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An Index to Thomas Cathcart Breakey’s Memoirs: Books I & II.
prepared by Sharon Oddie Brown - errors and all!

NOTES: I suggest that the introduction posted beneath this box be read first - before diving into the actual index itself. Please see the bottom of the page for the appropriate links to the sections of the index. I have broken these sections into a dozen smaller bits for faster downloading. I have also added a second index listing the various place names referenced in the Memoirs. Finally, the texts that the indices are based on are also reachable through hyperlinks.

Regrettably, I am not a BREAKEY family expert, but there are others whose work and generosity has given us much. I would particularly draw your attention to the painstaking and interesting work done by the contributors to The Breakey Collection. This site is hosted by Marilyn J. Breakey . I recommend a thorough study of all the materials on that site. The more time I spend with them, the more I learn.

Sharon Oddie Brown, December 6, 2005


Since my index to these two books of Memoirs is alphabetical, this means that it starts with the Old Testament person called Adam and ends with the ancient Greek, Zenophen. Between these two ancient names, there are approximately 500 individuals - most of whom lived in the 1700-1800s and within a day’s horse-ride from Ballybay. Thomas Cathcart BREAKEY's Memoirs are also chock full of folk sayings, family stories, histories of the region and insights into the life and character of Thomas Cathcart Breakey. Taken together, these two “books” are quite possibly as idiosyncratic as my attempts at an index. Be forewarned – this not an academic approach – but it does work for me and I will explain.

I began indexing the two Memoirs out of sheer desperation. There is one BREAKEY ancestor in my family tree that I simply could not place. Her name was Elizabeth BREAKEY (1758-1844) and she married Thomas BRADFORD in 1781. Her father was a William BREAKEY (who died before 1760) and her mother was Elizabeth BIRCH (1733-1812)., likely of Tullylish, Co. Down There is a map at Gilford Castle, Co. Down with her name on it showing lands in Cordevlish, Parish of Aughnamullin, Co Monaghan. This map likely relates to her dowry, given its date which is just before her 1781 marriage. This map also mentions other names which were mentioned in Thomas Cathcart BREAKEY’s Memoir, notably John BREAKEY and George & John KERR (who may be the original John KERR who is said to have emigrated from Scotland).

In preparing the index , I didn’t get any further in finding the ancestors of my Elizabeth BREAKEY, but it did lead me to try and construct a BREAKEY family tree, a tree which particularly with respect to the entries of the early 1600s & 1700s will be guaranteed to contain inaccuracies. I live in hope that there are people connected with the Breakey Collection who can set me to rights. The research for this tree leans heavily (and therefore treacherously) on the Memoirs of Thomas Cathcart BREAKEY, therefore reader beware.

My best guess* at this time is that "my" William BREAKEY (born unknown - died before 1760) who is the father of my aforementioned Elizabeth BREAKEY, may also be the same William BREAKEY (1712 - ) in the BREAKEY family tree whose first wife was Martha MITCHELL. If this is true, then Elizabeth BIRCH would have been a second wife whom he married after the death of his first. The birth dates of Martha MITCHELL & William BREAKEY’s children would make this a distinct possibility as the last one was born in the early 1740s while Elizabeth was born 1758. If all this is true, then there is a strong probability that the John BREAKEY on the map is her half brother. * NOTE: I have learned something new today that throws this theory into a cocked hat. The Corduffles BREAKEY family is the next "warm" spot to look. Dec. 7, 2005

SEE the map at: http://www.user.dccnet.com/s.brown/maps/Cordevlish.htm

The deeper I got into trying to unearth the truth about my Elizabeth BREAKEY, the deeper I found myself snared in all the tangles, both factual and semantic, of the Memoirs of Thomas Cathcart Breakey. In the spirit of honouring his first intention, that these be shared as widely as possible, I have spent an indecent amount of time turning both books into digital text and then compiling the index. It isn’t perfect. There will be quite possibly as many errors in my contribution as there are in Thomas Cathcart BREAKEY’s. The transcriptions of Jeannie Stewart done during WWII add another layer of potential inaccuracy as does the automatic instinct of my computer to instantly leap to spelling corrections from time to time (even when I tell it not to!). These historic layers of error should be caution enough when imagining how much my layer of errors might add to the confusion. On the other hand, I am still alive and welcome correction.

Once the rough draft has been out there long enough to allow for such corrections to be received and entered, it would be great to compile a properly footnoted version of both books of the Memoirs. I could have taken that approach myself, but decided that most people interested in genealogy start with the question, “where are my ancestors?”. An annotated table is the fastest way to meet that need. Maybe someone else will volunteer to do a more scholarly annotation of the Memoirs in the fullness of time. Regardless of how it happens, I suspect that Thomas Cathcart Breakey would be grateful, as long as the work that he did is shared. As it is already, my contribution would not have been possible without the considerable work and generous contributions of Marilyn J. Breakey (who hosts and edits The Breakey Collection and collated the texts in 1980) and Edward P. Breakey who both rescued them from obscurity and then shared them as widely as he could in 1962.

Sharon Oddie Brown
December 6, 2005


Since I am at present unsure whether the index and Memoirs are best posted here, on The Breakey Collection or elsewhere, I have removed them from this site until I have more clarity about any copyright issues.


As I mentioned above, much of what these family trees are based on is likely to be suspect and inaccurate information. I have indicated sources where I have them so the reader can judge for themselves. In time, accuracy will prevail, but in the meantime I am choosing to make do with what is available to me - for better or worse.
FAMILY TREE - Descendants of Second Unnamed de Brequet


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