Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Black as a surname

I decided to look at a set of records for the Black family on Find My past ranging from the mid 1400s to the mid 1500s.

The earliest record that I found was for a William Black baptized 1540 at Northam Devon (no parents given) and it was the only baptism between 1460 and 1540.

There were 25 burials for Black family members between 1500 and 1580 and they were from all over England - Sussex, Durham, Yorkshire, Suffolk, Kent, Surrey, Hampshire, Derbyshire, Lincolnshire, Norfolk, Somerset. Only one was listed as Blake or Black.

For Blake in the same time period there were eight baptisms, and 125 burials.

The surname Blake does appear to be much commoner in this early time period. It would be interesting to find earlier references to Black family members prior to the parish records.

Looking at Free BMD for births for Black from 1837 to 1851 and the total is1756. The deaths for Black in this same time period 1109. The marriages for Black in this same time period 820.

Looking at Free BMD for births for Blake from 1837 to 1851 and the total is 4310. The deaths for Blake in this same time period 2978. The marriages for Blake in this same time period 2180.

The Blake surname continues to much commoner in this time period. Could Black just be a derivative of Blake? (Again I decide in a later post that Black is an independent surname which arose in England at the time of the Great and Little Domesday survey so prior to Blake in England.)  Going through the parish registers thus far I seldom see an error on the part of the priest recording the surname but occasionally I know that Blacke should be Blake simply because it follows along logically. I have never particularly looked at Black entries and at this point in time will only do so when a family disappears from the parish register and I am trying to find them.

It was an interesting exercise and as I mentioned I would never have taken on Blake as a one name study if I was including Black as well. It would be just too large for me to handle and I would have stuck with Blake in Hampshire/Wiltshire/Berkshire area since my known lines do not stray from this area until my grandparents and father came to Canada (a brother of my grandfather had come first to Toronto in 1911 and this was perhaps part of the enticement to come although my grandfather always planned on returning to England but two world wars later and many of his siblings were gone and his wife died here he simply stayed on and died here. Lucky for us as we got to have this very interesting grandfather living with us as children!).

But the point being raised about the Blake family in Landrake I shall as I work my way through that parish take note of any Black references in the surnames. I left Landrake because it was getting complicated to think through and decided I needed to look at all of Cornwall before I tried to do more than I had already done in terms of putting trees together. Black could be a clue in Landrake of which I will make use when I return.

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