Reaching out

While I was reaching out to my Perry relatives, one of my uncles sent me the contact information of one of our second cousins, Bill… who, as it turned out, was the same Bill I mentioned in this post. It turned out he had been reaching out to my older relatives for more information.

I emailed him and he emailed me straight away and gave me access to his online Rothwell family tree, aka, my maternal grandfather’s mother’s family.

To say I was overwhelmed with what I saw would be an understatement. He had compiled literally thousands of records on our family. Now, not all of them are in my direct line, but he has records going all the way back to 1772 when the Rothwells were the Radwells.

Wexford County is in dark green. Photo from Wikipedia.

So far, the research shows that my original Rothwell ancestor was an Andrew Radwell. He married and had three sons in Ireland, but all three men died in Ontario. I investigated further and saw that the oldest of their children was born in 1840 in Ontario, which means my Rothwell relatives were in Ontario before then. That’s about 175 years of history in this province.

It wasn’t too long before I started wondering why the name was changed from Radwell to Rothwell, so I turned to my trusty friend Google. It quickly lead me to this page, which showed an Andrew Radwell being murdered in his home for being involved in the Irish Rebellion of 1798!

Based on the dates of the Rothwell boys’ births (1812-1820), this couldn’t be my Andrew, but I can’t help but wonder if it was his father? I hope one day to have the answer, but for now, it’s an interesting new mystery!

Just around the corner

As I mentioned last time, I recently started reaching out to people online who had an interest in my Perry ancestors. Very quickly I was put in touch with a woman whose mother turned out to be my dad’s father’s first cousin. She also turned out to be the woman who gave my uncle a lot of his information when he was working on our family tree so many years ago.

You see, my dad’s father died when my dad was a toddler and they lost track of that entire side. So, you can imagine my surprise when it turned out that this lady literally lived 15 minutes away from my parents’ home and had for my entire life!

She quickly offered to call me and about a month ago we had a lovely chat about the Perrys. She told me that the reason our Perrys came to Canada was because John Perry was a second son and was never going to inherit the family business, so he decided to get a fresh start across the pond. They arrived in Canada around 1820 and settled in Cookstown, Innisfil. That’s about 90 km north of Toronto- which will be an important fact in a moment.

Montgomery’s Tavern- the location of the Toronto Rebellion. Image from Wikipedia

Then she said that John Perry married Anne Armstrong, who could apparently read and write, which was impressive for the time. In 1837, John got involved in the Toronto Rebellion and was arrested! What she said next blew me away; apparently after John’s arrest, Anne Armstrong and her sister Margaret walked all the way from Cookstown to Toronto to visit their husbands in jail! Based on Google Maps, that’s a 16 hour walk! Now that is a determined woman.

I didn’t really know much about the Toronto Rebellion at the time of our conversation, but since then, I’ve done some research and I have learned that it was part of a larger rebellion that ultimately led to the British North America Act, which created the Province of Canada and set us on the path to being a country.

It was a pretty neat story, one that connected me again to my roots in Canada and an important historical event. It also showed once again that I come from a long line of trouble makers and I have to say, that makes me proud!