It is reputed that the Erskines came over to County Antrim from Scotland in 1602, probably dispossessed by a landlord who was making his farm larger, moving to the townland called Leitrim. The farm was rendered vacant in 1651 after the uprising of the native Irish when a Scottish regiment came through the lowland parts of County Antrim and forced the native Irish to go west.
My family came to Dunaverney to approximately 100 acres. Dunaverney is a town land 5 miles east of Ballymoney along, what is now known as, the Kirk Road. Over the years, the farm became divided up into 3 or 4 farms.
The earliest source should have been the Hearth Poll Tax register of 1660 to 1669. No Erskines appeared which means they either had no Hearth (unlikely), were poll tax evaders, or most likely the soldier doing the register couldn’t be bothered registering the houses in Dunaverney, as was common in up to 30% of the houses in some areas. The first source I found was the presence of an William Askin (as it was commonly spelt) in the 1740 Hearth Poll register for the Ballymoney Area, although another source stated Aron [or Adam] Then in the 1766 Religious Census of the Ballymoney area, three Erskine families were mentioned: two William Erskins and a James Erskine. The first William Erskin was the father of Alexander, who married Elizabeth Blair in 1767, William who married Mary Blair and was living in Ballymoney in 1766,1785 and 1803, Margaret (bapt 1751) and possibly James. In the 1796 Flax Grower’s Register, Elizabeth Erskine (possibly the wife of Alexander) had one wheel of flax.
In the1803 agricultural census, William Erskine was in one house and Widow and Alexander Erskine were in another. I found a burial registered in the Parish Church records of a James Erskine on the 5th June, 1808, aged 81. Presbyterian and Church of Ireland deaths were registered and buried together in the Ballymoney Old Church Graveyard.