Thursday, March 3, 2011

Blake family of Northumberland

I am slowly downloading all the Blake marriages in England between 1837 and 1951 and today I downloaded Northumberland marriages and there were 369. In total there are nearly 30,000 marriages for Blake between 1837 and 1951 on Free BMD. I have extracted about 2/3rds of them now but not all are arranged in a useable fashion yet. As marriage challenges occur at the Guild of One Name Studies I am going in and preparing the entire county so that I can extract the Registration District readily. I can then check the census to see if I am able to match the couple but I am not always able to do so. This is an enormous project and I shall spend part of next winter collecting Blake entries at Library and Archives Canada here in Ottawa. I want to reconstruct the Blake family tree for Sir Edward Blake as a lot of Blake families are descendant of his family line from Galway Ireland.

My own Blake line from Upper Clatford/Andover Hampshire does not have many descendants in Canada of whom I am aware. There is still that family lore from my father that one of his "Uncle Robert's" came to Canada in the early 1800s. Vaguely I think he said Robert Blake but to date I do not have an Uncle Robert Blake for him but a cousin to my great grandfather Edward Blake is a possibility. My grandfather could have referred to him as Uncle Robert as that seemed to be common in his family to refer to elder cousins as Uncle or Aunt.

Looking at Canada 411 there are only 3382 phones listed for Blake across Canada. The 1911 Canadian census lists 1528 Blake entries (Alberta 118, British Columbia 108, Manitoba 77, New Brunswick 69, Northwest Territories 47, Nova Scotia 34, Ontario 786, Prince Edward Island 11, Quebec 209, Saskatchewan 68, Yukon Territory 1. My own direct line is not yet here in Canada (they arrived in 1913). I will be extracting all of these Blake families into a database and see if I can come up with any family groupings looking backwards through the census. Canada's population in 1911 (Newfoundland was not yet part of the Dominion of Canada (not until 1949)) was 7,206,643. Blake thus represented 0.02% of the population of Canada. Although one might think Quebec being principally French might have an impact there were indeed 209 Blakes in Quebec although three times plus more in Ontario the impact was not as large as might be anticipated. The frequency of Blake in Great Britain in 1911 was 19,227 with a total population of 45,370,530. Blake thus represented 0.04% of the population. I think it would be interesting to look at a set of surnames and location in Great Britain and note the proportion now in other parts of the British Commonwealth to determine frequency of emigration of particular surnames and particular places.

I am finding the Blake one name study to be a fascinating one. There is just so much material to work with on the Blake family. Initially when I took on one name studies I concentrated on families about whom I had surface knowledge and I knew that these families were very localized and small through the years. I must admit I was always somewhat daunted to even consider doing Blake. But then listening to some of the people who conduct very large studies I began to realize that my job could simply be amassing data that would then be there for the next person or group who wanted to carry on. Blake has already been heavily researched in particular by Barrie Blake who is one of my associates with the one name Blake study along with Bill Bleak. His webpages make fascinating reading.

Having now extracted all the Blake 1911 census entries I want to now pull out the Blake family of London and Toronto who were the ancestors of Sir Edward Blake, noted Ontario and Canadian politician. I shall work this family back through the census and then pull the early history on this family when we next visit the Archives of Ontario. Then I can send the information to Barrie Blake to add to his webpages.

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