The Breakey Family

The Breakey Family


Lismagonway Townland, County Monaghan, Ireland


Marilyn J. Breakey

© 2007





To the memory of my father,

Francis Earl Breakey,

A descendant of the ‘Breakey family of Lismagonway’






To Gene Pearson of England, a descendant of the Breakey family of Lismagonway, and a ‘relative’ that I met purely by chance during my early research, my deepest gratitude for her willingness to share family tradition and individual research.  Her findings do much to personalize and enhance the early accounts of the Breakey family of Lismagonway, but most especially that of her great, great grandfather Rev. Andrew Breakey of Killyleagh, County Down.


To Rosalind Davies of Australia, in my mind a researcher ‘extraordinaire,’ my appreciation beyond words.  I am indebted to Ms. Davies for her willingness to share research and guide me through the availability of newspaper records pertinent to Rev. Andrew Breakey of Killyleagh.


My gratitude to the Irish & Local Studies Department of the Ballynahinch Library in Ballynahinch, County Down for supplying me with old newspaper clippings referencing Rev. Andrew Breakey of Killyleagh.


A special thank you to Laurie Thompson of Australia for providing the personal correspondence of Ann Jane Wilson Breakey Simpson to her sister.  Ann was the second wife of my great, great grandfather Isaiah Breakey.


It is with fond memories and heartfelt gratitude that I remember my father’s cousin, John V. Breakey (1910-1984) of Corinth, New York.  In our very early years of research together he did so much to ‘flesh out’ the bare bones of our family history.


And, once again, I am indebted to Kenneth C. Breakey of Portadown, Northern Ireland for his diligent search of public records that brought to light many new members of this family.






References to the Breakey family of Lismagonway can be found in various public and family records, but a history of this family apparently does not exist. 


This report will be an attempt to present chronological and genealogical data pertinent to the family.  It will not include a lineage line from the earliest Lismagonway ancestor, yet related lineage lines will be presented when supported by data.  As we know from extensive early   Breakey research, many Breakey families have long been associated with a particular townland, and as such this will be the basis for this report.    Whenever Breakey data exists   that is associated with the townland of Lismagonway, the data will be included.  



Because this report of the Breakey family of Lismagonway does not represent a continuous lineage line from the earliest known ancestor of that townland, the following account   will be divided into chapters, each representing an individual, or family, associated with the townland.  Further research possibilities will be raised in reference to missing generations and will be duly noted as such.






An Internet search for the townland of Lismagonway in County Monaghan, Ireland, provides little information: two links refer to previous data presented by this author in ‘The Breakey Collection’  []; the final link refers the reader to the Minutes of Meeting of Monaghan County Council held on Tuesday, 8 June 2004 (5 March2005).  Although few references to Lismagonway are apparent, the townland does exist!


The townland of Lismagonway consists of one hundred thirty six acres, two roods and three perches (Donnelly, 657). It is in the civil parish of Aghabog,[1] the barony of Dartree (Dartry), and the Diocese of Clogher.[2] Approximately three miles north of Rockcorry and four miles to the northwest of Ballybay, the townland lies just north of the main road from Ballybay to Newbliss.  The townland encompasses a lake (Lismagonway Lough) of an undetermined area, and the surrounding elevation is noted as approximately between four hundred and four hundred and sixty feet.[3]



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In speaking of his brother’s funeral, Thomas C. Breakey writes in his memoirs: “His remains were brought to Aghnamullen and one of the chief mourners was Rev’d Andrew Breakey, a blood relation.  He was born and reared in Lismagonway in the house now occupied by Mr. Powell beside the Monaghan Road Station” (Breakey, E. 6). 


David McElroy, a genealogist personally engaged early on in my research, writes:  “Townlands were often given as part of a wedding dowry” (McElroy to author, 11 May 1980), and “usually a family did stay in one particular townland, the family gradually [becoming] closely identified with that townland” (McElroy to author, 14 July 1982).


These statements, coupled with a distant childhood memory that my ancestors came from Lismagonway, have provided the impetus for this work.




[1] “From the 17th to mid-19th centuries civil parishes were based on early Christian and medieval monastic and church settlements.  As the population grew, new parishes were created and the parish covered the same area as the established Church of Ireland” (Cummins, 1).  It is reported that each civil parish contained approximately “twenty-five to thirty townlands as well as towns and villages” (Ryan, 1).

[2] Dioceses, established by the Church of Ireland since the 5th century and now disestablished, include twelve   geographic areas in the Republic and Northern Ireland (Anglicans Online).

[3] “Altitudes are given in feet and are referred to Ordnance Survey Datum of 1837 which is a Low Water of Spring Tides observed in Dublin Bay on the 8th April 1837.” (Ordnance Survey Map # 8).