Bligh History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Cornwall in southwestern England provides the original birthplace of the surname Bligh. Nickname surnames were rare among the Cornish, they did occasionally adopt names that reflected the physical characteristics or other attributes of the original bearer of the name. The name Bligh is a nickname type of surname for a gentle or merry person. Further research revealed that the name is derived from the Old English word blide, of the same meaning.

Early Origins of the Bligh family

The surname Bligh was first found in Cornwall and Devon, where the name could also have been derived from the Cornish "blyth" as in blyth wolf. [1]

The "Blighs have been settled in Cornwall from the Norman Conquest to the present time. Norden mentions a branch of this family as residing in his time at Botaden in South Petherwin, in which house their arms still remain. When the Duke of Norfolk held a session of heraldry in this county, the Blighs resided at Bodmin. The Earl of Darnley is a branch of this family. The late John Bligh, Esq. and Admiral Bligh, are descended from the same common stock." [2]

Another early records of the family include: Gilbert de Blie, who listed in the Pipe Rolls (of Nottinghamshire in 1200. [1]

Early History of the Bligh family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Bligh research. Another 165 words (12 lines of text) covering the years 1558, 1610, 1615, 1619, 1646, 1723, 1505, 1588, 1600, 1687, 1728, 1725, 1654, 1710, 1692, 1693, 1695, 1699, 1703, 1710, 1687, 1728, 1685 and 1775 are included under the topic Early Bligh History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Bligh Spelling Variations

Cornish surnames are characterized by a multitude of spelling variations. The frequent changes in surnames are due to the fact that the Old and Middle English languages lacked definite spelling rules. The official court languages, which were Latin and French, were also influential on the spelling of a surname. Since the spelling of surnames was rarely consistent in medieval times, and scribes and church officials recorded names as they sounded rather than adhering to any specific spelling rules, it was common to find the same individual referred to with different spellings of their surname in the ancient chronicles. Moreover, a large number of foreign names were brought into England, which accelerated and accentuated the alterations to the spelling of various surnames. Lastly, spelling variations often resulted from the linguistic differences between the people of Cornwall and the rest of England. The Cornish spoke a unique Brythonic Celtic language which was first recorded in written documents during the 10th century. However, they became increasingly Anglicized, and Cornish became extinct as a spoken language in 1777, although it has been revived by Cornish patriots in the modern era. The name has been spelled Bligh, Blighe, Bly, Blye and others.

Early Notables of the Bligh family (pre 1700)

More information is included under the topic Early Bligh Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the Bligh family to Ireland

Some of the Bligh family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 90 words (6 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Bligh migration to the United States +

Some of the first North American settlers with Bligh name or one of its variants:

Bligh Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • John Bligh who settled in Philadelphia in 1821
  • John Bligh, aged 26, who arrived in America in 1821 [3]
  • Benjamin Bligh, who settled in New York in 1831
  • Edward Bligh, aged 27, who landed in New York in 1849 [3]
  • Bridget Bligh, who settled in New York in 1852
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Canada Bligh migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Bligh Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • George M. Bligh, who arrived in Ontario in 1871

Australia Bligh migration to Australia +

Emigration to Australia followed the First Fleets of convicts, tradespeople and early settlers. Early immigrants include:

Bligh Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Henry Bligh, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Katherine Stewart Forbes" in 1839 [4]
  • James William Bligh, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Katherine Stewart Forbes" in 1839 [4]
  • Lydia Bligh, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Katherine Stewart Forbes" in 1839 [4]
  • Mary Bligh, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Katherine Stewart Forbes" in 1839 [4]
  • Mr. Charles Bligh, (b. 1831), aged 26, Cornish labourer departing from Plymouth on 13th November 1856 aboard the ship "Mary Ann" arriving in Portland, Victoria, Australia on 28th January 1857 [5]

New Zealand Bligh migration to New Zealand +

Emigration to New Zealand followed in the footsteps of the European explorers, such as Captain Cook (1769-70): first came sealers, whalers, missionaries, and traders. By 1838, the British New Zealand Company had begun buying land from the Maori tribes, and selling it to settlers, and, after the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840, many British families set out on the arduous six month journey from Britain to Aotearoa to start a new life. Early immigrants include:

Bligh Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • J W Bligh, who landed in Wellington, New Zealand in 1840 aboard the ship Earl Stanhope
  • Mr. J. W. (G. Q.) Bligh (Blight), Australian settler travelling from Port Phillip Bay, Victoria aboard the ship "Earl Stanhope" arriving in Wellington, New Zealand in 1840 [6]

Contemporary Notables of the name Bligh (post 1700) +

  • Vice-Admiral William Bligh (1754-1817), English Admiral, best known as commander of the HMS Bounty in 1787, when mutiny occurred and Governor of New South Wales during the military coup in Australia (1808) [7]
  • Sir Richard Rodney Bligh GCB (1737-1821), English officer of the Royal Navy, a native of Cornwall, said to have been a godson of Lord Rodney [7]
  • Richard Bligh (1780-1838), English chancery barrister, cousin of Admiral William Bligh [7]
  • Algernon Stuart Bligh (1888-1952), English first-class cricketer
  • Edward Bligh (1715-1747), English peer, 2nd Earl of Darnley
  • Jasmine Lydia Bligh (1913-1991), one of the first three BBC Television Service presenters in the 1930s
  • Captain George Miller Bligh (1780-1834), English officer of the Royal Navy
  • Ivo Donald Bligh (b. 1968), English nobleman, Lord Clifton
  • Ivo Francis Walter Bligh (1859-1927), English nobleman, 8th Earl of Darnley, English Cricketer
  • Sir Edward Bligh (1795-1835), English nobleman, 5th Earl of Darnley, government administrator
  • ... (Another 1 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)


  1. ^ Hanks, Patricia and Flavia Hodges, A Dictionary of Surnames. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988. Print. (ISBN 0-19-211592-8)
  2. ^ Hutchins, Fortescue, The History of Cornwall, from the Earliest Records and Traditions to the Present Time. London: William Penaluna, 1824. Print
  3. ^ Filby, P. William, Meyer, Mary K., Passenger and immigration lists index : a guide to published arrival records of about 500,000 passengers who came to the United States and Canada in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries. 1982-1985 Cumulated Supplements in Four Volumes Detroit, Mich. : Gale Research Co., 1985, Print (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8)
  4. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) KATHERINE STEWART FORBES 1837 arrived Holdfast Bay, near Adelaide, on October 17, 1837. . Retrieved from http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1837KatherineStewartForbes.htm
  5. ^ Cornwall Online Parish Clerks. (Retrieved 3rd May 2018). Retrieved from http://www.opc-cornwall.org/Resc/pdfs/emigration_australia_victoria.pdf
  6. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 17th October 2018). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
  7. ^ Wikisource contributors. "Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900." Wikisource . Wikisource , 4 Jun. 2018. Web. 5 Feb. 2019


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