Almost every line of my husband’s genealogy has early Mormon pioneers who crossed the American continent to settle in Utah. After arriving in the Salt Lake Valley, some were asked to settle other parts of the west, including my husband’s 2nd great-grandfather.
William Jordan Flake was asked to go south in 1877 to what is today the state of Arizona. He settled the town of Snowflake, Arizona, named for himself and Erastus Snow, a leader of the church in the area at the time. William was also asked by church leaders to practice plural marriage, or polygamy. He had two wives: Lucy Hannah White and Prudence Jane Kartchner. William had 13 children with Lucy and seven with Prudence.
This large number of children leads to a large number of descendants and a lot of “do you know…?” questions when people hear our last name. My husband has found a number of Flake cousins since living on the east coast. Usually, if they’re from west of the Mississippi River, they’re related.
The last place we expected this to happen was in Ireland. We found a small congregation to worship with while in County Cork. It was the first Sunday of the month, a day set aside by members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to fast, or skip, two meals and donate the money for those meals to help the needy. The congregational meeting on that Sunday is set aside as a testimony meeting in which anyone can get up and share their feelings about Jesus Christ.
I don’t always get up on those Sundays, but felt strongly about getting up that day. I introduced myself, shared a short testimony, and then sat down. I didn’t think much more of it. After the service, while making the transition to Sunday School, a man and his wife approached us and asked us more about our last name. He and his wife were vacationing from Arizona. It turned out he was also a descendant of William Jordan Flake. Using the FamilySearch app feature “Relatives Around Me,” they figured out that they were 3rd cousins!
Ireland wasn’t a place we expected to find living relatives, but we were happy to cross paths with some.
This post is part of my Ireland Genealogy Trip series.