1692: Sarah Breakey of Dunluce, County Antrim, Ireland
Marilyn J. Breakey
To my knowledge the earliest documented reference of any Breakey in Ireland is that of the birth of Sarah Breakey in Dunluce, County Antrim in 1692 [Courtesy of the Church of Latter Day Saints (LDS)]. Recently a LDS search listed as her husband one Joseph Gillespie born circa 1691 in the city of Antrim, County of Antrim. Otherwise little is known of Sarah Breakey.
In July 2004 Kenneth C. Breakey, my co-author for several articles in The Breakey Collection, sent me an extensive packet of genealogical data. [For a description of the actual documents, see the concluding paragraph of my introduction in regard to the use of the notation GD in “Research Entries,” The Breakey Collection.] Seven entries on page one of “Genealogical Data’ were most interesting due to a familiar surname often linked with a Breakey family member, a confusing lapse in dates and an historical Scottish surname.
I will begin by transcribing the document as it appears; the enumeration for each entry is for easy reference for the comments that will follow.
1. (Child not known) child of Joseph Gillespie and Sarah Breakey, born in Dunluce, Antrim in 1692.
2. Sarah Breakey, child of unknown parents, born in Dunluce, Antrim in 1692.
3. Borthick Gillespie (sic), son of Joseph Gillespie and Sarah Breakey, born in Antrim in 1716.
4. David Gillespie, son of Joseph Gillespie and Sarah Breakey, born in Antrim in 1718.
5. William Gillespie, son of Joseph Gillespie and Sarah Breakey, born in Antrim in 1720.
6. Isabella Gillespie, daughter of Joseph Gillespie and Sarah Breakey, born in Dunluce, Antrim in 1722.
7. Sarah Gillespie, daughter of Joseph Gillespie and Sarah Breakey, born in Dunluce, Antrim in 1724.
A. The Gillespie surname has often been linked with a Breakey family member in Ireland, the United States and most recently in Canada [Hall, John W. Breakeys in Early Upper Canada. Victoria, British Columbia, Canada: Self published, 2007].
B. In reference to entries one and two, there appears to be some confusion. Inasmuch as all children of Joseph Gillespie and Sarah Breakey are recorded with the surname Gillespie, who was Sarah Breakey born 1692 to unknown parents?
C. As a genealogist who has long been aware of the importance of birth dates in research, it is interesting to note that there is a lapse of twenty-four years between the 1692 birth date of the child not known to parents Joseph Gillespie & Sarah Breakey and the 1716 birth of Borthick Gillespie to parents Joseph Gillespie & Sarah Breakey. There is also a twenty-four year lapse between the 1692 birth date of Sarah Breakey to unknown parents and the 1716 birth of Borthick Gillespie to parents Joseph Gillespie & Sarah Breakey. There is also a span of thirty-two years between the 1692 births and the last birth date of 1724 for Sarah Gillespie, daughter of Joseph Gillespie & Sarah Breakey. Possibilities to consider for the twenty-four year lapse, as well as account for a thirty-two year span between the first and last recorded births:
· Lack of original records
· Confusion due to similar first names, as well as surnames
· Poor record transcription to Genealogical Data document
· The unknown child born in 1692 to Joseph Gillespie & Sarah Breakey may have been by name – Joseph Gillespie
· Sarah Breakey born in 1692 to unknown parents may have been a child of Breakey parents
· Cousins to some degree, or perhaps known to each other, a Joseph Gillespie and Sarah Breakey began their family in 1716 with the birth of Borthick Gillespie.
D. Currently working on The Breakey Families of Scotland, the similarity of the forename of child Borthick Gillespie, born 1716 in Antrim (entry three), to the Barony of Borthwick in Scotland was of interest to me for The House of Borthwick is one of the most ancient in Scotland, tracing their origins from Hungary> www.electricscotland.com/webclans >. Further, “The Barony of Borthwick first appears in the Scottish Borders in the 12th C [entury] associated with the Borthwick Water. By the early 15th C [entury], the family gained lands in Midlothian, where they built Borthwick Castle” > www.geo.ed.ac.uk/scotgaz/families <.
Further research, courtesy of the Church of Latter Day Saints via > www.familysearch.org < indicates the following:
· Sir John Borthwick born 1600, died 1676 in Ballymena, Antrim Ireland
· In 1640 Sir John Borthwick married Margaret [Borthwick] in Edinburgh, Midlothian, Scotland. She died in 1680.
E. “The 1st Lord Borthwick was created c. 1430 and from this period onwards the Lords Borthwick had immense possessions and great influence in Midlothian. After the 9th Lord, who died without issue in 1672, there was a gap before the title was revived in 1762 by the descendant of an earlier Lord”> www.electric.scotland.com/webclans/atoc/borthwi2.html <. Why was a Gillespie child named Borthick after a noted Scottish family? Had the Gillespie and Breakey families once been tenants on lands held by the Borthwick family in Midlothian Scotland?
F. Dunluce lies on the extreme North Coast of Country Antrim slightly inland from the Giant’s Causeway and a short distance from the town of Bushmills, home of The Old Bushmills Distillery in operation since 1608, and the world’s oldest licensed Whiskey Distillery. Dunluce lies approximately 50 miles north of Ballymena. The city of Antrim lies approximately 12 miles south of Ballymena. Was the Joseph Gillespie born circa 1691 in the city of Antrim the same individual who is recorded as having a family with Sarah Breakey in Dunluce, Antrim?
* * * *
If, indeed, these are the earliest records of any Breakey in Ireland, and, if indeed the above individuals came from Scotland, what prompted their immigration to Ireland? They were not part of the Ulster Plantation for we know that the counties of Down and Antrim were not part of the colonization of Ulster since private plantations had already begun there. Did a famine in the borders region of Scotland in the 1690s cause them to migrate? > www.answers.com/topic/plantation-of-ulster <.Regarding Sarah Breakey of Dunluce, Antrim, many questions remain unanswered.