Doctor James Robert Byrne is a noted archaeologist living and working in the latter half of the 24th century. He is the father of noted Starfleet Captain Benjamin Byrne. He currently works with the Galactic Anthropology Committee, studying the species, locales and histories of the Galactic South.
James was born in Canada, though his family can trace its routes back to two other countries; Ireland, where the name Byrne originates, and Sweden, the country where James' maternal family line originated. James spent most of his years growing up with his mother, as his father - a young Ensign in Starfleet - was assigned to ship-board duties, and the ships of the era didn't regularly permit the families of crewmembers to live aboard with them. Even after the introduction of such classes as the Galaxy-class, Robert Byrne declined to request permission to bring his family onboard with him, and this created a rift between the two males of the family, which coloured James' own decisions when he started a family of his own at 24.
The relationships between James and his children - Benjamin, Thomas, Elizabeth and Natasha - were all very close, and purposely so. James saw first-hand the effects of the distanced life-style of his father, and grew to resent him for the choices he had made and their affects upon his family, and so decided to ensure that whilst they were growing up, he would always be nearby his own children.
James and his wife Annika are both archaeologists, and often travelled around to sites and digs with their children, though they rarely strayed far from Sol. James has published a number of well-known papers upon the level of historical artefacts that are still being and still to be discovered on Earth, and the growing understanding of humanity's cradle.
In 2387, Dr. Byrne was approached by the chairman of the Galactic Anthropology Committee, and offered a senior position within the organisation, studying and chronicling the locales, species and histories of the races in the region to the Galactic 'South' of the Federation, in the region of space patrolled by Starfleet's 11th Fleet.