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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright 2000 - 2014

Origins Available: English, Irish

Where did the Irish Blake family come from? What is the Irish Blake family crest and coat of arms? When did the Blake family first arrive in the United States? Where did the various branches of the family go? What is the Blake family history?

There art two possible origins of the Irish surname Blake. The first is that it originated from the Gaelic "O Blathmhaic," which translates as "descendant of Blathmhac," a personal name for the Gaelic "blath" meaning "flower", "blossom", "fame", "prosperity." The second was that the name could have been derived from the Old English word "blaec" meaning "dark" or "swarthy."


Names during the Middle Ages were often recorded under several different spelling variations during the life of their bearers. Literacy was rare at that time and so how a person's name was recorded was decided by the individual scribe. Variations of the name Blake include Blake, Caddell, Caddle and others.

First found in Connacht (Irish: Connachta, (land of the) descendants of Conn), where the Blake family were one of the Tribes of Galway, descending from Richard Caddell (le Blac), sheriff of Connacht in 1303, who came to Ireland with Prince John in 1185, and used both the surnames Caddell and Blake. The name Caddell is Welsh, and means "warlike." It was not replaced completely by Blake until the 17th century, and for three hundred years, people with these surnames were referred to in municipal records by both names. Richard Caddle was sheriff of Connaught in 1306 A.D. and was a tenant of Falway under Richard de Burgo (Burke), the Red Earl of Ulster.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Blake research. Another 231 words(16 lines of text) covering the years 1611, 1797, and 1849 are included under the topic Early Blake History in all our PDF Extended History products.


Another 24 words(2 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Blake Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.


Many destitute Irish families in the 18th and 19th centuries decided to leave their homeland, which had in many ways been scarred by English colonial rule. One of the most frequent destinations for these families was North America where it was possible for an Irish family to own their own parcel of land. Many of the early settlers did find land awaiting them in British North America, or even later in America, but for the majority of immigrants that arrived as a result of the Great Potato Famine of the late 1840s the ownership of land was often a long way off. These Irish people were initially put to work on such industrial projects as the building of bridges, canals, and railroads, or they worked at manufacturing positions within factories. Whenever they arrived, the Irish made enormous contributions to the infant nations of Canada and the United States. Some of the earliest immigrants to bearer the name of Blake were found through extensive research of immigration and passenger lists:

  • John Blake settled in Middletown, Connecticut

Blake Settlers in the United States in the 17th Century

  • Walter Blake, who arrived in Virginia in 1624
  • William Blake who came from Essex, England, sailed on the "Mary and John" in 1630 and settled in Dorchester, Massachusetts
  • George Blake settled in Gloucester in 1640
  • John Blake, who arrived in Dorchester, Massachusetts in 1642
  • Giles Blake, who arrived in Maryland in 1650

Blake Settlers in the United States in the 18th Century

  • Charles Blake, who landed in Virginia in 1702
  • Robt Blake, who arrived in Virginia in 1703
  • Cha Blake, who arrived in Virginia in 1714
  • Jane Blake, who arrived in New England in 1740
  • John Garrett Blake was a JP of Trinity in 1753

Blake Settlers in the United States in the 19th Century

  • Bryan Blake, who landed in Antigua (Antego) in 1801
  • Ellen Blake, aged 35, landed in America in 1822
  • Daniel Blake, who landed in Charleston, South Carolina in 1827
  • Matthew Blake, who landed in Maine in 1829
  • Bennett Blake, who arrived in Texas in 1835


  • Lillie Devereaux Blake (1835-1913), American author and reformer, known for her efforts in the women's suffrage and economic rights movements
  • Eugene Carson Blake (1906-1985), American Clergyman, general secretary of the World Council of Churches
  • Francis Blake (1850-1913), American inventor of a telephone transmitter
  • Lieutenant General Gordon Aylesworth Blake (1910-1997), American Air Force Officer who served from 1962-1965 as director of the National Security Agency
  • James Hubert "Eubie" Blake (1887-1983), American composer, lyricist, and pianist of ragtime, jazz, and popular music and recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom
  • Amanda Blake (1929-1989), American actress best known for the role of the red-haired "Miss Kitty" on the longest-running television drama, CBS's Gunsmoke series (1955-1975)
  • William Burdine Blake Sr. (1852-1938), American music composer and newspaper publisher
  • Marty Blake (1927-2013), American basketball executive, GM of Atlanta Hawks (19541970), NBA Director of Scouting (19762011)
  • Arthur Blake (1872-1944), American one time silver Olympic medalist for athletics during the 1896 games
  • Major Wilfred Theodore Blake (1894-1968), British pioneer aviator, travel writer and traveller who led the first attempt to fly round the world in 1922



  • The Blake-Ambrose Family History by Irma Ruth M. Anderson.
  • The Blaikes of Bibb County, Alabama,1819-1988 by Chester Rankin Johnson Jr.

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  1. Filby, P. William and Mary K Meyer. Passenger and Immigration Lists Index in Four Volumes. Detroit: Gale Research, 1985. Print. (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8).
  2. Best, Hugh. Debrett's Texas Peerage. New York: Coward-McCann, 1983. Print. (ISBN 069811244X).
  3. Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at Galveston Texas 1896-1951. National Archives Washington DC. Print.
  4. Browning, Charles H. Americans of Royal Descent. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  5. Fitzgerald, Thomas W. Ireland and Her People A Library of Irish Biography 5 Volumes. Chicago: Fitzgerald. Print.
  6. Hickey, D.J. and J.E. Doherty. A New Dictionary of Irish History form 1800 2nd Edition. Dublin: Gil & MacMillian, 2003. Print.
  7. Vicars, Sir Arthur. Index to the Prerogative Wills of Ireland 1536-1810. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co. Print.
  8. Bullock, L.G. Historical Map of Ireland. Edinburgh: Bartholomew and Son, 1969. Print.
  9. Hanks, Patricia and Flavia Hodges. A Dictionary of Surnames. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988. Print. (ISBN 0-19-211592-8).
  10. Grehan, Ida. Dictionary of Irish Family Names. Boulder: Roberts Rinehart, 1997. Print. (ISBN 1-57098-137-X).
  11. ...

The Blake Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Blake Family Crest was drawn according to heraldic standards based on published blazons. We generally include the oldest published family crest once associated with each surname.

This page was last modified on 20 February 2014 at 10:54.

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