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 History Research

Bleas of Lancashire (3)


Origins of

the Surname

Variations of

the Surname

Armorial Bearings,

 Symbols and Mottoes

Locations of

the Surname

Internet Resources

Our Family History



Origins of the Surname

Origins of the Surname

An Introduction

to the Surname


of the Surname

History of

the Surname

More About


An Introduction to the Surname

An Introduction to the Surname

The practice of inherited family surnames began in England and France during the late part of the 11th century.   Surnames were first utilized in the Germanic region of central Europe during the second half of the 12th century.  The custom of taking on surnames began in the southern areas of Germany, and gradually spread northward during the Middle Ages.  It took about three hundred years for this tradition to apply to most families and become a constant part of one’s identity.        With the passing of generations and the movement of families from place to place many of the original identifying names were altered into some of the versions that we are familiar with today.  Over the centuries, most of our European ancestors accepted their surname as an unchangeable part of their lives.  Thus people rarely changed their surname.  Variations of most surnames were usually the result of an involuntary act such as when a government official wrote a name phonetically or made an error in transcription. 


Map of European Languages

Research into the record of this BLEASDALE family line indicates that the variations, meanings and history of this surname are most likely linked to that area of Europe where English linguistic traditions are commonly found. 

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Sources and Meanings of the Surname

Source(s) and Meaning(s) of the Surname

Most modern Germanic and French family names are a means conveying lineage.  For the most part, German surnames were developed from four major sources: (1) Patronymic & Matronymic surnames most common in northern Germany are based on a parent’s first name, such as Niklas Albrecht (Niklas son of Albrecht);  (2) occupational surnames are last names based on the person’s job or trade for example Lukas Fischer (Lukas the Fisherman);  (3) descriptive surnames are based on a unique quality or physical feature of the individual like Karl Braun (Karl with brown hair); (4) geographical surnames are derived from the location of the homestead from which the first bearer and his family lived such as Leon Meer (Leon from by the sea), or derived from the state, region, or   village of the first bearer's origin for example Paul Cullen (Paul from Koeln/Cologne).

Most of the modern English, Irish, Scottish, and Welsh family names throughout Great Britain have originated as a result of the following circumstances: patronym or matronym, names based on the name of one's father, mother or ancestor, (Johnson, Wilson). Each is a means of conveying lineage; occupation (i.e., Carpenter, Cooper, Brewer, Mason); habitational (Middleton, Sidney, or Ireland) or topographical (i.e. Hill, Brook, Forrest, Dale); nicknames (i.e., Moody Freeholder, Wise, Armstrong); status (i.e. Freeman, Bond, Knight); and acquired ornamental names that were simply made up.

       The BLEASDALE surname is of Scandinavian origin and is a locational surname from the place called "Bleasdale" or “Baisdell” in Lake District of Lancashire, England.  The name means "the bare spot on the hillside", derived from the Old Norse word "Blesi", a light spot or a blaze, used here in the sense of a cleared space or a variation in vegetation, with the Old Norse "dalr", Old English pre 7th Century "dael", meaning "valley".     The name Blease is probably an English variant of Blaise.    Blaise is a French and English vernacular form of Latin Blasius.   Blasius was a Roman family name, originating as a byname for someone with some defect, either of speech or gait, from Latin blaesus ‘stammering’ (compare Greek blaisos ‘bow-legged’).

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History of the Surname

History of the Surname

Most Germanic Surnames from Central Europe have their roots in the Germanic Middle Ages.  The process of forming family names in what is present day Germany began during Middle High German period in the history of the German language from the early 12th Century to the 16th century The nobility and wealthy land owners were the first to begin using surnames.  Merchants and townspeople then adopted the custom, as did the rural population.  This process took two or three centuries.  In most of the Germanic States of the Holy Roman Empire, the practice of using surnames was well established by the 1500s.

Surnames of the British Isles as we know them today were first assumed in Europe from the 11th to the 15th century. They were not in use in England or Scotland, before the Norman Conquest of 1066, and were first found in the Domesday Book of 1086. The employment in the use of a second name was a custom that was first introduced from the Normans who had adopted the custom just prior to this time.    Soon thereafter it became a mark of a generally higher socio-economic status and thus seen as disgraceful for a well-bred man to have only one name.  It was not until the middle of the 14th century that surnames became general practice among all people in the British Isles

The concept of French Surnames come from the Medieval French word 'surnom' translating as "above-or-over name," surnames or descriptive names trace their use back to 11th century France, when it first became necessary to add a second name to distinguish between individuals with the same given name. The custom of using surnames did not become common for several centuries, however.


     The BLEASDALE place name is recorded in the Lancashire Close Rolls of 1228 as "Blesedale".  Today Bleasdale is a village and civil parish in the Wyre district of Lancashire, England.  Within the parish is Bleasdale Church, probably the only one anywhere dedicated to Saint Eadmer

     The Bleasdale family of Chipping Parish was historically located within the locals of Dinkling Green and Blacksticks.  It was at St Bartholomew's Church, located in the village of Chipping, Lancashire where these families went to be christened, married, and eventually buried.  The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Henry Bleasdale (christening), which was dated 1528, at Bowland, North Whalley, Lancashire. Another early record of this surname within the Chipping parish is the marriage of John Belasdale to Mabell Parke was recorded on the 11th June 1590.

     Dinkley Green, (also known as Ashknotts, or Inkling), is located in the Forest of Bowland about four miles north of Chipping village.  Around 1600, one-half of the vaccary, (dairy farm), was sold by the Duchy to Alexander   Bleasdale, whose ancestors had been keepers in the Forest.   John Beasdale of the Dinkling Green, son of Henry and Ellen Bleasdale, was a husbandman who died there in 1616.  He had two sons Henry, and Leonard Bleasdale.  Another Alexander Bleasdale of Dinkling Green is known to have died there in 1661. 

     Blacksticks is composed of two farms (half a mile apart) west of Chipping village, called Great and Little Blacksticks.  These farms were for many years occupied by the Bleasdales, a family of local note, still represented in the parish.  From 1550 to 1800 Blacksticks it was owned by the Heskeths of Mains, for whom the Bleasdales were tenant farmers.   Among the “Bleasdales of Blacksticks” are Henry Bleasdale who died in 1616, and William Bleasdale, son-in-law of Henry, by his wife, Julian, had two sons, Richard, and Henry, who died about 1656, leaving sons, William and Michael.  William Bleasdale, son of Henry, was buried at Chipping, Nov. 5, 1679, leaving two sons, William and Lawrence.  William Bleasdale who passed away in 1717 left his property son Giles Bleasdale.  A Michael Bleasdale the uncle of the aforementioned Lawrence Bleasdale, died in 1700 and was also associated with Blacksticks.   Henry Bleasdale son of Michael, left by will, Jan. 24, 1729-30, his lands in Chipping and Goosnargh, held under Wm. Hesketh, Esq., to his son Michael.

Some Notable Persons or Places Having This Surname

Some of the best known persons or places bearing the BLEASDALE name or its close variants are:  Bleasdale a village and civil parish in the Wyre district of Lancashire, EnglandBleasdale Circle is a complex circular monument, probably built in several separate phases and dating to the Bronze Age; James Bleasdale was the curate of Admarsh Chapel from 1825 to 1828; Alan Bleasdale (born 23 March 1946) is an English television dramatist, best known for social realist drama serials based on the lives of ordinary people;  Steve Bleasdale is a Liverpool-born football coachMarcus Bleasdale (born 1968) is a British photojournalist, born in the UK to an Irish family. He spent over twelve years covering the conflict within the borders of the Democratic Republic of Congo and the work was published in his book One Hundred Years of Darkness, his second book The Rape of a Nation addressed the issues of the conflct being fuelled by natural resource exploration and was awarded the best photojournalism books of the year in 2009;  Holly Bethan Bleasdale (born 2 November 1991) is a British track and field athlete who specialises in the pole vault. She is the current British record holder in the event.

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More About Surname Meanings & Origins

More About Surname Meanings & Origins


Many German names have their roots in the Germanic Middle Ages. The process of forming family names began early in the 12th Century and extended through the 16th century. All social classes and demographic strata aided in the development of names. First Names (Rufnamen) identified specific persons. Over time the first name began to be applied to the bearer's whole family.  At first through verbal usage, family names (Familiennamen) were later fixed through writing.  Until the 17th century, first names played a more important role. The earliest family names derived from the first name of the first bearer (Patronym). Later names derived from the place of dwelling and location of the homestead.  If a person of family migrated from one place to another they were identified by the place they came from.  Of more recent origin are names derived from the vocation of profession of the first bearer. These names comprise the largest group and the most easily recognizable, for they tell what the first bearer did for a living.  Another group are names derived from a physical or other characteristic of the first bearer.  Finally, there are names that tell you the state or region a first bearer and his family came from; the age old division in tribes and regions (Low German, Middle German and Upper German) is often reflected in names.


Although the Domesday Book compiled by William the Conqueror required surnames, the use of them in the British Isles did not become fixed until the time period between 1250 and 1450.  The broad range of ethnic and linguistic roots for British surnames reflects the history of Britain as an oft-invaded land. These roots include, but are not limited to, Old English, Middle English, Old French, Old Norse, Irish, Gaelic, Celtic, Pictish, Welsh, Gaulish, Germanic, Latin, Greek and Hebrew.  Throughout the British Isles, there are basically five types of native surnames. Some surnames were derived from a man's occupation (Carpenter, Taylor, Brewer, Mason), a practice that was commonplace by the end of the 14th century.  Place names reflected a location of residence and were also commonly used (Hill, Brook, Forrest, Dale) as a basis for the surname, for reasons that can be easily understood.  Nicknames that stuck also became surnames.  About one-third of all surnames in the United Kingdom are patronymic in origin, and identified the first bearer of the name by his father (or grandfather in the case of some Irish names). When the coast of England was invaded by William The Conqueror in the year 1066, the Normans brought with them a store of French personal names, which soon, more or less, entirely replaced the traditional more varied Old English personal names, at least among the upper and middle classes. A century of so later, given names of the principal saints of the Christian church began to be used. It is from these two types of given name that the majority of the English patronymic surnames are derived and used to this day.  Acquired ornamental names were simply made up, and had no specific reflection on the first who bore the name. They simply sounded nice, or were made up as a means of identification, generally much later than most surnames were adopted.   Source:


Suffixes & Prefixes - While not in common use as in Italy or Sweden, some French surnames are formed by the addition of various prefixes and suffixes. A variety of French suffixes including -eau, -elet, -elin, -elle, and -elot, mean "little son of" and can be found attached to a given name to form a patronym. Prefixes of French surnames also have specific origins. The prefixes "de," "des," "du," and "le" each translate as "of" and may be found used in patronymic and geographical French surnames. Some French-Norman patronymic surnames will have the prefix "fritz," from the Old French for "son of" (Fitzgerald - son of Gerald). 

Alias Surnames or Dit Names - In some areas of France, a second surname may have been adopted in order to distinguish between different branches of the same family, especially when the families remained in the same town for generations. These alias surnames can often be found preceded by the word "dit." Sometimes an individual even adopted the dit name as the family name, and dropped the original surname. This practice was most common in France among soldiers and sailors.

Germanic Origins of French Names - As so many French surnames are derived from first names, it is important to know that many common French first names have Germanic origins, coming into fashion during German invasions into France. Therefore, having a name with Germanic origins does not necessarily mean that you have German ancestors!

Official Name Changes in France - Beginning in 1474, anyone who wished to change his name was required to get permission from the King. These official name changes can be found indexed in: Jérôme, archiviste. Dictionnaire des changements de noms de 1803 à 1956 (Dictionary of changed names from 1803 to 1956). Paris: Librairie Française, 1974.   Source: French Surname Meanings & Origins

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Variations of the Surname

Variations of
the Surname

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Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to unfold and expand often leading to an overwhelming number of variants.  As such one can encounter great variation in the spelling of surnames because in early times, spelling in general and thus the spelling of names was not yet standardized.  Later on spellings would change with the branching and movement of families. The complexity of researching records is compounded by the fact that in many cases an ancestors surname may have been misspelled.  This is especially true when searching census documents. 

Spelling variations of this family name include: Bleasdale, Bleasdell, Blasdale, Bleasdaile, Blaisdell, Blaisdale, Blesdil, Blesdill, Bleas, Blazey, Blazy, Blease, Blazdell, Blazdill, Blazedell and many more, (as noted below). 

Spelling variations of this family name may be ascertained through the utilization of several systems developed over the years.  The most prominently known are Soundex, Metaphone, and the NameX systems.  Of the three we recommend NameX as the most accurate for family historians.

Click on the button to find the variants of this or any other surname by utilizing The Name Thesaurus a ground-breaking technology for finding Surname and Forename variants.

The Name Thesaurus Button.jpg

This useful genealogy research tool has identified 385 million variants for 5,929,000 Surnames and 26 million variants for 1,246,000 Forenames, as well as gender identification for more than 220,000 Forenames.

NameX matched 151 spelling variations of the BLEASDALE surname. The top 20 are:

Metaphone is a phonetic algorithm, first published in 1990, for indexing words by their English pronunciation.  It fundamentally improves on the Soundex algorithm by using information about variations and inconsistencies in English spelling and pronunciation to produce a more accurate encoding. Later a new version of the algorithm named Double Metaphone was created to take into account spelling peculiarities of a number of other languages. In 2009 a third version, called Metaphone 3, achieves an accuracy of approximately 99% for English words, non-English words familiar to Americans, and first names and family names commonly found in the U.S.  The Metaphone Code for BLEASDALE is BLSTL.  There are 172 other surnames sharing this code.


Match Score


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The Soundex System was developed in an effort to assist with identifying spelling variations for a given surname. Soundex is a method of indexing names in the 1880, 1900, 1910, and 1920 US Census, and can aid genealogists in their research.  The Soundex Code for BLEASDALE is B423.  There are 4452 other surnames sharing this Code. 

If The Name Thesaurus doesn’t adequately address the name you are looking for check out the following link:

Top 10 Tips for Finding Alternative Surname Spellings & Variations

Searching for more Information about this and other surnames?

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Locations of the Surname

Locations of
the Surname

Locational Distribution of this Surname

Historical Distribution of this Surname


Locational Distribution of This Surname

Locational Distribution of This Surname

Knowing the geographical areas where the surname you are researching is clustered and distributed is an indispensable tool in deciding where to focus your research.  We believe that the “Public Profiler” website will open up to you a wide range of solutions which implement current research in spatial analysis.  This site provides an array of local spatial information tools useful to the genealogist. 

The information presented herein shows where the BLEASDALE surname is distributed within North America as well as in Europe the location of origin for this surname.      Statistics show that the country were this surname is the most highly clustered is United Kingdom with approximately 27 persons per million of population.  The density of population in the within the United States is 0.88 persons per million of population.  The top region in the World where this surname is the most highly clustered is North West England with 150.94 persons per million, and Liverpool, England, United Kingdom is the top city where this surname is found.

North America


Bleasdale - North America

Bleasdale - Europe

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Click on the LINK to the right to see more information about the World distribution of a surname.  You can

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LINKS to more websites that compute distribution maps for any surname.

·        Database of Surnames in the Netherlands

·        Database of Surnames in Belgium

·        Names Distribution in France

·        Map of the surname: Austria

·        Distribution of Surnames in Spain

·        Map of the Surname: Switzerland

·        Distribution of Surnames in Italy

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Historical Distribution of this Surname

Historical Distribution of This Surname

The main value in historical surname distribution databases and maps is that they enable genealogists to pinpoint the predominant location of a surname. This can quickly narrow down your search for a BDM certificate.  Knowing where to look is half the battle to finding ancestry records; if you can narrow down the search field it can save you a lot of time and trouble.  The core of historical surname distribution is that most people stayed within a fairly close locale.  Concentrations of surnames are clearly visible on Surname Distribution Maps, and name distribution tables (along with an atlas) make it quite likely that the origin of that name is from the area of its highest concentration.

The following “historical locations” for the BLEASDALE surname and some of its close variant spellings have been primarily extracted from either Burke’s The general armory of England, Scotland, Ireland, and Wales, or Rietstap’s Armorial General.   Both books were first published in the 1860’s and revised over the next two decades.  The information therein is relevant to that period as well as earlier times as far back as 1500.   Most of the locations cited by Riestap are on the continent of Europe such as Germany, France, Switzerland, etc.       









(2) = the frequency with which this place occurs.

We recommend that you utilize our Tools for Finding Ancestral LocationsIf you have an elementary knowledge of heraldry you may wish to use this practice to trace your founding forefather.  For more information about this approach to seeking out your ancestral locations see our Using Heraldry as a Family History Research Tool.  

LINKS to various websites that compute surname distribution maps within an historical context.

·        Great Britain Family Names - 1881 Census

·        England and Wales: 1891 Census

·        Scotland: 1891 Census

·        Distribution of surnames in Ireland in 1890

·        Family Name Distribution in Germany: 1942

·        Nom de famille en France: 1891-1915; 1916-40; 1941-65; 1966-90

·        United States: 1920

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Armorial Bearings, Mottoes & Symbols

Armorial Bearings, Mottoes & Symbols


An Introduction to

 European Heraldry


Image and Description of the

Armorial Bearings

Motto(es) Associated

 With This Surname

Heraldry as a Family

History Research Tool

More About

Armorial Bearings


An Introduction To European Heraldry

An Introduction to European Heraldry

The seeds of heraldic structure in personal identification can be detected in the account in a contemporary chronicle of Henry I of England, on the occasion of his knighting his son-in-law Geoffrey V, Count of Anjou, in 1127. He placed to hang around his neck a shield painted with golden lions. The funerary enamel of Geoffrey (died 1151), dressed in blue and gold and bearing his blue shield emblazoned with gold lions, is the first recorded depiction of a coat of arms.

       By the middle of the 12th century, coats of arms were being inherited by the children of armigers (persons entitled to use a coat of arms) across Europe. Between 1135 and 1155, seals representing the generalized figure of the owner attest to the general adoption of heraldic devices in England, France, Germany, Spain, and Italy.  By the end of the century, heraldry appears as the sole device on seals.  In England, the practice of using marks of cadency arose to distinguish one son from another: the conventions became standardized in about 1500, and are traditionally supposed to have been devised by John Writhe.

     In the late Middle Ages and the Renaissance, heraldry became a highly developed discipline, regulated by professional officers of arms. As its use in jousting became obsolete, coats of arms remained popular for visually identifying a person in other ways – impressed in sealing wax on documents, carved on family tombs, and flown as a banner on country homes. The first work of heraldic jurisprudence, De Insigniis et Armis, was written in the 1350s by Bartolus de Saxoferrato, a professor of law at the University of Padua.

    In the Germanic areas of Central Europe heraldry spread to the German burgher class in the 13th century, and even some peasants used arms in the 14th century.  A German coat of arms is usually referred to by any of the following terms; Wappen, Familienwappen, Blasonierung, Heraldik, or Wappenschablonen.

     In the British Isles the College of Arms, (founded in 1483), is the Royal corporation of heralds who record proved pedigrees and grant armorial bearings.  In Scottish heraldry, the Lord Lyon King of Arms in the Act of 1672 is empowered to grant arms to "vertuous [virtuous] and well deserving persons."

     Although heraldry in France and the lowlands of Belguim and Holland had a considerable history, like England, existing from the eleventh century, such formality has largely died out in these locations. The role of the herald (héraut) in France declined in the seventeenth century.  Many of the terms in international heraldry come from French.

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Gallery of Images

 Image and Description of the Arms 

According to all of the major printed resources about armorial bearings there are no coats-of-arms for Blaisdell, Bleasdell, Bleasdale,

Blaisdale, Blasdel, Blasdell, the other reasonable spelling variants.   The arms described herein have been attributed to a Bleas as this is the only arms that are remotely close to Bleasdale of Lancashire.

Bleas of Lancashire copy

About the Proprietor:  Burke has attributed this coat-of-arms as having been granted in 1671 to a Bleas of Chester in Lancashire, England.  Although it is not known who this person was it is possible that he was a descendant of Christopher Blease, a mercer, who was the Mayor of Chester in 1629-30.  Another possibility could be a descendent of Robert Blease who served as an alderman of Chester during the 1620’s.

Blazoning the Arms: A silver shield contains a black saltire and a blue chief.  Within the saltire a four black crescents. On the blue chief are two golden martlets and a sheaf of wheat.  There is no known crest associated with these arms.  

Interpreting the Arms: The saltire maintains a prominent position of these arms. Its design is a combination of the bend and the bend sinister in the form of an X. It is sometimes referred to as a Saint Andrews Cross. The saltire most frequently stands for protectionCrescents represent the moon that lights the night sky for travellers, though it does not resemble the shape of a crescent moon very closely. In English arms, such as these, it’s also a mark of cadency signifying the second son. The garb or wheat-sheaf signifies plenty and commendable hospitality in the bearer. It may also mean that the harvest of the bearer’s hopes is secured. One of the earliest appearances of garbs in heraldry was on the seal of Ranulph, Earl of Chester who died in 1232.  Garbs became identified thereafter with the Earldom of Chester, though they also appear in the arms of other families, some with a distant connection to the Earls and some without. The martlet, or heraldic swallow, is a bird perceived as swift and elegant and is a device for someone prompt and ready in the dispatch of his business. It may also represent one who has to subsist on the wings of his virtue and merit alone.

Descriptions of the Armorial Bearings

Heraldry symbols such as the colors, lines and shapes found on coats-of-arms are generally referred to as charges.  Although there is some debate over whether or not the charges have any universal symbolism many persons do believe they may represent an idea or skill of the person who originally had the armorial bearings created.  If this assumption has any validity charges may provide clues to early family history of that person.  The associated armorial bearings for this surname and close variant spellings are recorded in Burke’s General Armoire and Rietstap’s Armorial General.  The additional information, presented below, is offered with regard to the armorial bearings depicted above.   

When reading the following descriptions of these armorial bearings you may come across a term that you would like to know more about. 

Glossary of Heraldry Terms2

As such we recommend you utilize this LINK BUTTON to locate additional information within the classic resource book originally published by James Parker and Company in 1894.

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Mottoes of this Surname

Motto(es) Associated With This Surname

British Isles

A motto is a word or sentence usually written upon a scroll and generally placed below the shield, but sometimes, especially in Scotland, above the crest.    Many ancient mottoes were war-cries such as the Douglas motto of “Forward.”    Many mottoes refer to the name of the bearer, for example “cole regem” for Coleridge.   In general most mottoes convey a sentiment, hope, or determination, such as the Cotter motto “Dum spiro spero” where the meaning is “While I have breath I hope“.     Mottoes are often used by several successive generations, but may be changed at any time by the grantee. The languages most in use are Latin, French, and English.  Exceptions are seen in Scotland where they are often in the old Lowland dialect, and in Wales, often in the language of the principality.   


It is unusual to find a motto associated with the coat-of-arms of a noble of the European continent especially a German family.  This does not necessarily mean that the Germanic culture is devoid of mottos.  For example, the national motto of Germany is “Einigkeit und Recht und Freiheit”, meaning Unity and Justice and Freedom.  The German word for motto is “Wahlspruch.”   Some of the more well known German mottoes are as follows: Alte Wunden bluten leicht – Old wounds readily bleed anew;    Blut und Eisen – Blood and iron;  Das beste is gut genug – The best is good enough;  Ein’ feste Burg is unser Gott – Our God is a strong tower of defense;  Ewigkeit – Eternity;  Für Gott und Iht – All for God and her;  Gott is überall – God is over all;  Gott mit uns – God is with us;  Ich dien – I serve;  Krieg – War;  Mehr Licht! – More light!;  Nichts zoviel – Nothing in excess;  Prosit! – Good luck!;    Vaterland – Fatherland;  Vertrau’ auf Gott – Put your trust in God;  Vorwärts! – Forward!;        Zu dienen – At your service.


French phrases adopted as mottos, have a certain air of chivalry and perhaps a distinctly feudal sense of duty and allegiance. French mottos are more indicative of the warrior culture of the Middle Ages. Some of these phrases, however, are translations of better known Latin mottos, such as Toujours fidèle for Semper fidelis. Some of these phrases are often found in Old French spelling.  Examples of some well known French mottoes are as follows: Aimez loyaulté - Love loyalty;  Boutez en avant - Push forward;  C’est la seule vertu qui donne la noblesse - Virtue alone confers nobility;  Droit à chacun - To each his right;  En Dieu est ma foy - In God is my faith;  Foy pour devoir - Faith for duty;  Garde la foy - Keep the faith;  Inébranlable - Not to be shaken;  J’ai bonne cause - I have good reason;  Loyauté sans tache - Loyalty without defect;  Maintien le droit - Support the right;  Ni dessus, ni dessous - Neither above nor below;  Oublier ne puis - I cannot forget;  Parle bien ou parle rien - Speak well or say nothing;  Rien sans Dieu - Nothing without God;  Suivez raison - Follow reason;  Tachez surpasser en vertue - Strive to surpass in virtue;  Un Dieu, un roy, un foy - One God, one king, one faith;  Veilliez et ne craignez pas - Watch and fear not.

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Heraldry as a Family History Research Tool

Using Heraldry as a Family History  Research Tool

Wondering whether you are descended of the nobility*?  Are you aware of an ancestor who held a prominent political position or had a title such as Sir, or Esquire?  If so you just might be descended from royalty.   If you are of European descent, you are probably a descendant of Charlemagne.  Once you are able to prove your line of descent from him, you will then find thousands of links to other royalty in your list of relatives.  It is rare indeed that the genealogy of a person of European descent, when traceable, doesn’t hit nobility somewhere.  And once it hits one European noble, whether you like it or not, hundreds of new names will become a part of your family.

*The nobility is a class of people who had special political and social status. Nobility is inherited or granted by the Crown as a reward to people who perform a heroic deed, achieve greatness in some endeavor, or hold a prominent government position.


    If you have an elementary knowledge of heraldry you may wish to use this practice to trace your founding forefather.  If you know the geographical place (country, county, city) where the family coat-of-arms was first identified, you may well search its history for the family name in question in order to find your direct ancestor.  Remember that most noble European family pedigrees have been thoroughly researched and published.   By putting together the family surname with the known location you may find a treasure trove of valuable information about your ancestors.  Upon pursing your research you should be aware of the possibility of variant spellings of the surname.  See Variations of the Surname for more information about variant spellings of the surname.


Many family historians who have not connected with a noble ancestor may just want to know what their family coat-of-arms looks like.  If this is the situation you must know that except for a few cases, there is really no such thing as a standard "coat of arms" for a surname.  A coat of arms is a design usually granted only to a single person not to an entire family or to a particular surname.  Coats of arms are inheritable property, and they generally descend to male lineal descendents of the original arms grantee.  As a result you are advised to seek out a coat-of-arms for the locale where your ancestor resided.

For example: we have an Arnold ancestor who is known to have emigrated to America from the town of Erlangen, in Bavaria, Germany.  Current research shows Erlangen is located in the area of Bavaria known as Middle Franconia.  Upon review of the historic locations for Arnold as noted in one source of armorial bearings we find places in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, The Netherlands and others.   One coat-of-arms is listed as belonging to an Arnold of Franconia, Bavaria.  As such we may conclude that this is the coat-of-arms having some relevance to our ancestor.  He may well be a blood relative of the aforementioned noble Arnold.   He or his ancestor may have been employed by or a serf of the noble Arnold family of that locale.  In some cases the name of the noble family becomes the name of the locale resulting in the ancestor appropriating it a as surname, see Sources and Meanings of the Surname to ascertain whether the surname you are interested in is a locational name.

If you are interested in the armorial bearings of a particular surname we strongly advise that you utilize the resources provided within this area of our web page.  If you have any questions or need any assistance with regard to using heraldry as a means to further or widen your family history research you are welcome to contact us, see About This Webpage.

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More About Heraldic bearings

More About Armorial Bearings

The art of designing, displaying, describing, and recording arms is called heraldry. The use of coats of arms by countries, states, provinces, towns and villages is called civic heraldry.   A Coat of Arms is defined as a group of emblems and figures (heraldic bearings) usually arranged on and around a shield and serving as the special insignia of some person, family, or institution.  Except for a few cases, there is really no such thing as a standard "coat of arms" for a surname.  A coat of arms, more properly called an armorial achievement, armorial bearings or often just arms for short, is a design usually granted only to a single person not to an entire family or to a particular surname.  Coats of arms are inheritable property, and they generally descend to male lineal descendents of the original arms grantee.  The rules and traditions regarding Coats of Arms vary from country to country. Therefore a Coat of Arms for an English family would differ from that of a German family even when the surname is the same. 

Some of the more prominent elements incorporated into a  coat of arms are :

Crest - The word crest is often mistakenly applied to a coat of arms.  The crest was a later development arising from the love of pageantry.  Initially the crest consisted of charges painted onto a ridge on top of the helmet.

Wreath or Torse – The torse is a twist of cloth or wreath underneath and part of a crest. Always shown as six twists, the first tincture being the tincture of the field, the second the tincture of the metal, and so on.

Mantling – The mantling is a drapery tied to the helmet above the shield. It forms a backdrop for the shield.

Helm or Helmet - The helmet or helm is situated above the shield and bears the torse and crest. The style of helmet displayed varies according to rank and social status, and these styles developed over time, in step with the development of actual military helmets.

Shield or Arms - The basis of all coats of arms.  At their simplest, arms consist of a shield with a plain field on which appears a geometrical shape or object.  The items appearing on the shield are known as charges.

Motto - The motto was originally a war cry, but later mottoes often expressed some worthy sentiment. It may appear at the top or bottom of a family coat of arms.

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Family History

Family History

     Our Bleasdale lineage has been traced back to our 14th great-grandfather, William Bleasdale.  William was born 1463 at Forest Bowland (Bolland) in Lancashire, England.  He married Margaret Parker, daughter of Johannes Parker five children are known to have been produced of this union including Johannes Bleasdale through whom our lineage continued. 

     Johannes, born circa 1490, married Johanna Bonde, a native of nearby city of Preston, around 1528Six children are known to have been born to the couple.  Johannes made his living as a merchant as evidenced by records of the Court of Halmote, where on November 23, 1529, paid a fee for a license to "sell flesh."   The prosperity of he and his family is also found in court records that show a fine paid by for the escape of 6 pigs, the fact that Johannes was of a status acceptable to serve as a juror at the Court of Whalley on 7 April 1527 and as late as 1535.  

     John Bleasdale, son of Johannes and Johanna, was born 1530 at Forest Bowland.  Around 1555 he married Elizabeth Parker, a native of the Chipping.  John lived to the age of 72 years before he passed away at Chipping in 1602.  Among the four known off-spring of his marriage was our 11th great-grandfather Henry Bleasdale.

    Henry was born at Chipping Parish in 1559.  Although he had at least seven children it is not known who his wife

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Map showing the locations of the two Blacksticks farms in proximity to Chipping.

was.  Henry was a tenant farmer at Blackstick until his death in 1616.  Following his death the farm was occupied by William Bleasdale, the husband of Henry's daughter Julian, (our 11th great-Aunt).     Blackstick is a locale between Chipping and Goosnargh, and is made up of two farms called Great Blacksticks and Little Blacksticks, located about one-half mile apart.  These farms were for many years occupied by our Bleasdale

ancestors many of whom still live in the area.    From 1550 to 1800 Blacksticks it was owned by the Heskeths of Mains, and then passed on to the Addisons of Preston. 

     John Bleasdale, son of Henry, was the last of this family line to live his entire life in Lancashire, England.  Born in 1579 he took a wife named Margaret and produced three known off-spring.  John was76 years old when died at Chipping Parish in 1655. 

Map show the proximity of locations between Goosnargh, Blacksticks, and Chipping.


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     Our 9th great-grandmother Margaret Bleasdale, daughter of John and Margaret, was born about 1632.  She married Thomas Bracken, of Goosnargh, in 1662, at the Chipping Parish Church.  At least four known children were born to Margaret and Thomas.  She was only 39 years old when she died at Salterworth during the birth of her son William in 1671.  We are descended through her son William BrackenWilliam would eventually emigrate to the New World some thirty years later, thus becoming the progenitor of our Bracken family line in America.   

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Additional information about the persons in our database  as   well  as   a   complete  listing   of

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individuals with this surname may be reviewed by clicking on this LINK.

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Generation 1

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WILLIAM1 BLEASDALE was born in 1463 in Forest Bowland, Lancashire, England. He died in Lancashire, England. He married MARGARET PARKER. She was born about 1466 in Lancashire, England. She died in Lancashire, England.


William Bleasdale and Margaret Parker had the following children:


                        i.    JOHANNES2 BLEASDALE was born about 1490 in Lancashire, England. He died after 1545 in Lancashire, England. He married Johanna Bonde, daughter of Jacobus Bonde and Jane Bonde (Nee?) about 1528 in Lancashire, England. She was born in 1508 in Preston, Lancashire, England. She died on 18 Sep 1545 in Lancashire, England.


                       ii.    HENRY BLEASDALE was born in 1494 in Lancashire, England.


                     iii.    ALICE BLEASDALE was born in Lancashire, England.


                     iv.    ELLEN BLEASDALE was born in Lancashire, England.


                       v.    JANE BLEASDALE was born in Lancashire, England.

Generation 2

JOHANNES2 BLEASDALE (William1) was born about 1490 in Lancashire, England. He died after 1545 in Lancashire, England. He married Johanna Bonde, daughter of Jacobus Bonde and Jane Bonde (Nee?) about 1528 in Lancashire, England. She was born in 1508 in Preston, Lancashire, England. She died on 18 Sep 1545 in Lancashire, England.


Johannes Bleasdale and Johanna Bonde had the following children:


                        i.    HENRY3 BLEASDALE was born about 1528 in Lancashire, England. He died before 07 Jul 1584 in Lancashire England ?. He married Johanna Bleasdell, daughter of Richard Bleasdell on 30 Jan 1562 in Whalley, Lancashire, England. She was born about 1528 in Preston, Lancashire, England. She died on 12 Nov 1579 in Preston, Lancashire, England.


                       ii.    ELIZABETH BLEASDALE was born about 1529 in Lancashire, England.


iii.   JOHN BLEASDALE was born in 1530 in Lancashire, England. He died about 20 Jun 1602 in Chipping, Lancashire, England. He married Elizabeth Parker, daughter of James Parker about 1555 in Lancashire, England. She was born about 1535 in Chipping, Lancashire, England. She died on 11 Sep 1579 in Lancashire, England.


                     iii.    JOHANNA BLEASDALE was born in 1535 in Lancashire, England.


                     iv.    ALEXANDER BLEASDALE was born in Lancashire, England. He died on 19 May 1601 in Inkling Green, Lancashire, England.


                       v.    ISABELL BLEASDALE was born in Lancashire, England.

Generation 3

JOHN3 BLEASDALE (Johannes2, William1) was born in 1530 in Lancashire, England. He died about 20 Jun 1602 in Chipping, Lancashire, England. He married Elizabeth Parker, daughter of James Parker about 1555 in Lancashire, England. She was born about 1535 in Chipping, Lancashire, England. She died on 11 Sep 1579 in Lancashire, England.


 John Bleasdale and Elizabeth Parker had the following children:


i.      HENRY4 BLEASDALE was born on 15 Oct 1559 in Chipping, Lancashire, England. He died in Mar 1616 in Blackstick, Lancashire, England.


ii.    JENNET BLEASDALE was born on 28 Jan 1561 in Lancashire, England.


iii.   ALEXANDER BLEASDALE was born on 09 Sep 1571 in Lancashire, England.


iv.    MARGARET BLEASDALE was born on 09 Sep 1571 in Lancashire, England.

Generation 4

HENRY4 BLEASDALE (John3, Johannes2, William1) was born on 15 Oct 1559 in Chipping, Lancashire, England. He died in Mar 1616 in Blackstick, Lancashire, England.


Henry Bleasdale had the following children:


                      i.    JOHN5 BLEASDALE was born in 1579 in Chipping Parish, Lancashire, England. He died in 1655 in Chipping Parish, Lancashire, England. He married MARGARET BLEASDALE (NEE?). She died in 1645 in Goosnargh Parish, Lancashire, England.


                     ii.    JAMES BLEASDALE was born in Chipping Parish, Lancashire, England. He died in Apr 1639 in Goosnargh Parish, Lancashire, England.


                   iii.    ROBERT BLEASDALE was born in 1581 in Chipping Parish, Lancashire, England.


                   iv.    JULIAN BLEASDALE was born in 1583 in Chipping Parish, Lancashire, England. She married WILLIAM BLEASDALE.


                    v.    JENET BLEASDALE was born in 1585 in Chipping Parish, Lancashire, England.


                    vi.    ISABELL BLEASDALE was born in 1587 in Chipping Parish, Lancashire, England. She married Richard Bee in Apr 1622 in Chipping Parish, Lancashire, England.

Generation 5

JOHN5 BLEASDALE (Henry4, John3, Johannes2, William1) was born in 1579 in Chipping Parish, Lancashire, England. He died in 1655 in Chipping Parish, Lancashire, England. He married MARGARET BLEASDALE (NEE?). She died in 1645 in Goosnargh Parish, Lancashire, England.


John Bleasdale and Margaret Bleasdale (nee?) had the following children:


i.      MARGARET6 BLEASDALE was born about 1632 in Lancashire, England. She died in Sep 1671 in Salterforth, Lancashire, England. She married Thomas Bracken, son of Robert Bracken and Margaret Bracken (nee?) on 11 Jun 1662 in Chipping Parish, Lancashire, England. He was born on 19 Oct 1638 in Goosnargh, Lancashire, England. He died on 06 Feb 1682 in Salterforth, Lancashire, England.


ii.    ELIZABETH BLEASDALE was born in Goosnargh Parish, Lancashire, England.


iii.   HENRY BLEASDALE was born in Lancashire, England.

Generation 6


MARGARET6 BLEASDALE (John5, Henry4, John3, Johannes2, William1) was born about 1632 in Lancashire, England. She died in Sep 1671 in Salterforth, Lancashire, England. She married Thomas Bracken, son of Robert Bracken and Margaret Bracken (nee?) on 11 Jun 1662 in Chipping Parish, Lancashire, England. He was born on 19 Oct 1638 in Goosnargh, Lancashire, England. He died on 06 Feb 1682 in Salterforth, Lancashire, England.


Thomas Bracken and Margaret Bleasdale had the following children:








iv.      WILLIAM BRACKEN was born in 1671 in Salterforth, Lancashire, England. He died on 28 Dec 1749 in Mill Creek Hundred, New Castle Co., Delaware. He married Hannah Booker on 26 Jan 1692 in Slaidburn, Yorkshire, England. She was born in 1677 in England. She died on 04 Apr 1749 in New Castle County, Delaware.

Source Citations

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The WorldConnect Project continues to grow, as it now contains several hundred million records thus it offers researchers the single largest collection of family trees on the Internet.

Use this free genealogy site to help you get the best genealogy searches from Google™ by using your family tree, for your research. It will create a series of different searches using tips or "tricks"

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that will likely improve your results. The different searches will give you many different ways of using Google and the Internet to find ancestry information about this or any other Surname. 

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Source documents



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The documents contained within this “Source Documents Archives” have been located during our research of this family, and used as evidence to prove many of the facts contained within the database of this family’s record.   We have source documents related to the following persons within our database with this surname.

·         Bleasdale - Cited in, History of Chipping

·         Bleasdale – Cited in Chipping Parish Records 1559-1694

·         Bleasdale – Cited in Lancashire Wills; 1761-1780

·         Blasdell/Blaisdell family records : descendants of John and Agatha Tyldesley Bleasdell (off-site)

·         Parish Church Registers 1559-1694, Chipping, Lancashire

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archive of source documents.  

     Most of these documents can be considered as primary or secondary evidence.  Primary evidence is usually defined as the best available to prove the fact in question, usually in an original document or record.  Secondary evidence is in essence all that evidence which is inferior in its origin to primary evidence. That does not mean secondary evidence is always in error, but there is a greater chance of error.  Examples of this type of evidence would be a copy of an original record, or oral testimony of a record’s contents.  Published genealogies and family histories are also secondary evidence.

     Classifying evidence as either primary or secondary does not tell anything about its accuracy or ultimate value.  This is especially true of secondary evidence.  Thus it is always a good idea to ask the following questions: (1) How far removed from the original is it, (when it is a copy)?; (2) What was the reason for the creation of the source which contains this evidence?; and (3) Who was responsible for creating this secondary evidence and what interest did they have in its accuracy?

SOURCE: Greenwood, Val D., The Researcher’s Guide to American Genealogy, 2nd edition, Genealogical Publishing Co., Baltimore, MD 21202, 1990, pgs. 62-63

You are welcome to download any of the documents contained within this archive that does not cite a copyright.  Should you encounter a problem obtaining a copy you may get in touch with us via the contact information found at the end of this web-page.

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Migration routes

Migrations of the
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       Tracing our own family’s paths of migration can prove crucial in identifying previous generations and eventually, figuring out where and how they arrived in the “New World” as well as where they eventually settled.  Knowing the network of trails American pioneers traveled can help you guess where to start looking.  The trail map(s) provided below may assist you in understanding the routes that our direct ancestors of this family may have taken to find new homes and opportunities in the vast area now encompassed by the United States.

      During the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries hundreds of thousands of Europeans made the perilous ocean voyage to America.  For many it was an escape from economic hardship and religious persecution.  For most it was an opportunity to start over, own their own land, and make a better future for their descendents.

Immigration records show a number of people bearing the name of BLEASDALE, or one of its variants, as arriving in North America between the 17th and 20th centuries.  Some of these immigrants were: the family of Richard and Sarah Bleasdale, who arrived at New York from Liverpool in 1829 aboard the ship Thomas Dickason;  John Bleasdale who arrived at Philadelphia in 1848; and William Bleasdale who arrived at New York from Liverpool in 1841 aboard the ship Alliance.

Use the following links to find more early immigrants with this surname:

$ Search Immigration Records; or Free Ship’s Passenger lists at

The Development of an Historical Migration Route

It is understood that in many if not all cases we do not know exactly what routes our ancestors took as they migrated throughout the United States.   As such certain assumptions have been utilized to re-create the migration path presented above.  With regard to 18th and 19th century land routes we assume that they travelled along few trails and roads that were in existence at the time.  Research shows that a great many of these old paths and trails are today designated as U.S. Highway Routes.  For example, a major east-west route of migration known as the National Road is now U.S. Route 40, and a primary north-south migration route of the 18th century followed the Great Indian War and Trading Path is now U.S. Route 11.  In some situations the re-created migration route may travel along state routes that connect or run through the seat of a county as that populated place is probably the oldest settlement in the area. The use of water as a migration route is also likely.  For example, during the late 18th and early 19th centuries many families travelled west on the Ohio River as they moved on the new lands in Missouri or the Old Northwest Territory.  As such when applicable water routes have been included as the possible migration route.    

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Ancestral locations



Researching the locations where our ancestors lived has provided us with valuable evidence needed to fill in the gaps in our family trees.  It has also led us to many interesting facts that enhance the overall picture of each family group.

Locations of Our Direct Ancestors

The names of states and counties on the following list were derived from the known places where the Direct Ancestors in the “Ancestral Lineage” (see above) were born, married, and / or died.







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Resources which enhance our knowledge of the places inhabited by our ancestors are almost as important as their names. The LINK to the right will take you to Maps, Gazetteers,   and  other  helpful   resources 

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that will assist in discovering Ancestral Locations.  These web sites comprise only a small portion of what is available for researchers interested in learning more about where their ancestors lived.

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During our research we have collected images and photographs that are of general interest to a particular family.  Some of them are presented on this website because we believe they tend to provide the reader with additional information which may aid in the understanding of our ancestors past lives.  We have images related to the following persons within our database with this surname.


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About this webpage

About This Webpage



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