NAMES: Byrns

Dear Mr. Dunham,

It has taken a little time for me to examine the Byrns families of Brown County in order to give you an answer.

First of all, my husband wants me to tell you he would be happy to have the letters of Addie L. Baglby Byrns. They would be a fine addition to the website, and we appreciate your offer. He asks that they be sent .txt or .rtf directly to our email address.

Now, about the Byrns. Since you are not a blood descendant of the Byrns family, I am supposing a generalized sketch will be sufficient. At some future time we will place the search results on the website under "Single Surname Collections". But the backlog is very large, so it won't be soon. :o)

Addie Bagby married James M. Byrns (as you already know), the son of Harvey and Katherine (Kate) Byrns. According to every census, Kate was born in Germany, but we can't locate her surname. They do not seem to have married in Brown County. James had an older brother, Edwin F. Byrns, who married Iola G. Dorsett in Schuyler County on 9 Oct 1883 (one day before Addie married James!). Harvey Byrns was born 27 April 1830 and died 7 Sep 1877. Katherine (_?__) Byrns was born 25 Dec 1832 and died 2 Jan 1905. James M. Byrns was born 26 Feb 1859 and died 5 Apr 1903. Iola G. Dorsett Byrns was born 1861 and died 1943. Edna E. Byrns was found on p. 226 - wife of R. McDannold, 1884-1942.

Harvey was part of a group of Byrns families who came from Virginia to Brown County, Illinois in 1856, residing in Portage, Ohio during the 1830's, where Harvey and others of his generation were born. It is unclear who Harvey's father was, since they were not in Brown county for the 1850 census, when he would have been single, but he is probably the son of one of the following: J.C. Byrns (b. 1797 VA) or James Byrns (b. 1799 VA) or Samuel Byrns (b. 1802-1805 VA or PA). The 1850 Census of Portage, Ohio might answer this question. I checked the 1850 Hancock Co, Illinois and they were not listed. These men had good sized familes who resided in Mt. Sterling and Missouri townships in Brown County, IL. Many were buried in the cemeteries of those townships.

There is another Byrns family living in Brown County at the same time as Harvey's family, headed by a Patrick Byrns, who came directly from County Kildare, Ireland. They also resided in Mt. Sterling, but no family names are similar, and they are all b. in Ireland and Illinois. There is a history of this family in the Cemeteries of Brown County. An examination confirmed that the two families are totally unrelated. There is a possibility, of course, that they are cousins, some having arrived in the county earlier, and then inviting others to follow them. This is not uncommon.

The History of Schuyler & Brown Counties, IL, p. 390 gives a listing of the residents of Mt. Sterling that year:

J. M. Byrns, Mt. Sterling, Section 3, farmer & stock raiser, b. Hancock Co, IL, 1856.

E. F. Byrns, Mt. Sterling, Section 3, farmer & stock raiser, b. Brown Co, IL, 1859.

Harvey Byrns, died 7 Sept 1877, father of E. F. & J. M. Byrns, b. Ohio, arrived in Brown Co, IL 1856.

Kate Byrns, Mt. Sterling, Section 3, mother of E. F. & J. M. Byrns, b. Germany, arr. in Brown Co, 1856.

There is a Benjamin Franklin Byrns in the Mt. Sterling City Cemetery. He was born 1894 and died 1949. He is the son of James and Addie. The other is either a brother or cousin to Harvey. He is buried in the Beans Cemetery, Missouri township, along with Samuel (b. 1802) and wife Mahala Byrns, but is in the family of James Byrns in the 1860 census. This Benjamin Franklin "Frank" was born in Portage, OH 6 Nov 1833 and died in Brown County, IL 19 Mar 1905. He married Marzella Kepler in Brown County on 23 Oct 1860. Marzella is the sister of one John Kepler, and was living in his home in Missouri twp, Brown County, in 1860 just prior to her marriage to Frank Byrns.

There are many other Byrns names and census listings, too many to address here. Hopefully this will give you some of the basic information you were seeking on their family.

Please let me know if you have other questions. We try to limit general searches to about 1 hour each, so future questions regarding this search need to be fairly specific, if possible

Best wishes,. Laurie Huffman
Brown County, IL Lookups//
Dear Mr. Huffman:

I would like to request a lookup of the following Byrns family members shown on your Brown County GenWeb site in the index of the Recorded Burial sections of the book "Cemeteries of Brown County, Illinois, 1825 -- 1972." Each of the family members in indicated to be referenced on page 209. I have added a few notes in parentheses. The names are shown as listed in you index.

James M. Byrns (husband)
Addie Byrns (wife, maiden name Bagby, born January 21, 1864, married October 10, 1883 in Adams County, Illinois)
Edna E. Byrns (daughter)
Harvey Byrns (son, full name Harvey William Byrns)
Benjamin F. Byrns (son, full name Benjamin Franklin Byrns)

Addie L. Bagby Byrns is the youngest sister to my Great Grandmother, Sarah Frances "Fannie" Bagby Moore who resided in Huntsville, Schuyler County, Illinois. I have two letters written by my Great Grandmother from the Byrns' farm in Mt. Sterling when she was staying there in late 1906, and with her sister, taking care of their very sick father, William Bagby and his wife, Eliza Waring Bagby (They resided in Augusta, Hancock County, Illinois). William Bagby was 90 at the time; he recovered and lived until June 1908. I have transcribed the letters and would glad to submit them to your site if desired. I find them interesting in two ways. First make reference to a number of family members (23 individuals in one letter). Second, there is an indication of the 1906 price of livestock from several sales made by Addie and recorded in one of the letters.

Little is known about this Byrns family. Any information that may be obtained from your referenced source will be greatly appreciated.

Best regards,

Dan Dunham

Dear Laurie Huffman:

Thank you for your efforts in doing the lookup on the Byrns family. You have filled in several holes. While I do have a number of additional questions, I only wish to ask one based on your response.

In your response, you indicate that Edwin F. Byrns is the older brother of James M. Byrns. You then list James M. Byrns as born 26 Feb 1859. Later you cite The History of Schuyler & Brown Counties, IL, p. 390, and list J.M. Byrns, Hancock Co, IL, 1856 and E.F. Byrns, Brown Co, IL 1859.

This last listing makes James M. Byrns the older brother -- which is correct?

Now, for some input. The wife of Harvey Byrns, 1830 - 1877, is Katherine Bowers. The source for this is Schuyler County Marriage Book D, Page 37, License #8525. It shows:

Groom: Edwin Byrns, age 28. Parents, Harvey Byrns - Kate Bowers
Bride: Iola G. Dorsett, age 23. Parents, Ezra B. Dorsett - Matilda Sprigg
The wedding was held at Ezra Dorsett's home on 9 Oct. 1883 Witnesses, J. M. & Addie L. Byrns (note, Addie L. Bagby is listed as Byrns although she did not marry until the next day.)
Married by R. P. Drake, M. G

Attached are two letters written from the home of James M. and Addie L. Bagby Byrns, in Mt. Sterling, Brown County, Illinois. The first was written November 1906, and the second, December 1906. They were written by Addie's oldest sister, Sarah Frances "Fannie" Bagby Moore to her daughter, Margaret Maude Moore Dunham, my Grandmother.

As requested by your husband, the transcriptions are in .rtf format. They have been transcribed as written without spelling or grammar corrections. I have also added a list that identifies the individuals mentioned and other notes at the end. If you would like, I will be glad to scan the originals and send the .jpeg files to you. Just let me know.

Best regards,

Dan Dunham

Click Here to See Letter #1
Click Here to See Letter #2



I just came across another family history for the Byrns family you asked about. I thought you might like to know about. It is on p. 438 of History of Brown County, IL, in the section for Missouri twp. "The James B. Byrns Family":

"James B. Byrns (1799-?) son of William and Mary Irwin Byrns of Ireland, married Margaret Gonzales. They were the parents of ten children. They migrated to Brown County settling in Missouri township where they reared their family, George, Samuel, Harvey, B. Frank, Mary Jane Glasgow, William Elizabeth Curry, Mahala, Winfield, and Addie Chamberlain. None of this large family is a resident of Brown County in 1970. Harvey and Frank reared their families here, as did Mary Jane Glasgow."

The biography of this family continues. This verfies that Harvey is the son of James (1799) that I mentioned in my former correspondence, and then adds another generation back, which is delightful. I do believe James been born in Virginia as the census indicates, and not in Ireland, but just a hunch. I would be happy to make a scanned image to send to you if you are interested. Just let me know.

Laurie Huffman
Brown County, IL Lookups


I have (hopefully) made a successful attachment of the Byrns biographical sketch. If it doesn't materialize, or is too large to print out, etc., let me know and I'll try again. My husband usually does this but he's gone at the moment. : )

Laurie Huffman

Click Here to See the history

Dear Dan,

Thank you for your additions to our records. They may yet be valuable for other searchers. The letters will be posted within a few days.

I rechecked the three main sources to compare the ages of Edwin F. and James M. Byrns, and it appears the History of Schuyler & Brown Counties, p. 390 is incorrect - not uncommon. Once again, here is what I found this morning:

History of Schuyler & Brown Counties, IL p. 390:

J. M. Byrns 1856
E. F. Byrns 1859

Cemeteries of Brown County, IL p. 209:

Edwin F. Byrns 1856-1943
James M. Byrns 1859-1903

1870 Fed Census, Missouri twp, Brown Co, IL 140/140:

(Household of Harvey & Catherine Byrns)
Edwin Byrns 13
James Byrns 11
Ellis Byrns 7 (not found in any other source we have cited)

Sorry I didn't report Ellis, but we were finishing up in the wee hours and missed it.

I hope this adequately answers your question regarding birth order. Keep in touch.

Laurie Huffman


> In your response, you indicate that Edwin F. Byrns is the older brother of James M. Byrns. You then list James M. Byrns as born 26 Feb 1859. Later you cite The History of Schuyler & Brown Counties, IL, p. 390, and list J.M. Byrns, Hancock Co, IL, 1856 and E.F. Byrns, Brown Co, IL 1859.

> This last listing makes James M. Byrns the older brother -- which is correct?