If you read my last post, Don’t Just Be a Taker, Be a Giver, I discussed the idea that all of us, as descendants and researchers of the family of Capt. John Blakeney, have a responsibility to share in the work of actively looking for any contemporary documents or information that may be sitting in some dusty old archive somewhere. I have always thought that not everything that has survived is readily available.
One way we might be able to uncover something previously unknown is to utilize a website called archive.org. While I have known about it for some time, I admit I haven’t really put it to much use yet.
I have only begun looking at the website again after a couple of years, at least, and they have made some big improvements that may possibly help us dig up some previously unknown publication which had only been sitting on a shelf in an obscure library until being digitized.
Here’s my challenge to all of you – create an account at archive.org. After you are logged in, search in the “Texts” section. This will allow you to search in the collection of digitized books.
One of the very recent improvements allows you to search within the text of a book, not just the title or author. This is very significant, since it allows you to find someone’s name, for example, buried on a page somewhere within the book.
The website also includes collections from around the world, so if (fingers crossed!) there is some mention in, let’s say, an old book published in the UK or Ireland, of the family of John Blakeney (and keep in mind, there were many, so don’t get too excited every time you see that name), you will actually be able to read it in the digitized book.
Yes, I have started searching for Capt. John Blakeney. However, this is too big of a project for one person, so your help and active participation is needed. Don’t just search for “Capt. John Blakeney.” Try many different variations; “John Blakeney,” “John Blakney,” “Jno. Blakeney”… you get the picture.
If you find something, of course, please share it.