Theory of Supposition for ‘Circa Dates of Birth’
Not wishing to be indelicate nor wishing to be accused of an oversight, all the while as a professional registered nurse and health educator wishing to enlighten male historians, I would like to present my theory of supposition of ‘circa dates of birth.’
John Breakey of Drumskelt, the youngest of thirteen children, was born in 1780. I presented the supposition that his brother, James Breakey of Cormeen, the eldest of the thirteen children born to William and Mary Scott Breakey had a date of birth circa 1760. In reality, his date of birth may have been as early as 1754. Kindly let me explain.
It was not uncommon for families of yesteryear to have what we would today consider rather large families. A woman’s reproductive life cycle might encompass 20+ years, and hence, 10 –13 children. And, when one does genealogical research, in many cases we may find birth dates of children every 1½ - 2 years. A physiological explanation may account for this.
Following the birth of a child, particularly in this time period we are discussing, a mother often breast fed an infant. In most instances, a woman will not become pregnant while nursing the child. It may be called ‘nature’s contraceptive.’ However, once the infant’s teeth erupt breast feeding usually ceases. Consequently, ‘nature’s contraceptive’ is terminated and the woman can become pregnant again.
If I may pursue this a bit further, let me provide an example: John Breakey himself was the father of thirteen children as is recorded in the Memoirs of Thomas C. Breakey, and which may also be found on the many extant records of the Drumskelt line. The eldest child, Robert, married to Isabella Maris, was born in 1813. The youngest child, Letitia, was born in 1837, twenty six years after the birth of the oldest sibling.
Once again I beg the reader’s indulgence!