Who Art Thou, John Lake?

The prompt for week 25 of 52 ancestors is Same Name.

A couple years ago, I was eager to dive deeper into genealogy work. I didn’t really know where to start since lots of work has been done, so I asked my dad if he had any thoughts about where to begin. My dad was interested in how the different branches of our lines that come though Augusta, Georgia and Edgefield, South Carolina interconnect with one another. He was aware of a few instances of siblings marring another set of siblings, but wanted to know more.

I took on the project, using a personal family history compiled by my great-grandmother’s brother about 50 years ago. I found many interesting connections between the many families that mostly lived in Augusta and Edgefield in the 19th century and added the information from the personal family history into our Ancestry tree.

John Lake

Which John Lake?

One night, around midnight, I was working on this project and my husband suggested it was time to bed. The next person in the document had no information, so I told him I would finish just this one more, a John Lake, my 3rd great-uncle. I added him and took a quick look at the Ancestry hints. There were a lot. I found several wives, documentation of travel to China, and newspaper articles recording his missionary work there. I got so excited about the find and I went to bed happy.

When I looked at it again the next day, I realized that there were two John Lakes! Finding a second census record in the 1880 census for a John Lake with different parents is how I realized the error. Through a little more work, I discovered the missionary John Lake and the uncle John Lake were cousins. The missionary’s father (George Blocker Lake) and the father of my uncle (Felix Fletcher Lake) were brothers, the latter being my 3rd great-grandfather. After sorting through the records, I found that all the documentation belonged to the missionary John Lake. I have found almost no documentation for the uncle John Lake except for the 1880 census when he’s living at home with his family. The picture above is the missionary John Lake.

Looking in the index of our tree, I count 16 John Lakes. Seven of these Johns are a direct grandfather. The name has been used quite a bit.