TreeBuilders - latest news

22nd September, 2011

We are currently working doing research for a family whose roots are in Devon and Cornwall. Whilst delving back to the very earliest censuses we uncovered a fascinating tale.

Quite simply, almost all of a very large family disappeared! Now there can be many reasons for this, but exhaustive searching through death records and spreading further afield on census records drew a blank. Little did we know, however, quite how wide we eventually would have to spread the net...

It quickly transpired that the family had became some of the very earliest permanent settlers on Prince Edward Island, Canada. The patriarch of the family had run a shipbuilding yard. At the time of the Napoleonic Wars, timber was hard to source and shipwrights often imported lumber from North America. On one such voyage to the forests of New Brunswick, Canada, a fierce storm caused them to drop anchor in a safe haven. At sunrise the following morning, the storm having abated, they discovered that the inlet in which they had sheltered was surrounded by an unspoilt forest, full of trees ideal for ship-building!

So good, in fact, that they founded new shipyards in Canada. Business was profitable, and soon the extended family emigrated from Bideford, Devon settling in an area that became known as Bideford, Prince Edward Island. The place names in that area today all hark back to the homeland: "West Devon" and "Northam" being just two examples. Only only family member remained in England - the ancestor that we had been tracing.

You can imagine how impressed the family were to hear that their ancestors had helped found a colony in North America!