Ancestry.co.uk Blog » Guest Bloggers http://blogs.ancestry.com/uk The official Ancestry.co.uk blog Mon, 18 Aug 2014 09:06:36 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.5.2 Exodus – Movement of the Peoplehttp://blogs.ancestry.com/uk/2013/09/16/exodus-movement-of-the-people/ http://blogs.ancestry.com/uk/2013/09/16/exodus-movement-of-the-people/#comments Mon, 16 Sep 2013 14:11:10 +0000 Emma http://blogs.ancestry.com/uk/?p=4404 This September Ancestry.co.uk sponsored the Exodus conference (the story of migration from, to and within the British Isles). Polly Rubery attended the event on behalf of Ancestry.co.uk below is an account of her experience… There were, for the most part, two streams of talks, and I really wished that I could be at both. Fortunately… Read more

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This September Ancestry.co.uk sponsored the Exodus conference (the story of migration from, to and within the British Isles). Polly Rubery attended the event on behalf of Ancestry.co.uk below is an account of her experience…

There were, for the most part, two streams of talks, and I really wished that I could be at both. Fortunately they were mostly filmed and are going to be available to Conference Delegates on the Exodus website, so I am looking forward to catching up on those I could not listen to over the weekend.  There are a lot of other very useful articles on the website, so it is worth taking a good look at it as you will be sure to learn something.

All the talks that I attended managed to instruct as well as entertain me and I have come away with some good pointers on how I can follow up in my own research.  The time span of the talks covered pre-history until recent days, and thus the venue, standing as it does on one the main Roman roads Watling Street, was a very apt venue.  The speakers came from all over the world, and were all so good it is impossible to single out any one of them.  But a special mention must go to Craig L Foster for his professionalism in dealing with a microphone which was very temperamental even though straight from the box.

The hotel too played its part – the Rotunda where we took coffee and met for a drinks reception before the banquet reminded me of the sort of decor and scenery seen onboard the Titanic, but thankfully we were not sailing to a watery grave!

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The relaxed Brasserie provided us with plenty of space to chat and network over breakfast and lunch; and this was carried on over coffee and tea breaks and in the Exhibition room where too many tempting goodies were on offer – I came home with two second-hand books and one new one!

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Then like magic the lecture rooms were transformed into a superb setting for our more formal evening meals, both with an after dinner speaker to continue our theme.  Friday night’s speaker started by warning us that her talk was more humorous than instructive, but I ended up with several useful notes to follow up.

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The Saturday evening banquet tables sported plenty of wine glasses and bottles of wine supplied by Ancestry.co.uk. We used them to drink toasts to HM Queen Elizabeth II, the sponsors and of course the Halstead Trust who organised it all.

The most poignant image from the whole weekend was the one displayed on the screen before the speaker Dr Janina Ramirez spoke on “The issues of Migration and Intergration in Anglo-Saxon England”.  It’s nothing at all to do with the subject matter, but part of her own Polish Family History, reminding us that the reasons for migration are many, but that they often resound down the generations that follow afterwards.

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As I drove homewards down The Fosse Way, another major Roman route still very much in use today, I reflected on all the population movements over the years which have brought us all too where we are today.  So thank you once again to everyone involved and who made the weekend such a great success.

Authored by Polly Rubery.

 

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Guest Blog – Mechanical Engineer Records go live.http://blogs.ancestry.com/uk/2013/06/06/4345/ http://blogs.ancestry.com/uk/2013/06/06/4345/#comments Thu, 06 Jun 2013 10:32:32 +0000 Emma http://blogs.ancestry.com/uk/?p=4345 At the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, we aim to improve the world through engineering. Our membership has reflected the advances in technology and living standards since the start of the industrial revolution.  The brilliant engineering feats of our members since we formed in 1847 have helped engineer and shape the world we live in today.… Read more

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At the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, we aim to improve the world through engineering.

Our membership has reflected the advances in technology and living standards since the start of the industrial revolution.  The brilliant engineering feats of our members since we formed in 1847 have helped engineer and shape the world we live in today.

Engineering is all around us. Transport, energy, manufacturing, communications, and even the clean water in your kitchen tap all come from the work of engineers.

This is why we’re so excited that Ancestry.co.uk has digitised so many of our historic records. This archive will be an excellent resource that will help us celebrate engineers and their achievements throughout this 110-year period.

In total, 74,258 records have been digitised. These include the membership of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, 1870-1930, and also those of the Institution of Automobile Engineers (IAE) and the Institution of Locomotive Engineers, which merged with us.

The records include many famous engineering pioneers. Among these are Nigel Gresley, who designed the Mallard, the fastest engineering steam locomotive; Frederick Lanchester who made the first English car; William Siemens, founder of Siemens brothers and Hiram Maxim, inventor of the machine gun.

 Nigel Gresley

The register of members is the original list of members and records all the changes – so you can see when they joined, graduated, were promoted, emigrated, defaulted or died.

You can see from these records that our members often took their engineering expertise overseas, building infrastructure and pioneering modern techniques all over the world.  Often families can trace their move from England back to these engineering pioneers.

One of the most fascinating aspects of the archive is the level to which a member’s career and education is detailed.  You can see who proposed members -  for example, the first female member of the Institution, Verena Holmes, was proposed by Charles Parsons, the inventor of the steam turbine.

The full archive of the Institution includes  personal papers of prominent mechanical engineers such as George and Robert Stephenson. Drawing collections range from technical plans to illustrations and company records span from the earliest steam railway companies to D. Napier & Son (engine builders).

We are delighted that this important 1870 – 1930 archive is available for people to use on Ancestry.co.uk and hope it not only highlights great stories from the past, but also helps inspire the next generation of engineers.

To find out more about the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE) and their collections click here.

To search all occupation and employment records on Ancestry click here

Authored by Daniel Hearn from IMechE.

Images are reproduced by courtesy of IMechE.

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A token gives up its secretshttp://blogs.ancestry.com/uk/2013/04/17/a-token-gives-up-its-secrets/ http://blogs.ancestry.com/uk/2013/04/17/a-token-gives-up-its-secrets/#comments Wed, 17 Apr 2013 16:05:03 +0000 Emma http://blogs.ancestry.com/uk/?p=4281 I have been exploring the records of the Foundling Hospital since the 1980s – and still enjoy every minute of the time I spend on them. Recent work on tokens that parents left at the Hospital with their babies as identifiers 250 years ago shows that the system in place was a simple one and… Read more

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I have been exploring the records of the Foundling Hospital since the 1980s – and still enjoy every minute of the time I spend on them.

Recent work on tokens that parents left at the Hospital with their babies as identifiers 250 years ago shows that the system in place was a simple one and it worked.  Parents did use their tokens to claim back their children.

Most of the tokens– playing cards, ribbons, letters – are safe with the children’s admission records but some – coins, medals and jewellery – were put on display in about 1860. Now for the first time both kinds are on display together at the Foundling Museum as an exhibition called Fate, Hope and Charity supported by Ancestry.co.uk.

The exhibition tells the stories behind some of these tokens, shows why parents had to abandon their children and looks at what they chose to identify their child.  It was perhaps a coral necklace to ward off illness or something very personal that they had carried around in their pockets like a thimble or a lucky coin. They took time before the parting to engrave a coin or to embroider a length of ribbon with a name and date of birth to make them into something personal. These small objects carry a strong message that for most families parting with a child was sad and painful.

This coin, a silver Charles II shilling, threaded with a yellow ribbon, was the token of Oliver Luke, admitted in 1758. Five years later his father, Richard Luke Esq, from Eynesbury in Huntingdon, (the RL of the coin) came to the Hospital with an accurate description of the token and the staff matched it to Oliver’s records. Due to the high infant mortality rates at the time many children whose parents returned for them had died, but Oliver was alive to be returned to his father.

I have found, with the help of Huntingdon Library and Archives,  that Oliver, born 1758, was not the only child of RL and ED. There were two more, one before (Peter) and one after (Thomas). Richard Luke had been married but his wife died in 1752 and in 1754 he was described as the ‘reputed father of a bastard child (Peter) born of the body of Elizabeth Dixey’, the ED of the coin. Both Richard and Elizabeth were excommunicated by the church for failing to answer charges about the birth of this child who was already dead by then.  Oliver was brought home in 1763, the third child, Thomas, was born and died in 1765 and Richard died in 1766.

Stories like this give us a picture of eighteenth-century family life we don’t see very often. You can understand why I enjoy so much working with the Foundling Hospital records and particularly with the tokens.

Dr Gillian Clark is an independent  researcher whose wider interest is in childhood outside the family home, particularly mother and baby homes, fostering and adoption.

Images: Foundling Hospital Tokens © The Foundling Museum, London

The Foundling Museum
Open Tuesday-Saturday: 10:00-17:00, Sunday: 11:00-17:00

Adult, £7.50, concession, £5 , free admission for children up to 16 years, Foundling Friends

www.foundlingmuseum.org.uk

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The Results….Easter Weekendhttp://blogs.ancestry.com/uk/2013/04/03/the-results-easter-weekend-2/ http://blogs.ancestry.com/uk/2013/04/03/the-results-easter-weekend-2/#comments Wed, 03 Apr 2013 14:46:49 +0000 Emma http://blogs.ancestry.com/uk/?p=4213 Last weekend,  I wrote about looking for a character in my tree that I was struggling with. I spent some much-needed time over the Bank Holiday researching him. As a reminder this is what I knew of him. Alexander Cumberbatche paid to become a Freeman of the City of Bristol on 17th May 1618. He… Read more

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Last weekend,  I wrote about looking for a character in my tree that I was struggling with. I spent some much-needed time over the Bank Holiday researching him.

As a reminder this is what I knew of him. Alexander Cumberbatche paid to become a Freeman of the City of Bristol on 17th May 1618. He was married and worked as a a horner –  someone who works with horn.

The difficulty was that Alexander wasn’t a forename that I could easily associate with any particular branch of the Cumberbatches. I hadn’t found his marriage in Cheshire or Bristol.

Hopefully these steps will give some insight into how I was able to find out more:

Here is the search criteria that helped. You’ll see I used an asterisk wildcard in the surname.

Scrolling down the results revealed

The striking coincidence is that these marriages occurred on 9 July 1614 and the bride’s name is Alice Hayes in all of the results. But why was she married in two places?

A quick review of both entries:

The entry says Anno d[omini] 1614 R[eign] Ja[mes] 12 [Twelfth year of the reign of James the First]

Alexander Cumberland unto Alice Hayes [July] 9

I figured that this would be one of those genealogical teasers. So I checked the other image:

This entry was transcribed as:

Name:   Alexander Cumper

Event Type:  Marriage

Event Date: 9 Jul 1614

Parish:  Arrow

Spouse’s Name:  Alice Hayes

But he names jumped out at me from the original record – it was Alexander Cumberbatche and Alice Hayes single p[er]sons. So I submitted a correction to make the surname Cumberbatche. Note in this old writing a letter that looks like an ‘r’ is a ‘c’. Compare the ‘c’ in Alice to the ‘c’ in ‘batch’ and see the ‘r’ at the end of Alexander and the ‘r’ in Cumber.

Where did the transcript ‘Cumper’ come from? This is easy to see if you separate the letters on different lines. Immediately below the ‘b’ in Cumber the high ascender for an old ‘s’ in ‘single’ on the line below interferes with the ‘b’ in Cumber. The transcriber read Cumper rather than Cumber and probably he or she could make no sense of the remainder of the surname ‘batch’.

So why were they married in two parishes on the same day? I turned to Google maps to discover where Arrow was compared to Alcester.

A quick check of The Phillimore Atlas & Index of Parish Registers confirmed that Arrow and Alcester were indeed separate and ancient parishes. However, they are adjacent to each other. Perhaps this marriage was recorded in both his and her parish registers.

His baptism

Feeling lucky, I searched for a baptism using the same criteria as before but adding Warwickshire as a place filter. But I had no luck with a surname CUM*. So I searched just for Alexander

After I confirmed that Alexander Chaumberline was a correct entry I carried on down the list.  I really have no idea what possessed me to click on Alexander Amberton, but here is what I found:

This is more difficult to read but it says:

[1586] Dec 3 Alexander the son of Nicholas

Cumberbach was christene[d] the third day of december

So Alexander Cumberbach was baptised 3 Dec 1586 in Nuneaton, Warwickshire and Nicholas Cumberbach was Alexander’s father. Now this Nicholas I know a little about! [Yes, I did submit a correction to Cumberbach]

The surname originates from a place in Cheshire called Comberbach. By the time it reaches Nuneaton in the Midlands it is recorded in parish registers as Cumberbach, Cumberland and Cumberbatche.

So thanks to the long weekend and a helpful Help and Advice article on how to decipher handwriting  I have been able to unlock more about the once elusive Alexander Cumberatche.

Bob Cumberbatch is researching every Cumberbatch from any time, any place or anywhere with the Guild of One Name Studies. He is a Committee member and Education Liaison Officer for the Guild, plus a member of the Society of Genealogists and a guest blogger for Ancestry.co.uk

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Guest Blog: What’s in a name? ARROWSMITHhttp://blogs.ancestry.com/uk/2013/02/14/guest-blog-whats-in-a-name-arrowsmith/ http://blogs.ancestry.com/uk/2013/02/14/guest-blog-whats-in-a-name-arrowsmith/#comments Thu, 14 Feb 2013 10:46:22 +0000 Emma http://blogs.ancestry.com/uk/?p=4069 Authored by David Spencer.  David started research in to his family tree over 10 years ago and after collecting lots of names he decided to start looking to the Surnames it contained when he was thinking about what to give his parents for Christmas so he came up with the idea of a book of… Read more

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Authored by David Spencer.  David started research in to his family tree over 10 years ago and after collecting lots of names he decided to start looking to the Surnames it contained when he was thinking about what to give his parents for Christmas so he came up with the idea of a book of Surnames.  So he stared by making a list of all the Surnames in his Family Tree and then set about finding out the meaning of each one. So Far he has covered A to M and is currently working on N to Z.

ARROWSMITH –

Type – Occupational

ARROWSMITH is a rare English surname used to describes a maker of the iron points of the arrow, which were specially tempered in order to pierce armour.

This surname is NOT to be confused with the “Fletcher” who works on the other end of the arrow and is associated with the making of and attaching the flights. With this being the case one would therefore logically believe that there should be as many ‘ ARROWSMITHS’ as ‘Fletchers’ in the surnames list, but this is far from the case.  In the case of my own tree I have found in my research 3 ARROWSMITH’S and only 1 Fletcher. The reason for discrepancy arises because most original ‘fletchers’ were not makers of ‘flights’, but ‘fleshers’, people who cleaned animal skins to prepare the leather.

The guild list of England for the year 1400 gives ‘Arow-heders, maltemen, and Cornmongers’ as acceptable trades.

Alternative Spellings -  Aruesmith, Arwesmyth and Arrowsmyth

Also found as – Harrowsmith, Harrismith

Name Distribution of ARROWSMITH Families – According to the 1891 England and Wales Census the greatest number of ARROWSMITHS were located in Lancashire with 774 of 2672 which is 29% of the results.  This may account for why Henry Tudor of Lancaster beat King Richard 3rd of York (figures show that there were only 141 of 2672 or 5% of ARROWSMITHS in Yorkshire) in the War of the Roses. His archers were better supplied.

Early examples of the recordings include: Roger le Aruesmith of Staffordshire in 1278, William le Arwesmyth of Essex in 1324, and Johanes Arrowsmyth of Yorkshire, in the 1379 Poll Tax rolls for that county.

Coming soon

Authored by David Spencer.  David started research in to his family tree over 10 years ago and after collecting lots of names he decided to start looking to the Surnames it contained when he was thinking about what to give his parents for Christmas so he came up with the idea of a book of Surnames.  So he stared by making a list of all the Surnames in his Family Tree and then set about finding out the meaning of each one. So Far he has covered A to M and is currently working on N to Z.

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Manchester Parish Records – how do they appear online?http://blogs.ancestry.com/uk/2013/02/06/manchester-parish-records-how-do-they-appear-online/ http://blogs.ancestry.com/uk/2013/02/06/manchester-parish-records-how-do-they-appear-online/#comments Wed, 06 Feb 2013 15:06:09 +0000 Emma http://blogs.ancestry.com/uk/?p=4038 Authored by Clare Connolly.  Clare is one of a team of Ancestry.co.uk camera operators who have been working on the digitisation of the new Manchester Parish Registers, 1541-1985. We’ve just launched onsite the new Manchester Parish Records, 1541-1985. These crucial records are the result of months of work behind the scenes to digitise the original… Read more

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Authored by Clare Connolly.  Clare is one of a team of Ancestry.co.uk camera operators who have been working on the digitisation of the new Manchester Parish Registers, 1541-1985.

We’ve just launched onsite the new Manchester Parish Records, 1541-1985. These crucial records are the result of months of work behind the scenes to digitise the original registers. I can give you an insight into that work from my point of view as one of the camera operators.

The registers are held by Manchester Libraries, Information and Archives which is the appointed Diocesan Record Office for the area. The registers date right back to Tudor times, and consist of baptism, marriage and burial records.

The role of the camera operator involves entering details about each register onto the Ancestry.co.uk software, including the name of the church and date range covered. Then the register is photographed from cover to cover, with the images saved directly to the computer.

Many of the volumes are fragile due to their age, and careful handing is essential to prevent damage. We use book supports and archival weights to protect the documents and hold pages in place. The camera height can be adjusted depending on the size of the volume – obviously the key is to make sure the writing is in focus. It’s important to get as clear an image as possible as some of the ink has faded and handwriting styles vary greatly.

Different types of register reveal different information. Most of the early registers grouped baptisms, marriages and burials in the same volume.  As time went on more information was recorded; the mother’s name was more likely to be entered on baptism records, the parishes of both the bride and groom appeared in marriage registers and the age of the deceased and sometimes cause of death were noted in burials.  Then in 1813 pre-printed baptism and burial registers were introduced, recording details of where people lived and their professions.

These professions are one of the most interesting features of the parish registers, and they often reveal the development of local industries. Greater Manchester is well known for its manufacturing, transport and textiles heritage and trades relating to these industries were commonly recorded. For example, spinner, carder, dyer and spindle maker were common occupations for people working in the cotton industry.

When we’ve finished the digitisation process, we send the photographs of the registers to be transcribed, and then the images and the information they hold can be put online. Hopefully you all enjoy them, and find some useful information about your family.

Clare Connolly is one of a team of Ancestry.co.uk camera operators who have been working on the digitisation of the new Manchester Parish Registers, 1541-1985.

©Images reproduced with courtesy of the Manchester City Council

 

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Guest Blog: Fate, Hope & Charity: a token tale.http://blogs.ancestry.com/uk/2013/01/24/guest-blog-fate-hope-charity-a-token-tale/ http://blogs.ancestry.com/uk/2013/01/24/guest-blog-fate-hope-charity-a-token-tale/#comments Thu, 24 Jan 2013 11:08:52 +0000 Emma http://blogs.ancestry.com/uk/?p=3957 Guest Blogger: Stephanie Chapman I am the Curator of Exhibitions & Displays at the Foundling Museum  in London.  My job involves looking after the wonderful collection at the Museum as well as organising the exhibition programme.  For the past six months I have been working on an exhibition which looks in detail at the collection… Read more

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Guest Blogger: Stephanie Chapman

I am the Curator of Exhibitions & Displays at the Foundling Museum  in London.  My job involves looking after the wonderful collection at the Museum as well as organising the exhibition programme.  For the past six months I have been working on an exhibition which looks in detail at the collection of tokens at the Museum.  I love the art and social history of the eighteenth century, and these little tokens really bring that period of history to life.

The Foundling Museum explores the history of the Foundling Hospital, the UK’s first children’s charity, and celebrates the ways in which artists of all disciplines have helped improve children’s lives for over 270 years. We do this through a dynamic programme of temporary exhibitions, collection displays, artists’ projects, concerts, events and learning activities for all ages. The Museum permanently houses significant collections of eighteenth-century art, interiors, social history and music.

The Foundling Hospital, established in 1741, took in children whose parents had died or were not able to look after them. The children were fostered in the countryside until they were between three and five years old, when they were brought back to London to be educated and trained as domestic servants or apprenticed into a trade or the military.

Ancestry.co.uk is supporting Fate, Hope & Charity: an exhibition opening today at the Foundling Museum in London.

 Fate, Hope & Charity: a token tale

When parents left their children to the care of the Foundling Hospital in London they would also leave a small token.  This object would act as an identifier, should the parent ever return to claim their child, as many hoped.  When a child was admitted, they were given a number, which was stamped in metal and hung around its neck on string.  Each child was also given a new first and last name, made up by the Governors.  Hence thousands of ‘new’ family trees were started at the Hospital.

The tokens left by parents are some of the smallest items in the Foundling Museum’s collection, but they are also some of the most fascinating.  They include scraps of paper and materials, coins, metal tokens, jewellery, playing cards and even a humble hazelnut shell.

One of my favourite tokens is a small shilling from the time of James II, which was left with a little girl. The coin was rubbed smooth on one side so a personal message could be added.  A cherub was engraved together with the name and birth date of the girl, who was renamed Anne by the Hospital.  Recent research has matched many of the tokens with their admission records and other information about the family’s circumstances.  We now know that Anne’s father had been convicted for stealing coal and had been transported, presumably plunging an already impoverished family into destitution.  So Anne was left at the Foundling Hospital.

Despite the care and attention that had gone into creating such a personalised and loving object, Anne’s parents were never able to reclaim her.

Stephanie Chapman is the Curator: Exhibitions and Displays at the Foundling Museum.  The exhibition Fate, Hope & Charity, supported by Ancestry, is at the Foundling Museum, London from 25 January until 19 May 2013.

Read “The story of The Foundling Hospital in 18th Century London” our previous blog post about a visit to the Foundling Museum.

The Foundling Restored to its Mother, 1858, Emma Brownlow (1832-1905), oil on canvas © Coram in the care of the Foundling Museum.

The Foundling Museum
Open Tuesday-Saturday: 10:00-17:00, Sunday: 11:00-17:00

Adult, £7.50, concession, £5 , free admission for children up to 16 years, Foundling Friends

www.foundlingmuseum.org.uk

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Guest Blog: What’s in a name? BLAKEhttp://blogs.ancestry.com/uk/2013/01/24/guest-blog-whats-in-a-name-blake/ http://blogs.ancestry.com/uk/2013/01/24/guest-blog-whats-in-a-name-blake/#comments Thu, 24 Jan 2013 10:28:25 +0000 Emma http://blogs.ancestry.com/uk/?p=3947 Authored by Elizabeth Kipp.  Elizabeth is retired and working on the history of her parents’ families – Blake being the first of two guest blogs.  She is a member of The Guild of One-Name Studies researching Blake since May 2011, See her website for the Blake one-name study  and her blog most days has items… Read more

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Authored by Elizabeth Kipp.  Elizabeth is retired and working on the history of her parents’ families – Blake being the first of two guest blogs.  She is a member of The Guild of One-Name Studies researching Blake since May 2011, See her website for the Blake one-name study  and her blog most days has items on the Blake family – and she may be contacted at: kippeeb@rogers.com.

BLAKE There are several theories with respect to the origin of the Blake surname. One such theory states that Blake as a surname originated from Old English. The word “blac” referred to an individual with dark hair or skin and the word “blaac” referred to an individual with pale hair or skin.   Since both are pronounced “Blake” the actual origin in this line of thought is unknown as it could pertain to either. Hence in this case the surname Blake belongs to the group of surnames that are based on physical attributes. Another theory attributes the surname to a location known as Blakelands (now Blacklands) near Calne Wiltshire and hence a locative surname. The Blake surname distribution included distinct areas within the British Isles from earliest records. One particular area was Galway, Ireland (thought to be descendants of Richard Caddell alias Blake who arrived in Ireland in the late 1100s). A second area, the Blake family at Calne Wiltshire (living at Blakelands or Blacklands as it is now known) can trace back to the late 1200s using tax rolls and also a Pedigree Chart created in 1690 with additions in the 1700s held by the Swindon and Wiltshire Record Office. A third is the Norfolk Blake family which can be found in the Norfolk records from the 1400s on.  There are a number of other old Blake lines in the British Isles pre 1500s.

yDNA studies have shown that all of these Blake families do not have common ancestry in many many thousands of years as their haplogroups vary from I2a2b to I1 to I2b1 to R1b1a2 to R1a1. Why the Blake surname was chosen is part of the quest in my study of the Blake family. There is always of course the possibility that name change occurred with a sister’s son taking on his mother’s maternal surname in order to inherit property from an uncle or the surname of the wife being used instead of the husband in a marriage or a non paternal event where the son of an unwed Blake female is given his mother’s surname.

The Blake family has spread around the globe from their local areas in the British Isles with some of the highest incidence of the surname being in Australia but equally frequent in other parts of the British Commonwealth as well as the United States of America. The Blake family in the Carolinas of the United States provided a Royal Governor  in Joseph Blake who was descendant of one of the Somerset Blake families. I continue to investigate a theory put forward by an American researcher Increase Blake that the Hampshire, the Wiltshire and the Somerset Blake families are all related. I am slowly building a file of families in the 1800s that I intend to trace back into the 1700s where possible and also come forward in the hope that more Blake males will test their yDNA to prove or disprove this theory and just to understand the origin and deep ancestry of the Blake families of the British Isles.

Illustrious members of the Blake family include (and I have only listed a very few): William Blake Poet Laureate (United Kingdom), Sir Edward Blake, Canadian politician and descendant of the Galway Blake family, already mentioned Joseph Blake, Royal Governor of South Carolina colony (now USA), Admiral Robert Blake one of England’s greatest Admirals, Dr. Sophia Jex-Blake British Physician and feminist, Francisco Blake Mora who was Minister of the Interior (Calderon Government), Mexico and Sir Peter Blake, New Zealand (winner of the Americas Yachting Cup). The members of the Blake family come from all walks of life and each and everyone is important to the study of the Blake family name.

The original Blake one name study dates back into the 1980s and I can not take any credit for the research that has been published on the Blake family by this earlier researcher or others. There are three of us currently working on the Blake study worldwide although one has taken a leave of absence. Bill Bleak lives in the United States and his surname underwent a spelling change from Blake to Bleak in the 1800s. Barrie Blake has been an active Blake researcher for many many years and I credit him with the work that has been done thus far on the yDNA study plus all of his work on Blake memorabilia.

Studying a surname for whom you have known the holders for over a half of a century can be a thrilling experience. My grandfather (born at Upper Clatford, Hampshire, England) loved to talk about his Blake family and as I have drawn out the research records that he talked about his accuracy on his family line is amazing. I receive requests from Blake descendants around the world and some I am able to help and others I offer some suggestions based on the information that I have accumulated thus far.

The attached picture is of my great grandparents Edward Blake and Maria Jane Blake (née Knight) and it is taken 27 Nov 1898 beside their home. I suspect it was taken because of the funeral of their son Edward Sidney Blake who was buried 27 Nov 1898. The original of this image is held by my cousins in England. This is the only known picture of this couple.

This Blake one-name study will eventually be archived with the Guild of one-name Studies when I step down (hopefully not for twenty years) and I am but a caretaker of this information collecting what I can and hoping that in the future someone else will feel as strongly as I do that this is a name that must be researched.

Authored by Elizabeth Kipp.  Elizabeth is retired and working on the history of her parents’ families – Blake being the first of two guest blogs.  She is a member of The Guild of One-Name Studies researching Blake since May 2011, See her website for the Blake one-name study  and her blog most days has items on the Blake family – and she may be contacted at: kippeeb@rogers.com.

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Guest Blog: What’s in a name? MacAlisterhttp://blogs.ancestry.com/uk/2013/01/07/guest-blog-whats-in-name-macalister/ http://blogs.ancestry.com/uk/2013/01/07/guest-blog-whats-in-name-macalister/#comments Mon, 07 Jan 2013 12:15:53 +0000 Emma http://blogs.ancestry.com/uk/?p=3903 Authored by Lynn McAlister.   Lynn is a professional genealogist and has been a Macalister historian since 1997.  She researches the Macalister name worldwide as part of the Guild of One-Name Studies and maintains the blog ‘Today in Macalister History’ (www.macalister-history.blogspot.com). The MacAlister surname is Gaelic in origin: mac Alasdair means ‘son of Alexander’. The name… Read more

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Authored by Lynn McAlister.   Lynn is a professional genealogist and has been a Macalister historian since 1997.  She researches the Macalister name worldwide as part of the Guild of One-Name Studies and maintains the blog ‘Today in Macalister History’ (www.macalister-history.blogspot.com).

The MacAlister surname is Gaelic in origin: mac Alasdair means ‘son of Alexander’. The name is associated with one of the West Highland clans in Scotland, originally a branch of Clan Donald. Although the origins of Highland clans are more varied than once believed, genetic studies suggest about 40% of Macalister men worldwide are direct descendants of Somerled, a powerful 12th century warlord.

There are nearly as many different spellings for this name as there are people who use it, and most Macalisters will find a variety of spellings in their family history. (It is not true that Mac- is Scottish and Mc- Irish; both spellings have always been used in both places.) Some Alexander families are connected to this clan, having adopted the English name when they settled in the Lowlands, but the name Alexander was common throughout Europe and most Alexander families are unrelated. A hybrid form, MacAlexander, seems to have disappeared.

Like other southwest Highland clans, Macalisters spread into Ireland early on. Some were established there by the 14th century, descendants of Highland mercenaries called gallòglaich; others followed the Macdonalds of Dunyvaig to Antrim after that clan lost its Scottish lands in the early 1600s. Like the Macdonalds, however, Macalisters as ‘uncivilised’ Gaels were not considered appropriate candidates for the Ulster Plantations and so they are not technically among those now called Ulster Scots (or Scotch-Irish).

Before 1707, most Macalisters who went to the colonies did so as transportees. After 1707, however, the British Empire was opened to the Scots and many Macalisters took advantage of the opportunities offered by emigration – either as permanent settlers or as ‘sojourners’ seeking adventure or advancement before returning home. (Some West Indian Macalisters descend from sojourners who established temporary families with enslaved Africans there.) Macalisters were also among the early settlers in Australia, mostly willing emigrants rather than convicts.

Today the name Macalister is found all over the world, but primarily in places once part of the British Empire, especially Australia and New Zealand. Notable Macalisters include Arthur Macalister (1818–1883) twice Premier of Queensland, Australia; John Kenneth Macalister (1914-1944), Canadian war hero executed at Buchenwald; David McAllister (1971-) Prime Minister of Lower Saxony; Mary McAllister (1909-1991), silent film star; Miles D. McAlester (1833–1869), Union general in the American Civil War; and David McAllister (1963- ), artistic director of the Australian Ballet. For more information visit www.one-name.org/profiles/macalister.html.

Lynn McAlister is a professional genealogist and has been a Macalister historian since 1997. She researches the Macalister name worldwide as part of the Guild of One-Name Studies and maintains the blog ‘Today in Macalister History’.

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Guest Blog: What’s in a name? Pepler or Peplow?http://blogs.ancestry.com/uk/2012/12/06/guest-blog-whats-in-a-name-pepler-or-peplow-2/ http://blogs.ancestry.com/uk/2012/12/06/guest-blog-whats-in-a-name-pepler-or-peplow-2/#comments Thu, 06 Dec 2012 11:32:08 +0000 Emma http://blogs.ancestry.com/uk/?p=3866 Authored by Marie Byatt. Marie was born and raised in the Midwest, USA and has taught in Australia  and England. She started her family research in the 1970s and became serious in 2002 when she started her One-Name Study and became a volunteer at a LDS family history center. She is a member of the Southern Indiana… Read more

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Authored by Marie Byatt. Marie was born and raised in the Midwest, USA and has taught in Australia  and England. She started her family research in the 1970s and became serious in 2002 when she started her One-Name Study and became a volunteer at a LDS family history center. She is a member of the Southern Indiana Genealogical Society and the Three Lakes Genealogical Society. Her website can be found here.

Pepler or Peplow?

A common held theory is that Pepler is a spelling variation of the name Peplow that is of geographic origin – being someone that came from the town  of Peplow in Shropshire, England.  Like the blind men and the elephant – this is partly right and partly wrong

Both names appeared around the same time in separate places.  Pepler/Peppler/Bepler appears in southern England in the late 1300s and around Germany by the late 1400s.  Peplow/Peploe/Pepelowe/etc. appears in the Shropshire region of England by the 1300s and in Ruegen, Germany before 1600.

Since there is a town of Peplow in Shropshire as well as one of Pepelow in Ruegen, it would appear that the geographic origin of this name is probably correct.  In truth, the earliest Peplows in Shropshire are referred to as “ de Pepelowe” or ‘of Peplow’.  Again common knowledge would have it that Peplow come from ‘pebbled’ hill(low) but this would not account for the name in German.  A better explanation maybe that the towns were named for the Norse chieftain  – Pibba.

As the Pepelowes spread, different groups chose to use Peplo. Peplow and Peploe as their spelling.  Those that wandered south in England encountered the ‘R’ sound of the West Country and many became Peplers thanks to parish clerks and others recording their life events.

Pepler on the other hand appears to be an occupational name meaning one who nurses, feeds, cares for.   The Peplers of Wiltshire do not appear to have any connection to the town of Peplow  and may instead be connected in the ancient past to the European group.  This name has stayed consistently Pepler /lar/lor and never really crossed over to the ‘O’ sound ending.  Their coat of arms is radically different than any used by the northern groups

Notable Individual with these names would include

Andreas Pepler – Bishop of Estonia 1468

Samuel Peploe – Bishop of Chester 1726

Sir George Lionel Pepler  – Town and Country Planning Act 1947

General George Bateman Peploe – Recipient of the Distinguished Service Cross 1950

Samuel John Peploe – Scottish Impressionist painter

Albertus Jacobus Pepler – Zimbabwe land owner that died in the civic unrest in 2004

And one of the earliest notables

Brother Richard de Peppelowe was named in a complaint with other brothers from the abbey concerning general mischief in 1313 in Walleford, SHropshire

More on this Surname can be seen at www.pepler.tribalpages.com

Authored by Marie Byatt . Marie was born and raised in the Midwest, USA and has taught in Australia  and England. She started her family research in the 1970s and became serious in 2002 when she started her One-Name Study and became a volunteer at a LDS family history center. She is a member of the Southern Indiana Genealogical Society and the Three Lakes Genealogical Society. Her website can be found here.

Like many others, Marie started researching her one-name study to find a missing ancestor. Marie felt that if she collected all the Peplers into a big pile, sorted out the families and organized them, then her Richard would float to the surface. After about five years and several thousand Peplers/Peplows, Richard emerged. It turned out that he was born a Peploe, married as a Pepler, appeared on the census as a Peploe again and died a Pepler. Marie is an assistant at a Family History Centre.

 

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