Monday, November 9, 2015

Michael Blake, Johanna Jordan, and their children

Michael Blake and Hannah (Jordan) Blake were my great-great-great-grandparents. Their son John Blake was my great-great-grandfather, and his daughter Elizabeth (Blake) Gotsche was my great-grandmother.

Michael Blake
born 1799 in County Clare, Ireland
died November 1, 1877 in Ossian, Winneshiek County, Iowa

Johanna “Hannah” (Jordan) Blake
born 1814 in County Clare, Ireland
died ????

Michael Blake and Johanna Jordan were both born on the Loop Head peninsula in County Clare, Ireland, where they were married and their first six children were born. Between 1856 and 1859, the Blake family immigrated from Ireland to Clinton, Huron County, Ontario, where their youngest child was born. Michael and Johanna then immigrated to Ossian, Iowa, sometime between 1861 and 1870. Michael died there in 1877 and Johanna died at an unknown time before 1880. Both are buried at Saint Francis de Sales Cemetery in Ossian.

Their seven children:
  1. Ellen (Blake) McNamara (1836-1910)
  2. Timothy Henry Blake (1840-1924)
  3. Catherine E. (Blake) Moran (1845-1917)
  4. John Edward Blake (1847-1909)
  5. Michael Blake (1853-1935)
  6. Mary Theresa (Blake) Ormsby (1856-1939)
  7. James Blake (1859-1908)
1. Ellen (Blake) McNamara
born June 17, 1836 in County Clare, Ireland
died November 21, 1910 in Minneapolis, Hennepin County, Minnesota

Ellen was born in Ireland and immigrated to Canada when she was in her twenties. She immigrated to Iowa in about 1869 and married Michael McNamara, also an Irish immigrant, in 1869 or 1870. Ellen and Michael lived in Clermont, Fayette County, Iowa and Rockwell, Cerro Gordo County, Iowa. Michael was a laborer at a quarry. They did not have children, but they helped to raise several of Ellen's nieces and nephews. Ellen died in 1910 and Michael died on March 20, 1914. Both are buried at Saint Francis de Sales Cemetery in Ossian, next to Ellen's parents.

2. Timothy Henry Blake
born August 15, 1840 in County Clare, Ireland
died April 26, 1924 in Sherman, Newaygo County, Michigan

Timothy immigrated along with his family from Ireland to Canada. He lived in Tuckersmith, Huron County, Ontario for a time before moving to Muskegon, Muskegon County, Michigan in about 1862, where he worked as a sawyer and farmer. He later moved to neighboring Newaygo County, Michigan. Timothy married Catherine McClery on April 5, 1869, in Teeswater, Bruce County, Ontario. They had three children: Johanna, Mary, and Michael, before Catherine's death on January 18, 1875 in Muskegon. Timothy then married Johanna Elizabeth O'Connor on April 4, 1882 in Clermont, Iowa. Timothy and Johanna also had three children: Margaret, an unnamed infant daughter, and Timothy. Timothy died in 1924 and Johanna died on June 24, 1938 in Muskegon. They are both buried at Maple Grove Cemetery in Fremont, Newaygo County, Michigan.

3. Catherine E. (Blake) Moran
born December 1845 in County Clare, Ireland
died March 26, 1917 in Dougherty, Cerro Gordo County, Iowa

Catherine was born in Ireland and immigrated to Clinton, Ontario with the rest of her family. She married Thomas Moran on February 1, 1864 at Saint Peter Catholic Church in Goderich, Huron County, Ontario. They moved to Bloomfield, Winneshiek County, Iowa between 1865 and 1868, and then to Geneseo, Cerro Gordo County, Iowa. Thomas was a farmer. Catherine and Thomas had eight children: James, Mary, Anna, Catherine, Lillian, Thomas, Irene, and William. Thomas died on February 12, 1913 at their home in Dougherty and Catherine died in 1917 at her daughter Anna's home. Catherine and Thomas are buried at Saint Patrick's Catholic Cemetery in Dougherty.

4. John Edward Blake
born October 29, 1847 in County Clare, Ireland
died November 18, 1909 in Ashland, Ashland County, Wisconsin

John was born on the Loop Head peninsula in County Clare and immigrated to Ontario with his family. On October 22, 1867, John married Mary Ann Lavin at Saint Peter Catholic Church in Goderich. Shortly after their wedding, John and Mary moved to Laketon, Muskegon County, Michigan. John worked in a lumber mill, and continued to do so for the rest of his life. John and Mary had nine children in Muskegon between 1868 and 1885: Hannah, John, Catherine, Thomas, Michael, Ellen, Mary, Martha, and Elizabeth. In 1890, John and Mary moved to Ashland with six of their children. Mary died on August 18, 1894, in Ashland, and John died in 1909 at the home of his daughter Mayme. Both attended Saint Agnes Catholic Church in Ashland, and are buried in the church cemetery.

5. Michael Blake
born September 28, 1853 in County Clare, Ireland
died April 7, 1935 in Mason City, Cerro Gordo County, Iowa

Michael immigrated with his family from Ireland to Canada, and then to Iowa, where he worked as a carpenter. On January 14, 1886, Michael married Johanna Mary Kelly in Rockwell, Cerro Gordo County, Iowa. They lived in Rockwell and Mason City and had four children: Edward, Clement, Jerome, and Francis. Johanna died on August 30, 1924 at their home in Mason City, and Michael died there in 1935. They are both buried at Elmwood-Saint Joseph Cemetery in Mason City.

6. Mary Theresa (Blake) Ormsby
born August 15, 1856 in County Clare, Ireland
died December 1, 1939 in Chicago, Cook County, Illinois

Mary immigrated from Ireland to Canada when she was very young. She moved to Ossian, Iowa with her parents before 1870, and worked there as a domestic servant. She married farmer John Francis Ormsby on December 31, 1878 at Saint Francis de Sales Catholic Church in Ossian. They moved to a farm in Dougherty and had eight children: Loretto, Lorena, Mary, Martha, Robert, George, John, and George. Mary and John moved to Chicago, where John died on February 18, 1921. Mary died in 1939, and they are both buried at Mount Carmel Cemetery in Hillside, Cook County, Illinois.

7. James Blake
born March 15, 1859 in Canada
died November 28, 1908 in Washburn, Bayfield County, Wisconsin

James was the only one of his siblings to be born after the Blake family left Ireland. He grew up in Canada and Iowa before moving to Muskegon, where he married Sarah Anne Quigley on November 26, 1883. James and Sarah had one son, Thomas, and they adopted James' nephew, also named Thomas. They lived in Washburn, Bayfield County, Wisconsin. James died in 1908. In about 1920, Sarah remarried to Michael “Mike” Aspel. Sarah died on February 11, 1931 in Detroit, Wayne County, Michigan and is buried at Mount Olivet Cemetery in Detroit.


  1. Michael Blake and Johanna Jordan Blake are my great-great-grandparents. Mary Theresa Blake Ormsby is my great-grandmother. An interesting part of their story - the list of children includes George. George was born "George Duncan" and spent his first five years in an orphanage in New York City. George was only five years old when he was put on an “Orphan Train” in New York City. The train stopped in Dougherty. He was never formally adopted, but was their much loved son. As a young man he made his way west working as a laborer and on railroad bridge building gangs. But, he pursued his education at every step. He ultimately became the Superintendent of Schools in Washington State (Spokane I believe). I have a 14 page typed family tree someone put together a number of years ago that starts at the top with Michael & Johanna Jordan. Your great grandparents are on it (bottom page 9)but no further links. I recently connected with Jordan/Blake 3rd cousin (page 2) and he hadn't seen it before. If you're interested in getting a copy let me know. Finding this information is incredible. Thank you for sharing it.
    Take care, Kathy Novack (page 11!)

  2. Hello,
    Is there a chance you know who Michael Blake's and Johanna Jordan's parents were - date born and died? The only thing I ever found was the possibility that Johanna's mother's maiden name was Curtain and nothing prior for Michael Blake.
    Kathy Novack
    Pewaukee, WI

    1. Hi Kathy,
      I replied to your comments but I haven't heard from you. Email me if you'd like to talk about our ancestors.