My Memorable Moment
My most memorable moment in researching my family history occurred early in 2003. My father phoned me about a letter he had received, inviting him to the 200th anniversary of the arrival of the “Brudenell Pioneers” in Prince Edward Island. The letter went on to explain that the MACLAREN family and others had arrived aboard “The Commerce” in 1803, and all known descendants were being invited to join in the 200th anniversary celebrations.
There was information about the planned activities and a book the organizers were putting together. There was an email address to contact for registration, ordering copies of the book, and further information. The problem was that I had traced my family back to my 4th great grandmother, Isabella MacLaren (b. 1780 in Scotland), but had not been able to connect her to the MACLAREN family history I’d seen on the “Island Register” website for Prince Edward Island genealogy.
I sent an email to the organizers, asking how they had found my father’s name, and explaining that while we’d love to attend if we were descended, I had not proven that our Isabella was the daughter of James MacLaren who had come to Canada.
I received a reply the next day, explaining that we were descended from the GORDON family, who had also come on the Commerce, and asking for more information about Isabella. She and her husband had moved to a different part of the island, and she had been lost track of. Could I please tell them what I knew about Isabella and the sources I had used? They wanted to verify the information so that it could be added to the book that was being produced.
So, in July of 2003, my dad and I travelled to Prince Edward Island for the celebrations. We attended a ceremony and toured the area our ancestors had settled. My father proudly played his bagpipes in a group alongside the Chief of the Clan MacLaren, who had come from Scotland. And we each bought a copy of the book, “Perthshire to Three Rivers”, which included all known descendants of the 30 people who had arrived on the Commerce, including our Isabella MacLaren.