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William David Lynn (bef. 1650 - abt. 1727)

William David [uncertain] Lynn
Born before in County Donegal, Ulster Province, Irelandmap [uncertain]
Son of [father unknown] and [mother unknown]
[sibling(s) unknown]
Husband of — married [date unknown] [location unknown]
Descendants descendants
Died about after about age 77 in Fredericksburg, Spotsylvania, Colony of Virginiamap
Problems/Questions Profile managers: Jack Wise private message [send private message] and Loretta Layman private message [send private message]
Profile last modified | Created 5 May 2011
This page has been accessed 3,054 times.



It is unlikely that this William Lynn had the middle name David, or any middle name, since the use of middle names was uncommon in his day. In a collection of over 1,800 parish records of Lynn births and baptisms, only one child born prior to 1700 had a middle name recorded. Also, two separate individuals, one named William Lyne and the other David Lyne, are listed in the 1654 Civil Survey of Ireland as living in County Donegal. It is likely that the two men were, at some point, mistakenly thought to be one and the same. Following is the historical background of Lynns in County Donegal ...

An earlier William Lynne was a Scotsman who held land in Counties Donegal, Londonderry, and Tyrone in Ulster, Ireland from 1604 until his death in about 1625. He was named in a number of sources of the period, and the fact that he left a prerogative will, which indicates ownership of land in more than one county, supports the record in its entirety representing one and the same man.
As evidenced by a deed produced in 1775 to James Hamilton, then Earl of Abercorn, "William Lynne of Londonderry" was conveyed the County Tyrone property of Cloghogle by one of the Earl's predecessors on "27 October in the 38th year of reign by James". This monarch was James VI of Scotland, who reigned Scotland from 1567 to 1625 and became James I of England in 1603, reigning there also until 1625. This conveyance to William Lynne thus can be dated to 1604.[1]
In 1609, William Lynn appeared on the patent rolls of James I as holding land of Carrigcooley [Carrickcall] in Moville Parish, Donegal with a lease from the bishop of Derry.[2]
In 1610, William Lynne was paid 40 pounds for a "house with a backside and divers tenements" in Londonderry.[3]
In 1616, the following were granted denizenship, which was the equivalent of naturalization: (1) William Lynne of Derry City [i.e., Londonderry], a Scottish settler; (2) John Lynn, a Scottish settler in Dunnalong; and (3) David Lynn, also a Scottish settler in Dunnalong.[4]
Nicholas Pynnar's 1618-1619 survey of the Ulster plantation provides the next record of William holding land in County Donegal : 108 acres called Caroreagh [Carrowreogh] and 240 acres called Laurgaurack [Lurganbrack]. Later research by Rev. Hill, which he used to enlighten the survey in his 1877 volume memorializing the first Ulster plantation, reveals that William's heir was a nephew of the same name.[5] Hill reports that a nephew was served heir in 1635 and therefore must have been born before 1615. The one flaw in the report is that Hill mistakenly estimated the year of William's death at 1633. The error presumably was made because Hill assumed the death occurred not long before the 1635 inquisition, but the longer delay was necessitated by the nephew still being a child when William died.
While living, the elder William - William Lynne, gentleman - was agent to the Earl of Abercorn in the manor of Dunnalong in Strabane, County Tyrone, as well as a freeholder with a stone house therein. As agent, he conducted a survey in 1622 and presented a certificate of the state of settlement in Dunnalong. Also a freeholder in Dunnalong that year was John Lynne; the David Lynn who lived there in 1616 apparently had since died or moved elsewhere, although Pynnar's survey specifically named only those men who actually owned property or held leases.[6]
William Lynne died between 1622 and 1625, and his prerogative will - one in which the testator owned property in more than one county - was recorded in the latter year.[7] Unfortunately, all early Irish wills were lost in a 1922 fire, and only the indexes remain.
The nephew in the 1635 inquisition, who also was named William, inherited William Lynne's properties. Not being served as heir until 1633, he presumably was then just 21 and therefore born in or about 1612. He shared at least three properties with one David Lynn. In Ireland's 1654 Civil Survey for County Donegal, David Lyne and William Lyne each are listed as Scots Protestant proprietors of Bunintyne [Bunnaton], Largebreake [Lurganbrack], and Carrowreagh in the barony of Kilmacrenan.[8]

Thus, there were two men - an uncle and nephew - who were named William, were Ulster Scots born decades before this William, and lived in County Donegal. Their relationships to this William, if any, are unknown.

Clearly contradicted by historical documents are a number of widely disseminated, erroneous reports concerning this family. Here are two such ...

(1) Andrew Lynn and Ann Blair of Ayrshire, Scotland, contrary to some published family trees, were not the parents of this William Lynn or any other Lynn who was born in Ireland. Andrew and Ann remained in Ayrshire all their days and appear to have had no children at all, much less a child born in Ireland. Ann died between 1657 and 1659, Andrew in 1670, and the heir to Andrew’s Ayrshire property was a Blair. Also, Andrew was but a child – if even born – when Scottish Lynns went to the northwest Ulster counties of Donegal, Londonderry, and Tyrone (discussed above).
(2) The supposed title "Laird of Loch Lynn" and claims of birth "in Loch Lynn", are misconceptions initially prompted by the publication of a manuscript passed off in 1869 as the diary of Margaret (Lynn) Lewis, reportedly the daughter of this William Lynn, and furthered by an embellished 1892 reprint in a West Virginia historical society magazine. Need one ask why the "contributor" of the manuscript submitted it to a North Carolina historical society. The manuscript in fact was subsequently exposed as a work of fiction in a 1948 news article in "The Richmond Times-Dispatch".[9] The true author of that manuscript was Mary Jane Stith Upshur, a known 19th-century author of fiction and poetry, writing as Fanny Fielding.[10] For a copy of the "Times-Dispatch" article and additional details, see : (1) the biography for Margaret (Lynn) Lewis and (2) the lengthy discussion and documentation at the Lynn genealogy website [1] Notably, a loch is a body of water; no one was ever titled laird of a body of water but of land; and any claim of being born in Loch Lynn defies logic.

Some family trees assert that David a/k/a William a/k/a William David Lynn a/k/a William David Cameron Lynn was the father of Sarah Cameron (Lynn) Patton and additional children. For a discussion on this subject, see Dr. William Lynn, one of the purported sons.

Research Notes

(1) A family tree at ( erroneously describes William as the 7th Laird and claims as his birth place Lochaline, Argyll, Scotland. Historical records from Scotland's National Archives and nearly 100 other accounts published by Scottish historians reveal only three families of Lynns who were lairds or lords in Scotland ...

1. The lords of Lyne and Scroggs in Peeblesshire and of Loquhariot in Midlothian, all from the late 12th century to the mid 13th century. The properties all went to the de Hay family with the marriage of a daughter of the last lord of Lyne, Scroggs, and Loquhariot.
2. The lords of Lynn, Highlees, and Bourtreehill, all in Ayrshire, from the mid 13th century until 1532. This is the family most often associated with the Lynns of Counties Donegal, Londonderry, and Tyrone in Ulster, Ireland. While there is good reason for the association, John Linn or Lynn, chief of the family in 1532, sold the greater part of the barony of Lynn that year to Thomas Boyd, brother of Robert Boyd of Kilmarnock; and the title "Lord of Lynn" afterward belonged to Thomas Boyd and his heirs.
3. The lairds of Larg in Wigtownshire from about 1628 to the early 18th century. This family's property was situate in Wigtownshire and did not even bear the family name. The property was forfeited in about 1767.

(2) The following, taken from "The Tinkling Spring: Headwater of Freedom" by Howard Wilson at p. 9 and contributed by profile manager Ted Williams, relates not to the subject of this profile but to individuals who are believed to be his daughter and son-in-law, Margaret and John Lewis, and to Margaret's brother, Dr. William Lynn of Fredericksburg ...

"There is very little documented fact available to day in Virginia about the early life of the Lewis family in Europe. However, the earliest source found -- George Rockingham Gilmer, Governor of Georgia, who wrote with his mother (granddaughter of John Lewis and daughter of Thomas Lewis) at his side -- said that John Lewis was a native of county Dublin, Ireland; that John Lewis' grandfather, or other more remote ancestor, emigrated from Wales to Ireland1/ in the time of Charles I, King of Great Britain and Ireland; that circumstances induced him to the opinion that the Lynns emigrated with the Lewises; that 'the red hair and irascible temper which still continues to distinguish the family' indicates Welsh rather than French, Scotch, or English origin; and finally that the John Lewis family -- three sons and two daughters -- came to the South Fork of the Shenandoah River in 1731. Mr. Virgil A. Lewis, who repeats these early writings about his family, traces the source, and brands as imaginary the traditional history about his emigrant ancestor, so often repeated in Virginia history."

1/ Welsh Ancestry - There is no historical or scientific evidence for the idea that red hair is a particularly Welsh characteristic. To the contrary, red hair is common in the northern and western fringes of Europe, is seen also along the Mediterranean, and was even mentioned by a number of ancient Greek writers. The Lewises may or may not have come from Wales. Notably, the Lewis surname appears 61 times before 1600 in documents extracted at the National Records of Scotland website, and the first Lynns in County Donegal are noted in the historical record as being Scots.

"Margaret Lynn, wife of John Lewis, was almost certainly of the Lynn family of Donegal2/ and Londonderry counties, Province of Ulster, Ireland. She was the daughter of William Lynn, and his wife, Margaret Patton, who brought him to the estate, "Ruskie," Parish of Drumachose, county Derry, inherited from her father, John Patton. Another child of William and Margaret Patton Lynn was a physician, Dr. William Lynn, who immigrated to the Virginia Colony and settled in Fredericksburg. He was a member of the earliest land company that made discoveries and petitioned, in 1727, the Council of Virginia for a land grant west of the Blue Ridge."

2/ Donegal - This Ulster county is largely bog and mountain land and contains the towns of Letterkenny, Donegal, Ballyshannon, Lifford, Stranorlar, Killybegs, and Bundoran. County Donegal was known as the Kingdom of Tirconnel in the old Irish administrative system. It was the territory of the powerful O'Donnell family. The other major family names were O'Boyle, O'Doherty, O'Friel, O'Sheil, MacWard, McLoughlin, McDunlevy, McGillespie, MacRearty, McGrath, McGonagle, O'Mulholland, O'Harkin, O'Derry, and O'Strahan. The McSweeneys, also a relatively common name in the county, were a gallowglass, or mercenary, family who arrived in the county in the thirteenth century. The county wasn't affected much by the Norman invasion of the twelfth century and it wasn't until the later 16th century that England gained a foothold in the county. In 1592 they lost that when the O'Donnells, under their chief Red Hugh O'Donnell, joined with the O'Neills in a rebellion against the English. It ended in the defeat of the Ulster Chieftains in 1602 and the county was then included in the plantation of Ulster. Lands were confiscated, the native Irish owners were disinherited, and much of their property was given to Scottish and English undertakers. Surnames that became common in County Donegal were: Elliott, Campbell, Anderson, Baird, Thompson, McClintock, Hamilton, Browne, Barr, Stewart, Smith, Johnston, Irwin, Morrison, Young, and White.


  1. : Public Records Office Northern Ireland : Select eCatalogue and enter Ref. #T2541/IA/2/1/47
  2. : Patent Rolls of James I: Inquisition at Lifford (1609)
  3. Roulston, William J., Ph.D. : "The Parishes of Leckpatrick and Dunnalong - Their Place in History" (2000), ch. 3
  4. Stewart, Rev. David, D.D. : The Scots in Ulster, Their Denization and Naturalisation, Edinburgh (1955)
  5. : Hill, George, Rev. : An Historical Account of the Plantation in Ulster, Belfast (1877), CXVI and fn. 215 on pp. 525-6
  6. Bready and District Ulster-Scots Development Association : The Plantation - The Manor of Dunnalong
  7. Vicars, Sir Arthur, F.S.A., Ulster King of Arms : Index to the Prerogative Wills of Ireland, 1536-1810, Dublin (1897)
  8. : Ulster Ancestry : The Civil Survey of 1654
  9. “Richmond Times-Dispatch”, Richmond, VA, 15 Feb 1948 : Bogus Portrait Supplements Old 'Valley Manuscript' Hoax
  10. : Raymond, Ida, Edit. : "Living Female Writers of the South", Philadelphia, PA (1872), pp. 416-19

See Also


  • The "Tinkling Spring" Notes were contributed by profile manager Ted Williams on 22 Apr 2015.
  • The biography was written and sourced, and the notes moved to a new Notes section (with a new introductory paragraph), by Loretta (Lynn) Layman

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DNA Connections
It may be possible to confirm family relationships with William by comparing test results with other carriers of his Y-chromosome or his mother's mitochondrial DNA. Y-chromosome DNA test-takers in his direct paternal line on WikiTree:
  • Michael Lynn Find Relationship : AncestryDNA Paternal Lineage (discontinued) 46 markers, haplogroup R1b, Ancestry member mclynn28 + Family Tree DNA Y-DNA Test 111 markers, haplogroup R-U198, FTDNA kit #B1172
It is likely that these autosomal DNA test-takers will share some percentage of DNA with William:

Have you taken a DNA test? If so, login to add it. If not, see our friends at Ancestry DNA.

Comments: 3

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Lynn-3362 and Lynn-83 appear to represent the same person because: While their dates and places of birth are very different, both are married to Patton-290, and 4 of the 6 children listed in the biography for Lynn-3362 already have profiles linked as children of Lynn-83. It should be noted also that the only source listed for Lynn-3362 is a FamilySearch family tree.
posted by Loretta (Lynn) Layman
Lynn-158 and Lynn-83 appear to represent the same person because: Lynn-83 (David Lynn) is the father of Lynn-84. The mother of Lynn-84 is Patton-290, and Patton-290 is the wife of Lynn-158 (William David Lynn). Lynn-83 has no data except his name and his daughter. While his profile is the lower number, the data and biography for Lynn-290 should be retained in a merge.

FYI, I adopted the Lynn-83 profile three years ago and am sorry for not picking up on the connection sooner.

posted by Loretta (Lynn) Layman
What evidence is there for William having died in 1727 or, for that matter, having come to America at all?
posted by Loretta (Lynn) Layman

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