE BURNS (m. JOHN RICE)
Natives of the RC Parish of Lower Killevy, Co. Armagh, Ireland

Subject: JAMES & WILLIAM BURNS Date: Wed, 06 Oct 1999 16:57:03 -0400

References: 1 - FEAGH MACHUGH O'BYRNE, warlord of Clan O'BYRNE of Leinster, sent his brother JOHN north with a clan contingent to assist The O'NEILL, Earl of Tyrone, in 1588. They never returned south and settled in Killany, county Louth. If you have BURNS from Louth, they may be descendants. See "The BYRNES of county Louth," by PATRICK KIRWIN, published in the County Louth Archeological Journal, II (1908-1911), pp 45-49. I got it years ago via the Inter Library Loan system.

Subject: Re: My BURNS Family
Date: Tue, 05 Oct 1999 17:03:08 -0400

I have been researching my particular BURNS family in Ireland for over ten years. I found numerous groups whose Irish names were Anglicized Burns. The largest was the Clan O'BYRNE of Wicklow, and the next largest was the Clan O'BEIRNE of Roscommon and Mayo. But there were smaller groups elsewhere who became BURNS. Also, a few Scottish BURNS settled in the north. However, not every BYRNE or BEIRNE changed their name to BURNS. One must also be alert for spelling variations such as BIRNE, BERNE, BURNE, and BOURNE--with and without the final "s".

PAUL BURNS (or something like that)

From: r.lang1
Sent: Sunday, October 28, 2001 11:20 AM

My name is ROSE BURNS LANG. I'm tracing my family tree and came across the above address with mention of the BURNS branch from Ireland well my Great Great Grandfather, HUGH BURNS married to Susan Melon, came from County Armagh had a son JOHN BURNS (HUGH) in 1828. He came to Paisley Scotland and settled here have found some information from then on but can't trace my Great Great Grandfathers parents at all need help badly.

Yours Sincerely, ROSE BURNS LANG

JAMES BURNS, coal miner, b. abt 1830 Ireland. Served in the British Army in the Crimean War. Emigrated in 1861 to Jeddo PA. m. MARGARET SPACHT

Children: 1) JAMES BURNS, 2) KATHERINE BURNS 3) EMELIA BURNS 4) DANIEL BURNS 5) ROSE BURNS 6) MARGARET BURNS 7) MARY BURNS 8) JOHN BURNS. They moved to Carbondale PA in the 1880's. Owned store on Belmont St in Carbondale.

GEORGE BURNS b. Loughbrickland, Co. Down 1844 d. 1919 m. 1868 to ALICE DEVLIN d. 1885



From: Paul Burns
Sent: Tuesday, December 21, 2004 6:50 PM
Subject: Burns DNA Project

My Catholic BURNS ancestors migrated from Co. Sligo, Ireland in the 1840s. Family oral tradition has it that we originated from an O'Byrne of Co. Wicklow who settled in Sligo in 1691, but after 20 years trying to verify this I have come to the conclusion that the name more probably originated in the neighboring county of Roscommon with the O'Beirne clan. To confuse the issue, in the mid-nineteenth century there were Protestant BURNS and BOURNES in Sligo who might have originated in England or Scotland.

What do you think? If I have my DNA analyzed will it help your project, and will your project help me?

Thank you, PAUL BURNS
Tallahassee, FL

OTHER ORIGINS OF THE SURNAME BURNS Probably 80% of Irish with surname Byrne or Burns are descendent from the Leinster clan O'Byrne. There is, however, a second large group with similar name which is often confused with the Leinster sept because of similarities in spelling and pronouncing its surname, and because some members have adopted the spelling Byrne or Burns. This is the O'Beirne clan of Roscommon. There also were a number of smaller septs whose surnames phonetically were close to Byrne and whose descendants are today named Byrne or Burns.


The O'Beirne sept is of Connaught origins, while the O'Byrne clan is of Leinster descent. The principal branch of the clan O'Beirne was located on the County Roscommon side of the River Shannon between present-day Jamestown and Elphin as chiefs of a territory called Tir Briuin na Sinna. Keating's History of Ireland places this in the barony of Ballintobber in the parishes of Kilmore-of-the-Shannon, Cloonaff, and Kilumed.

The clan was prominent in this area until the early seventeenth century. In 1601 "The" O'Beirne accompanied Hugh Roe O'Donnell to that last great defeat of the clans at Kinsale; but presumably he did not accompany Red Hugh into exile and returned to Connaught with Hugh's brother Roderick (O'Donnell). After Hugh's death in Spain, Roderick submitted, and among his followers to whom pardons were granted were "7 O'Birnes," probably the remnants of the group which marched to Kinsale.

In 1593 Queen Elizabeth granted lands in Roscommon to Terence O'Byrne, in fee. These lands were in the parishes of Arcarne and Isertsnow in the barony of Boyle, which is quite close to O'Beirne country. It is probable that Terence O'Byrne was in truth Terence O'Beirne. Others of that surname had spread to adjoining baronies and across the Shannon to County Leitrim.


The Book of Lecan, written about 1417, contains a topographical poem which describes the various land holdings in the Connaught territory of Hy-Fiachrach. A portion reads, "The lordship of O'Birn extends from the causeway of Cillin na n-garg to Beul atha na sesidh, Roibin beag being on the east side, and from Sighin Ciarain to Tobar Lughna." This is in the barony of Carra in southern County Mayo between Ballinrobe and Castlebar.

In his Irish Families, Edward MacLysaght said that a branch of the O'Beirne clan settled in Mayo north of Ballinrobe. In his book on the Hy-Fiachrach, John O'Donovan said that the name O'Birn was still common in that area (he was writing in 1844), but it had been anglicized to Byrne.


In another portion of O'Donovan's book, reference is made to a family named MacConboirne, also called O'Conboirne, located in the barony of Erris in western County Mayo. O'Donovan footnotes that the name is now Burns, "which is a great corruption." Erris is a large area, but O'Donovan provided no further details about the family's location.


Also in Keating's History of Ireland, there is mentioned an O'Broin, anglicized Burns, who was chief of Lough Gealgosa, a district adjoining Corca Mogha. Corca Mogha comprised the parish of Kilkeeran in the barony of Killian, County Galway.


Another historical mystery is a group called the Muinter Birn of Ulster. An early mention of the Muinter Birn was in a 12th century manuscript of genealogies, now called Rawlinson B 502, which linked them with the tribe Sil Cuind. An article in Irish Sword describing tribal commitments to "The" O'Donnell circa 1350 said that the Muinter Birn were to provide 32 fighting men. The article placed the Muinter Birn in the southern part of the barony of Dungannon, County Tyrone.

Keating's History, in describing the various MacSweeney septs, said that one was the MacSweeney Boghhamach which had a castle at Rathain in what is now the barony of Banach in County Donegal, and in whose territory was situated Reachrain Muintiri Birn, now called the Rathlin O'Beirne islands.

These islands, or island, appear on present-day maps as Rathlin O'Birne Island. It was mentioned in the Civil Survey of 1654 thusly: "Parrish of Glancollmekill contains island called Raughrey Birne belonging to Thomas Lord ffoliott." The harbor opposite the island was mentioned by the Four Masters in an entry for AD 1542 as called Reachrainn Muintire Birn in Tir Boghaine.

In 1835, O'Donovan commented on this area, "Many of the Connaught families have emigrated hither from the opposite coast, as the O'Haras, O'Mallies, O'Birns." O'Donovan also said O'Beirne is the name of a very numerous family in the parish. The Cromwellian census of 1659 had listed nine O'Birne families as living in the baronies of Banagh and Boyloch.

It is not clear whether these Donegal Byrnes, Birnes, or Beirnes are descendent from the Muinter Birn of Tyrone, which could have migrated west, or the O'Beirnes of Roscommon. For that matter, O'Donovan's comment is unclear. By "the opposite coast" did he mean the east coast, e.g., Wicklow, or the coast of Sligo south across Donegal Bay? This seems more probable because of his reference to "Connaught families."


In 1655, Sir Richard Coote's Regiment of Horse of the Cromwellian army, was disbanded in County Sligo, and land seized from Catholics was distributed to the veterans. Among these was one James Byrne (with variations in related documents of E. J. Byrne and James Birne), who had been the Quartermaster of Coote's Regiment. Byrne received a grant of 1214 acres in the barony of Tirreragh, which is where Easky and Castleconnor are located.

In 1689, Thomas Burne, tanner, of CastleCanur, County Sligo, was listed on a James II Bill of attainder. The Bourne(s) Families of Ireland, written by a descendant, chooses to attribute the origins of the Castleconnor branch of the Bourne family to French Huguenots who were with Cromwell's army. The book identifies as possible ancestors Thomas Burne of Castleconnor, mentioned in a 1665 document, and James Burne, mentioned in a 1678 document. The book does not connect the latter with James Byrne of Coote's Regiment, perhaps intentionally because the spelling of Byrne implies Catholic, albeit apostate, origins; but it is probable that James Byrne was the founder of the Protestant Bourne family of Castleconnor. An abandoned Catholic cemetery in Easky contains several tombstones with spellings Bourne and Bournes, however, which shows that spelling alone is not proof of one's family or faith.


Most of the above possibilities are from the northwest portion of Ireland (because that is where my particular Burns family resided and my research centered), and it is probable that there were many other small septs in other portions of the country whose names evolved as Byrne or Burns. For example, Rawlinson B 502 contains a genealogy of the "Clainne Birn" which was connected to the tribe Sil Aeda Allain, and a genealogy of the "Dail Birn" of Ossraige (Ossory).

Genealogical Notes on James Byrne, Cromwellian Soldier, and His Descendants

By Paul J. Burns, Tallahassee, Florida

Some years ago, I became interested in a Cromwellian officer named James Byrne who received extensive land grants in County Sligo during the second half of the seventeenth century. I was (and still am) searching for a link between this family and my own ancestors surnamed Burns who, in 1847, migrated from Easky, in the barony of Tireragh, to the United States. Today, little is remembered of the Byrne family of north Sligo, but surviving records show that it was prominent in that area from the 1650s until the family name disappeared in 1794. The following notes will outline for other researchers what I have discovered in my readings.

James Byrne, Cromwellian Officer

In 1653, the Horse Regiment of Colonel Richard Coote (later Baron Collooney) was disbanded in County Sligo where it had fought and been stationed as part of the Cromwellian Army. The quartermaster of Major John King's (later Lord Kingston) troop was E. J. Byrne. In 1659, land seized from supporters of the losing side in the Confederate War was distributed to the discharged soldiers in lieu of back pay due them. The index to a now missing document shows that an English army officer named James Birne previously had received another land grant as a "49er," a member of the English army who served in Ireland prior to 1649. This probably was the same person. There is some evidence that this grant was in Aghamore, barony of Carbury.

In 1660 and again in 1661, "James Beirn, gentleman," was appointed a commissioner for the collection of poll-money taxes in County Sligo. The commissioners residences were not listed, but many were former officers in Lord Collooney's regiment.

In 1662, the Hearth Money Poll listed a James Birne as having a house with three hearths in Creevymore, Ahamlish parish, barony of Carbury, Co. Sligo. The poll also listed a James Brine as having a one-hearth home in Carrownacloghery, Castleconnor parish, barony of Tireragh, in the same county. A later examination of the original document showed that "Brine" really was "Birne," and a 1654 Down survey map identified the ancient Carrownacloghery as the modern Ballymoghany townland in Castleconnor parish.

In 1667, a certificate confirming land grants showed that one James Byrne (in another place spelled Birne), who served under Lord Collooney, possessed 1214 acres in the barony of Tireragh.

In 1678, Henry Crofton of Moyhill, Henry Crofton of Longford House, and widow Rose O'Hara brought an Exchequer Bill against Richard Lord Coote, Baron of Collooney; Sir Francis Gore; James Birne; and others. In 1684, a prerogative will was filed and probated for Jas. Birne of Crevagh, Co. Sligo.

Later land deeds mentioned that the original James Byrne lived at Mullaghmore in Ahamlish parish. A Down survey map showed an ancient townland named Crevagh adjoining Creevymore and Mullaghmore, so it appears certain that the various James Birne/Byrne of these three townlands were one and the same.

Histories show that lands distributed to 49ers in Co. Sligo were located in the barony of Carbury. Since we know that James Byrne received 1214 acres in Tireragh, it seems probable that both the James Birnes named in the 1662 Hearth Money Poll were identical, that James had a one-hearth house in Ballymoghany, but he preferred to live in his larger house in the more civilized barony of Carbury. The prerogative will for Jas. Birne of Crevagh is missing, so we do not know what happened to his Tireragh lands. There is no information on his marriage, nor children other than that his heir also was named James.

There is no hard information on the origins of Quartermaster James Byrne. That particular spelling implies that he was from the east coast of Ireland, but his troop leader Major John King came from Roscommon where there were many people with surname Beirne. The first mention of James as "E. J. Byrne" also implies that he may have been Irish. Middle names were uncommon in those days, and the "E" may have stood for Ensignman, a designation for an Irish officer who served abroad "under the King's ensign."

Second Generation - James Byrne Jr.

I have almost no information on the next generation. In fact, the only mention of James Byrne Jr. (James Sr.) was in a 1710 deed concerning a land sale by the third generation Bryan Byrne (James, James), which identified Bryan as "the heir of James Birne of Mullaghmore and grandson of James Byrne of the same" (Note changes in surname spelling in the same document). A century later, Sir William Betham, Ulster King of Arms, listed James Byrne as the second generation of this family, but I suspect his source also was the 1710 deed. There is no information on James's marriage or on his siblings, if any.

Third Generation - Bryan Byrne (James, James) and James Byrne III (James, James).

In 1823, Patrick Bratt of Sligo, a correspondent of Sir William Betham, interviewed for Betham an elderly man whose father had been servant to Bryan Byrne. The father had told him that Bryan had a brother named James who had two sons, and they all "left this country" many years ago. Betham interpreted "this country" to mean Sligo.

The James Byrne (James, James) who left presumably was the younger son, and Bryan Byrne (James, James), who inherited the family lands, presumably was the elder. Nothing further is known of the James who left, but a descendant will be heard from later in this paper.

Bryan Byrne (James, James) is first mentioned in documents in a 1710 deed which says that Bryan Byrne of Creggs, Co. Sligo, gentleman, heir of James Birne of Mullaghmore and grandson of James Byrne of the same, sold land in the barony of Leyny to John Irwin. According to another 1710 deed, Piercy Griffith of Ballincarr sold lands in Carbury to Bryan Birne. In 1720, Bryan Byrne of Cregg leased Chaffpoole in Leyny to Edmond Soden of Grange.

In 1736, Bryan Birne of Creggs and his eldest son William Birne (Bryan, James, James) deeded Congall and Chaffpoole to Peter Smith in payment of (or guarantee for?) a debt.

Bryan Birne again appears in 1736 when he made a marriage settlement on his daughter Dorcus Birne (Bryan, James, James), who in 1734 had married Dudley Colles of Collesford, Co. Sligo. My last mention of Bryan was in a 1739 deed conveying the lands of Bryan's late wife to their son Philip Birne(Bryan, James, James), thus showing that William Birne (Bryan, James, James), the elder son, had died.

Bryan Birne (James, James) married Barbara Griffith (William), the daughter of William Griffith of Ballincarr, Co. Sligo, and their three known children were William, Philip, and Dorcus. Bryan must have died during the 1740s, because by 1749 Philip was the master of Creggs.

Fourth Generation - William Birne, Philip Birne, and Dorcus Birne.

William Birne (Bryan, James, James) was the eldest son of Bryan Birne and heir to the family estates. His name first appeared in 1722 in a document concerning a law suit, which indicates he was then of age.

In 1736, Bryan Birne and William Birne, his son, deeded land to Peter Smith. The son of an old family servant questioned a century later said William joined the army over his father's objections, was a captain of dragoons, and died seven years later in or on route to the East Indies. His death occurred after the 1736 deed to Peter Smith and prior to 1739, when Bryan deeded his late wife's lands to Philip Birne, his son, and since he was in the army about seven years, he probably joined circa 1730. William died without issue, never having married.

Upon William's death, Philip Birne (Bryan, James, James) became heir. As previously stated, Bryan deeded over to Philip the lands that had belonged to his mother, Barbara Griffith Byrne, which were Muckilta, Gortaslin, Corrane, Clondiffin, and Castlegarran, in the baronies of Leyny and Carbury.

A 1749 census of the diocese of Elphin said Philip Birne (also spelled Birn) living at "Cregge", was unmarried, Protestant, and had no children. Philip lived with four male and four female servants, all of whom were "Papists." Philip may have been legally single, but he did have children. Bratt's elderly servant said Philip had two illegitimate daughters by his first cousin, a Miss Pearse, before he married.

Philip Birne's (Bryan, James, James) first wife was Margaret Soden (Edmond), the daughter of Edmond Soden of Grange. Margaret's older sister Catherine Soden (Edmond) was married to Peter Smith, which probably had something to do with the 1736 land deal between Smith and the Byrnes. The marriage occurred after the 1749 Elphin census and before 1760 when Philip and Margaret sued to recover Mulkane, Co. Leitrim. Margaret must have died before 1766, when Philip married Jane Wynne Soden (John Wynne), the daughter of Colonel John Wynne of Hazelwood and widow of James Soden of Grange. Betham's notes on the marriage mention the townlands of Chaffpoole and Congall in Leyny, and the townland of Mulcane (probably Mulcaun near Glencar) in Co. Leitrim, but this does not seem to have been a dowry. Bryan Birne appears to have owned Chaffpoole in 1720, and in 1784 there was a conveyance of Chaffpoole from Philip Birne to George Dodwell (Dorcus, Bryan Birne, James, James), the son of his sister Dorcus.

Philip Birne was politically active. In 1754, he was high sheriff of Co. Sligo. In 1784, he was elected provost. In 1762, he became a burgess of the borough of Sligo and held the post until his death. In 1778, Philip Burne committed 5p 13s 9d in support of a reward being offered by Owen Wynne for persons responsible for election irregularities.

Philip Birne appears to have resided at Creggs most of his life, but about 1785 he moved to Sligo town. In 1790, Philip gave his wife Jane control of his property in Sligo and Leitrim in exchange for an annuity of 740 pounds "being by reason of old age & bodily infirmity unable to attend to the management of his affairs." The lands listed were Chaffpoole, Creggs, Creevymore, Knockanegud (Silverhill), the mills of Baronadirg (Barnaderg) and Bunduff, Cloontyprickle (Cloontyprocklis), Blackpark, houses in Sligo town, Mulcane, and a third-part of Drumford on (or and) Dernish Island.

Much of the information about Philip Birne comes from his will, which was probated in 1794. Much of his estate was to be held in trust by Owen Wynne for Philip's wife Jane. Chaffpoole eventually was to go to nephew George Dodwell, the son of Philip's sister Dorcus; and other lands to nephew William O'Birne or his heirs. Nephew Philip Ormsby received land, and Philip's nieces Elizabeth and Catherine Dodwell were remembered. These and other names mentioned in the will provide information on the interrelationships between some of Sligo's prominent families.

Philip Birne had no legitimate issue by either first wife Margaret Soden or second wife Jane Wynne Soden (who had two daughters by her previous marriage to James Soden), and so the Byrne name in this branch of the family died with him. The family estate was distributed among other surnames.

Philip Birne's burial place is not known, but he may lie with Jane in St. Johns Church of Ireland in Sligo town where her tombstone reads, "To the memory of M Jane Burne late of Auburne Cottage daughter of Collonel John Wynn late of this county November 1811 aged 72 years. If thou didst know her as I did thou art well aware that this small space cannot tell thee half her virtues if thou didst not know her do make inquiry and tred the steps she hath trodden it will lead thee into heaven."

The Ordnance Map shows an Auburn House on the N15 just north of Sligo town. The son of Philip Birne's servant, interviewed by Bratt in 1823 said that Philip had sisters, but only Dorcus is known. Perhaps the mothers of William O'Beirne or Philip Ormsby, named as nephews in Philip's will, were his sisters.

Dorcus Birne (Bryan, James, James) first married Dudley Colles of Collesford, Co. Sligo. A 1733 tripartite marriage agreement that resulted from this marriage mentioned the lands of Collesford, Maghrymore, and Castlegall in Co. Sligo; and Ballybranon, Ballybritas, Tumfarny, Carrickginnance, and Rathnoon in Co. Wexford. Dorcus's second marriage was to Edward Dodwell of Chaffpoole. They had two sons and two daughters. Son George Dodwell is mentioned in Philip's will as the eventual recipient of his interests in Chaffpoole, and the two daughters--Elizabeth Dodwell and Catherine Dodwell--also are mentioned.

William O'Birne, identified as a nephew in Philip's will, probably was the William Beirne of Drumcliffe who in 1762 married the daughter of James Irwin of Streamstown, and the William O'Beirne whose tombstone in Drumcliffe cemetery says died in 1797 at age 69.

The "Lost" Branch

In 1823, Sir William Betham, Chief Herald of Ulster (actually based in Dublin), received several letters from Francis Henry Byrne (Philip Henry Byrne), a British army officer then stationed with the Rifle Brigade in Kinsale, Co. Cork. Francis Henry was seeking information about the family of his father, Philip Henry Byrne, whose widow knew little about his antecedents other than that Philip Henry's family supposedly was from Co. Wicklow. Sir William wrote to Francis Henry that he was sure his ancestors were the Wicklow Byrnes, and he sent an inquiry to a friend in Baltinglass asking for confirmation.

Sir William Betham spent much time tracing Francis Henry Byrne's relationships and subsequently informed him that he was not related to the Wicklow Byrnes but to the Sligo family descendant from James Byrne of Mullaghmore. James's son, also named James, had two sons--Bryan the heir, and his brother James (the third of this name) who "left Co. Sligo." According to Betham's sketch pedigree, James (the third) had two sons, Philip Byrne (James, James, James) and James Byrne (James, James, James) (the fourth--about whom nothing further is known).

The fourth generation Philip Byrne was Francis Henry's grandfather. Francis's line, therefore, was James-James-James-Philip-Philip Henry-Francis Henry. In his letters to Francis, Sir William said that Philip Byrne of Creggs was his father's uncle, but this was not correct. Judging from Betham's own sketch pedigree, Philip Byrne of Creggs and Francis Byrne's grandfather Philip were first cousins.

Francis's letters showed that he previously had made inquiries about a possible link to the Byrne family of vintner fame in Bordeaux, France, that he had written to a Captain Soden who supposedly knew his father in the 45th Regiment in Halifax, and that he had written to an unidentified Wynne. He informed Sir William that he had determined he was not related to the "champagne" Byrnes, and Wynne's reply was "unproductive." Sir William later told Francis that the information Soden provided on Philip Henry Byrne was false and evidently given to throw them "upon a wrong scent." He said that about 1820 a report was circulating in Sligo that some person was claiming the estates of Philip Byrne, which seemed to indicate that the title of the then possessors "was not of the best."

In 1823 Sir William Betham sent Francis Henry Bryne a pedigree sketching his links to James Byrne of Mullaghmore, but it apparently was never delivered, and the two temporarily lost contact when Francis Henry was transferred from Kinsale to Nova Scotia on very short notice. In December 1825, Francis again wrote to Sir William to explain his long silence, and he said his return was due to a promotion to a captaincy in another company in the Rifle Brigade's 2nd Battalion. Francis's return address was "% F. Balfour, Ferney Cupar, Fife, Scotland." Sir William's last known letter to Francis, sent to that address in early 1826, offered to again mail the pedigree if Francis had not received it when previously sent.

According to Sir William's notes, in 1794 Philip Henry Bryne joined the Durham Fencible Cavalry as a captain, and he was a captain in the 25th Dragoons when he died in India in 1814. Philip Henry Bryne was born in Ireland and was stationed there with his regiment in 1798 after an absence of 12 years. He married Frances Balfour (Francis), the daughter of Francis Balfour of Fernie, Fifeshire, Scotland.

According to Church of Scotland records, Philip Henry Bryne married Frances Balfour February 12, 1797, in Monimail Parish, Fifeshire, which is where Fernie is located. Philip's father-in-law, Francis Balfour of Fernie, was an M.D. and the nephew of Robert, 4th Lord Balfour of Burleigh. Francis owned extensive lands around Fernie--at least 1800 acres. The "F. Balfour" whom Francis Henry used as return address on his 1825 letter to Sir William presumably was his uncle Francis, the son and heir of Dr. Francis (who had died in 1818).

Philip Henry Bryne first appeared on the British Army List of 1803 as a lieutenant in the 29th Regiment of (Light) Dragoons with regimental date of rank 24 January 1801. The 29th had been formed in 1795 for service in India, but in 1802 it became (or was merged with) the 25th Dragoons, and Philip apparently was transferred to it with the same rank of lieutenant, but with the later date of rank 17 February 1803. The 1809 Army List showed Philip as a captain in the 25th with date of rank 4 February 1808. The 1816 Army List noted that he died in India (but not of battle injuries or it would have been mentioned).

Fanny (Frances) Byrne, applied for a widow's pension 3 October 1815. The application noted that Philip died 24 May 1814 in Madras, India, and Fanny's address was given as Fernie, Fifeshire.

It is not clear where Sir William Betham obtained the information that Philip Bryne was in Ireland with his regiment in 1798, because he does not appear on the Army List until 1803 (which showed he joined the 29th Dragoons in 1801). Nor, as yet, is there confirmation that he was in the Durham Fencibles in 1794.

Francis Henry Bryne first appeared on the 1817 Army List as an ensign in the 77th (East Middlesex) Regiment of Foot with regimental date of rank 23 May 1816. A search of Monimail Parish records for his birth date was negative, so presumably his parents were residing elsewhere (Ireland?). The 1823 Army List showed that Francis had transferred to the Rifle Brigade as a first lieutenant with regimental date of rank 7 November 1822 and army rank 7 February 1822. The 1826 Army List had him as captain in the Rifle Brigade with date of rank 10 September 1825. He last appears in the 1730 Army List as having resigned his commission "since last publication" (so he probably resigned in 1829). Nothing further is known of him.

I made this effort to trace the "Lost" Branch in the attempt to work backwards to find where in Ireland it went after leaving north Sligo, but it may not be the only "lost" branch. Who visited Sligo in 1820 to dispute the will of Philip Byrne of Creggs? Did someone move to Ballymoghany in Castleconnor parish, a townland that almost surely belonged to the first James Byrne of Mullaghmore?

I was unable to locate Philip Henry Byrne's army service record, which may show where in Ireland he was born, or where in England/Scotland he lived before his marriage in Scotland. Records on the Durham Fencible Cavalry and on the 25th Dragoons (disbanded in 1819) are sparse, at least in this country. If the records I seek still exist, they will be in Durham city and in London's Public Record Office.

From: "vlb"
Sent: Monday, July 11, 2005 11:34 AM

Sorry, Norma, for being so late, but "Dennis" (Hurricane) preparations is to blame. The following is the data you requested and, yes, you can put this info on the website with my email address which is

Grandfather: Bernard "Barney" Joseph Burns (William Timothy Byrnes) b. Abt 1832 Ireland d. 15 Oct 1892 in Mobile, AL USA (Barney immigrated about 1850.) m: 17 Nov. 1864 Mobile, AL to Elizabeth McDonald (Timothy) b. abt 1838 Ireland d. 11 Dec 1838 Mobile AL

(Elizabeth's parents: Timothy McDonald B: Abt 1807 Ireland D: 28 April 1857 Mobile, AL Honora (Ann) Maiden name unknown.B: 1812 Ireland D:6 Jan 1884 Mobile, AL (They immigrated to Canada 1847.))

Father: William Timothy Burns/Byrnes b. 18 July 1868 Mobile, AL d. 23 Sept 1933 Mobile, AL m. 8 Nov 1899 Mobile, AL to Annetta Eloise Rowell (William Henry) b. 17 Jan 1881 Mobile, AL d. 03 May 1930 Mobile, AL

Annetta's parents were William Henry Rowell and Ada Sarah Holyoke.

ME: Vincent Rowell Burns- Private
Vivian L Burns, wife of Vincent Rowell Burns

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