I’m in the process of writing up what I know about the Blanch family, specifically the relatives of my 3 x great grandfather John Blanch, in the hope that it will enable me to understand the lives of my Roe ancestors and their movements around London in the mid-19th century. (A refresher: John’s daughter Mary Ann Blanch married Daniel Roe, and their son Joseph Priestley Roe was my great grandfather on my mother’s side.)

Having sketched out some of the links between the Blanch, Holdsworth and Roe families, and written about the various children of John and Keziah Blanch, I now want to look at John’s brothers and sisters, whose lives and families overlap in different ways with my direct ancestors. I should acknowledge my indebtedness to other Blanch family researchers, especially Robin Blanch, whose work I have relied on for the earlier and less accessible records, and which has provided an invaluable foundation for my own explorations.

John Blanch’s father, James Blanch (born in Holborn in 1755) was married twice. In 1779, he married Jane Barlow in the parish of St. Anne, Soho, where she had been born in 1752. They were both aged 24. James and Jane Blanch had four children: James, born in 1780; Maria, 1781; Elizabeth, 1783; and another James (suggesting that their firstborn died), 1784. At least some, and perhaps all of of these children, were baptised at the church of St. Anne, Soho.

Jane must have died between 1784 and 1792, when James Blanch married again, his second wife being  Sophia Atkins, who had been born, like James, in Holborn in 1755. The wedding took place at St. Anne’s, Soho. James and Sophia had seven children: Mary Ann (born in Southwark in 1794);  Thomas( Holborn,  1797); Sophia Sarah (Soho, 1799), John (my ancestor – Holborn, 1802), William Henry (Clerkenwell, 1804), Joseph (Holborn, 1807) and David (Soho, 1810).

This is what we know about the children of James Blanch and Jane Barlow:

Maria Blanch married John Rodbard in Chelsea in 1811. I don’t think they had any children.

I’m not sure what became of Elizabeth Blanch – it’s possible she didn’t survive into adulthood.

According to another family tree at Ancestry, James Blanch(1784) worked as a bricklayer and married Martha Babey in 1814. They had ten children.

As for the children of James Blanch and his second wife Sophia Atkins:

Mary Ann Blanch married Thomas Harrison at the church of St George the Martyr, Southwark, in 1828. There don’t appear to be any children from this marriage.

Thomas Blanch, a coachsmith, married Ann Akerman Fletcher on Christmas Day, 1820, at St. Anne’s, Soho. Their first son, Thomas George, was born at Mutton Hill, near Clerkenwell Green, in 1821; Mary Ann Sophia in nearby Widnells Place in 1823; and William Henry at the same address in 1825.

Clerkenwell Green

William Henry Blanch married Martha Sarah Stokes at St Anne’s, Limehouse in 1825. Thomas and Mary Harrison (William’s sister) were witnesses. William and Martha had three children: James William (1826), David Henry (1829), and Eleanor (1835).

I haven’t been able to find out what happened to Joseph Blanch, though someone sharing his name and birth year emigrated to New South Wales in the 1820s.

David Blanch, the youngest child of James and Sophia, married Sarah Dickson at St Anne’s, Soho, in 1835. Marian (Mary Ann) Rodbard – David’s half-sister – was one of the witnesses. David worked as a coach-builder, and he and Sarah had five children: James George, born in 1836, William Henry, 1838, David John, 1840, Thomas Richard, 1842 (all of these were born in King Street, Soho and baptised at St Anne’s church), and Maria Jane, who was born in 1844, after the family had moved to Chelsea.

In future posts, I want to chart the movements of this generation of Blanches, and their offspring, around London, and describe their relationships with a number of other families, including the Roes.