Rachel McAdams & her sister learn of their family's heritage

Rachel McAdams & Her Sister Learn Of Their Family's Heritage
Rachel McAdams & Her Sister Learn Of Their Family's Heritage

Actress Rachel McAdams and her sister Kayleen, a talented make-up artist for TV and movie stars, were eager to learn about their Canadian roots, specifically on their mother's side of the family. They began their journey by tracing their three-times great grandfather.

William Gale was a footman, a high-ranking and respected household servant, at Bovisand House just outside of Devon, England. The sisters learn that he would have only seen his family about once a month, and likely struggled with alcoholism. Visiting the Bovisand House where their ancestor lived and worked was special for Rachel and Kayleen, but they were still missing the piece of the puzzle that led their family to Canada.

Rachel and Kayleen find answers when they look back even further on their maternal side of the family to their five-times great-grandfather, James Gray. Gray was a loyalist during the American revolution, living in the American colonies. Because of the surrender of the British Army in 1777, Gray and his family were forced to flee to Canada and live in a refugee camp just outside of Montreal. After the war, loyalists like Gray were rewarded for their loyalty to the crown. James Gray and his family were given 400 acres of land, which brought smiles to Rachel and Kayleen's faces after learning of the hardships Gray and his family endured in the refugee camp.

"It sounds like his loyalty and perseverance did pay off. I'm happy to see that," Rachel states. "I guess this has reinforced how important it is to remember people and the sacrifices that they've made."