For a long time, the earliest Blythman on my tree was William (b. about 1746) who, with wife Sarah brought up their family in Wonersh, Surrey. Although where they were originally from had puzzled me, further study of the parish registers, including duplicates which record completely different names, has led me to believe that I can now go back two generations to Henry Blythman and Ann Trigg, who were married in 1700. Of course nothing is certain, so if you have other ideas, let me know....

Researching my own family tree, has inevitably led to the discovery of numerous, so far, unrelated Blythman’s, which has only served to fuel my curiosity about the history and origin of the name. Parish records give a good indication of how widespread the name was in the past (and still is), in both England and Scotland.

The earliest example I have found to date, is Bernard*, who was “living about the year 1175” according to “Morant’s Essex Volume II” (1816 reprint). There is further information about Bernard and his descendents, including a substantial tree in “Ducatus Leodiensis by Ralph Thoresby” (2nd edition, 1816). Other trees relating to this Yorkshire family can be found in “The Genealogist, New Series Volume XIV” and “The Surtees Society, Volume XXXVI” (1859) under the title “Blythman of Newlathes”.

*Spelt “Barnard” in “Ducatus Leodiensis”

Another notable example is John Blitheman (Blithman,Blytheman,Blythman) (1525-1591) listed in “The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians Volume 2” (1980), as an “organist and composer”. He is also listed in “The Dictionary of National Biography” where, described as “an organist and gentleman of the chapel under Queen Elizabeth”, his name is given as “William”.

To be continued.......

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