My Bullivant-Byrne Connection

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.

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