There are many versions of this name in Ireland and this site is dedicated to them all. For many years it was believed that they were all descended from one progenitor who lived about 1,000 years ago, but modern historical research has combined with the evidence of DNA to reveal more detailed information. There is, of course, no doubt that all branches of the name share a common ancestor - but in some cases the Most Recent Common Ancestor may have lived in the Bronze Age or even earlier. In many ways, that makes things more interesting, so this site is intended to encourage genuine research into our common origins. Every example of the name is of equal interest, as is every place of origin and every line of descent; it is hoped that this site might come to host information from far and wide, and help to stimulate interest and research. The site is hosted by Kevin Byrne, who is proud to have been able to play a part in this work. He is a partner in House of Lochar, which promotes and publishes related material.
RESEARCH TO DATE
The ancient lineages and connections are being unravelled through the Byrne / Burns / Beirne DNA Project, founded in 2005 by Paul J. Burns and assisted by knowledgeable specialists such as Richard Byrne, working to clarify the story for the rest of us. Some 400 participants have already assisted this fascinating study and revealed over 30 distinct lineages; the pace and depth of research is increasing all the time and every additional participant can help. See http://www.worldfamilies.net/surnames/byrne
In parallel with the DNA Project, individual researchers have been examining the available historical, monumental, traditional, archaeological and documentary resources. This work began with a very modest publication, "The Clan O'Byrne of Leinster AD 400 - 1700", aptly subtitled "A compilation of Available Historical Information." It consisted of basic notes by Paul J. Burns, which he had compiled in the course of his own research, and which he kindly agreed to share for the convenience of others. This was published in 2001 and remains in print - although it has been overshadowed by later work, it is a very convenient aide memoire. See http://www.houseoflochar.com/books/gen_obyrne.htm
A number of important studies appeared at about that time. The Rathdrum Historical Society published "Feagh McHugh O'Byrne - The Wicklow Firebrand" in 1998, "War, Politics and the Irish of Leinster 1156 - 1606" by Emmett O'Byrne was published by the Four Courts Press in 2003 and the same company published ""Civilizing" Gaelic Leinster" by Christopher Maginn in 2005. Meanwhile work had started upon a much larger project, an attempt to gather together the strands of history and also the strands of post-Elizabethan tradition and genealogy, the vision of historian Daniel Byrne-Rothwell. His work, The Byrnes and the O'Byrnes, appeared in four volumes over the course of a decade - it was published by House of Lochar and the final volume was published in May 2015. See http://www.byrnehistory.com/
All concerned would like to encourage continued research and publication. For many years, House of Lochar has hosted a Readers' Forum, and all sorts of interesting information has been posted. It is thought that this could be more usefully hosted on an open website, which would make it accessible to search engines and more readily available to a larger audience. The exact format has yet to be determined, and will depend upon submissions. As an opening gambit, one might group material by area or sept - perhaps such headings as "Byrne of South Wexford" or "Byrne of Carlow" or "Byrne of Louth"; in the case of Wicklow it might be "Byrne of Newrath" or "Byrne of the Downs" etc.
If you can make a contribution, please do. It might be an extract from an old newspaper, maybe a will or legal document, the inscription on a gravestone, a family tradition, part of a family tree. Please be careful - do not submit copyright material without explicit attribution, restrict copyright quotations to fair usage and do not identify any living third-party in a family tree. Send any such submission to firstname.lastname@example.org and do give it a title such as Byrne of Monaghan.
Byrne of Timogue