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Our 2,768 members have registered
2,405 study surnames with us
and a further 6,120 variant names.

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About the study

The Blake Newsletter (published four times per year, January, April, July and October).

The Blake surname in the 17th century was found in a number of distinct areas in the British Isles which included both England (including Wales), Scotland, and Ireland. There was also a significant Blake presence in the American Colonies well before 1700.

Bill Bleak ( ) and Elizabeth Kipp (maiden name Blake) are interested in pursuing the collection of Blake information worldwide with Elizabeth Kipp being the contact person at the Guild of One Name Studies.

Bill, Elizabeth, Susan and Linda run the yDNA project at FT DNA which has given us some very interesting information on Blake family lines and  a paper was published in Anglo Celtic Roots (journal of the British Isles Family History Group of the Greater Ottawa area) and a link can be found here:

An amendment to this study and a link can be found here:

Variant names

Variants currently in use: Blake, Bleak
Ancient and no longer current variants: Le Blake, Blague, Blaake, de Blakeland

Name origin

There are several theories with respect to the origin of the Blake surname. One school of thought states that Blake as a forename or 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.
William Arthur in his 1857 publication of an etymological dictionary of names gives the following for the name Blake: 'A corruption of the British Ap Lake from Ap, signifying from, or son, and Lake, the son of Lake. The family went into Ireland with Strongbow (1169), where the name became corrupted into Blake.'
One of the fourteen Tribes of Galway in Ireland has the surname Blake. These Blakes were said to be descendants of Richard Caddell, alias Blake, who was with Strongbow in 1169. Richard used the surname Blake in Ireland and his descendants have continued to do so.
Edith Bartlett Sumner in her 1948 book on her Blake family states that the surname was locational having been taken from the land which they occupied known as 'Blakeland.' Of note, there is a parish located south east of Calne called Blackland (Black and Blacke were alternative spellings for the name Blake in the Andover Parish Register). Interestingly, there are thirty three individual entries (in various counties) with the name 'Blackland' when a search is done on the current map of Britain using the Ordnance Survey.
A recent find of a 'Blake' Pedigree created by the College of Arms (UK) has the spelling Blague alias Blaake. This chart is held by the Wiltshire and Swindon History Centre at Chippenham Wiltshire. The first entry on the chart is (top of the pedigree) (transcription) Richard Blague alias Blaake of Wiltshire Esquire temp Edward I et Edward 2. (end of transcription) Since Edward I was King of England from 1272 - 1307 and Edward II King from 1307 to 1327, this dates Richard between 1272 and 1327. A note on the chart mentions a gift by Richard to the Knights Templar of a piece of property in Essex during the reign of Edward I. The Knights Templar were disbanded in 1312 thus giving a smaller range for Richard as an adult between 1272 and 1307. The chart to which I am referring is four feet wide by twelve feet long. The origin of the spelling Blague is unknown. Dr. J.W. Donaldson (Fellow of Trinity College) in Cambridge Essays on page 62 includes Blague in his list of surnames (under Suffolk) for which no origin has been found at the time of writing (1856).
The name Robert de Blakeland appeared as early as 1286 in the Wiltshire Roll of Subsidies which had been granted to King Edward I. The Wiltshire chart has Richard Blague alias Blaake also living in this similar area and your group of authors is presently investigating whether indeed this is the same person in that the chart lists his wife as Ann Cole who was also recorded as marrying Robert de Blakeland by other family researchers.
The origin of the name Blake is also considered to be Old Norse first appearing in Yorkshire, England, possibly derived from the word Blaker referring to a village and a former municipality of Akershus county, Norway (east of Oslo).

Name frequency

Entering the name Blake into a world names public profiler yields a frequency for this surname as seen below:Country Frequency per million
Australia 546.24
Ireland 519.41
United Kingdom 475.47
New Zealand 391.15
United States 274.12
Canada 257.19
Spain 4.82
Belgium 4.59
Switzerland 3.83
Denmark 3.74


My personal Blog contains information on the Blake family prior to establishment of the Blake one name study Blog: I have the fiche for a number of the Parishes in the Andover Registration District and I am in the process of transcribing them (thus far Knights Enham, Penton Mewsey, Upper Clatford and Abbots Ann can be found on the OPC Hampshire ( (or my webpage: I have completed Andover from the beginning of the register up to 1757 (an enormous proofreading effort that will not be posted for a while yet but please ask if you have queries). I have accumulated a lot of the early Blake material in Hampshire but particularly in the Andover RD. I have material on the Blake family of Wiltshire, Somerset and Devon but not quite as extensive (slowly growing). Barrie Blake has done a lot of work on the Blake family as you can see in his website (Links below).

The Plan is to complete the extraction of all the Blake Marriages from FreeBMD, match them up and use the census to separate families. This is an enormous task as there are nearly 30,000 Blake marriages in Free BMD.

I do have a lot of information on various Blake lines at Andover and environs so please write and ask.  I am in the midst of trying to discover the Charles Blake family at Abbotts Ann along with a couple of other researchers.

DNA Blake yDNA study was set up at FT DNA by Bill Bleak.  There are three co-administrators of the Blake yDNA project (Susan Osborne, Elizabeth Kipp and Linda Hurtubise).  The overall goal of the Blake yDNA project is to identify the various branches of the Blake family and to determine their ethnic and geographic origin; and along the way it is hoped to connect any sub-branches caused by a break in Blake male-to-male Y-DNA with their parent branch.