Thursday, November 26, 2009


We have been in Milwaukee for over a week now and returning home. It is a very interesting city and of course our eldest lives here which makes it even more interesting. One of our days we drove to Sheybogan just to get a feel of the surrounding area and it was an interesting drive along Lake Michigan heading north. One time we will try the northern route into Wisconsin coming down through Sault Ste Marie and into Northern Michigan and then cross into Wisconsin and come down to Milwaukee by that route. Probably in the warmer weather we will come that way after the snows of spring are gone.

We drove all the way to Lansing on our first day and that was about an 11 hour drive including breaks for walks and meals. Except that it rained the last two hours it was a very straightforward trip. Crossing at Sarnia/Port Huron was much easier this time than last summer. Our line last summer was about 45 minutes long (we always manage to choose the longest one as some moved quicker!) and this time only about ten minutes.

Our second full day in Milwaukee we went shopping looking for a suit for our daughter to wear at her sister`s wedding and just a nice new good suit. We went to a number of stores but found the Boston Store that we had never shopped at before. They had a good range of suits and we found one that she really liked which was great. That being accomplished we had planned to spend the rest of the time sight seeing. The Museum is quite excellent and we could have spent hours more there. We saw the IMax production of Ice Worlds which was really very good. It is the first time that I have ever seen the projected look of Antarctica without snow that I can recall. It is a very large continent and one wonders if we will see it with permanent inhabitants in our life time. I am less frightened by the Greenhouse effect than «I perhaps should be. I would very much like to see our air cleaned up but a lot of the greenhouse effect is caused by our enormous dependence on cattle - beef, pork, mutton etc. That isn`t likely to change in our lifetimes so the greenhouse effect is likely here to stay and we will simply have to learn to live with it.

As for family research I haven`t touched a thing in over two weeks now. I will not be doing anything likely until after the new year as we just have too much on the go for the moment. I want to now draw up a plan for looking at all of the information that I brought back from Salt Lake City in 2008 so that I have transcribed all of it by the end of the winter that I plan to transcribe. I am probably through 50% of it now and there is one large chunk that will wait a while longer. It is the manor papers for Upper Clatford (about 100 images) that needs to wait for my Latin studies to approach my being able to understand what is written in the papers as they are entirely in Latin. I am not sure if they will actually answer any queries of mine at the moment anyway.

My hypothesis is that the manor holdings of the Blake family at Upper Clatford in the 1500s continued through to the 1800s although considerably reduced. I believe they held land on which the Terrace homes were built (Foundry Road (near Bury Hill)) and where my Grandfather Blake was born (and all of his siblings) between 1872 and 1894). I think it was sold and a cottage (Yew Cottage) at Goodworth Clatford then purchased where Edward Blake died and his widow and a widowed daughter with her son lived into the 1900s until Annie married once again and moved back to Upper Clatford. Likely the Cottage was sold as I do not appear to have any relatives living there in Goodworth Clatford.

There was an absence of years when Blake members did not live at Upper Clatford (late 1600s to mid 1700s. The Manor Papers may assist me in this time period to understand what happened to their freehold from the late 1600s to the mid 1700s when again I think that Joseph Blake was living there with Joanna King Blake (daughter of Thomas King who was a freehold farmer at Upper Clatford I think). Joseph died about four years after Thomas and his widow remarried 14 years later to Thomas Collins (a freehold farmer at Upper Clatford).

My reason for such an hypothesis is my father saying that his Grandparents lived in a house that had been in the family for 300 years. This would fit in with the above details. Looking at the house I am not sure it would be now 400 years old though but perhaps there was a smaller house there and it formed the base for the terrace homes now located there. Certainly the house that they lived in at the end of the 1800s was a terrace home (I have a picture of them beside the house in 1898). I have a letter that established this same house was there in 1939 with a front porch added to it. It would be interesting to learn more about this house and I may investigate having a house history once I ascertain that the one I have a picture of is the house that they lived in.

A few queries on Bishops Nympton I have answered in the past couple of weeks and a few contacts on Genes Reunited which have been about other families to which I have replied.

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