Sunday, April 27, 2014

A few thoughts on the Blake line(s) at Andover

As I work my way through these transcriptions for the Border Reivers in the West and Middle Marches along the border between England and Scotland, I was thinking about my Blake line at Andover. The spellings of the names for the Border Reivers is not really all that different from the late 1500s to the present. A few changes but minor really.

Finding that my Nicholas Blake was likely the son of Richard Blake who left his will in 1522 and the grandson of Robert Blayke who left his will in 1521 has been a rather fascinating experience over the last couple of months. Along with the results of the BritainsDNA all my ancestry tests, my line is very ancient to the British Isles. They are called the Deer Hunters by BritainsDNA and the latest find in Scotland of a skelton dating back 14,000 years is most exciting. As the ice sheets retreated and formed across the British Isles, I can imagine my people there at the edge hunting and living their hunter gatherer existence. Through thousands of years they just used a single name likely. What prompted them to move to a surname and why did they choose Blake? I find that the question intrigues me more and more. It didn't intrigue me quite so much a year or so ago but the results of the yDNA study at both Gen2.0 and BritainsDNA giving me virtually duplicate results have set my mind racing much further back in time with respect to my yDNA line.

How significant is it that my furtherest back ancestor used the surname Blayke although his son did use Blake? This Robert Blake was likely born in the mid 1400s but I still do not know where? But I know that he lived at Enham in the last years of his life.  The Manor Books eventually might provide answers to my queries but gaining those will be a project for a couple of years down the road I expect. First I must get through what I have acquired thus far. When I return to blogging it will be looking at the Gloucestershire Blake family which is descendant of the Wiltshire Blake family. Can I find a relationship between these Blakes and the Blake family in Somerset? The Blake Pedigree chart at the Swindon and Wiltshire Record Office shows the relationship between the Wiltshire Blake family and the Somerset Blake family to be further back. The traceback from Gloucestershire to Wiltshire is a fairly direct one as far as I can tell thus far occurring in the latter part of the 1600s.

Today was the Zoomer Show in Ottawa and my husband and I volunteered to do a three hour stint from opening at 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. A number of people did come by the Genealogy stand (Ontario Genealogy Society, British Isles Family History Society of the Greater Ottawa area, and the City of Ottawa Archives shared this stand) and I had several longish chats with people about DNA results and how they play into genealogy. Really, you can not do your genealogy without doing your DNA. I am fully convinced of that and recommend that to everyone that I meet. The latest tests from Gen 2.0, BritainsDNA and FT DNA looking at autosomal ancestry can give you insights into how your genes have traveled through time. Without that knowledge, unless you are like myself and know exactly all of your ancestor's immigration stories, pinpointing the origin of your family prior to migration can be quite a difficult process. DNA studies can eliminate some of this uncertainity if you do autosomal testing along with the standard yDNA and mtDNA testing. Or you can just do autosomal as it looks at all your genetic makeup given to you by your parents/grandparents/greatgrandparents/etc. Even better persuading your siblings to all test can give you a well rounded look at the genetic compliment especially if you have a number of siblings (I have six). It would be nice to have my parent's DNA but having siblings helps in that regard.

I mostly spoke to people with British Isles Ancestry but also a number with French (French Canadian), German, Norwegian, Portuguese, African and Chinese. A most interesting couple of hours and I wanted to mention as I did to them that I personally think the best way to begin your genealogy is to download the free software program from Legacy Family Tree and enter in your data. If you want the bells and whistles (and I do) you can pay for the advanced program later or there are other programs on the market. You can just extract all your information into a gedcom and move to whatever program you wish. Taking 42 courses at the National Institute for Genealogical Studies has been extremely valuable to me in my research but it was my cousin asking me to write a profile on my mother's family (Pincombe) that actually inspired me to do so. I knew nothing about genealogy in 2003 when he first asked me although had watched my husband work away at his genealogy for over 40 years (so knew about census, parish records but not much more!). But I needed English ancestry and my husband was into American ancestry mostly at that time although he is now back on the continent with French/Dutch/German/English and others. He is a true early American colonial descendant although Canadian for seven generations and more!

Back to transcription of the Border Reivers documents. Still quite a bit to do and they are not really that clean. My cousin knows these places much better than I do so I am giving him a quick transcription and he can make the changes that he needs to make use of them. I might go back one day and revise them but will only blog them if he doesn't publish them in his book. 

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