A special tree for Westlake…the day AFTER Arbor Day
On Arbor Day millions of Americans will celebrate Arbor Day with a tree planting. On Saturday April 25th (the next day) Westlake will celebrate with a tree dedication….one that represents a historical local family with branches going back to the 1600’s.
The Westlake Historical Society and the city of Westlake will be the recipient of months of research on the Clague family…the family named for Clague Park, Clague Road and of course Clague House, home of the Westlake Historical Society and the home built by Robert and Margret Clague. But this tree was artist-created, family history researched, printed, framed and will be hung inside the Clague home, 1371 Clague Road, Westlake, on a wall mysteriously vacant for many years (an old picture indicates there was something there years and years ago-possibly of Charles Clague’s likeness). A daughter, Sophronia Clague, was known to cover the walls with photographs. Members think Sophronia WOULD love this…some think she WILL love this as there has always been a notion that spirits reside in the home.
Lysa Stanton and husband Dave Pfister, immediate past and current presidents of the Westlake Historical Society have longed for a further knowledge of the Clague Family for many years and so their dream was realized when family history consultants Betty Franklin and Sandy Gray and artist and illustrator Val Lesiak volunteered to search and create a tree.
The presentation will occur at 8:30am during the Welcome at the 12th Annual Family History Conference at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 25000 Westwood Road, Westlake, on Saturday April 25. There are 113 names on the tree with 24 families and research of 222 events. Genealogist Betty Franklin remarked that “it was very rewarding to find the ancestors of a hard-working family who contributed to the beginning of Dover/Westlake by taming and making the land productive with their fruit trees.” That information led to the artist rendition of the family apple tree. The branches join together to make unions with the roots of the tree the sons and daughters of Robert and Margret Clague. The artist included a banner to identify the family name as well as using the Isle of Man’s motto at the bottom of the tree since this family can count that as the homeland.
Genealogist Sandy Gray was excited by the Isle-”they didn’t and still don’t in some areas have number addresses there, instead the name of the farm is the address.” Ms. Gray found the marriage contract for Finlo and Isabelle Clague, dated 1685, which mentions BallaCregga, the name of the farm that Robert Clague’s father owned-that gave her a place to anchor her research. Fellow genealogist, Betty Franklin, credits the Manx National Heritage Musuem with original images of documents. Websites included FamilySearch, MyHeritage, Ancestry, Find A Grave and Dusty Docs for the most information on parish registers and wills. The challenges included non-standardized spelling of family names (Clague was Claige). The family historians were recently able to verify the information they had gathered when data was released by the Isle of Man to FamilySearch, a site operated by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and available without cost to anyone desiring to research individuals and families.
It took months and months to gather this family information; Betty Franklin suggests those interested in establishing a tree to always start by interviewing your family for stories, pictures and documents…look in those attics, closets or basements. Little information is needed to begin, just a name. For one-on-one assistance, attend a local Family History Center at the Latter-day Saint churches in Westlake, Medina, Kirtland or Medina. Cleveland Public Library, Fairview Park Library and Western Reserve Historical Society are also resources for a search. These facilities have trained staff and assistance is always offered without cost. For more information go to lds.org or call 440.777.1518.