Thursday, March 29, 2012

Blake family of South Carolina

The Blake family of South Carolina descendants are in the best position for tracing their ancestry back to Somerset; their emigrants are known descendants of Humphrey Blake of Overstowey in that Benjamin Blake was a brother to the Lord High Admiral Robert Blake and the trace back from Benjamin and Robert is quite direct.

I have been entering this family into my legacy Blake one name chart. However, the parents of Humphrey are still somewhat of a mystery. If one looks at the Blake Pedigree chart created from the Visitations then the furtherest back ancestor in this line that goes back to Calne Wiltshire is a John Blake who was the second son of  William Blague/Blake of Lacock, Wiltshire who married Margaret Browne of Wablyn (daughter of William Browne of Wablyn). I have not yet discovered where Wablyn is but assume it was the name of their family home perhaps. William was the son of David Blague/Blake who had married Joane Mallet. Continuing back in this line the parents of David were John Blague/Blake who had married Margaret Dyncham/Dinham/Denham. This John is a known son of Robert Blake and Avice Wallop (widow at time of marriage to Robert) who is mentioned in his mother's will as being 40 years of age or more.

Hence the line from Somerset back to Calne Wiltshire is assured by the chart which is based on the Visitations and for the most part would be accepted as proof of descent. However, the descent from John down to Robert, Lord High Admiral has not been added to this chart. The will of Avice Blake was probated in 1474 at which time her son John was 40 years of age (his date of birth extrapolated back could have been 1434 or earlier). Humphrey the known ancestor of Robert, Lord High Admiral, was buried in 1558 at Overstowey.

John's son David and then David's son William and William's son John are the known descendants from the Calne Wiltshire Blake family. If one assumes a generation length of 30 years then David might have been 10 years of age in 1474 and his son William might have been born in 1494 and his son John might have been born in 1524. However Humphrey died in 1558 leaving behind adult children so he was likely born in the early 1500s. The assumption of 30 year generations may be too long so moving it to 20 years then David could have been born in 1454, his son William in 1474, his son John in 1494 permitting Humphrey then to be born by 1514 which would make him 44 when he died and he could have had adult children. However, there is still a difficulty with this assumption as his eldest son John (the elder) was known to be born circa 1521 although I am still checking for proof of this assertion. One of John's daughters married 2 Oct 1569 (Alice married James Richards) giving her a possible birth date of circa 1547 - 1551 and she was the third child. This makes a birthdate for John of 1521 quite plausible. Perhaps John (son of Robert Blake and Avis Wallop) was older than 40 since the will states: John Blake is her son and nearer heir and is 40 years old or more. Timelines are so very important for genealogical research in order to ensure that what you are predicting is even plausible.

To my knowledge no linking information from Humphrey back to John Blake at Lacock has been found but I am very new at the Blake family history and further research may yield such information. Placing it all on a time line lets one then regard the available information to see if a proposition can be fulfilled with extant evidence. Certainly this family bore the crest of the Wiltshire Blake family. The name Humphrey may itself provide clues as it was not a usual name in the Blake family at this point in time.

To my knowledge no member of this family has tested their yDNA and that would be a bonus for our yDNA study. I have avoided very much becoming involved with the yDNA study other than collaborating with the individuals who manage the study. Blake is such a large study that one cannot do everything and it has been well managed by Barrie Blake in terms of placing the various Blake haplogroups into a rigorous table that permits one to then examine the Blake surname with respect to their yDNA.

I will continue building the family line for the descendants of Humphrey Blake from the journal article in The South Carolina Historical and Genealogical Magazine, volume 1, number 2, April 1900 pages 153 - 166. There are a couple of other articles published on this family in the same journal which I will attempt to locate. Interestingly there was a singleton ancestor for this line in Joseph Blake born 1700. I found it rather amazing that in this line and my own Blake line there is a singleton Joseph although mine was born in 1730 in Andover Hampshire UK!

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