My Island Connections

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.


Justin's picture
Justin on January 18, 2003 - 03:21 Permalink

Camperdown… hmm… (strokes chin absently) Camperdown. Y’know, often enough towns were named for settler-bearing ships. Could the Camperdown have originally landed in Nova Scotia? Just a thought.

Wayne's picture
Wayne on January 18, 2003 - 16:33 Permalink

Maybe your significant other might have better luck then you in this matter…?

Andrew Chisholm's picture
Andrew Chisholm on January 18, 2003 - 16:42 Permalink

No island connections or not, you seemed to have settled in quite nicely and seem to know a lot of people in your community.

I’m the complete opposite of you’re issue here, Peter. My fathers side I can’t find any connections really, besides the family that lives here now. But on my mothers side I can’t seem to find anyone she is not related too. A quick search in my mothers maiden name brings up pages and pages of people who lived on Prince Edward Island. Not very comforting to think I could easily be hitting on my second cousin at a pub or something. :P I think the same story goes for most islanders. If you want to find a date, go out of the province.

Ken's picture
Ken on January 19, 2003 - 01:48 Permalink

Geneology is pretty hit & miss considering only the last name of our fathers is the foundation of it all. And what about the love child no one spoke of, or the changed names.
I think geneology is arbitrary at best; I feel closer to the anonymous guy sitting in front of me at a red light than I do to Uriah, my g-g-g-g-g-g-great grandfather.
Lineage is a throwback to monarchy and pure blood, and really just too much information. What about my roots? I’m not a tree! Geneology is a lot of vanity!
History is where the story is.

Alan's picture
Alan on January 20, 2003 - 13:19 Permalink

Ken, any good highlander would get the heebie-jeebies from that denial. Your Uriah must have been a good guy not to have curdled your milk once he read that post.

Ken's picture
Ken on January 20, 2003 - 23:32 Permalink

You believe in ghosts?

Alan's picture
Alan on January 21, 2003 - 17:12 Permalink

grannie didnae hae ita wrang, jimmy.