One would never have thought that there would be so many Blancs/Blongs in the world today, that have all apparently track back to Claude Blanc, butcher, born about 1680. The lack of local records makes the task of pinning down any one Blanc from before 1800 difficult, if not impossible. Too many Blancs and not enough records! It is fair to say that the Blongs were certainly a family of butchers, from around 1700 through to the 20th century, and even gaining a mention in James Joyce's Finnegan's Wake. Finnegans Wake by James Joyce has a reference to them "Blong's best from Portarlington's Butchery, with a side of riceypeasy " Book III chapter 1.
1699 There were 2 families of Le Blanc in Portarlington at this date
My interest is in find who was the father of Elizabeth Blong (born about 1829 and married to William Watson in 1843). I have put together the chart of the Blancs/Blongs in Portarlington. The various forms of spelling seem to have been virtually interchangeable.
My father referred to the Blongs on his great-grandmother's side as "butchers", but that may only have been apocryphal. I have added information from Ronnie Mathews in Portarlington to family trees found on the web to get the tree of Blancs below.
There are many different spellings. i.e. Le Blanc, Blanc, Blong, Blang, Blank and even White and Peters. The later, born Peter Blanc changed his name to Peters. Blong is of undoubted French origin and was said to be gradually Irishing itself into Blong and is spelt so by the worthy butcher who rejoices now in the name and whose ancestor fled from the fierce dragonade in company with more distinguished émigrés - The Dublin university magazine 1854.
Unlike many of the other families that lived in or near Portarlington in past centuries, infant fatalities were unusually low in the 'Blanc' clan. When Ronnie Matthews brought this up with a Blong from New Zealand, he answered that he too had noticed this and believed the right answer was " other people may have had the money but as butchers the Blancs had the protein".
Jim Blanc, the organist who made the Blanc document that Ronnie Matthews sent me, made enquires with the older members to see why some of the Blanc, Huguenots converted back to the Catholic faith, and he got the following explanation. "Circa 1790, two young Blanc men in Portarlington were 'dating' two local Catholic girls and not being regular at attending the church service in St. Paul's which was always in French. The two decided to go one Sunday morning, when at that time each family sat in their own particular pew (for which they had to pay rent) and on entering the church found a doctor and his family sitting in 'their pew' and who refused to let them into it, they promptly turned around and went the following Sunday to Mass in St. Michael's. Having grown up with many of the later Blancs Ronnie Matthews would give credence to this story. Jim Blanc also said it seemed as if the Blancs had a 'love / hate' relationship with religion.
1788 probable birth of George Blong. Birth records for this time do not exist for Portarlington Church.
1813/15 probable marriage date of George Blong to Mary Holmes. One would expect this to be in Coolbanagher Parish, where Mary Holmes came from.
1851 There are 3 entries for George Blong in Griffiths, which are likely to be the same man, but I cannot be certain. Townland of Kilmalogue, which is only 1.5 miles west of Portarlington, he is renting 16 acres from Earl Of Portarlington (Mary, the widow of "our" George Blong died at Kilmalogue in 1877). 7 acres from the Earl of Portarlington at Derryvilla (1 mile north of Portarlington). And 4 acres at Tincrannagh (3 miles west of Portarlington). In addition a George Blong is given as renting out 26 Spa Lane, Portarlington to a Michael Brassil, while at the same time himself being the tenant of 29 and 30 Spa Lane.
1869, the French Church became the parish church in Portarlington in place of the English Church. However the perpetual curate since 1838 Dean John Wolseley, Dean of Kildare, kept the English Church open, and the two Protestant churches kept separate existences until 1887 when the church schools closed and the two churches amalgamated.
1871 there were 960 RC and 490 Protestants in Portarlington. Most of the richer Huguenots had already left in 1871 and it was the trades people that remained like the Blancs, Champs and Merciers. The Blancs were still butchers at this time.
In the end, my best shot at "my" Blongs is as below. Records of freeholders in Queens Co in July 1758 show Peter Blang, of Portarlington, a victualler (there is also a Thomas Blang of Portarlington recorded as a freeholder in 17 Apr 1775. There is a possibility that this is the common ancestor below. Note also that George Blanc b1788 records his occupation as Victualler in 1866
But with the "gap" in the French Church birth records, it is probably not possible to get any further.
A number of references to the Blancs in the 19th century from church and Custom House records And there is a recorded tree of a Henry Blong b1905 married Eldred Easton and emigrated to Canada, and who childern are recorded n the Portarlington register..
1842 a George Blanc had a pub in Portarlington. And when "our" George Blancs widow Mary died in 1877 she is recorded as a "publicans widow". Further there is the record of the licence transfer in Jan 1874 to William Watson of the licence of George Blong. As family records show George Blong died in Dec 1873, the facts appear to tie together well.
1843 My direct ancestor, his daughter, Elizabeth Blong married William Watson on 18 Sept 1843, and the marriage is in the Lea Parish register - William Watson of Clonsast marries Elizabeth Blong of Portarlington by licence
1856 Another child that married was Thomas Blong, who married Sarah in Cincinnati. The reference is Thomas Blong married Sarah Jane Williams on 13 Feb 1856 at Hamilton, Ohio source code, 5-P-L (1850-59)
1866 Marriage records of Susan Blong to Henry Connolly on 23 Aug 1866 at Portarlington gives father as George Blanc, victualler & farmer. When his wife Mary died in 1877 she describes herself as "publican's widow". This indicates that George was alive in 1866 and dead by 1877.
1873 To try to find the death of George Blanc b 1788, I searched the state records, which run from 1864, with no result. His wife Mary died in 1877 and was a widow. Given that there is a record of a Liquor Licence transfer on 2 Jan 1874 to William Watson of Portarlington from a George Blong, I would assume that this is when George Blong died, and it is his son-in-law, William Watson, taking over the licence. The Lee Bible has George Blance died 15 Dec 1873. George Blong ought to have appeared in state records, so either he was missed off, or recorded under another spelling. In fact he appears under "Blaney" in the index, and the entry shows that it is indeed him. . Elizabeth Watson, his daughter reports the death.
Blancs of Portarlington
George & William Blong There is another George and Mary Blong, as I had an email from a descendent of the other family. George Blong and his wife Mary, had among their children a son Thomas, the writer was descended from this Thomas, who was her great-grandfather. The Census of Ireland on 31 March 1901 gives George Blong as 82 (so born 1819) and his wife Mary as 71 (so born 1830). Their children were
Henry Blong Henry Blong was definitely born in Portarlington, Ireland - I also believe that his wife, Aldred Easton was born there as well - both around 1810, but no definite date of birth or marriage for either of them. I don't have any information on Henry's parents or siblings. Henry and Aldred immigrated to Canada at some point between 1836 and 1845 - their eldest 2 children were born in Ireland. They settled in York County (Toronto) and had 4 more children that I am aware of. One of their daughters, Sarah, married a Peter MacDonald and their son, Peter Jr. married my great x2 aunt, Annie Louisa Harris in 1902. Tragically, he died in 1903 and he has been quite a mystery; hence why I have so many Blongs in my tree. One of Henry's sons, Edward, build was a local businessman of some renown, not in Toronto, but in a small town to the North East called Port Perry. In this town he commissioned the construction of a business block known as the "Blong Block" - it stands to this day and is a cultural/heritage property due to it's unique and completely distinctive design. It seems that Edward had a flair for standing out amongst his peers. The town has caught fire twice since 1890, yet the Blong block has remained unscathed and seems to be somewhat invulnerable to flame, flood, heat, cold and wind. Ironically, I grew up in Port Perry and all of the years (15) I went into the many stores/shops in the building I had no idea that the original owner and designer was a relative (by marriage).
Peter Blong (info from Richard Ward on Ancestry in July 2009)
Peter Blong was a butcher in Edenderry, he had five children, Susan, (my great grandmother) born 1839-died 1880, John, born 1841- died 1889, George born 1844- died 1892, Joyce born 1845 - died 1850, Eliza born 1847 - died 1853.
Susan married Henry Crampton, Peter Blong married Isabella Crampton ,Susan's daughter Isabella Crampton (born 1862) married my grandfather Joseph Ward. All were baptised at a village called Clonbulloge, just outside Edenderry . My grandfather was born in Portarlington.
Peter Blong (from forum post on Ancestry by Julia Bates)
My great-grandmother: Elizabeth Dolan married John Blong in 1877, both lived in Edenderry, Kings Co. .(John died at the age of 47 in 1889.) they had 7? children: Isabella and Susan (twins) Mary Catherine(Kate) [my grandmother] Anne, Elizabeth, Peter,John. Elizabeth (nee Dolan) moved to Manchester UK. sometime around 1914? where she died and is buried with my grandmother Mary Catherine Graham (nee Blong). Elizabeth's father was James Dolan b.1835 d.1916.
Samuel Blong b1843 (from Maureen Robinson,
Canberra, on Genes).
"My" Samuel Blanc married in 1871 in Victoria, Australia. He provided the information on the marriage certificate, namely that he was born in Portarlington about 1843 (making him 7 years older than his bride, and that could mean he was even older but unwilling to say so) and that his father was William Blanc, clerk; his mother Elizabeth Nevin. Samuel was a saddler. Other Blancs in Victoria in the 19th century, of about Samuel's age were Christopher, Louis, George and Bridget. I have not connected them to Samuel, but maybe the names will ring a bell with you. I can tell you more about Samuel's life here if he belongs to you, but these are all the geneaogical clues I have. Other than assuming the family were originally Huguenots. (this could be this Samuel Blong, whom I know nothing about)
Jishua Smallhorn m Sarah Blong in 1864 (LynJohann on Rootschat)
Joshua Smallhorn Sr. married Sarah Blang (Blong) 13/12/1864 They had a son George and daughter (Ann) born 8/3/1866. George in turn was father to Joshua Jr b1919 and a daugher (the grandmother of LynJohann in Canada)
My name is Lorna Mills from Dublin. I am a descendent of the Blanc family through Elizabeth Blanc (1857 - ?) of Portarlington who was the daughter of Samuel Blanc (1834-1908) and Elizabeth Tinkler (1835-1889). Samuel is listed on Elizabeth's marriage records as being a butcher. Elizabeth Blanc married John Ward (1856-1934), a blacksmith living in Bracknagh, Co. Offaly on 11 December 1883. Their oldest son also John Ward is my great grandfather. John Jnr. (1885-1953) was also a blacksmith. This family group lived in Sha Lane in Portarlington in the 1901 census. John Jnr. married Susan Sarah Moody (1875-1952) of Clongarret, Co. Offaly in December 1913. Her parents were Robert Moody and Margaret Moody. There are many Moody families in the area all having intermarried.
I have done a separate page for the Blongs of Clonbulloge. And for the Blongs of Clonmore
Blongs in Index of Ireland BMD