Irish Roots

Irish Roots

Here’s my story about how I found “our” Irish Roots.

I had been researching my husband’s family tree for some time when I finally made an exciting break through. As far as I know, my Father-in-law did not know his grandparents. So, he didn’t have much of an idea of where they came from originally. So it was pretty thrilling when I found a direct connection to his Immigrant Ancestor from Ireland. Both my husband and his dad were surprised to hear that they are indeed Irish.

The first clue that I came across proving his Irish descent was on an 1881 Canadian Census record that I found on Ancestry.com. I was able to attach it to my husband’s 2x Great-Grandfather, William Wright. You can read more about William Wright on my previous post here.

In the screenshot below, William is listed on the census with his wife, Elizabeth Quirt and their son, David Arthur Wright.

Wright, William (age 27) Methodist. Irish. Blacksmith.

From that clue I was able to trace the line back to his father (yet another David Wright) and his father before him…John Wright, who was born December 24th in the year 1796. This would be my husband’s 4 x Great-Grandfather.

Finally I had a record of immigration from Sligo, Ireland. Here’s the kicker… I seem to have misplaced that record. I know for certain that I had it saved on Ancestry and now as it is with Ancestry sometimes… poof!! It’s gone. So frustrating!!

It just goes to show that you should always print or save copies of what you find. Record your sources. I’m not sure why that record would just disappear but I am positive that I saw it. I wouldn’t have just came up with the name Sligo.

So, my next question that I need answered is this… Is John Wright actually from Sligo? Or is that just the port that the ship departed from? How and where do I continue with this search? Out of desperation I tried Google.

I was able to find some reference to Irish Immigration to the USA on Olive Tree Genealogy. This is a great website!! I found reference to John Wright aboard the Brig Juno from Sligo and now I had a date! He arrived in the port of New York on August 16th 1816. From there I found a clipping from the Irish-American newspaper “The Shamrock” dated August 17th, 1816.

So there he is… John Wright arriving in New York City on board the sloop MacDonough from New London, CT having been transferred there from the brig Juno from Sligo, Ireland ! I know that this is our John Wright because the dates all match up… at the time he would have been 19 years old and we find him 7 years later (1823) still in New York, marrying Sophia Draper. They had several children together before immigrating to Canada.

As it is with genealogy sometimes, I now find myself with even more questions than when I began… who is Mariam Wright? Who is Jane Wright? My assumption is that they must be sisters or perhaps a mother and a sister? It sure would be helpful if they had recorded ages on the passenger lists! There was also another “Wright” on the ship, a James Wright, but he is listed as coming from Newtownstewart, Ireland which is approximately 100 km from Sligo. Could he be a relative as well? Is it just a mere coincidence that John and Sophia’s first born child was also named James Wright? Or one of their daughter’s Jane Wright??? More research is obviously needed. Does anybody have any suggestions for me??? Perhaps a trip to Ireland is in our future!!

I am also curious as to what prompted the voyage to America? Why did so many young Irish men and women make the 56 day long journey across the Atlantic?


Screenshot from http://www.datesandevents.org

I clearly have so much more to learn. For now John Wright is my “brick wall” in the Wright Family Tree. So if anyone has any suggestions I’d love to hear from you!!

John and Sophia Wright are buried at Pioneer Cemetery in the Mount Forest area of Ontario, Canada. One day I hope to get there and pay our respects for their long journey that led us here to Canada.

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William Wright MP

William Wright MP

This is my husband’s 2x Great Grandfather. His name is William Wright. He was born on October 29, 1853 in Egremont, Ontario (in Grey County). His parents were David Wright and Susannah Foster. From what I can see his mom was only 17 years old when she had him, his father 22. It seems to me like he was the eldest of 12 children!!?!!

One thing that was really interesting for us to note is that his father is listed as Irish. This was news to us at the time we discovered William Wright, because we had no idea the Wright family came from Ireland! If we were needing another reason to drink green beer and celebrate St.Patty’s Day…we had just found it. Yes!!

William Wright, MP

He made his living carriage making and general blacksmithing for many years. He then ran a grocery business on the northeast corner of Main and West Streets in Huntsville, Ontario.

1895 Huntsville Forester Newspaper Clipping

He and his wife, Mary Elizabeth Quirt lived their in their home on Lorne Street. We had a chance to visit Huntsville a couple of years ago, so of course we went to see the house…which has a lovely plaque with his name displayed.

Heritage Huntsville

William Wright, I’ve learned was a Member of Parliament from the Muskoka region who was elected into office in 1904, he won re-election in 1908 & 1911. According to his profile on the Parliament of Canada website, he served for 4,792 days (13 years, 1 month, 14 days). He also has a Wikipedia page click here to see it.

Another clipping from the Huntsville Forester Newspaper

William and Mary had four children. David Arthur Wright born 1879 (my husband’s Great-Grandfather), Edith May Wright born 1887, Mary Elizabeth Wright born 1892 and Sara Eveline Zada Wright born 1896.

William Wright passed away January 4th 1926 and is buried with his beloved wife in Huntsville, Ontario at the Locks Cemetery.

I’m Becoming Convinced That We Are All Connected…

I’m Becoming Convinced That We Are All Connected…

There have been a couple of crazy coincidences that I have come across in my years of tracing my family’s history. In time I would love to share all of them…just because they are so random…but for now, check this out!

Random Connection Story # 1

A couple of years back I was telling one of my very good friends about my obsession with ancestry. I asked her at the time if she wanted me to search her history and see what I could find out for her. (She does, by the way, have a super cool story in her past with relatives from Portugal, Iceland and France – including a well known Fur Trader in the 1600’s named Jacques Hertel)… Anyhow, she was talking to a cousin, who then contacted me to look into her tree. What I found out sure took me by surprise!!!

Here’s what I came across. This picture…(from the early 1900’s).

William Wright, Mary and Matthew Wardell (Huntsville, Ontario)

On the left, you will see MY husband’s 2x Great Grandfather, William Wright and on the right you will see her 3rd Great Uncle,  Matthew Wardell… who both lived in Huntsville, Ontario and were very close friends… WHAT?! What are the chances?! Here I was searching the family tree of my friends’ cousin… I did not anticipate finding a picture of our relatives, together…A good 100 years back and 4,000 km away from us.

Above is a picture of Matthew Wardell’s store. As of yet, I have not been able to find a picture of William Wright’s store, I do know that it was on the northeast corner of Main and West Streets in Huntsville, Ontario. So, if anyone has one kicking around…I’d appreciate it!! Thanks.