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In 1867 Prince Edward Island became the birthplace of a nation with the creation of Canada, and every year thousands return to the province in search of long lost family links.
Renting cottages and digging into Prince Edward Island maps, people from all over the world come to look for genealogical links and long lost ancestors.
Take, for instance, the example of Suzanne from Cincinnati, who came to PEI to search for links to long-lost family members. Suzanne knew her grandfather hailed from the island, but had left in the late 19th century and moved to the U.S.
To her great surprise, they stopped at a historic site only to find an actor playing the role of a distant relative.
âI told one of the staff that we were attempting to find our roots, based on the little information we remembered from our parents,â Suzanne says. âTo our surprise, she said, âWell your grandfather is in the other room!ââ
The actor, it turns out, was playing the role of Suzanneâs great-great-great grandfather, who was born in 1852.
âNeedless to say, this started our search on a high note, and we learned so much about our family's background that day,â she says. âThe rest of our vacation there on PEI was wonderful, one that we will never forget. We visited at various locations all across PEI for 10 days and found the island to be a delightful paradise.â
Surely not everyone visiting the gentle island will have such a revelatory experience as the one that befell Suzanne. The chance however that they could discover roots on this island that links so many together keeps genealogists coming by the thousands each year.
And for those that donât have family in PEI, they can create their own memories through visits to the island, or return to the island seeking links to their own past, as is the case with Janice from New Hampshire.
âAs a child, every summer my mother took my sister, my brother and me to PEI,â she says. âMy family was not rich money-wise, but we were rich in love. The island seemed to nurture us each time we visited.â
It is a family tradition she continues to this day.
âNow, I am a parent myself,â Janice says. âEach summer I take my son to PEI. It is a family tradition that is transcending generations. My time on PEI holds some of my favourite and most treasured childhood memories.â