Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Andover Parish Registers - 1

I have been so caught up in new information (new to me) on the Blake family that I have failed to post to my blog for several days. I have begun extracting the data from the Parish Registers for Andover and the first ten pages have been slow going. The damage to these first few pages is quite extensive but I have beavered away at extracting as much as I can. I want to get familiar with the family names that were present in the late 1500s when the registers begin (1588 are the first entries for baptism). I expect to find quite a few Blake baptisms in these early years and I hope to be able to separate them into the known Blake lines but there may be surprises. My likely ancestor Richard was born/baptized at Eastontown with his siblings I should rather think but this would have been about 1557 so preceded the registers. He did not inherit any land like his elder siblings but did receive 50 pounds currant English money and it would appear that he set himself up as a Draper at Andover. Possibly he was already a Draper and the money simply enhanced his holdings - hard to tell at this point in time. What is known is that he was at Andover, he was a Draper and he married Joan Blake daughter of Robert Blake. This was new information (to me) gleaned from the will of his widow. I have a puzzle with this family as my 3x great grandfather Thomas Blake is mentioned in the will of John Blake maltster at Abbotts Ann (probated 1797). As I have worked the John Blake family back he appears to be descended from the "Robert Blake" line at Andover (line designation my term). I found that to be quite interesting as there doesn't appear to be a relationship between the two families other than the maternal grandfather of Thomas remembers the daughter of John Blake (Abbotts Ann) in his will which had been probated in 1762. Truly amazing sometimes how looking at the entire family leads to linkages that can not be found in a straight line back approach.

I have now transcribed over 360 baptisms in the Andover register (about to begin 1595). This will be a slow process at the beginning but I know that as I get into this register I will reach pages that are utterly beautiful to read and only about 10 pages distant from where I am now. They will still be in early handwriting but the pages have not been eaten away obliterating forever names and dates. The early register pages are well aligned although sometimes the writing is a little hard to decipher but by the middle of this first fiche I will be looking at improved writing and considerably less damage to the pages. I am finding a number of my families both direct and related by marriage - Blake, Spring, Carter, and Helyer are all direct and others by marriage.

I joined the APG list a week or so ago and yesterday they started to discuss academia with respect to genealogy. I jumped in with an introduction and have probably put my head in a noose. However, it is a topic that is dear to my heart. Likely I will continue listening for a while at the responses now that I have replied twice.

This is one of my replies:

Since I stuck my head in the noose with the notion of "Population Studies" I might as well continue to do so. Ultimately all disciplines have started out the same way with people who practice as their life's work certain elements that encompass a particular subject. Gradually these elements lead one to a theory on how to practice them and a craft/trade/profession is born. At least that is how I see knowledge growing.

All those who have spent their lifetime honing skills in genealogy may well have the experience of seeing those skills given the best commendation that any lifework can ever receive - the idea that such skills are so valuable that they can be used as a basis for developing theories that ultimately lead to the acceptance of a field as an academic entity that can stand on its own and not just be put under a label of "history." Genealogy is more than just history or geography or archaeology or anthropology or life science - elements of each are included in genealogy. The most important part of genealogy is the collection of families that link together and have produced the populations that currently inhabit our earth. Being able to examine the extant records and actually sort out your lines in this intricate maze is truly amazing but it can only be done by following the theoretical guidelines that have been produced by active clinicians in the field. When
you stray from those guidelines you risk not finding the line that emerges as evidence based (one just has to look at some of the genealogies that were produced in the 1800s and early 1900s). The exciting answer is to develop an academic program that can provide the tools to best search the extant records and draw out the evidence. Although a graduate in science, I took a number of history courses at the university level to enrich my knowledge (after graduation). I think every field has its theorists and its clinicians and its hobbyists.

My interests in Genealogy are working on my Genuki webpages for Hampshire, various DNA projects (one a research based project), transcription projects (FreeBMD, Parish Registers, Census, etc) and my family history. I do not have any interest in client work although I have done a number of projects for individuals. I have a much stronger interest in helping to develop DNA research and Palaeography as tools for research.

Today I shall continue to transcribe the Parish Registers of Andover. I want to work my way through to 1730 when my ancestor Joseph Blake was baptized. He was the son of Thomas Blake and Ann . Having all the baptisms for the Blake family at Andover I can then start to build my table. I have the parish registers for a number of the villages around Andover where the Blake family lived in this time period so I will then move on to these villages to extract the BMDs from them as well so that I can then build a table of all Blake baptisms, marriages and burials from the inception of registers to 1730.

No comments: