Place of migration
Migrated to/Born in USA

My grandfather was born in Strokestown 28 January 1871 to Richard Alexander Lynden, a draper, and Anna Maria Lynden (McManus), eldest daughter of a medical doctor. He was born just three weeks after the death of the Lyndens' first child, a daughter whom they had apparently adored. My theory is that they were so shattered by the death of their little girl that they failed to bond with their newborn son -- but that is guesswork on my part. Whatever the reason, they emigrated to America in 1872,  leaving my grandfather and his infant brother behind. I know little of my grandfather's early life. Apparently he and little brother Jimmie were left with cousins, probably the Holtons (James S. Holton was an apothecary in Strokestown, married to Annie's sister). I don't know where he went to school, but he could recite the poems he learned by heart in that school well into his eighties! While still in his teens, he and Jimmie emigrated to America together and joined their uncles, Henry and John Robert Lynden, who had already been in America for a decade or two and were, by that time (1888), prosperous farmers and ranchers in Lompoc, California. 

John Lynden had a remarkable mind; he was able to add long columns of figures in his head. He attended Heald Business College in California and moved to San Francisco, where he quickly prospered. He went into business with his brother-in-law, Frank Smith, who had married Ellen Lynden in 1895 -- Ellen was born to Annie and Richard in California. (He maintained family ties with Ellen, but we're told he never forgave his parents for leaving him behind in Ireland.) In 1906 they incorporated a business: Smith-Lynden Co., wholesale grocers. The business was located in San Francisco where the Embarcadero Center currently stands.

John married Sarah Mary Steele (1873-1950), a girl from Killycopple in County Down, in San Francisco in 1904. They lived at first in a very nice house on Pine Street, but by 1912 or so had moved to a much larger house in the suburb of Burlingame. John took the train in to San Francisco every morning. He was elected to the City Council/City Trustees of Burlingame in 1916 and was re-elected every year until the family moved to Campbell sometime in the 1920s. Meanwhile, he bought orchards in Morgan Hill and made other investments in commercial real estate (including a post office in Burlingame that still serves as a U.S. post office) and land in both California and Arizona. He also invested successfully in the stock market during the 1920s, saw the crash coming, and liquidated his stock prior to the crash in 1929.

In 1932, John took his wife, all three of his children, and their spouses, on a lengthy tour of Ireland and Europe. Family legend says that he took great pleasure in returning to Ireland in First Class on the same ship in which he left Ireland in Steerage - but my research indicates that the legend is not strictly true; it was a different ship! But it's true that John Ross Lynden came to America in his teens with nothing, and died a wealthy man.

Kindly contributed by Diane Farr.  Read more about the Lynden family at her blog.

Additional Information
Date of Birth 28th Jan 1871 VIEW SOURCE
Date of Death 23rd Dec 1956 VIEW SOURCE
Associated Building (s) St John's Church of Ireland STROKESTOWN  
Spouse (First Name/s and Maiden/Surname) Sarah Mary Steele VIEW SOURCE
Father (First Name/s and Surname) Richard Alexander Lynden
Mother (First Name/s and Maiden) Anna Maria McManus
New Type I have found a note among my mother's "family history" items indicating that when his parents took off for America, John Ross Lynden and his infant brother James Henry Lynden may have been left with Thomas and Mary Jane (Cochran) Hayes of Mohill.
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  • I have additional information I would like to add, but am told when I click "edit" that I do not have permission to edit the bio. This is very frustrating. Several of my ancestor chronicles need to be updated. How do I obtain sufficient credentials to do this? Thank you.


    Tuesday 3rd September 2019 11:34PM
  • Hi Diane,

    I'm sorry to hear of your difficulty in updating your ancestor's profile. As long as you are logged in to the same account you used to create the ancestor profile, you should be able to edit the profile. The edits won't appear however until they've been moderated by the team at IrelandXO, but this usually only takes a couple of days.

    If you continue to have problems with editing please let me know at and we'd be happy to help.

    All the best,

    IrelandXO Team


    Friday 6th September 2019 07:25AM
  • I still cannot edit my grandfather's bio.


    Thursday 28th May 2020 12:25AM

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