When my mother (nee Caswell) pointed me to the Caswell genealogy website, and specifically to the digital version of the comprehensive Our Caswell Relatives [Word file] book, I had high hopes for being able to dredge up some sort of Island connections in my family’s past.
Things don’t start off well; it appears as though my Caswell relatives missed the boat to Prince Edward Island from Ireland, literally:
Some ships advertised individually. For instance, on April 3, 1819, in a Limerick paper appeared an advertisement for passage on the Camperdown to Prince Edward Island, Quebec, and Upper Canada. The 599 ton vessel, sailing about the middle of May, offered “comfortable accommodation.” Actually The Camperdown did not sail until July 3. Carrying 256 passengers it left from Kilrush, farther down the estuary of the Shannon than Limerick, and on the opposite side of the river.
Later on comes what appears to be a death knell. In a section reviewing the history of Canada, the Caswell’s new country, we read:
In 1873 Prince Edward Island, a province as far as I know devoid of Irish Caswells, took its place in Confederation
Much later in the book comes a sliver of hope — an actual mention of a Prince Edward Islander:
William Leslie Kent was born in Content. Alberta, on October 19, 1907. His wife’s maiden name was Doris McFadyen. She was born on July 7, 1913. She lived in Winnipeg, but came of a family of Prince Edward Island Scottish immigrants from the Highlands.
William Kent’s mother was Myrtle Kent; Myrtle’s mother was Mary Jane Wellwood; Mary Jane’s father was William Wellwood; William’s mother was Jane Caswell; Jane’s father was Nathaniel Caswell; Nathaniel’s brother was Andrew; Andrew’s son was Nathaniel; Nathaniel’s son was Edgar; Edgar’s son was Ross; Ross’ daughter is my mother.
So, roughly, my “Island connections” are this: my great-great-great grandfather’s brother was the great-great-great grandfather of a man who married an Islander.
I don’t think I’m in any danger of receiving the keys to the secret Islander’s Only clubs nor being shown the secret Island handshake any time soon.