Two of the most distinguished gentlemen to take up residence in Prince Edward Island after leaving their ancestral home in England were George Coles and his brother James, who arrived on the Island in 1809. Their story and the stories of their descendants have provided the subject matter for no fewer than five volumes of material.
Miriam Neill (née Robinson) is the driving force behind those volumes.Three volumes of the series — The Coles Family of Prince Edward Island, 1809–2009 — were published in 2010, following a very successful Coles Family Reunion in 2009, which drew over 300 participants from most Canadian provinces and several U.S. states.Neill gathered material from family members, searched online and in archives for information, entered it all into her genealogical program, and produced a ready-for-publication document. The document included not only genealogical data, but also pictures and excerpts from newspapers of weddings, accomplishments, lives lived, and other items that tell the stories of the people in the books.
As part of this project, Neill — with the aid of a family member and genealogist in England — produced a chapter that traced the ancestors of George and James Coles back to one Robert Coles born about 1598, and another chapter that traced the descendants of Mary Coles, a daughter of George Coles and his wife Margaret Lucy Green, who did not emigrate with her parents but remained in England.
The publication of these volumes sparked an influx of new material, so in 2014 a fourth volume was produced. In 2019, Neill produced a fifth volume, with a sixth volume nearing completion. Neill has also researched the family histories of several other Island families, including the Warren, Auld, Crabbe, Gamble, Robinson, Vessey, Stewart, and Ellis families.
For her work on this substantial project, Miriam Ann Neill is presented with a Heritage Recognition Award.