Friday, August 17, 2012

Cornwall nearing completion

I am continuing with my project of extracting the marriage partners for Blake from the census and find my past (also free bmd) and well into Cornwall. Using the online census has made it possible to find many many of the partners in Blake marriages. I am looking forward to putting families together using the census and free bmd. This project is an easy one to pick up and put down on a moment's notice.

I am still deep in thought on how to do my Blake one name study website. I need to decide on a focus and mostly I feel that that is the yDNA study. It is the only true means of separating out various Blake lines from the past. As I delve deeper and deeper into old Blake records I am left to wonder why the name has arisen spontaneously in so many areas. It this a result of a name simply being popular or was this family prominent enough in the 1100s that sister's sons took on their mother's surname in order to inherit property from an uncle. There is also the possibility that in marriage the husband elected to use the surname of his father in law/wife. Looking at the name it is difficult to imagine people spontaneously selecting it as you might the name Baker, Hill, Large etc. All of these surnames would likely be expected to be multi locational at the time of surname selection. Blake as a surname (1286 in lay subsidy rolls) precedes the popular time of surname adoption which occurred in the 1300s and 1400s.

I want to have it possible for people to put up their information so that it is available to researchers (including myself although I mostly blog anything new that I find for the Blake family). Some Blake researchers have been collecting information on their family lines for up to 50 years and beyond. It would be a pity to lose that data and my thought is on how to preserve it. But then I look at World Connect where I have placed a number of short trees (5 or 6 generations) and I wonder if that isn't the better place to serve such information which is organized into family trees. I need to add the will transcriptions to my entry online for Blake at World Connect and will be doing that in the next little while. However excel databases of accumulated data do not lend themselves to putting them on World Connect. I still need to contemplate how to efficiently make such space available.

Perhaps my next newsletter should make the suggestion that World Connect would be a good site to place family genealogical charts on. The whole idea of doing genealogy, at least to me, is to share the result of your work. I do not have any intent on publishing histories of the Blake family other than online downloadable *.pdfs. In my retirement, I decided that I would not do any work for profit. I can not see any value in my work unless I share it with others. I will also be returning to transcription of Blake wills in the lovely dark days of winter when I find it easier to work at the computer. The summer is a time of outdoor work and we have been busy with that. We had to reset all the paving stones along our driveway with gravel underneath and a retaining wall to support them. It is not such a major job that you would hire someone (although I wonder about that sometimes :) ) but we have enjoyed doing the work and just a little more to completion. We also have large flower and vegetable garden areas which require a fair amount of work to maintain. Again it is good exercise and healthy to be outside.

Once Cornwall is complete than my next county is Cumberland. Cumberland is interesting because there is a small Blake family there and there was a Blake family there at the time of the Protestation Returns in 1641-42. In total there were only 125 marriages in all of Cumberland for Blake from 1837 to 1950. A few more have probably been added by the transcribers since I extracted that date. Nonetheless it is a small number. One of the large yDNA study groups traces back to a Theophilus Blake who came to the American Colonies in the 1740s. The yDNA haplogroup of I2b1 is likely an old British group and he settled in areas that were predominantly settled by individuals from Northern Ireland who were themselves from Scotland having been moved there as "planters" in the 1600s by the English. I have not yet extracted Blake marriages for Scotland. That is another very large project that I do want to eventually do. But the Blake family were part of the Lamont Clan.

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