Sir Francis Bryan I "The Vicar of Hell", Lord Chief Justice of Ireland - Documenting any children of Sir Francis Bryan

Started by Amy Nordahl Cote on Monday, March 23, 2015
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3/23/2015 at 4:08 PM

Hello cousins--

I can find no reliable record of any children born to Sir Francis Bryan and Joan Fitzgerald. Burke's Peerage, Cracoft's Peerage, and Archdall's Peerage of Ireland all show no issue. Joan Fitzgerald's will does not mention a son Francis. Given that Francis and Joan married August, 1548, and Francis died Feb. 2, 1550, does anyone really believe they had three children in 18 months?

Wikipedia mentions three children but no sources are given (meaning the page was edited improperly). Joan Fitzgerald's Wikipedia page mentions only Francis and Elizabeth, but again, no sources.

Edward John Bryan could not have been born to this marriage if he was born c1520.

However, there is this:
“If he made a will it has not been found and nothing is known of the disposition of his lands, most of which appear to have been held on lease. His son, who is mentioned as carrying a despatch to London in 1548 from the French admiral, was illegitimate. 15”

15- CPR, 1548-9, p. 67; CSP Ire. 1509-73, passim; Corresp. Politique, 466.


So it appears Francis Bryan had an illegitimate son, whose name is unknown to us, perhaps born between 1510 and 1530.
I believe this is the passage--can anyone translate? Does anyone know his first name?

Stratham, 16 septembre. — Selve a reçu il y a trois jours la dépèche que l'amiral lui a envoyée par le fils de sir Francis Bryan, lequel est arrivé sain et sauf avec et sauf avec un des gens de Selve à Londres, d'où il est reparti pour aller retrouver son père. << Ledict sieur de Bryant a depuis peu de temps espousé une vefve irlandoise nommée la comtesse de Ouar- mont et s'en va en Irlande en partye pour voir le bien de sa femme mais principalement comme je cuyde depesché pour les affaires de ce roy. » Il répète à l'amiral le refus du protecteur de donner une garantie plus catégorique à la flotte de pêche française, sous prétexte qu'un tel acte ferait accuser le roi d'Angleterre de pusillanimité, et l'avise de la saisie des 10 ou 12 navires français signalée à Douvres.
Correspondance politique de Odet de Selve: ambassadeur de France en Angleterre (1546-1549)
by Odet de Selve

Sir Francis also had a stepson, Henry Fortescue, through his marriage to Phillipa Spice Fortescue.

But I have found no record of any legitimate children of Sir Francis, from either marriage (to Phillippa Spice Fortescue or Joan Fitzgerald). Has anyone else?

Can anyone provide documentation of any children of Sir Francis (with or without Lady Joan) from any source besides a Bryan genealogy? Wills, deeds, court cases, marriage records, passenger manifests, letters patent, anything. Not an unsourced genealogy book or website, but actual records. Anyone?

Private User
3/23/2015 at 7:02 PM

Only Sir Francis Bryan and Elizabeth Bryan are listed as the Children born to Sir Francis Bryan and Joan Fitzgerald.
Joan never wanted to Marry Francis, she was persuaded to. She always favored her Cousin Gerald. Because Joan never wanted to Marry Francis in the first place why would she place any favor to any Children she had with him? Common sense says, she would not.

Ever since the Bryan's were forced out of Ireland they were never able to gain their inheritance, lands or titles. Cromwell saw to that. Again, Joan favored her Fitzgerald cousin, Crowell wanted to separate the titled from their wealth, land and possession as he needed the money for his war.

Sir Francis and Joan Fitzgerald are my 11th Grandparents.
I have no doubt they are. I am satisfied that DNA matches confirm this. I had found cousins belonging to the same family lines and tree with matches to Fitzgerald, Bryan, Bryant, Lincoln and so on.

I agree, sources are difficult yet not one has denied any of the events. How to confirm the events, I'm not sure how to go about but there seems to be enough details HERE: to start looking for sources as you suggest.
William Smith Bryan

Private User
3/24/2015 at 1:24 PM

Dear Cousin Amy, one of the ways I used DNA surname matches is to find cousins who share the same bloodlines. For example, if you follow Sir Francis Bryan's line backwards before he and Joan had Children together you will arrive at Lady Elizabeth Cheney.
The only way I can have Lady Say as an ancestor is through Sir Francis Bryan. A DNA match to Cheney direct descendants help confirm her as an ancestor. My dna surname match is to Joseph Cheney born 1647. His Father William is a 6th Cousin 10 times removed with the Cheney family as the shared ancestors. Through my Grandmother there are very few surname changes in between going from McDaniel to Bryan to Cheney.
All of my Fitzgerald DNA matches come from this area of Ireland, aka Knights of Glin.
Oddly enough, I have a dna surname that shows up as Glin with one n. It try's to match me to Glinn but does not match both n's so it drops the other n leaving just Glin. I never added Glin in my surnames so it did this on it's own. There are no other Glin's, just Fitzgerald's. Glin Castle;

3/24/2015 at 3:39 PM

Dear Cousin Wanda--
I suspect you and your cousin matches have a common ancestor much more recent than Francis Bryan or his ancestors, or ancestors who came from the same places. It is not possible to detect a cousin relationship that distant through autosomal DNA. This is because of how genetic inheritance works. Fourth cousins share, on average, less than one percent of their DNA. Eighth cousins share, on average, 0.000763% of their DNA. Once you get past 4th cousins yit becomes possible to share no DNA at all, and that possibility gets stronger the farther out you go.

However, YDNA (father-to-son) can detect very distant relationships spanning centuries. (So can mitochondrial DNA, but it's much harder to use for genealogy.) I hope that all Bryan men out there will consider participating in either the Bryan or O'Brien project at Family Tree DNA.

Some of the results are Irish Type III (or the Dalcassians of Thomond type), but I can't tell if they are from our line or not. Yet one line labeled "William Smith Bryan" is E-M78, a completely different haplogroup. I hope the study coordinators will include some family trees (if the study participants will consent to share them).

As someone with no less than four Bryan lines in her family tree (two from the "William Smith" line, two unknown), I would love to see more participation in these studies!

Private User
3/24/2015 at 6:13 PM

Dear Cousin Amy,

Cousin # 1 Match 7th Cousin 9 x removed through Cheney line, Bryan Ancestor. Joseph Cheney born 06/06/1647
Chromosome Start Location End Location centiMorgans (cM) # of Matching SNPs
1 97361501 98376725 1.03 700
2 196024946 199331843 2.43 600
3 119805606 122056825 1.88 600
6 71454923 73631998 1.4 500
6 168769538 170432244 2.89 500
9 70537808 73208316 3.87 700
11 48014889 56706840 1.5 700
12 20465327 21368250 2.62 600
12 58792138 61269410 2.92 500
13 19715263 23639868 9.51 1600
17 59030266 61313804 3.06 500

Cousin # 2 Surname DNA Cheney match, 10th Cousin 6x removed.
Elizabeth Cheney born 04/28/1707
Chromosome Start Location End Location centiMorgans (cM) # of Matching SNPs
1 115061291 116697916 1.64 500
2 174835899 183867281 7.97 2200
2 196921172 200142689 1.88 500
3 77845948 81709865 1.32 600
4 9055941 10942942 2.11 500
4 146440252 149116480 1.96 500
6 80771107 84378803 1.78 700
7 97672322 99702077 1.84 500
8 142483508 144240466 2.01 500
10 59062724 61164043 1.83 500
12 86346855 89243803 3.11 500
13 94373726 94833884 3.23 600
X 15175378 19239335 4.29 500

Cousin #3 Sarah Cheney born 1704
Chromosome Start Location End Location centiMorgans (cM) # of Matching SNPs
1 97081292 98057528 1.01 700
1 216773395 218766891 1.95 500
2 23594915 26586236 1.88 500
7 89522229 91666651 2.18 500
8 17608042 18393182 2.34 500
8 56774182 58920288 2.14 500
8 103671825 106245043 1.88 600
10 95868647 97209409 2.25 500
11 48014889 56273717 1.3 600
11 81900158 98797425 14.97 4400
12 20668638 21368250 2.53 500
17 57765908 61313804 4.5 699
18 22751222 23923738 2.49 600
18 47498751 50654311 4.1 700
X 106383391 112773321 6.29 575

Cousin # 4 Unnamed Cheney details

Chromosome Start Location End Location centiMorgans (cM) # of Matching SNPs
2 134556625 137766816 2.61 800
2 181533583 184371335 1.92 600
4 69117497 71060137 1.24 500
6 46036468 47686933 1.59 500
7 63079623 67709444 3.35 700
7 68535965 72511582 4.39 681
7 106760770 109038723 1.77 500
10 101153184 112920367 10.18 3000
11 37162511 40048945 1.33 500
12 20465327 21882887 3.71 800
16 29586068 34098610 3.2 500
16 65173037 67852271 3.3 500
22 26430759 29005923 1.72 500

That covers all of my Cheney Matches for Sir Francis Bryan's Ancestor. Now this is where it get's interesting. For my Bryan Surname matches, I do match John Smith Bryan who is your tree by dna surname match to a cousin who also has this Ancestor. However, it shows that John Smith Bryan's Wife Sarah Bryan born 06/01/1634 in Denmark married another Bryan, my Ancestor Sir Francis Bryan Sr.
Francis Bryan, Sr. MP
Place of Burial: Belfast, Ireland
Birth: June 1, 1630
County Claire, Ireland
Sir Francis Bryan and John Smith Bryan our two Ancestors are supposed to be Brothers but when I do an in common with test only my Ancestor has Cheney Ancestors where as John Smith Bryan's do not. So are they really Brothers and am I only related to John Smith Bryan because I share DNA passed down through the Wife of Both Bryan's with Sarah from Denmark being our common Ancestor?

My other Cousin (a male) shares the same Lincoln, McDaniel Bryan line so he should also pass the in common with test and have Cheney's as cousin's but he doesn't or did not list Cheney in his surnames. (This might be because they are both male and men do not have as much DNA or the extra X Chromosome Women do. It may also be because of the strictly ydna thing.

Comparison: My 3rd Cousin and I share Sir Francis Bryan Ancestor with Wife Sarah Bryan, sharing descendant/ancestor Hannah McDaniel Bryan (4th Grandmother)
Chromosome Start Location End Location centiMorgans (cM) # of Matching SNPs
1 39917884 41916486 2.49 500
3 136728508 141430951 3.25 900
4 96923477 100342799 1.45 600
6 25580766 30453118 1.26 3300
12 20668638 22128857 4.25 800
12 33401350 38671385 1.26 500
13 77299506 79628954 1.51 600
14 39324084 71850274 30.03 8000
18 47203381 48854550 2.83 500

My Female 5th Cousin who shares the same Ancestor with you, the other Bryan Brother John Smith Bryan and Wife Sarah.
Chromosome Start Location End Location centiMorgans (cM) # of Matching SNPs
2 80841056 83888874 1.1 500
2 184918855 189621993 1.56 700
5 98027758 101223430 1.52 500
5 128908924 131819957 1.93 500
6 46036468 47686933 1.59 500
6 144365265 146914378 2.11 500
7 52763775 55057873 1.72 500
10 17630687 24867157 8.58 2096
10 96444231 98945589 3.47 900
12 32965070 39002106 1.8 700

Her Brother also a 5th Cousin with the same John Smith Bryan Ancestor.
and Wife Sarah.
Chromosome Start Location End Location centiMorgans (cM) # of Matching SNPs
2 80841056 83888874 1.1 500
2 184918855 189621993 1.56 700
5 98027758 101223430 1.52 500
5 128908924 131819957 1.93 500
6 46036468 47686933 1.59 500
6 144365265 146914378 2.11 500
7 52763775 55057873 1.72 500
10 17630687 24867157 8.58 2096
10 96444231 98945589 3.47 900
12 32965070 39002106 1.8 700

It appears that the common ancestors for these three cousins are on Chromosome 6 and 12. While it is true that dna of distant ancestor's can degrade, the exception to that rule is cousin marriages. If the same blood lines keep marrying through the centuries the segments of DNA become stickier and longer which is probably why some of those ancient bloodlines show up after all these centuries.

Since you and I connect at roughly the same time period as cousins through Sarah and the two Bryan's it would interesting to see what our results are. Are you signed up with any DNA companies or Gedmatch by chance?

3/24/2015 at 8:29 PM

Matches below 7 cM won't reliably tell you whether you are related, but may show that you are from, say, the same part of Ireland instead. Though I follow a Facebook group for a different family, and many of us are on GEDmatch--I've noticed many of us overlap little 3 and 4 segments in groups. If a smaller segment is shared with more than one cousin, I figure it may be significant. Otherwise I assume it's "noise."

GEDmatch A290487.

(My sister's kit. Until there is a little budge in the budget, she lets me share!)

Scandinavian/German on Dad's side, old Colonial lines on Mom's.

Sir Francis Bryan is also my cousin through his grandmother Elizabeth Tilney, who is my 17th great-grandmother through her second marriage to Thomas Howard.

My Bryan lines: Needham I & Anne Rombeau, Edward Bryan & Christian Council. Jesse Bryant Sr. is shown here as a son of Needham, but I believe he is from an unrelated family. Sarah Bryan Sessums of Edgecombe, NC (b. c1720) is a mystery--parents unknown.

3/24/2015 at 8:35 PM

Wanda, the DNA matches are interesting but I agree with Amy that they don't operate as the kind of proof we need here.

As Amy says, it's very likely you and your cousin matches have an unknown common ancestor who is much more recent than Francis Bryan. All of us have to concede this possibility if we don't know every single one of our ancestors and the ancestors of our match back to the time of Francis Bryan.

You and I have discussed some of these before. Matches smaller than 7 cM are very tantalizing, but they are so controversial they don't persuade anyone. Personally, I find them to be good indicators that two people come from the same general population, but nothing more than that. I think it's better to filter them out first, see what's left > 7 cM, then test very rigorously to see if there is any chance of another relationship.

3/24/2015 at 8:35 PM

Sorry, Amy. Cross posted. I see you're on it without my help ;)

Private User
3/25/2015 at 4:17 PM

Hi Justin, yes I remember the small cm matches as believed to be noise debate. It's just my personal opinion that they may be more relevant when taken into the context of the following; how big of a section they match on between snp's. For example if you have a mere 2 cm match on chromosome 3 and everyone matches close to the point of 10,0000-10,6000 and the small cm matches with a large number of base pairs = millions of base pairs per snp.

They say if you find small cm matches on a specific chromosome that is backed up by paper pedigree's it's usually relevant even if small. People who share a family blood line share that blood line on the same chromosome. It's like a home point for it. Each match on a chromosome represents a blood line. I've seen it come up many times. People will list their surnames say 6 surnames for example and sure enough they will have matches on 6 chromosomes. It's when people don't know their pedigree and are shooting in the dark that they can not confirm that they might be related or if it one single surname out of 20 surnames some 500 years ago is the one they are trying to match like 6 generations of smiths, 7 generations of jone and a random ahmet thrown in there.

If a bloodline/ydna or mtdna is kept for several generations it tends to stick even if it is a long time ago and even though they call it noise, it shows up like raisins in a snowstorm. lol

Cousin Amy, thank you for participating, your input is valuable. Here are our matches. I took it to 500 snp = 500 million base pairs and 2 cm to see what would show up. We should have a match for Bryan, Fitzgerald, Sarah at minimum. Our Bryans should be the most recent so should have a larger cm match. This is what we have'

Minimum threshold size to be included in total = 500 SNPs
Mismatch-bunching Limit = 250 SNPs
Minimum segment cM to be included in total = 2.0 cM
This says we share 5-7 blood lines. Chromosome 4 is already breaking up and starting to "turn into noise or recombine perhaps". Chromosome 4 is the only chromosome that you and I share with my other cousin who has the other Bryan Brother as an Ancestor.
Chromosome 10 I share with you and the other cousins who also claim John Smith Bryan as an Ancestor. Very interesting because my cousin does not have that one and the other John Smith Bryan descendants do not share Chromosome 4 as you and I do.

Chr Start Location End Location Centimorgans (cM) SNPs
2 134475112 137617489 2.4 746
4 31806809 35681896 2.5 518
4 69036458 72652623 3.0 693
4 76312212 78585322 2.3 540
8 35074649 38617794 2.5 505
10 116217311 118598092 3.2 574
17 58905337 61372715 2.0 514
Largest segment = 3.2 cM
Total of segments > 2 cM = 17.9 cM

I match all of the Cheney's and all of the Bryans with a common ancestor on chromosome #12 yet you and I do not share that common ancestor. However all the Cheney's and Bryans descendants share a common ancestor on chromosome #2 including you and my cousin is the exception on that one. It really comes down to a process of elimination after you factor in all the common surnames for everyone.
Our total match = 17.9cm = according to we are between 3rd and 4th cousins and geni says we are 9th Cousins 2x removed.
We share more DNA then Geni says because the Bryans were descendants of multiple cousin marriages through the centuries.

3/26/2015 at 9:28 AM

About our trees and our DNA--

(Moderators--if this is too far off-topic I'll understand. Stubbornness would appear to be a Bryan trait!)

Cousin Wanda, I hope you don't mind that I had a look at your tree. Many of our ancestors have lived in the same places! We have English lines from the same parts of England coming to the same parts of America--early colonial Virginia, early colonial Massachusetts, Lancaster and Berks, Pennsylvania. And we share recent Norwegian ancestry! My great-grandpa was a seafaring man as well. Hordaland, where your folks came from, is next to Telemark, where Great-Grandpa Nordahl came from. We both have brick walls in those English and Norwegian lines--some far more recent than our shared Bryan ancestry.

We are cousins in other lines as well.

We are both descended from Richard and Christian de Trafford, my 26th g-grandparents. OK, that one is fairly distant.

We are both descended from Ralph Percy and Eleanor Acton, my 18th g-grandparents. Closer.

We are both descended from Raleigh Croshaw and Unity Daniels, my 13th great-grandparents. Now we're in America!

About the shorter shared DNA segments and false positive matches:

A known, documented ninth cousin on a different line shared her GEDmatch numbers with me--hers, her mother's, and her father's. She and I have a 6.5 cM match on her X chromosome not shared by either of her parents, even looking for smaller matches. There are three smaller segments I do share with her mother, between 3 and 5 cM (nothing with her father), but neither parent has that 6.5 cM segment or even part of it (using the 3 cM minimum of the 3D Chromosome Browser). These are obviously her birth parents. Which means the 6.5 cM segment is a false positive! It does not represent a direct line of descent. The autosomal DNA is even more compelling--there are no less than seven 3 and 4 cM matches shared with my ninth cousin but neither of her parents. There are only two 3 cM segments that I share with both her and her mother, and none with her father. That's it. Two may be legit, the other seven are false positives. But maybe the other two were false positives from an earlier generation? Hard to tell with small segment. Small segments can be misleading. It's impossible to tell the noise from the legitimate matches without a paper trail or other close relatives to compare with. Making the small matches useless by themselves for proving a line of descent.

Look at it this way--each generation shuffles the genetic deck, and each child receives a different hand from the deck, leaving some cards behind with each generation. Eventually, odds are you will see a small string of cards show up that match an ancestor, yet don't come down intact down that direct line, just because your ancestors came from the same places, as ours did. This is called an "Identical By State" match as opposed to an "Identical by Descent" match. And given our similar backgrounds, we ought to have many Identical by State matches.

I suggest using the 3D Chromosome Browser utility at GEDmatch to find segments that you share with more than one cousin. Those overlapping matches may be significant. But a single 5 or 6 cM segment or even a slew of smaller segments may be misleading without something else to go on. Beware the false positives!

Private User
3/26/2015 at 3:18 PM

Dear Cousin, very nice work. I am impressed. I had no idea we shared that many Ancestor's. You are correct about the deck shuffling, we never know what we are going to get. The Bryan's from Sir Francis Bryan would carry the Plantagenet genes and show up as French mostly. The Fitzgerald's are cambro-Norman or Irish admix. The Percy's are Danish from the Danish Chieftan Manfred and German from Joscelin. Sarah Bryan was a Hollander. Then there are all our more recent Ancestor's with their admix. What I am finding in the admix is that your most recent ancestor (Parent's) are the one's who contribute the most to your admix followed by our four Grandparents and backward. Perhaps the only reason I match all those ancient bloodlines is because each of my two Grandparents on my Father's side were dna carriers of the multiple layers of cousin Marriages on the Bryan and Percy side and were even cousin's to each other several times (not knowingly of course). My Grandmother is so related to all these lines that is she more closely related to my Grandfather's ancestor's then he is related to himself. I checked out your admix on gedmatch and a tiny bit of Irish shows up and no French (so far) which makes me ask the question"Are our two Bryan's really related to each other and if so, at what point would their admix disappear?" We each have Bryans exactly 4 generations back so one would think it would show up for both of us? To investigate it just look at Gedmatch for the MDLP, MDLP22 and Eurogenes Oracle 4 for all of them and include k13, kb23. Eurogenes is the best for locating Irish, Pict and Scottish admix. The Fitzgeralds also had Welsh Ancestors at Nest Ferch. If want to see if you have Fitzgerald, Bryan, O'Brien and Brincker/Brinker matches by surname and DNA, FTDNA has a free autosomal transfer. It would be nice to collaborate with you on this because you are right, there is a lot of heresay and it would be nice to have more solid information on the the Bryan/Fitgerald descendants after Joan and Sir Francis Bryan. Thanks again for your valuable input. :)

Private User
3/26/2015 at 5:11 PM

Dear Cousin Amy, I think the Bryan/Fitgerald descendant tree needs a lot of work. I checked out your Ancestor William Bryan, Sr. and there is no William Bryan Marquess or Lord of Thomond for that time period. The closest they have is William O' Brien and it's 100 yrs. off. This means our Bryan's are not Brother's and the Bryan you have listed could not possibly be the the Marquess of Thomond because there were only three and none during the time period you have listed and none were Bryan's, they were O'Briens. Source:

Private User
3/26/2015 at 6:43 PM

Dear Amy, we need to take this to a project page rather then this space. I believe part of the mixup on the Bryan's is that the Sir Francis Bryan's son Edward Bryan ended up settling in Isle of Wight Virginia and married a Bryant. For some reason those descendant's were named Bryant rather than Bryan (maybe to keep them from being mixed up with Francis Bryan's descendant's. In any event, whoever added the family lines mixed them all up and gave Francis Bryan some of the Bryant names. While both Men have the same Male Ancestor they did have different Wives through the centuries.
The other big mixup is Sarah Brinker could not possibly have had both Bryan's as Husbands. I think it get's sloppy there because when you think about it logically Francis is over in Denmark with Sarah so how could she be in Virginia at roughly the same time having kids with Francis's Brother? People just didn't do that back then. All three of them lived long lives (for their time) and there was no mention of divorce and one of the Brother's did not die to make sense of it. The whole thing is a mess.

3/26/2015 at 8:58 PM

What is the proof of Edward Bryan's parents? It's been a very long time since I looked at any of this family, but last I knew they were unknown.

I thought I might spend a little time on this, so I started by checking the Wikipedia page for Francis Bryan. It says only, "In August 1548, he married Lady Joan Fitzgerald, the widow of James Butler, 9th Earl of Ormond, and the mother of seven sons. Together they had two sons, Sir Francis Bryan and Edward Bryan, and one daughter, Elizabeth. After Bryan's death, Lady Joan married in 1551 her third husband, Gerald FitzGerald, 15th Earl of Desmond, who was many years her junior."

Notice the absence of footnotes.

For biographical details the article cites Alison Weir, Henry VIII. That should be easy enough to find, although it might not say much about Bryan's family.

The Wikipedia article also cites Tudor Place, which it judges to be unreliable. Tudor Place names children (a) Edmund (not Edward) from Francis' 1st marriage to Philippa Spiace, and (b) Francis and (c) Elizabeth from his marriage to Joan FitzGerald. I had hoped this source would follow the descendants of Edmund and the younger Francis, but it doesn't.

The Wikipedia article also cites History of Parliament Online, which is a very high quality source. It mentions only one son, illegitimate, name unknown.

There have been a number of messages over the years about Francis Bryan on SGM. There is quite a bit about the false claim to de Brienne ancestry, and also bits and pieces about the unproven info published as clues to future research in The Spear and the Spindle (T. A. Fuller, comp.)

Just scanning one of those messages for some very quick clues, I see the claim that Francis' son Edmund married Philippa Montgomery. Francis' son Francis married Margaret Courtenay. Both left descendants at Tor Bryan in Devonshire.

However, the same source gives another claim, that the younger Francis lived in county Clare, married Ann Smith, and was deported by Cromwell in 1650. This seems to be the version currently endorsed by Erica Howton, although without the deportation.!searchin/soc.genealogy.medi...

Looks to me like a lot of fakery here.

Private User
3/26/2015 at 9:19 PM

I think some of it is true, some of it is sloppy and some of it is false. Trying to separate it all and make it right is no easy task. Project needed. I have trying to "test" the surnames and did find that the Bryant's associated with Edward seem to be fairly accurate and consistently match up with Isle of Wight. The Boone's married into the Bryan family and they match up in the Rockingham VA area. With so many Bryan/Bryant names I think some people assumed who they belonged to and just lumped them all together. Sarah Brinker is questionable. The only surname match I get for her is Brincker with a c and Brinckerhoff. Brinkley is associated with the Graves family not the German Brincker. Have not a clue about Brunger. Some of this is people trying to make a person "fit" into the tree or guessing them into the tree without doing the research.

3/26/2015 at 9:37 PM

I think what we need to do is cut these kids until someone can come up with real proof.

All I did was check out the references already provided by Amy. The only reliable piece I see is History of Parliament Online, which says he had an unnamed illegitimate son. Anything beyond that seems to be speculative.

3/27/2015 at 7:42 AM

Hi Wanda--
You are preaching to the choir about that "Marquis of Thomond" title. The Marquessate of Thomond was created for Murrough O'Brien in December, 1800. I have brought this up as a discussion topic, but no one responded.

Although I was merged into this line, I am skeptical of most of it--so much here is unproven, unlikely, or even impossible.

Still, many Bryan descendants feel a deep pride in this line, so this may stir up a hornet's nest....

I hope that yDNA studies will shed light on the various Bryan lines. (As with many old colonial surnames, we probably have unrelated lines attached to one another due to circumstantial evidence.) The Bryan DNA Project does not include family tree information from participants, however, so there isn't much to go on there. The O'Brien Project sorts the lines into groups, at least, but still, no family trees.

You and I may well be from different Bryan lines! "Guessed into the tree" as you say.

Both our lines have a proud tradition of being descended from Sir Francis Bryan. I confess myself skeptical of both claims! I have not found any evidence that he had children other than the unnamed courier written about by French diplomat Odet de Selve. (de Selve may have been mistaken about the identity of this young man, going on rumor rather than fact!)

Most of the Bryan line appears to be based on unsourced history books and genealogies, sadly.

Private User
3/27/2015 at 9:31 AM

Hi Amy, I found a source that appears to be reputable and should be studied for verification of facts. It list's names,dates, places and other families besides the Bryan's. No preaching needed, just simple research. I think the line you thought you were related to was not Bryan but O'Brien. I am not sure how you connect to the Marquess O'Brien's through your Ancestor's but that part of your tree is up to you to research.
It is true that Joan Fitzgerald's Mother was Amy O'Brien and that his where it ends in my line I believe. I don''t like to assume that anyone is an Ancestor without researching the information available.
I believe my Bryan ancestor's are valid despite attached fakes here and there for reasons that DNA surname matches match all the people in the tree who were in the right place at the right time to be ancestor's. Sir Francis Bryan could not exist without Cheney Ancestors, he also had to have been a descendant of Joan Fitzgerald or those Fitzgerald dna surname matches would not show up. The ethnicity cross check I did on my line is consistent with a Bryan/Fitzgerald line. I match Cheney's, Fitzgeralds, Bryans, Bryant's, Smith's and even Austin's whom Sir Francis Bryan who was Standard Bearer to William of Orange family line married into. Yes, it is circumstantial and everyone likes to say that it is not relevant but if it were not relevant then FTDNA family finder is not relevant and what is the point of all the cross checking and work?

Some of the things I do to verify a line is to first study the pedigree available. Then I look at the people in the tree and look for verification of their birth's, marriages, where they lived and any documents or verification such as books, deeds, will's etc. Then I look to see if I have DNA matches to the surnames and look those matches up to see if there is a record of them living in the place stated and if they have valid tree's.
Providing there are no non-paternity issues I am usually satisfied that the they are ancestor's or a blood line. If things don't match then they are probably not ancestor's and there is a non paternity issue or misinformation issue.

The Bryan's were not the only families to be forced out of Ireland by Cromwell. There were 54,000 people and 1.5 million died of starvation and plague. Those that tended to immigrate survived. When Cromwell made his Land and Property grab a lot of those titled and established families lost everything and really only had their own oral History to pass down or write down so if you are wondering why you can't find a lot of documentation that is probably why. The other issue of course is that Joan was in love with Gerald Fitzgerald. Her first Husband was poisoned. Her second Husband Sir Francis Bryan was dying while she allegedly went on a hunting trip with Gerald. Sir Francis Bryan's two Children were Teenager's when Joan FiztGerald died and the oldest Butler Child took over. If you are a Teenager and both of your Parent's are dead and your Half Brother has taken over the family Estate and fortune you are now relegated as the lesser heir. The Fitzgerald's and Butler's dominated that area. Why would they care about the Children of Francis Bryan and who took care of them after all three Parent's died?
Here is a source to study;pg=PR9&amp;lpg=P...

3/27/2015 at 9:51 AM

Wanda, that book is on par with a county history. Those things were vanity publications and amateur efforts, compiled from interviews with people who were paying for the publication. Notice in this case that the lead author appears to also have been the the senior partner for the "publisher".

On the scale of evidence, I would think this one is reliable about details of the people then living, but nothing more than family legend further back.

Private User
3/27/2015 at 10:11 AM

Thank you Justin :) The details and facts are the most important.

3/27/2015 at 10:28 AM

I think what we need is to find the earliest source that said Edward Bryan was a son of Francis Bryan, then figure out how reliable it was. We have a clue already, from the statement that Francis Bryan's will has never been found. That leaves open the possibility that the children are correct, but if there is no paper trail then someone must have constructed an argument from circumstantial evidence. That's the piece we want.

3/27/2015 at 1:47 PM

Briefly, with regard to French Norman ancestry and DNA, it’s not possible to prove exact admixture of French, let alone Norman French blood--and never mind Plantagenet--there were foxes in that henhouse, anyway:

Re: my French ancestry, Eurogenes K36 says 4.22% French, which fits my colonial paper trail. But it also says 8.24% Italian and 12.49% Iberian, which doesn’t. These tests can’t tell the difference between recent and deep ancestry, so the proportions cannot be taken too literally.

But it would be impossible to tease out the Norman lines, because I have more recent French ancestry through more recent colonial lines (Brasseur, Richbourg, Chastain, Hardin), and perhaps also my French-speaking Swiss great-grandmother. All of my Norman-English lines would be hard to tease apart from each other, let alone from the more recent French ancestry.

But given that the Normans were, after all, part Norse, how French were they, really?

But back to Sir Francis…see next comment!

3/27/2015 at 1:55 PM

I've read that Joan Fitzgerald's will does not mention a son named Francis, but I have not located a transcription or abstract of her will to back up that assertion. It would help if we could find that will.
There is also the possibility of children by first wife Philippa. Sir Francis was married to Philippa Spice Fortescue no later than 1526 when they were named in a Chancery Court suit, or more likely by 1522, when Sir Francis acquired the wardship of his stepson Henry Fortescue. Two different histories of the Fortescues (alas, unsourced) show her birth year as 1484. If these histories are correct, Philippa had four children with Sir John Fortescue (so she was fertile) and was 38 at the time of marriage (making more children less likely but not impossible). But I've seen no records to prove any Bryan children from her, either. And her will allegedly mentions no children either—again, it would help to see a transcription or abstract of that will.

But I located something else that hints at the possibility of another son.

It was mentioned in a comment here:

This appears to be the letter mentioned. Sadly it’s one of those computer-scanned documents that never seem to come out quite right.

An excerpt—see more at link:

" Sixt.— Ye shall (if it shall be demaunded of
you), declare the maner of the Lorde Justices [Sir
Francis Bryan's] dethe, which I have amply de-
clared unto youe, myself lyeing in his house, and
being then w*. him ; and where it had been re-
ported that he sholde dye of a purgac'on it is
not true; for he wolde by no meanes be p'-
suaded to take any medicine. I was at th'op-
peneng of him, wherupon the physicians, by the
serche of his hart, and other his entrailles, de-
f yned that he died of gref ; but wherof so euer he
died, he dep'ted veray godly. I have the ra-
ther made menc'on of his dethe, because when
he bade me farewell, he desired me to haue him
com' ended to all his f rends in Ingland, and
speciallie, saithe he, to my Lorde Pryvaie Seall
[Lord Cromwell] my Lord of Warwick, and Mr.
Herbert, and pray them to be good to my son
the poore boy ; whiche my chardge I com'it to
youe to doo, if yc can atteyn to their presens,
to declare it.

It’s that last part about “my son the poore boy” that’s compelling. Of course that might refer to a younger child of her first marriage.

Have to say I’m enjoying the image of Lady Joan at the autopsy! And she claims to have been at his deathbed! Nerves of steel.

3/27/2015 at 2:01 PM

One more thing--
"At present, I cannot find my copy of a 500+ page dissertation done in the early 40's on Sir Francis Bryan and available through interlibrary loan from Harvard University Library.I will have to call the reference librarian there, get the exact biographical information and call number, and then order in through UCSD.It clearly documents that SFB's first wife, Philippa de Montgomery, made no provision in her will for any descendants.It also documents that an adult son of SFB came to Ireland to make arrangments for his burial, though no name is recorded.From these two facts we can deduce 1.) that the adult son was not the child referrred to in Lady Joan's letter, i.e. that the ambiguous "my" does indeed refer to her own son; 2.) that the line of English Bryans, the later "Bryans of New Bern, NC," the line of Edward Bryan, was not descended from a legitimate firstborn son."

This dissertation could be quite enlightening.

3/27/2015 at 2:36 PM

See also "The Journal of the Royal Historical and Archaeological Association of Ireland: Volumes 1-2" footnote on page 257, in Google Books, free, but hard to read--the text is quite blurry.

3/28/2015 at 10:16 AM

I just realized, the letter from Lady Joan appears to show her quoting Sir Francis on his deathbed, not referring to her own child:
"...when he [Sir Francis] bade me farewell, he desired me to haue him com' ended to all his f rends in Ingland, and speciallie, saithe he, to my Lorde Pryvaie Seall [Lord Cromwell] my Lord of Warwick, and Mr. Herbert, and pray them to be good to my son the poore boy ; whiche my chardge I com'it to youe to doo, if yc can atteyn to their presens, to declare it."

This seems more likely to refer to the illegitimate son mentioned by Ambassador de Selve than to any child of Lady Joan. Do others read it the same way?

3/28/2015 at 12:16 PM

Yes, that's the way I read it. I thought perhaps the phrase "my son the poore boy" and charging her to take care of him would support the idea that this son was illegitimate, barred from inheriting, and even if an adult by then, needed to have someone else take charge of maintaining him in a gentleman's estate.

3/28/2015 at 2:01 PM

For what it's worth, it's not clear if she actually saw him on his deathbed. As Sir Francis lay dying, Lady Joan was reportedly not at his side, but out riding with her cousin (and next husband) Gerald Fitzgerald. Some have claimed that she poisoned Sir Francis to get him out of the way. Her first husband and several of his household servants were allegedly poisoned as well. There was some suspicion concerning Sir Francis's death, since there was a post-mortem. The curious conclusion was that he died of grief.

"At this juncture Bryan died at Clonmel under circumstances apparently somewhat suspicious, for there was a post-mortem examination. He had refused to take any medicine, and the doctors, who detected no physical unsoundness, prudently declared that he died of grief; we are not told for what. ‘But whereof soever he died,’ says Alen [John Allen, the Irish chancellor], who was present both at the death and the autopsy, ‘he departed very godly.’ "

Private User
3/28/2015 at 4:27 PM

So much subterfuge going on in that time period. perhaps Francis was not the Vicar of Hell they made him out to be but Henry's "Go to Guy" for carrying out his dirty deeds. Francis was not stupid enough to get caught in Henry's web and could well see that outcome. They killed most of his family off and he would have been decapitated along with them had he not played his cards correctly in this deadly game. According to it was Cromwell's greed and the greed he ignited in Henry that led to Anne's downfall. Cromwell was like a "Corporate Raider" in that he wanted to raid all the wealth and lands he could get his hands on by using Henry's fear, lust and greed for a Son and more wealth. Poor Anne was nearer to a Saint in that she did not want the poor to be destitute and lose their only resource for assistance. It cost her her life. Francis's witty comments earned him the "Vicar of Hell" title but it was Cromwell who coined the term and Cromwell's subterfuge that caused others to think badly of Francis for not going to guillotine along with Anne. Cromwell could not "shame him t o his death" nor trick him into complicity. If Francis died from grief, it's easy to see why. He did lose most of his family and it must have been heart breaking to not make the "noble gesture" of coming to their aid but it would not have done any good to do so. Cromwell had doomed them all in his treachery.

While they suspect Joan of the poisoning concerning her first Husband I wonder why they did not consider other possibilities? Subterfuge again. What could Joan possibly gain by poisoning her first Husband? If it was Gerald she wanted then she would have married him instead of Francis if that was her goal, not Marry Francis then poison him then Marry Gerald.

3/28/2015 at 8:06 PM

It is impressive that Sir Francis survived Anne Boleyn's downfall in spite of being a half-first-cousin and one of her former supporters. I'm not sure Anne was all that saintly, however. Not as bad as some would have her, but compare her attitude with that of her rival, Queen Catherine: "When one of her women began to curse Anne Boleyn, [the Queen] bade her hold her peace and 'pray for her,' for the time would come when 'you shall lament and pity her case.' " (quote from Alison Weir's _The Six Wives of Henry VIII_)

Lady Joan is said to have wanted to marry her cousin Gerald before Sir Francis "was induced to prefer a suit to the lady himself" to prevent the two houses of Butler and Fitzgerald from uniting. Sounds like another case where Sir Francis was Henry's "Go-to-Guy." Hard to imagine this lady being seduced by anyone, though. I wonder what sort of pressure was put on her to marry Sir Francis? For my part, I would not be surprised if she were involved in his death.

This lady was so formidable that Queen Elizabeth herself relied on her to help keep the peace in Ireland, and the two women carried on a cordial correspondence for some years before the death of Lady Joan. Alas, her death put an end to the peace she brokered between the two houses.

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