Welcome to Delving Deep.
After the introductory post I received around thirty emails with suggestions of topics for our blog medley.
Several people provided me with their particular brick walls and whilst this column is not about breaking down those genealogical walls directly, it is about helping you understand the background, substance and details that perhaps contributed to the life those ancestors had.
It helps to put the brick walls in to context and this is pretty much what I have done for this reader. Whilst I have put the information into context with historical information, the researcher will need to substantiate the claims with evidence.
The basic details I was provided with was a name , which was John BLIZZARD, that was found in Kentucky USA, coupled with the family belief that the family was Scottish/Irish and a potential year of birth for the individual which was 1720.
King James VII of Scotland and King James II of England ruled Britain from 1685 – 1689. Scotland at this part in their history was Roman Catholic, whilst England was not and this lead to King James being replaced by his daughter Mary and her husband, William of Orange.
Those who were loyal to King James and his heirs were known as Jacobites.
From 1689 there was heavy Jacobite oppression, which ultimately lead to three Jacobite Uprisings
• 1689 – Led by “Bonnie Dundee”, John Graham of Claverhouse
• 1715 – Known as “Mar’s Rebellion” or the fifteen. This uprising run into 1716 and was provoked by the death of the last Stuart Monarch, Queen Anne in 1714 and the subsequent succession by King George I
• 1745 – Known as the forty five, when Charles Edward Stuart (Bonnie Prince Charles) lead a Scots army against the Hanover dynasty.
After the 1745 Rebellion many defeated Scot Jacobite’s fled Scotland to the West Indies to become slave masters on the plantations. Many were also attracted to America especially the States in the South such as Virginia, North and South Carolina and Georgia where there developing plantation colonies.
What I have done is potentially set the scene. John Blizzard, if indeed he was born in Scotland in 1720 would have been 25 years old at the time of the third rebellion.
• Was he Jacobite?
• Was he Roman Catholic?
• Was he simply fed up with the situation in Scotland and wanted more from his life?
Statutory Registration of Births, Marriages and Deaths did not start in Scotland until 1855, therefore events prior to that would have been recorded in the old parish registers. Some of these have survived, and date from as early as 1703 but do not begin in earnest until 1790 and typically that applies to the Catholic records and the Anglican ones.
The correct way to research this further with more depth is to start from the most recently known individual and work progressively and methodically through each generation.
This means starting the research in the United States.
I can see from what I have been provided that it is potentially possible that the first migrant to the United States is John born approx. 1720, but it is important to verify the information gathered in the United States before crossing the pond.
There are some early references to the name of John Blizzard (and Blizard) in the early United States Census online at Ancestry and it is certainly worth exploring these.
The surname Blizzard is not a typical Scottish name, however because I have the name of a potential wife whose maiden name is a typically Scottish name then there is scope to continue with this hypothesis.
Whilst the name was report to be Scottish/Irish it is worth remembering that this may be true, but perhaps not at this specific point in your family history.
The history of Scotland and Ireland is complex and involved and next time we will be looking a little deeper in this area of research.