Matthew Buyrn or John Dunmore?

Family history research can often be complex and requires research into multiple sources of information. I have been researching for over twenty years and genealogy remains a passionate and rewarding pursuit. Uncovering the stories of our ancestors gives us a fascinating insight into their lives. This blog post will attempt to document some of the many sources that helped me discover the story of my fourth great grandfather, Matthew Buyrn (1793-1846), or should that be John Dunmore? You might be asking yourself what the name John Dunmore has to do with Matthew Buyrn but all will be revealed.

Thomas Matthew Buyrn (1832-1909):

The story starts with my third great grandfather, Thomas Matthew Buyrn (1832-1909). Thomas has his own fascinating story and there are still many avenues to explore. It’s important not to limit yourself to one spelling as surnames are often spelt differently in various places. Some of the variants for this family include: Buyrn, Buyrns, Byrn, Byrne, Burn, Burne, Burns and Bourn. Also bear in mind that ages and places of birth as recorded in records can sometimes be inaccurate. It’s important to cross reference all of the details in a record with other sources to establish if you have located the right person. This doesn’t always make research a straightforward process. You should avoid the pit fall of accepting a source because it shares some common details with your ancestor without investigating it further.

Thomas Matthew Buyrn first married Sarah Ann Cocks (also spelt Cox) on 7th May 1854 at St Mary, Whitechapel, Middlesex, England. You would be wrong to assume that his father’s details were recorded accurately on the marriage entry as the entry shows his father as Thomas Buyrn, a butcher. (1) Thomas himself was a butcher at the time residing on Leman Street. This was the same area where he had been serving for a short time as a Police Constable; having been admitted on 24th March 1851 he resigned on 12th November 1851. (2) The Leman Street Police Station was set up in 1830 at No. 64 Leman Street and relocated to Nos. 74 and 78 in 1849. (3) The Leman Street Police Station would later play a role in the investigation of the Jack the Ripper murders in 1888.

Marriage of Thomas Buyrn and Sarah Cocks, St Mary, Whitechapel, 7th May 1854, London Metropolitan Archives: P93/MRY1/047.

Thomas and Sarah Ann had six children, five of whom died in infancy. Sarah herself died on 8th February 1868 at 43 Jane Street, St George in the East, Middlesex, England, aged 41 years. Her cause of death is recorded as ‘Phthisis Exhaustion’. (4) She was buried on 14th February 1868 at the City of London and Tower Hamlets Cemetery. (5) Thomas then remained to Caroline Way on 31st October 1869 at Christ Church, St George in the East, Middlesex, England. The marriage entry in this case records his father as Matthew Buyrn, a Marine. Thomas is still shown to be a butcher although various other records show he had been working as a stevedore for a number of years prior to this. (6)

Marriage of Thomas Matthew Buyrn and Caroline Way, Christ Church, St George in the East, 31st October 1869, London Metropolitan Archives, P93/CTC2/025

Locating Thomas’ origins and details of his father was a little more complex. The police register had shown that Thomas was recommended by Mr George Barnard of Upper Edmonton and Mr Wood of Edmonton. (7) I had located a Burn family that was living on Orchard Street, Edmonton, Middlesex, in 1841. (8) This record matched some of the assumed details. Living conditions were particularly poor in this area and 30 lodgers were found in one room on Orchard Street in 1844. (9) The census record showed that Matthew Burn’s occupation was ‘Navy P[ensioner]’ which bore some connection to the occupation of ‘Marine’ given in the 1869 marriage entry.

1841 Census, Orchard Street, Edmonton, HO 107/652/2, Page: 15.

Matthew Buyrn or John Dunmore?

There were many documents used in my research of Matthew Buyrn’s story; too many to name here. Nevertheless, there were some key records which helped connect the name Matthew Buyrn to the name John Dunmore. The first record is Thomas Matthew Buyrn’s death certificate. Thomas was found dead on 3rd February 1909 at the St George in the East Workhouse where he had been an inmate. The death certificate records his name as Thomas Matthew Dunmore Buyrns. (10) An inquest had been held by Wynne Edwin Baxter, Coroner for the County of London on 5th February. Interestingly, Baxter had previously conducted the inquests for the Jack the Ripper victims. (11) Where had the name Dunmore come from?

I located two key records that helped shed some light on why Thomas’ death certificate included the name Dunmore. One was a baptism record from East Stonehouse, Devon, England. In numerous records Thomas was recorded to have been born in Plymouth, Devon, England. This also allowed me to infer a possible connection to the Royal Navy/Royal Marines. The baptism on 5th May 1833 at St George, East Stonehouse was for a Thomas Matthew Burne Dunmore, son of John and Harriet Dunmore. (12) John Dunmore was recorded as a ‘Pensioner’ living in Stonehouse. The Parish Registers for the relevant years do not survive and the information comes from the Bishops’ Transcripts.

Baptism of Thomas Matthew Burne Dunmore, 5th May 1833, St George, East Stonehouse, Bishops’ Transcripts, Plymouth Archives, 631/3.

Further entires in the Bishops’ Transcripts for St George, East Stonehouse gave details of Thomas’ siblings as follows:

John Dunmore:

Baptism: John son of John & Harriett Dunmore of Stonehouse, Corporal Royal Marines, 9th May 1824
Burial: John Donmore [sic], of Stonehouse, March 28th [1828], Age. 3 y[ea]rs 11 M[on]ths

William Dunmore:

Baptism: William son of John & Harriet Dunmore of Stonehouse, Corporal Royal Marines, 29th January 1826

Harriet Elizabeth Dunmore:

Baptism: Harriet Elizabeth daughter of John & Harriett Dunmore, Serjeant [sic] Royal Marines, Feb[ruar]y 17th 1828

Mary Jane Dunmore:

Baptism: Mary Jane daughter of John and Harriett Dunmore, Stonehouse, Private R[oya]l Marines, Dec[embe]r 27th 1829

Research into Thomas’ siblings also provided corroborating information and both Harriet and Mary later used the surname Buyrn. Mary Jane Buyrn married John Joseph Papps on 17th January 1848. The marriage entry records her father as Matthew Buyrn, a labourer. A Harriet Buyrn is a witness and marks her name with an ‘X’. (18) Mary Jane married bigamously on 15th October 1872, claiming to be a widow. Her husband had married bigamously the previous year. This marriage shows her father’s name as Matthew Buyrn, deceased. (19). Harriet Elizabeth Buyrn married Robert Elson on 14th June 1859 and her father was recorded as Matthew Buyrn, a labourer.

Further Evidence of the Name John Dunmore in Connection to Matthew Buyrn:

John Dunmore married Harriet Warren on 27th May 1822 at St George, East Stonehouse, Devon, England. ‘Corporal Royal Marines’ is written next to John Dunmore’s name. (20) John Dunmore is found in the Royal Marines Description Books of the Chatham Division. He enlisted in the Royal Marines on 17th December 1812 and his place of birth is recorded as Edmonton, Middlesex. (21) These details are also recorded in other records. I have traced much of John Dunmore’s history with the Royal Marines in numerous records held by The National Archives. There is further evidence connecting John Dunmore as one and the same as Matthew Buyrn.

Marriage of John Dunmore and Harriet Warren, St George, East Stonehouse, Bishops’ Transcripts, Plymouth Archives, 631/5.

Some of the key sources of evidence for the connection come from records of the Greenwich Hospital School. The school register of ‘Boys Claims and Candidates’ records Thomas M. Dunmore son of John and Harriet under the date 12th July 1842. The entry records Thomas’ birthdate as 30th December 1832, but more importantly it also records his baptism date as 5th May 1833 and parents marriage date as 27th May 1822. These match up with the Bishops’ Transcripts for St George, East Stonehouse. Another vital piece of information records Thomas’ residence as ‘3 Orchard Street, Edmonton’. (22)

Register of Boys Claims and Candidates, Thomas M. Dunmore, Number: 4987, The National Archibes, ADM 73/395.

Greenwich Hospital School’s admission papers include an application for admission for ‘Thomas Matthew Buyrn’. The paper is labelled ‘4987, Thomas M. B. Dunmore’. This number matches the number in the Register of Claims and Candidates. Under the heading ‘Child’s Name’ is recorded ‘Thomas Matthew Buyrn’ and the declaration by the Minister and Churchwarden reads as follows: ‘These are to certify that Thomas Matthew Buyrn son of John Dunmore Buyrn by Harriet his Wife, of this Parish, is a real Object of Charity.’ (23)

Thomas Matthew Buyrn Dunmore, Royal Greenwich Hospital School, School Admission Papers, The National Archives, ADM 73/217/90.

Here, the father’s name is recorded as ‘John Dunmore Buyrn’, in the school admission papers for William Dunmore the name of the father has been written as ‘Ma John Dunmore’ with the ‘Ma’ crossed out. It would appear that the scribe started to write the name Matthew and then changed this to John Dunmore. (24) There are also application papers for Harriet Elizabeth Dunmore. (25)

William Dunmore, Royal Greenwich Hospital School, School Admission Papers, The National Archives, ADM 73/217/91.

These examples are only some of the evidence showing that John Dunmore was one as the same as Matthew Buyrn. It is not clear why Matthew Buyrn enlisted with the Royal Marines using an alternative name. It is also not clear if Matthew simply made the name up or used elements of names from people that he knew. There are still many unknowns and lots of further records that can be pursued.

Footnotes:

(1) St Mary, Whitechapel: Whitechapel High Street Tower Hamlets, Register of Marriages (1853-1856), P93/MRY1/047, London Metropolitan Archives, Digital Microfilm, available at: http://www.ancestry.co.uk, accessed: 1st December 2021.
(2) MEPO 4. No. 3 Warrant Nos: 19889-35804 (1843-1857), Digital Microfilm in PDF Format, MEPO 4/334, The National Archives, accessed: 1st December 2021.
(3) Leman Street Police Station, 74 Leman Street, available at: https://surveyoflondon.org/map/feature/73/detail/, accessed: 1st December 2021.
(4) GRO Death Certificate, BUYRN, Sarah, Whitechapel District, June Quarter, Vol. 1c, Page: 244.
(5) City of London and Tower Hamlets Cemetery, Register of Burials in Consecrated/Church Ground (1867-1868), CTHC/01/016, London Metropolitan Archives, Digital Microfilm, available at: http://www.ancestry.co.uk, accessed: 1st December 2021.
(6) Christ Church, Watney Street: Tower Hamlets, Register of Marriages (1866-1870), P93/CTC2/025, London Metropolitan Archives, Digital Microfilm, available at: http://www.ancestry.co.uk, accessed: 1st December 2021.
(7) MEPO 4. No. 3 Warrant Nos: 19889-35804 (1843-1857), Digital Microfilm in PDF Format, MEPO 4/334, The National Archives, accessed: 1st December 2021.
(8) 1841 Census, Class: HO 107; Piece: 652; Book: 2; Civil Parish: Edmonton; County: Middlesex; Page: 15, The National Archives.
(9) RICHARDSON, S. I., Edmonton Poor Law Union, 1837-1854, Edmonton Hundred Historical Society, 1968, p. 64.
(10) GRO Death Certificate, Thomas M D Buyrns, St George in the East District, March Quarter, Vol. 1c, Page: 252.
(11) WOOD, Adam, Inquest, London: The Life and Career of Wynne Edwin Baxter, available at: https://www.casebook.org/dissertations/rip-baxter.html, accessed: 1st December 2021.
(12) Plymouth: St George Parish, East Stonehouse, Baptisms (1824-1833), Bishops Transcripts, 631/3, Plymouth Archives, Digital Microfilm available at http://www.familysearch.org, DGS: 005883911, Image: 14.
(13) Plymouth: St George Parish, East Stonehouse, Baptisms (1824-1833), Bishops Transcripts, 631/3, Plymouth Archives, Digital Microfilm available at http://www.familysearch.org, DGS: 005883911, Image: 14
(14) Plymouth: St George Parish, East Stonehouse, Burials (1827-1831), Bishops Transcripts, 631/9, Plymouth Archives, Digital Microfilm available at http://www.familysearch.org, DGS: 005883915, Image: 146
(15) Plymouth: St George Parish, East Stonehouse, Baptisms (1824-1833), Bishops Transcripts, 631/3, Plymouth Archives, Digital Microfilm available at http://www.familysearch.org, DGS: 005883913, Image: 5
(16) Plymouth: St George Parish, East Stonehouse, Baptisms (1824-1833), Bishops Transcripts, 631/3, Plymouth Archives, Digital Microfilm available at http://www.familysearch.org, DGS: 005883915, Image: 8
(17) Plymouth: St George Parish, East Stonehouse, Baptisms (1824-1833), Bishops Transcripts, 631/3, Plymouth Archives, Digital Microfilm available at http://www.familysearch.org, DGS: 005883916, Image: 38
(18) West Hackney Church, West Hackney: Stoke Newington Road, Hackney, Register of Marriages (1844-1849), P79/WH/014, London Metropolitan Archives, Digital Microfilm, available at: http://www.ancestry.co.uk, accessed: 1st December 2021.
(19) St James the Great, Bethnal Green: Bethnal Green Road, Tower Hamlets, Register of Marriages (1872-1873) P72/JSG/039, London Metropolitan Archives, Digital Microfilm, available at: http://www.ancestry.co.uk, accessed: 1st December 2021.
(20) Plymouth: St George Parish, East Stonehouse, Marriages (1813-1825), Bishops Transcripts, 631/5, Plymouth Archives, Digital Microfilm available at http://www.familysearch.org, DGS: 005883909, Image: 52
(21) Royal Marines: Description Books, Chatham Division, A-Z: Attestations (1809-1814), ADM 158/8, The National Archives
(22) Register of Boys Claims and Candidates (1836-1845), Number: 4987, ADM 73/395, The National Archives
(23) Royal Greenwich Hospital School, School Admission Papers, Thomas Matthew Buyrn Dunmore, ADM 73/217/90, The National Archives
(24) Royal Greenwich Hospital School, School Admission Papers, William Dunmore, ADM 73/217/91, The National Archives
(25)Royal Greenwich Hospital School, School Admission Papers, Thomas Matthew Buyrn Dunmore, ADM 73/217/89, The National Archives

© Richard Holt, Holt’s Family History Research 2021

Published by holtsfamilyhistoryresearch

I am a professional genealogist and AGRA Associate. I love researching those hard to find ancestors and using DNA to help crack those family mysteries. I feel at home in archives handling old documents and getting my hands dirty - often quite literally from years of dirt and grime! https://www.agra.org.uk/richard-holt-genealogist-in-cambridgeshire

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