Saturday, August 5, 2017

Who's Your Daddy - Part Two

Continuing with the theme of online family tree errors, the best defense is a good offense. Creating well-documented online family trees ourselves is our best defense against errors. This blog is one way to present more complex proof cases than can be done within the limits of the Ancestry trees.

My ancestor, Lindsay Lake of Morgan and Cass Counties, Illinois, has been named as the father of random Lake relatives. In the last post we looked at proving a negative -- who Lindsay's parents were not. This time I'll prove a positive -- the names of the seven children who were heirs of Lindsay Lake and the correct parentage of two women who were not his children.

Not Her Daddy

Two women who have been incorrectly named online as children of Lindsay are Precious Moore, born about 1836, and Ellen Lake, born about 1844.

Precious Moore was enumerated with Lindsay Lake in the 1850 census. Some researchers have assumed she was a married or widowed daughter of Lindsay. She was not. Precious was his ward and probably his niece. It requires only one piece of evidence to determine her parents -- her biography in a county history book. Her father's probate adds context. Her story is told in the blog post Precious Serendipity.

Ellen Lake truly baffles me. I'm not sure why she has been mistaken for a daughter of Lindsay. In the 1860 census of Brown County, Illinois, Ellen is living with her parents, Margaret Ann Long and Israel Lake. She married Richard M Williamson on June 23, 1861, in Cass County. Richard and Ellen acquired land near Lindsay Lake and lived next to several other members of the extended Lake family in Morgan County. The 1870 census shows quite a list of related people living around Lindsay, including the Williamsons.

Ellen Lake Williamson is mentioned in the obituary of her brother, William Harrison Lake. The obituary appeared in the Meredosia Budget on May 20, 1905, and not only states their parentage, but also ties together several branches of the Lake family.
While a small child he was brought by his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Israel Lake, to the immediate vicinity of Meredosia ...
He is also survived by one brother, Jonathan Lake of Clayton, and probably one sister, Mrs. Ellen Williamson, is still living. H.L. Lake and Mrs. Lourissa J. Hale of Meredosia are first cousins of the deceased.
Ellen Lake Williamson and her siblings were first cousins to the children of Jesse Lake and Mary Polly Riddle -- children who were raised by Harrison Lord/Laird Lake. That family relationship was explored in the previous post in this series. The addition of this obituary helps to document the relationship of three brothers: Jesse Lake, Israel Lake and Harrison Lord/Laird Lake.

Solved in Chancery Court, not in Probate

Lindsay Lake had a will, but it was not well done. It listed bequests to his minor children, but not his adult children. That omission triggered a court fight among his heirs and generated many pages of Chancery Court records in Morgan County, Illinois. The pages are scrawled and hard to read. However, the heirs were definitively listed in the court filings. There were seven children and a widow, but no other heirs. These are the seven children of Lindsay Lake (1813-1876):

Aaron Lake, 1835-1909, married Sarah Elizabeth Bosseck (my line)
Cynthiana Lake, 1837-1906, married Nathaniel Bert Fanning
John Lindsay Lake, 1840-1896, married Elizabeth C Keller
Josephine Lake, 1861-, married Charles T Kessler
George B McClellan Lake, about 1864-
Isaac H Lake, 1866-1943, married Sarah Slater
Susan A Lake, about 1872-

Following are copies of a few key pages from the Chancery Court case file. As always, I'm happy to share full size copies of this file by email, if you leave a comment with your email address, which will remain private.

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