Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Reviewing Blake articles published in NEHGS and TAG and other items

Putting together a family tree for the Blake family at Andover means looking again at the various articles written about this family. First publication examined is Paul Reed's article in The American Genealogist (TAG), volume 74, pages 15 - 28 published in 1999. A second publication was reviewed written in 1916 in the New England Historic Genealogical Society by Edward Leodore Smith where he has abstracted several Blake wills in this time period and a copy of notarial records prepared in Massachusetts with reference to Joane Sedgewicke (daughter of William Blake and Dorothy Madgwick). The third item is the Pedigree Chart which was produced in 1690 (with additional material added in the early 1700s) by the College of Arms (UK) showing the descent of the Blake family at Calne Wiltshire and linking the family at Eastontown Andover Hampshire to it. This publication is not tainted by Somersby's work and is the oldest compiled genealogical data for the Blake family that I have found thus far. The fourth item includes the Parish Registers for the Andover Registration District which I am slowly transcribing and will eventually put up a chart on my webpage of all the Blake entries found in this Registration District.The fifth item includes the books written by Francis E Blake in the late 1800s on the Blake family of Boston Massachusetts USA which links the Blake Family of Boston back to the Blake family of Somerset. The sixth item includes a number of books written on the Blake families in the United States which have used the incorrect linkage which Horatio Somerby produced tracing the Somerset Blake family back to the Hampshire Blake family and thence to the Wiltshire Blake family. The seventh item but primarily to refute it, the book edited by William H. Whitmore, A Record of the BLAKEs of Somersetshire, specially in the Line of William BLAKE, of Dorchester, Mass., the Emigrant to New England: with One Branch of His Descendants, from the Notes of the Late Horatio G. SOMERBY (Boston, 1881) (Whitmore stated on p. 4 that "[t]he work of the editor, in the main, has been merely to arrange Mr. SOMERBY's pedigrees in paragraph form" - this quote from Reed's article).

With these items in mind, I need to move forward with this tree. I have hesitated to put up my tree for a number of years as I worked through what I considered to be a weak link between William Blake (baptized 1615) to his son John Blake (baptized 1649) to his son Thomas (baptized 1685) to his son Thomas (baptized 1709) and then to his son Joseph (baptized 1730). Up to William Blake from the earliest records of the Blake family at Andover is proved readily by wills, parish records and from Joseph down to my present family is proved by parish records and census. The Parish Records exist at Andover to link the Blake families from the baptism of William Blake in 1615 to the baptism of Joseph Blake in 1730 but there are no wills or other records that clearly link this family from father to son. William (b 1615) did not leave a will when he was buried in 1696 (85 years of age). The priest does not note in his burial that he had been a Clerk (Priest) so I struggled with that for a bit but it was nearly 62 years since he had been a priest and perhaps no one remembered.

All that is known about this William is that he lived at Foxcott at the time of his burial; in an Indenture of 1649 (between Lord Sandys and Nicholas Blake) the lease of the East Fields and West Fields (as they are known) in Andover were sold to Nicholas Blake (cousin of William) and that William had been either living or occupying these fields (at least since they were feoffed to him in the will of his father William Blake, Lynnen Draper 1641; he married Ann Hellier (daughter of Hugh Helyer) in 1644 at Andover; he was at Cambridge University - Matric. pens from ST CATHARINE'S, Michs. 1633. Of Hampshire. B.A. 1637-8; M.A. 1641. Fellow, 1638. Taxor, 1645. Ord. deacon (Peterb.) June 5, 1642; priest (Lincoln) June 16, 1644. I finally discovered what Taxor refers to and that is literally how it sounds - he collected taxes. Why does he leave the priesthood after being ordained at Lincoln 16 June 1644? He married Ann Hellier 5 Sep 1644 but their first child is not baptized at Penton (Andover Parish Register) until 9 Aug 1647. Does he leave being the priesthood in favour of becoming tax collector? I need to find records to substantiate that. By 1645 the time of Charles I is rapidly coming to a close and the "Roundheads" under Cromwell are about to take over the Kingdom and turn it into a Republic. Perhaps he did not wish to leave his Church of England for this more Puritan Church and simply walked away from all of it never to return. By the time Charles II was restored to the monarchy in 1660 he would have then been 45 and perhaps he did not wish to take up the priesthood once again. He had his leases to live off of and he certainly seemed to be doing that viz a viz the sale of the West and East Fields to his cousin Nicholas Blake in the Indenture of 1649. Eventually he is at Foxcott which belongs, at this time, to his cousin Joseph Hinxman who was Lord of the Manor. I do not find a burial for Ann Blake (his wife) at Andover; no burial for her at Penton Mewsey but she could have died after him elsewhere. There is a burial for a John Blake in 1706 at Penton Mewsey (the last child of John and Elizabeth Blake was baptized in 1705 at Andover. This John Blake does not leave a will either and if he is William's son then he would have been 57 years of age. His eldest son Thomas would have been 21 years of age and indeed he would die in 1714 at 29 years of age.

The abstract of the documents sent by the notary for Major General Sedgewick are revealing about this family. This is retyped from the Aspinwall Notarial Records (Boston Records Volume 32: A Volume relating to the early history of Boston containing the Aspinwall Notarial Records 1644 to 1651. Compiled by John T Hassam. Printed: Boston Municipal Printing Office 1903).

The entries in the printed Aspinwall Notarial Records, already referred to, read as follows:
"23 (8) 1650 I attested a Copie of a Lre attorney from Jane Blake of Andover to Mr. Wm Twisse to recover what is due from major Robt Sedgwick Dat. 27 Mar 1650" (Notarial Records, p. 332.)
"6 (12) 1650 Recd this 18th of Octob. 1850. of Robt Sedgwick in goods, the sume of three hundd & fourteene pounds seventeene shillings & foure pence sterl. As also one hundd & eighty pounds more in money sterl which is by severall legacies left him unto his wife and children by his father Mr William Blake and by his mother Mrs Dorothie Blake both deceased, & by Mrs Martha Blake deceased, both which sums together is 494 li, 17 s, 4d. The which is do acknowledg to received to and for the use of Mrs Jane Blake of Andover by vertue of a lre of Atturney made by her unto me, & doe hereby acknowledge that the above specifyed summes to be red in full satisfaction of all dues and demands whatsoever either due to Mr Wm Blake of Andover or to Mrs Dorothie Blake his wife both deceased or to Mr Richard Blake deceased & of all dues and demands unto Mrs Jane Blake of Andover executrix unto her husband Mr Richard Blake. I say Recd in full of all accounts and Reckonings the summe of 494 li 17 s 4 d.
Witnes John Thompson                       p William Twisse
Tristram Coffin
"Recd this 16th of Octob. 1650 of Major Robt Sedgwick the summer of fye pounds for Mrs Dorothie Smith being so much to be paid out of the said legacies given to Mrs Sedgwick I say Recd by me
William Twisse"
(Notorial Records, p 371)
A pedigree of the Blakes of "Eston towne," c. Hants, the family to which the father of Joanna (Blake) Sedgwick undoubtedly belonged, may be found in the Visitations of Hampshire, published by the Harleian Society in 1913.
Brookline, Mass. Edward Leodore Smith

The request for recompensation by Jane Blake (wife of Richard Blake deceased 1648) is an interesting one. By now I believe the family is not doing well financially and this request for money from across the ocean right down to five pounds is really rather pointed if not absolutely penny pinching. It, I think, marks the point of digression of this family from the more well to do lines of the family although ultimately many of these family lines also fell on hard times. The reference to the pedigree of the Blake family of Eastontown in the Visitation is somewhat provocative.

Paul Reed in his article in TAG agrees the proof that I also presented that Nicholas does  not have a brother Humphrey that went to Somerset and married Mary Cole. Nicholas is not the son of William necessarily; at the moment his father is unknown. He does bring up a piece of information that is rather interesting. William Blake, yeoman died at Benham Berkshire leaving a will dated 10 June and proved 28 July 1552 that states his son was Anthony who did not prove his majority until 18 May 1571. This William had brothers Richard and John and he had land in Kings Enham. Indeed this William Blake is the son of Robert (brother to Nicholas Blake). One point he makes with which I do not agree - he says the subsidy does not list a William Blake at Andover and this is incorrect. But definitely he is right that the Blake family at Andover in the 1500s is a very complex one with lands at Andover, Kings Enham, Knights Enham, Penton Mewsey and Clatford. There is another section of his paper that I will relate to later as I am still not sure of what he is saying.

The Pedigree Chart for the Blake family of Wiltshire held at the Swindon and Wiltshire Record Office is another tantalizing clue on the Andover Hampshire Blake family. The Preamble states:

"The genealogie of the ancient and worthy family of BLAGUE, BLAAKE or BLAKE, of great antiquity in the county of Wilts, where they had large possessions in Quemberford, Calne and Hilcot with a fair mansion house called PINHILLS, now the seat of the family, a younger branch whereof transplanted themselves into Hantshire and settling at Easton Town, were owners of that and divers other mannor from whence the BLAKEs of Middlesex, etc. are immediately descended faithfully collected out of the several visitation books of the said counties remaining in the College of Arms and deducted to the issue of Daniel BLAKE of London, Anno 1690"

Clearly a link between the Calne and Andover families (Easton Town lies beside Andover to the east of the city along the London Road) but the question remains were all the Blake families in the Andover area related? The y DNA testing, if it ever catches on, may be the only means of separating out different lines if indeed they are different.

Further discussion including the Parish Registers which have thus far been transcribed in the Andover Registration District to follow.

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