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John Stephen Devaney/ Burningham/ Flynn/Delaney

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LeahMarieRoberts Report 29 Jun 2022 12:59


I recently found out my father who we knew as John Stephen Devaney had changed his identity and was actually called John Algernon Burningham.

He told my mother and my two brothers his name was John stephen devaney and he was sent from Ireland as a baby and put in a childrens home in London.

It’s only recent we have found out his real name and that he was infact married before my mother and has several children we didn’t know about. He also has children to other women around the same time in thr 60’s. Apparently he also used to go by the name Devanney, Delaney, flynn and used the first name stephen sometimes. He was born in Bognor Regis in 1935 and stayed around that area until the last 60’s. We also found out he was in and out of prison for petty crimes which is why we are guessing he changed his name - as he didn’t want to be found. He also had connections to devon, birmingham, Somerset and Bradford. I have also been told he spent a lot of time in Ireland. He died in 2006 and my mother died in 2018 so we are trying to find out anything we can or if he has more children.

If anyone has any info please get in touch


nameslessone Report 29 Jun 2022 13:25

Welcome to the boards.

Normally we would advise people to look at search members trees but his death is reasonably recent.

Have a look at to see if you can find an English/ Welsh marriage. If you do you can then look for the children with that mothers maiden name.

Finally see if you can check him out in local papers as his court appearances may have been written up.

Edit: A John A Burningham, mmn Coomber, was registered in Chichester in 1935


ArgyllGran Report 29 Jun 2022 13:42


Births Jun 1935
Burningham John A Coomber Chichester 2b 529

Bognor was in Chichester reg district.


ArgyllGran Report 29 Jun 2022 13:44

John A Burningham
in the 1939 England and Wales Register
Name: John A Burningham
Gender: Male
Marital Status: Single
Birth Date: 14 Mar 1935
Residence Date: 1939
Address: Burcombe
Residence Place: Chichester, Sussex, England
Occupation: Under School Age
Line Number: 40
Schedule Number: 340
Sub Schedule Number: 5
Enumeration District: Eneg
Borough: Chichester
Registration district: 86-3
Inferred Father:
Algernon D Burningham
Inferred Mother:
Florence F Burningham
Household Members Age
Algernon D Burningham 30
Florence F Burningham 27
Gordon Donald Burningham 9
This record is officially closed.
John A Burningham 4

Married as BurMingham (possibly just a spelling mistake on the GRO Index) in Chichester reg district in 1955.
Seven children between 1955 and 1969.


nameslessone Report 29 Jun 2022 13:44

Parents were Algernon & Florence. Algernon is in several trees here.

Edit: John is on several trees on Ancestry with a marriage to JT.


ArgyllGran Report 29 Jun 2022 13:53

Unfortunately Delaney / Devanney /Flynn are common names, and as we don't know what the mother's surname might have been, we can't tell if he had more children in England/Wales under those names or not.

That's assuming their births would be registered under one of his surnames.

But if he had illegitimate children, they would likely be registered under the mother's surname, and therefore impossible to spot.


ErikaH Report 29 Jun 2022 14:37

As you refer to a previous marriage and children, the assumption must be that you have all the details.

Your father is in a GR member's tree under his birth name - try making contact, but be discreet


nameslessone Report 29 Jun 2022 14:43

Looks like Leah is the daughter of the JT I mentioned earlier.

If Leah has all the details why is she saying she wants to find out if her father has more children?

Not much we can do until Leah returns.


LeahMarieRoberts Report 4 Jul 2022 09:11


Sorry I didn’t get a notification of any of these messages.

So myself and two brothers spent our entire lives with our my and dad until he died in 2006. He told us he was sent to England from Ireland as a baby and put in a childrens home in London and didn’t know anyone family. My mum, dad and brothers used visit Ireland before I was born and my mother apparently would put adverts in shop windows and the papers to find his family. Before he died he told my mother his name wasn’t John devaney. My mother only told us this right before she died 3 years ago. Since then we all did dna tests and last year made the discovery through ancestry that he was a Burningham. I googled John algernon burningham and devaney and found a post on here from 2004 from one of his daughters trying to find him. This was the first we knew of him even been married before he met my mother let alone having several children…. We also found articles about him going to prison for stealing cigarettes etc and again this was news to us.

We have been in contact with some of our new siblings. We get the feeling there will be more children out there as he went missing for long periods of time and obviously had a way with the ladies and had several relationships at once. I now know he used to flee to Ireland a lot and we are unsure if he had any children over there, if he even knew this John stephen Devaney who’s name he took. If he just kept his own first name and knew a Stephen devaney, or if he just made the name up and sent off for a birth certificate.

It seems he had this colourful life before he married my mother and we are just trying to find out as much as possible.



nameslessone Report 4 Jul 2022 09:33

Genes doesn't notify you of added posts. But you do get notified if someone sends you a pm.

Thank you for coming back and explaining your story.. How difficult it must have been, firstly for your mother and then yourselves.

It would seem. from his expxlantion that the birth in Chichester is not his, unless he was still telling stories.

Good to know you have found some of the other children but you may never find out if there are others. But just like you found a very old thread, someone may find yours in the years to come.


LeahMarieRoberts Report 4 Jul 2022 10:12


yes he was born in bognor regis i believe on 14.3.1935 and he had two brothers and a sister. his father was called algernon and his mother florence. The whole ireland story was one of his lies...

yes i am hoping that someone is looking for him and comes across this post :D

Shirley~I,m getting the hang of it

Shirley~I,m getting the hang of it Report 4 Jul 2022 10:13

A tree has his born Chichester and married in Chichester in 1955

Details will be on freebmd


nameslessone Report 4 Jul 2022 10:15


The birth mentioned earlier( on 29th) IS the right one as Chichester covers Bognor Regis.

Have you researched Algernon and Florence to see if they have any connection to Ireland?

Shirley~I,m getting the hang of it

Shirley~I,m getting the hang of it Report 4 Jul 2022 10:21


Births Mar 1931
Burningham Gordon D J Coomber Westhampnett 2b 486
Births Mar 1934
Burningham Ann Coomber Westhampnett 2b 516
Births Jun 1935
Burningham John A Coomber Chichester 2b 529
Births Sep 1944
Burningham David R Coomber Chichester 2b

Shirley~I,m getting the hang of it

Shirley~I,m getting the hang of it Report 4 Jul 2022 10:25

Brother has passed

Mr Gordon Donald Burningham
Gender: Male
Age: 87
Birth Date: abt 1931
Last Residence: Haywards Heath, West Sussex, England
Postal Code District: Rh17
Death Date: 27 Feb 2018

Shirley~I,m getting the hang of it

Shirley~I,m getting the hang of it Report 4 Jul 2022 10:26

Did he pick on a name born about the same year?

Name: John S Devaney
Mother's Surname:
Date of Registration: 1935Apr-May-Jun
Registration district: Castlebar
Birth Country: Ireland
Volume: 4
Page: 63
FHL Film Number: 101233

Shirley~I,m getting the hang of it

Shirley~I,m getting the hang of it Report 4 Jul 2022 10:28

His first wife was also born Chichester

Diana E Betsworth
Registration Date: Jan 1939
[Feb 1939]
[Mar 1939]
Registration Quarter: Jan-Feb-Mar
Registration District: Chichester
Inferred County: Sussex
Mother's Maiden Name: Etherington
Volume Number: 2b
Page Number: 550

Seems to be 7 children from the marrrige to 1969

Shirley~I,m getting the hang of it

Shirley~I,m getting the hang of it Report 4 Jul 2022 10:44

A sister Kim is on the electoral rolls with her husband and family


LeahMarieRoberts Report 4 Jul 2022 10:59

Yea there is 5 to his wife and 2 to 2 other women so far.

yes that is the birth certificate we had for him for the john stephen devaney.

i believe my fathers mother family were irish, reillys.

i have imported my tree from ancestry if anyone would like to see it.


nameslessone Report 4 Jul 2022 11:26

Hi Leah

Unlike a public tree on Ancestry you can only view someone’s tree if you have been given permission on an individual basis.

So there is an Irish connection. Your father could have been taken to Ireland as a child to visit his mothers relatives.

It might be worth uploading your dna results to other companies such as My Heritage or Livingdna. It might have a cost - I’ve probably had more Irish matches on those two than on Ancestry. Unfortunately for me my Irishness dates back to early 1800’s and no one seems to have a tree that far back. And then there is the one that just says ‘Ireland’ :-\