Introduction

Acknowledgements

The following works were consulted while compiling the information for this discussion of the Byres family.
Note that the moderators of Tasmanian Royalty cannot provide you with any of the following material, nor can we provide contact details for other Byres family researchers.

Contributors

The story of the Byres family is not the work of one person, but includes the research of a number of people.
Researchers who have contributed to the information presented here include :

  • Margaret Rackham
  • John Horton
  • Gwenda Oxley (nee Campbell)
  • Margaret (Peggy) Hall (nee Byers)
  • Lisa Housego
  • and many other cousins too numerous to list

Published Sources

A list (incomplete) of Byers / Byres related Australian newspaper articles on the National Library of Australia (NLA) TROVE site - Byres in Australia

Unpublished Sources

Margaret Rackham is probably the pre-eminent Byres and Wilson family researcher, having researched and documented the various branches of the family; which have been rigorously verified by the historical records that have been accessed to date.

Privately Published Sources

Hall, Margaret : Byers Reunion - 29th March 1993 (Pamphlet)
Oxley, Gwenda : William Byers and his Descendants and Peter Campbell and his Descendants

Conventions Used

The surname BYRES for those persons of Scottish birth, and the surname of BYERS for those persons of Tasmanian birth.

Possible Surname Origin

Recorded in a number of spelling forms including Byars, Byers, Byre, Byres, Bier, Biers, and Buyers, this is an English topographical or occupational surname, and possibly of pre 7th century Viking origins. It derives from the word "byre", meaning the cattle barn or dairy, and is one of a group of surnames which originate from working or living on a farm. These include Bull, Heffer, Stott, and Palfrey, all relate to the keeping of livestock, the prime agricultural function of the pre-Norman period before 1066. Perhaps not surprisingly given the importance of the occupation, this is one of the earliest of all recorded hereditary surnames, and it is also perhaps not surprising that it was in the cattle breeding regions of the Fens and the West Country, where originally the surname was most prevalent. There is also a possibility that in some cases the surname may have descended from an Olde English personal name "Bye", of unproven meaning. This is suggested by the recording of Thomas filius Bye of Cambridge, in the Hundred Rolls of the year 1279. Other early examples of the name recording include John Attebey also in the same Hundred Rolls of Cambridge, and William en le By of Somerset in 1327. The famous portrait painter of the 17th century Nicholas Byer, who died in 1681, was actually born in Norway, although possibly of English parents. The first known recording is believed to be that of Hugo de la Bye, a witness at the Assize Courts of Somerset, in the year 1243. This was during the reign of King Henry 111 of England, 1216 - 1272. 1

Further Resources

Byres One-Name Study

Byres Genealogy Project

Byers DNA Project

Byars DNA Project

Byers in Tasmanian newspaper articles