Guild of One-Name Studies
One-name studies, Genealogy
A study of the name 'Blaker' is being carried out by a group called The Blaker Society (TBS), in existence since 2009 as a not for profit association. Data is shown on a web site found at www.blakerfamily.org
The genealogy program selected is The Next Generation (TNG) and has about 7000 individuals listed.
The origin and maintenance of the name Blaker appears very much to be Sussex where all sources show a steady increase in so named people over the centuries; the earliest incidence of the name in Sussex was in 1276 whence it has increased steadily.
The two other points of origin for Blaker in England appear to be Wiltshire (with several generations of a single family), and Yorkshire where the name precedes The Conquest.
There are however early references to the name - usually 13th century, over several counties in England; but these instances are sole events.
In Yorkshire, the names Blakere, Blacera and Blachera appear about 1050 - 1065; the first as a Benedictine monk in Whitby, and the second two as alternative spellings for a moneyer to Edward the Confessor. There are four families of Blacre in Yorkshire in the Domesday Book.
"Blaker" is to be found in Norway and The Netherlands where there are parishes of this name.
The name may also be found - extremely rarely - in middle European nations with a Germanic history; but also in Eastern Europe, including Russia. Something to do with Vikings ? We have accumulated and put aside these instances for future review.
Blaker in England is very likely a variant itself; but of what other word or name is not clear. Following is a list of names which we know to have been written in parish registers and other documents and which were intended to be the name Blaker, but spelled according to the writer's sense of the word:
Blacker, Blachar, Blacher, Blachere, Blacor, Blakar, Blackar, Blackcar, Blacor, Blakyr, Blacar, Blakcar, Blakers, Blakor, Blayker, Blakyer.
Renshaw lists as medieval variants:
Blakkr, Blacre (Domesday), le Blaker, le Bleechere, le Blackere, le Blackere, le Blakar, le Blakyere, le Blecstere, le Blekstere, le Blechere, Blakker, Blecher, Blakere, Blacher, Blachere, Blecker.
The word Blaker almost surely originates in the words blaec and blac which are to be found in Old English, Old Norse, Old German, Old Scandinavian; in other words, in all the linguistic variants of the Germanic language as used 1000 to perhaps 1500 years ago.
Dependent on the length of the vowel when pronounced, the word can mean dark or black (blac), or alternatively, (blaec), white or pale.
One would thus assume that the name Blake represents the idea of a person who is fair of complexion, or light of skin, or of light coloured hair; while the word or name Blaker would presumably mean the person or thing which makes something else light or pale. It is from this reasoning that it has been concluded by some people that the word Blaker means "bleacher."
There is a single problem with this theory: that despite extensive research into early and mid-medieval instances of the name, we have yet to find a single instance of a Blaker who was also a bleacher.
There are two place names of that spelling: one in Norway, the other in The Netherlands. Research is proceeding as to the origin and time line of those names, with the relevant authorities and historians.
There was an Anglo Saxon Chief or King by the name of Blaecca, in the town of Lincoln, sometime in the 7th century; and its pronunciation is probably the closest yet found to the present Blaker. The habit of this King's people was to name themselves and the areas they settled with his name, indicating their tribal origin.
Even more romantic is the story of Blacar, the Norse or Danish Viking who invaded and held Dublin about the year 942, and who made himself King thereof; but a year or so later the Celts drove him off, and his son - known as Sitric McBlaker - took up residence on family lands in Yorkshire.
This story figures prominently in the family tradition of Blacker of Carrickblacker in Northern Ireland; but that genealogy ends around the usual early 1500s, and is replaced with hearsay back to the tenth century. Certainly, there are Blacker and Blaker people in Yorkshire; many fewer in the case of the spelling Blaker.
Given the above background, we have decided to pursue primarily the English Blakers.
Collected data is being assembled and will be posted on to the website early 2013. It will be searchable.
The website address is: www.blakerfamily.org
Registration on the website is free but necessary for admission.
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