By clicking on the links below you will find more information about my grandmother Margaret Adeline Bullivant’s tree.
Margaret”s mother is Adeline Margaret Bullivant and her likely father is John Byrne and his parents are Johm Byrne and Margaret Lattin (Latten). Previous possible ancestors Sydney Wardle and his parents Thomas Wardle and Mary Little have been removed from my tree, but I have kept their articles on my website.
Why DNA helped me resolve the name of my great grandfather.
My grandmother Margaret Adeline Bullivant (known as Maggie) married my grandfather Robert John William Thom (known as Bill) on 21 May 1912 in Redfern, Sydney. Maggie was born 20 July 1890 in Sydney. Their son Robert Alexander Thom born 1916 in Sydney is my father.
Now this is where it gets interesting. On Maggie’s birth, death and two marriage certificates the name of her father is not given. I started research in 1968 and when I found this out I thought I would not be able to find out the name of my great grandfather.
Then in the late 1970s I was researching in the Mitchell Library, Sydney with a cousin and we were looking at the Methodist births, deaths and marriage registers for Lane relatives on my Mum’s side. I had finished checking and was looking through a bound volume of the registers and found I was looking at the Redfern marriage register and behold there was my grandmother’s marriage entry and it revealed the father’s name as Sydney Wardle.
I was keen to obtain additional proof as to Sydney being my great grandfather. It took some years. Maggie was born at the Benevolent Society hospital in Sydney. I contacted them but they would not allow me access to their records. Then some years later in the 1990s the Hospital allowed access through two prominent members of the Society of Australian Genealogists. I asked them to check and they found the admission records state the father was Sydney Wardle. I thought this additional “proof” was reasonable and from then on claimed Sydney as my great grandfather. Although I have always wondered just how strong was this connection.
My great grandmother Adeline Margaret Bullivant never married. Soon after the birth of my grandmother, Adeline had another child, Norman Bullivant, on 25 November 1895 at Chandos Street, North Sydney. Norman’s birth certificate does not name a father. Then Adeline died on 1 June 1897 in Sydney. She died in a “cab” on the way to hospital. Cause of death eclampsia and syncope, both associated with being pregnant.
I have been in contact with a Wardle “cousin” Diane in Perth and another in Sydney, for many years. Along came DNA. I first tested with familytreeDNA (all three tests), then livingDNA (again all three tests), and then early in 2021 with ancestryDNA (only the autosomal test). None of these tests had a match to a Wardle person or a Little person.
It was not until I had my autosomal test with ancestryDNA did the name Byrne come up in several strong matches. So I started to explore the Byrne family, getting BDM certificates.
I now consider that John Byrne (died 1883) and his wife Margaret Lattin (died 1914) are my great great grandparents. But which of their sons is my great grandfather? They are James (c1866-1909), John (1870-1925), Michael (1873-1925) and Patrick (born c 1876). My Bullivant ancestors, for many generations, lived in the North Sydney (St Leonards) area. And at the right time so did the Byrne family.
My grandmother Maggie was conceived in about October 1889. Because of their age at that time, I consider that Patrick and Michael are not likely to be my great grandfather. That leaves James and John. So what do my Byrne matches reveal?
My strongest DNA Byrne matches on ancestryDNA are as follows.
ID Relationship cM Child of John Carole (sister)
and Margaret Byrne cM
1 mikebryne98 1st-2nd cousin 349 Michael Byrne 432
2 Geoffrey Byrne 2nd-3rd cousin 178 Michael Byrne 189
3 Glenn Eyre 2nd-3rd cousin 153 Michael Byrne 155
4 Janeanne Hardie 2nd-3rd cousin 141 Michael Byrne 186
5 debraml222 2nd-3rd cousin 123 Patrick Byrne 147
6 Susanne Ferguson 2nd-3rd cousin 106 Michael Byrne 39
7 Joanne Law 2nd-3rd cousin 97 Patrick Byrne 100
8 DaleSharpe66 4th-6th cousin 64 Patrick Byrne 141
9 Sonja Holmes 4th-6th cousin 42 Marie Byrne 22
10 Genevieve Howard 4th-6th cousin 42 Elizabeth Byrne 53
11 Marjorie Byrne 4th-6th cousin 37 Patrick Byrne 94
12 Leoni Eyre 4th-6th cousin 34 Michael Byrne 63
13 Gabrielle Howard 4th-6th cousin 28 Elizabeth Byrne 27
14 Danielle Power 4th-6th cousin 26 cM ?
There are also 22 matches that are classified at the 5th to 6th relationship level. There could be more Byrne matches to me on ancestryDNA to people who have not created a tree on ancestry.
In August 2021 I decided to contact the “owner” of the first match above by email through ancestry. Soon after I received a favourable response from cousin Mike Byrne who also lives in Victoria having spent his early years in Lane Cove, Sydney. Since then we have been exchanging emails about our Byrne connection. From Mike’s point of view his strong ancestryDNA Byrne matches are as follows.
ID cM Child of John
and Margaret Byrne
1 Janeanne Hardie 841 cM Michael Byrne
2 Geoffrey Byrne 780 cM Michael Byrne
3 Glenn Eyre 412 cM Michael Byrne
4 Grahame Thom 349 cm ?
5 Susanne Ferguson 318 cM Michael Byrne
6 Genevieve Howard 236cM Elizabeth Byrne
7 CD 232cM James Joseph Byrne
8 Joanne Law 186cM Patrick Byrne
9 Marjorie Byrne 185cM Patrick Byrne
10 Leoni Eyre 172cM Michael Byrne
11 DaleSharp66 161cM Patrick Byrne
12 Gabrielle Howard 159cM Elizabeth Byrne
13 debraml222 110cM Patrick Byrne
14 Sonja Holness 103cM Maria Byrne
Also I have small matches with two sisters of Margaret Lattin, namely Mary Ann Thornton (nee Lattin) 36 cMs and Esther Fleury (nee Lattin) 14 cMs.
From this comparison of our matches above, it is quite reasonable to conclude I am related to Mike and that our common ancestors are John Byrne and Margaret Lattin. I used the DNA online tool called “DNA Painter” to check our relationship. By inserting my cM match result with Mike of 349 cM, this tool indicated with 53% reliability that Mike’s ancestor is my great great uncle, ie, brother of my great grandfather.
Mike’s grandfather is Michael Byrne, the brother of James, John and Patrick. We both agreed this data indicates my great grandfather is not Michael. As Patrick was born in 1876, and looking at the above matchers, he is unlikely to be Maggie’s father.
The eldest brother, James was born in Hobart in 1866. The Byrne family moved to Sydney sometime before August 1882, and took up residence in North Sydney. James married Mary Collins in 1885 in Sydney and they had the following children as revealed by searching the official online NSW birth index. I also obtained the birth certificate for Margaret and Winifred so as to know their dates of birth.
Arthur born 1886 at St Leonards
Margaret born 16 September 1888 at Rookwood
conception took place in about October 1889 for Maggie born 20 July 1890
Winifred born 28 September 1890 at Glebe
Elizabeth M born 1897 at St Leonards
Although I cannot prove it, I think its likely Maggie’s mother was living in North Sydney area. She was born in Neutral Bay and her parents appear to have lived there until they died. Adeline was buried in St Thomas Cemetery, West Street, St Leonards. This indicates that she is a member on the St Thomas Church congregation, and therefore she was most likely living in North Sydney/St Leonards RC parish.
Looking at the matches above, one obvious difference is that I do not match to a descendant of James while Michael does. CM results less than six are not reported as matches by ancestry, so there could be a small match with James. It is possible that by three generations later my DNA does not include any or low DNA from James. It is therefore possible to conclude that James is not my great grandfather.
That leaves John aged 19 years in late 1889.
John Byrne was born in Hobart on 14 December 1870. He, as a 12 year old, probably moved with his parents to Sydney around 1882 and resided in the St Leonards/North Sydney area. Otherwise nothing is known about his early life. There is no obvious marriage entry in the online marriage index of the Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages, and for births of any children in the births index.
The 1913 Commonwealth electoral roll for Ryde includes :-
Margaret Byrne, Parramatta Road, Ryde, domestic duties
John Byrne, Parramatta Road, Ryde, labourer
Marian Ada Florence Byrne, Parramatta Road, Ryde, domestic duties
There are no items in the Sydney papers between 1880 and 1920, except for when John’s mother Margaret died. In the Sydney Morning Herald of 15 April 1914, page 11, there is a funeral notice that makes mention of Mr and Mrs John Byrne. The funeral left the home of son-in-law James Ryan, 6 Church Street, North Sydney.
There is no record of a marriage between John and Marian, and no record of any children. John died in 1925 at Wellington NSW, and his death certificate makes no mention of a wife or children.
In conclusion I consider it is reasonable to conclude that there are no recorded descendants of John Byrne. Also it is reasonable conclude, that based on DNA results that Margaret Adeline Bullivant, born on 20 July 1890 in Sydney, is his daughter and John is my great grandfather. To read more about the Byrne family click on link below.