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About the study
My husband Mark and I are studying the Eastlake surname and the following variants: Eastlack, Eslick, Estlick, Easlick and Eastlick. We couldn't do this study without all the help we have received from others who are researching these names and we hope to hear from anyone else interested in these names.
Our interest is two-fold. My grandmother, Marion Eastlack, descended from Francis Estlake/Estlack, a Quaker who settled in the United States in the latter 1600s. We are fortunate that several studies have been done on the descendants of Francis, especially an extensive compilation by John William Eastlack, Sr and his son Tom in 1971. Our other interest is in my husband's cousin, Florence Eastlake born in London in 1891. Someday we hope to find a connection between the two lines.
We want to acknowledge the contribution that the participants in a Pharos One-Name Studies course made to getting this study underway. We did a group exercise over two weeks to find as many online occurrences of the Eastlake name and its variants as we could. The team was able to compile close to 100,000 occurrences in 585 sources worldwide.
The data available through Family History Societies, Online Parish Clerks and other online sources has already been a big help to our research but our most important source is hearing from others researching these families. We believe that the only way to build an accurate picture of our past is to share information widely and we welcome enquiries. Our e-mail address is listed below and our website is at mbaldac2.tribalpages.com. We will continue to develop this site in the future.
Several features of the Eastlake surname make it prone to variant and deviant names. First, it has a lot of vowels that can be changed to other vowels or dropped. Second, the 't' before the 'l' is often dropped. The earliest parish register that we've seen with this name is Bodmin, Cornwall where the family was present from at least 1566. In the course of two hundred years in Bodmin, we find in rough chronological order: Es(t)lake, Es(t)lack(e), Estlick(e), Eas(t)lake, Eastlacke and Eastlick.
The name continues to change frequently even in the 1800s, a typical example being Henry Easlick, born 1792 in Fowey, Cornwall. He marries as Eastlick, appears as Easlick in the 1841 and 1851 census, Estlick in 1861 and Easlick on his death record. In addition, the Eslick variant often changes to Eastlake so we assume that the two names had a similar pronunciation. To complicate matters, there is major confusion in census transcriptions between the Norfolk surnames Eastick and Estick and our Cornwall/Devon surnames Easlick and Eslick, where it is easy to mistake the written 't' for 'l'. In 1891, ancestry.co.uk identifies 65 people with the Easlick surname. We believe that almost 40% of these people are actually from the unrelated Eastick family. Primarily for this reason, surname distribution maps available online for the Eastlake surname variants can be misleading.
When searching for individuals in the censuses and other records, we use the wildcard search E()s()l()k() wherever possible to ensure that we are seeing most relevant occurrences.
According to ancestry.com, Eastlake is an English surname from Cornwall and Devon. It originated as a habitational name from Eastlake in Devon, named in Old English as east lacu the 'eastern stream'. Our research supports this finding and we believe that the name started in a rural farmstead called Byestelake in West Devon, England. The earliest uses of the surname that we've found to date are William Byestelake, a tenant in Stoke Damerel in 1333, and Thomas Estlake whose oats were trampled in Bratton Clovelly, Devon in 1377. Then we've seen that Richard Estlake filed a quitclaim to Sir John Shilston for messuages in Estlake and other estates in West Devon in 1452. The earliest family was probably peasant farmers in Bratton Clovelly. From that time, there is a volume of correspondence that documents the early Eastlakes in Devon, for example the appointment of Thomas Estlake as attorney for a lease made by the Arundell family in 1559 and Samuel Eastlake made attorney for the Mayor and Commonalty of Plymouth in 1665.
In a similar timeframe, the Eastlake family was taking root in Bodmin, Cornwall. We believe that Robert Estlake or Estlacke crossed from Devon to Cornwall in the 1550s with his parents and had a number of children from at least 1566. This family line flourished in Bodmin for several centuries. Early International Genealogical Index references to the Eastlake surname are dominated by Bodmin and many variant names appear in this region over the next two centuries. We believe that the variant name Eslick established itself in Kenwyn and the Easlick name in Fowey, Cornwall.
While the Cornwall family groups are now mostly connected in our tree, we still have a number of West Devon Eastlake groups that we haven't yet been able to connect together. Most of these families date back to at least the 1600s, they're in close proximity and we're confident that they're related. Our biggest research challenge at present is to identify the origins of a number of emigrants to North America. While we've been able to connect many of these emigrants back to England, there are still some very large families where we don't yet know the connection such as Eastlack of New Jersey, Easlick/Eastlick of New Jersey and Eslick of North Carolina and Tennessee.
Historical occurrences of the name
There are many noteworthy Eastlake (and variant surname) family members. The Eastlake family of Plymouth is especially interesting:
- Samuel Eastlake (b 1633) was attorney for the Mayor and Commonalty of Plymouth in 1665. In the 1680s, he's referenced as a 'notary publique, gentleman of Plymouth'.
- George Eastlake (c 1759 - 1820) started three generations of Admiralty Agent or Deputy Judge Advocate of the Fleet. He visited Spain in 1813 to discover Wellington's requirements for naval assistance. He also founded the Plymouth Public Library. George Eastlake (c 1791 - 1853) followed in his father's footsteps, as did grandson William Eastlake (c 1821 - 1881).
- Sir Charles Lock Eastlake (1793 - 1865) was a painter, curator of the National Gallery and first President of the Royal Photographic Society. He was President of the Royal Academy and knighted in 1850. His wife Elizabeth Rigby or Lady Eastlake (1809 - 1893) was a highly regarded art critic and art historian who became the first woman to write regularly for the Quarterly Review.
- Charles Locke Eastlake (1833 - 1906), nephew of Sir Charles, was a British architect and furniture designer who started the Eastlake Movement. This was a design reform movement where he 'posited that furniture and decor in people's homes should be made by hand or machine workers who took personal pride in their work.'
We also found the following:
- Thomas Eastlake (born circa 1650) was a merchant in Penzance, Cornwall who served as Mayor of Penzance in 1693.
- John Eastlake (1730 - 1818) and his wife Priscilla Hampton (circa 1736 - 1820) were among the earliest Methodists in Exeter. According to Priscilla's obituary, they were the first who entertained the Reverend John Wesley, 'the founder of that numerous and increasingly respectable society which bears his name'.
From North America, we are aware of:
- Francis Estlake/Estlack (born circa 1635) was an outspoken Quaker who left persecution in England only to face more in Bermuda, where he wrote a book on his religious views. He then settled in New Jersey and started the Eastlack family in the United States. Francis may be the brother of Samuel b 1633 identified above, although we are still seeking further evidence for this.
- Alfred Eastlack Driscoll (1902-1975) was a US politician, a member of the Republican Party. He first served as a Senator for New Jersey and then became Governor of New Jersey from 1947 to 1954. It seems fitting that he served the state in which the Eastlack family originated in the 1600s.
- Edward Everett Eslick (1872-1932) was a four-term Democratic Congressman from Tennessee. He suffered a heart attack on the Congressional floor during a speech to get cash payments for World War I veterans and his term of office was completed by his wife Willa McCord Blake Eslick.
Eastlake and its variants are rare surnames in England. In the 1841 census, we count about 70 occurrences of Eastlake (after corrections), 85 for Es(t)lick and 10 for Eas(t)lick. In 1891, this increases to about 180 for Eastlake, 135 for Es(t)lick and 50 for Eas(t)lick. It is difficult to analyse these families separately because the Eslick surname which established itself primarily in Kenwyn and Gwennap, Cornwall has often been changed to Eastlake in later years. In our current tree, about a quarter of the descendants of Nathaniel Eslick of the late 1600s have switched to the Eastlake surname by 1900.
According to the profiler at gbnames.publicprofiler.org, the frequency of the Eastlake surname was 6 per million in 1881 compared to 8 per million in 1998. Contrast this with the Eslick surname which was 5 per million in 1881 and 3 per million in 1998. Much of this drop was due to emigration.
Growth of these surnames has been rapid worldwide. In 1998, the frequency of the Eastlake surname was 15 per million in Australia and 18 per million in New Zealand. The Eslick surname was 23 per million in Australia and almost 11 per million in the United States.
Distribution of the name
Because of the many deviant names and transcription errors, online distribution information is of only limited use. In order to get a clearer picture, we are trying to reconstruct the families. Based on this reconstruction, we have found that in 1841 Eslick was the dominant name in Cornwall while Eastlake prevailed in Devon:
- Devon: Eastlake 44, Es(t)lick 8, Easlick 6
- Cornwall: Eastlake 10, Es(t)lick 69, Easlick 5
- London: Eastlake 15, Es(t)lick 8
- Total: Eastlake 69, Es(t)lick 85, Easlick 11
By 1891, London/Surrey became the dominant location and migration to the coalfields in the North was underway. In addition, Eastlake had become the most prevalent form of the surname:
- Devon: Eastlake 35, Es(t)lick 12, Eas(t)lick 30
- Cornwall: Eastlake 25, Es(t)lick 72, Eas(t)lick 14
- London: Eastlake 72, Es(t)lick 18, Eas(t)lick 4
- Durham: Eastlake 3, Es(t)lick 10
- Northumberland: Eastlake 26, Eas(t)lick 3
- Yorkshire: Eastlake 7, Es(t)lick 2
- Somerset: Eastlake 7
- Lancashire: Es(t)lick 16
- Other: Eastlake 5, Es(t)lick 6
- Total: Eastlake 180, Es(t)lick 136, Eas(t)lick 51
These trends continued in England and according to gbnames.publicprofiler.org, the highest frequency postal areas for the Eastlake name in 1998 were Newcastle, Truro, Plymouth, Stoke-on-Trent, Huddersfield and Greater London. For Eslick, the highest frequency areas were Truro, Crewe, Preston and Southampton. These names occur infrequently in other parts of the British Isles. In the 1800s, we're aware of several Welsh families as well as a couple who married in Renfrew, Scotland in 1805. The names Es(t)lick, Eas(t)lick and Eastlake still persist in Scotland today and the dominant location is still Renfrew.
As for overseas migration, religious persecution resulted in the start of the Eastlack family in the United States in the 1600s. The 1830 US Census reported 13 Eastlake, 135 Eastlack and 72 using other variants. However later migrations in the 1800s influenced these numbers, the migrations appearing to have taken place primarily because the mining skills of the Eastlake and Eslick families from Cornwall and Devon were welcome in many other locations. In the 1930 US Census, there were 185 Eastlake/Estlake, 974 Eslick/Estlick, 386 Eastlack/Estlack and 441 Easlick/Eastlick occurrences. The Eastlake surname and its variants now have significant populations in England, United States, Australia, Canada and New Zealand.
Mostly using census records, the England & Wales BMD and other Vital Records worldwide and information from other researchers of these families, we've done an initial family reconstruction of:
- Eastlake and all variants in the British Isles
- Similarly for Australia, New Zealand, Canada
- Eastlake/Estlake, Eastlack/Estlack and Easlick/Eastlick in the USA
The biggest omissions at present from this reconstruction are the large American Eslick/Estlick families, next on our list of research priorities.
We maintain indices of all the records that we've researched and are happy to share detailed information with other researchers of these families. In addition, our tree at mbaldac2.tribalpages.com has notes on each individual showing where we got the information from.