Friday, October 29, 2010

Image Excel File and Editor

I completed my excel file of images for all the wills that I photographed at Kew. This is my lowest year of images since I bought this camera to go to Salt Lake City. I notice the images have vastly improved in that time frame as well. I did a lot of repeats in the early days.

I volunteered to be Guest Editor for the next issue (Spring) of the ACR with the thought in mind that I would, if the process works well, take on Editorship of this journal. It is ideal for me in that my background is totally British Isles (and for the moment all English) and I would find it, now that I have been totally immersed in Genealogy for almost seven years, a good step forward in my education in Genealogy. It would also permit me to put some of my now extensive transcriptions into print here and there where they fit in and I have been in the process of writing articles which I could also insert where there was a need for a publication or the publication suited that particular issue of the journal. Having been a member of this group from its inception I also feel confident that it is a task that I could reasonably take on at this point in my life.

There is to be a party to celebrate the Trip to the Mohawk Valley which we did along with George and Janet Anderson but I shall be celebrating American Thanksgiving with our eldest daughter so will miss that. It was a lot of work and we actually retired from doing them four years ago. However, it was a tribute in memory of Doris Ferguson and that brought us out of retirement and into the process once again. I noticed the four year gap though as I was less quick and handling the money for meals, door entries etc. was more of a hands full enterprise. However, all passed well and I balanced within $10.00 so not too bad! I would have tried to find that but we were off to Europe and there just wasn't time!

Today I think we will continue with the images from Europe and then back to the Maritimes. As well I shall do more work on wills transcription. I read through the Hampshire wills (about half way) and thus far there isn't anything to assist me with my direct line. I have the one will written by John Blake at Abbotts Ann where he mentions my ancestor Thomas Blake at Upper Clatford. Thomas' grandfather Thomas King had mentioned John Blake's daughter in his will so I suspect the connection is through Thomas' mother Joanna King rather than the Blake line. The Charles Blake family is heavily mentioned in the will and they were at Abbotts Ann. Most descendants of the Charles Blake at Abbotts Ann have linked back to Thomas Blake at Andover as the parent. However the only baptism for children of Thomas Blake is the baptism for Thomas Blake father of Joseph Blake who was the father of Thomas Blake at Upper Clatford. I think the will clearly distinguishes these two Blake lines and puts them not on an equal footing with respect to John Blake at Abbotts Ann. This is handy to know. I believe that John is descended from Robert Blake's line at Andover and I need to now build trees for each of these wills. I am doing a cursory run through at this time just to give me an idea of location for the families for whom wills are available.

Clearly establishing that there are two William Blake families at Andover though was one of my goals. This now lets me look at the Wiltshire Blake family wills and see if I can find where the link is between them as the wills relate to the other family as Cousin/Kinsman. Nicholas and his brother Robert are likely still the key linking back through their father (forename unknown) who was married to Jone. Jone left a will in 1527 naming her sons Nicholas and Robert and daughter Elizabeth married to Mylne. This family never appears in any of the Visitations that I have seen and so are likely descended from a younger son of the Blake families in Wiltshire. They do hold a number of properties in Knights Enham by freehold, copyhold and leasehold but are definitely not the much larger landholders that live at Eastontown and this is likely William Blake married to Avice Ripley whereas the other William Blake is married to Elizabeth . A child of each of these families marries John Blake son of William and Elizabeth and Margaret daughter of William and Avice. This is the linkage that results in the term Kinsman between family members at Andover in subsequent wills into the 1600s.

My own line descends from a younger brother of John son of William and Elizabeth (at least this is the apparent line) and although this line does appear to be well to do at the end of the 1500s by the middle of the 1600s the wills demonstrate that they are a family in decline. By the end of the 1600s a cousin of this family has given money to the weakest line Dorothy Smith but does not mention her siblings. I know that William dies at Foxcott where he is probably on his last leasehold since he has sold off all of his holdings to his cousins Nicholas Blake/Joseph Hinxman by this time.

Bad luck appears to follow this line as my ancestor Joseph Blake baptized at Andover moves to Upper Clatford where he marries Joanna King (possibly a cousin/2nd perhaps 3rd). She is the heir of her father and they inherit the farm there (probably a lease). Unfortunately Joseph dies young and Joanna eventually marries Thomas Collins whose farm is right next door and presumably is absorbed into his own. Thomas and William her sons are both mentioned in the will above with one being in Andover and Thomas in Upper Clatford as mentioned. By the 1800s the John son of Thomas' occupation is listed as Agricultural Labourer. My cousin told me that Edward our mutual great grandfather was greatly appreciated by his employer at the farm where he was an agricultural labourer and my grandfather indicated the same. What does this mean? I have no idea but it sounds interesting :) But definitely this line has lost its original land holding status.

So always one new mystery follows another. You open one door and there are three more to look at and decide which to open!

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