Sunday, September 22, 2013

British Isles Family History Society of Greater Ottawa Conference 2013

Another excellent conference for BIFHSGO and today was the final day. The Guild of One Name Studies table attracted a great deal of attention particularly after our panel presentation called "Success Through one name studies" which included John Reid as Chair and he spoke about his Northwood one name study, Sandra Adams speaking on her Shelverton one name study, Bill Arthurs on his Titus one name study and myself on my Blake one name study. I also returned  to the podium to speak about the value of the Guild of one name studies and Bill returned to talk about yDNA and the Titus one name study.

Bill and John have done their research on their own without being in the Guild.  I would have described the focus of Sandra's and Bill's research as being quite similar with quite similar results in terms of collection although Sandra's study is less than 1000 individuals and Bill's study is over 160,000 individuals. John and I have a similar approach in that we are looking at the name itself, how we fit into that name and some of the historical information that surrounds the surname.

It was interesting listening to everyone speak on their studies and the interest generated was quite high actually. Often one undertakes a one name study to break down a brick wall in their research but the other compelling reason is to learn more about a particular family and again Sandra and Bill belonged to the first grouping and John and I to the second.

Preparing for this particular talk allowed me to focus on the legacy which I wish to leave the Blake family during the next ten (or more) years of research on my part. I intend to complete the transcription of all the wills in my possession for the Blake family. This number is in excess of 1000 wills at the moment and I will be collecting more but hopefully I will be able to whittle away at that rather large number. It also  allowed me to formalize just how I would publish these wills (aside from my blog) in a meaningful way to make them available to Blake researchers in the future. Hearing that cursive writing may not be formally taught to children in the future I feel more urgency in my task as the ability to read these wills may fade with time rendering research into families more and more difficult than it already is. As a result I have decided to start the publication process as I work through the wills separating the wills into particular lines as I work my way through county by county. I will always have the option to consolidate or change but the task is so massive that leaving it until all the wills are transcribed would mean that I would have to stop my research and work on the consolidation for about six months I estimate before they would be ready to submit to Only the transcriptions and the analysis would be submitted - the original wills belong to the Crown for ever and are protected by that copyright.

I also hope to put together all 30,000 marriages for the Blake family in England betweend 1837 and 1911 with all the accompanying data and that will be a slow project although I have nearly 3% of these done and possibly more since I last gave a count to that. I will not publish that myself but rather it will be added to the Marriage Index at the Guild of One Name Studies.

I am also in the process of submitting each individual mentioned in every will to the Probate Index also part of the Guild records available to members. I have submitted several thousand lines already and that will continue to grow exponentially.

A third major task is my Parish Register Transcriptions and I am not yet sure how to publish those. I require the permission of the priest for each parish. Putting them on is a thought and I will have to look into that.

The Mediaeval documents transcription that I have been doing is published on my website (down at the moment) Blake one name study. I shall have to think about how to archive that once I step down from the Blake study.

The yDNA study is undergoing some thought. Bill Bleak and I are giving consideration to the idea of offering ten free tests obtainable if one submits a five generation chart to us for a line that we do not yet have in the study. I am trying to decide how feasible that is; is five generations enough to give us the ability to decide if the line is distinct. I am still in somewhat of a quandry on that point.

This year's BIFHSGO Conference featured Ireland and in some ways I was sorry to miss all the talks as I do want to start looking at the Blake family in Ireland. It is highly possible that the Blake family of Ireland is much larger than the Blake family of Great Britain (England, Wales and Scotland). The Blake family of Ireland emigrated to Canada and the United States particularly but also to Australia and perhaps New Zealand I am not sure about the last one however. Some believe this family to be distinctly Irish whilst other believe that they are descendants of Richard Caddell and still others that they are descended from Blakes who went to Ireland from England. In general those who are able to trace back to Ireland belong to the R1b haplogroup and 80 to 85% of Irish males do belong to this haplogroup.

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