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Transcribed by Wendy Jack, footnoted by Sharon Oddie Brown. December 17, 2003

Beechill Park Ave,


Dear Mr Wright [1] ,

            Last summer you kindly allowed me to copy a pedigree of the Birch family. I am still continuing my researches into the family history, and have been lucky enough to acquire a collection of Birch and Gillmer legal documents and the Gillmer family bible.

            The information from a study of these documents sometimes contradicts your pedigree. For example, the "Wright" pedigree states that James Birch Gillmer [2] married a Miss Sibthorpe [3] in 1810 and died 4 July 1863. The Gillmer family bible states –

            James Birch Gillmer died on the China Sea on the 12th of Febr 1804 aged 32 years.

            I remember you told me that you have no interest in pedigrees, and that what you showed me had been compiled by your mother [4] . Do you know where she collected her information? Presumably she drew on family papers or a family bible. If so, do you know where they are now? I would be very grateful if I could see them. Your mother's pedigree is the only reference I have seen to the fact that John Birch [5] was twice married, and that his only child by his first wife, Elizabeth [6] , who later married Alexander Gillmer [7] , was formerly married to William Breakey [8] .

            Incidently, as you are a direct descendant, you may like to add to the typescript pedigree, that the above Elizabeth was born 16th October 1733 and died 28th June 1812.

            Yours sincerely,

            Aiken McClelland [9]

[1] James Francis Wright (1902- 1979
[2] James Birch Gillmer is someone that I can’t yet place. It is tantalizing that a Mary JACKSON in this timeframe married a “J. GILMER”, but this is a long shot.
[3] Sibthorpe – haven’t a clue.
[4] Mary Wright née Menary (1872-1946)
[5] John Birch (1711-1773)
[6] Elizabeth Birch (1733-1812)
[7] Alexander Gillmer (Gilmore/Gilmer – various spellings) (1735-1773)
[8] William Breakey (died before 1760)
[9] Aiken McClelland. The archives at PRONI include the Aiken McClelland papers D/3815, T/1752, T/2362, T/2046, D/2108, T/2917) These papers include: "research undertaken by Aiken McClelland himself, the majority of which was of a genealogical nature. These include approximately 140 notebooks with information relating to William Johnston of Ballykilbeg, Co. Down, the prominent Orangeman and Conservative M.P. for Belfast, 1868-1878, the Rev. David Stewart, and research into the family trees and background of the Birch and Ledlie families. Other (slightly extraneous) items include: 12 title deeds, legal case papers and wills, dating from 1810 to 1925, relating to William Johnston and his property at Ballykilbeg; transcribed minute books of the Dublin Protestant Association, 1861-1864, of the Greyabbey Graveyard Committee, 1872-1893, and of the Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland, 1798; and a bundle of 25 typed essays by the writer, Cathal O'Byrne, 1965-1970."


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