Bill's Genealogy Blog

Bill Buchanan is a long-time genealogy enthusiast, living in Spruce Grove, Alberta, Canada. This blog will describe my experiences as I research my family history and help others.

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Location: Spruce Grove, Alberta, Canada

I am a retired online school teacher. I love family history. Since 2007, I have spent much of my time providing part-time support for the world's largest free family history site This is very rewarding. I have helped others with the Family Tree and related FamilySearch products.
In 2010-2018 Iserved in the Edmonton Riverbend Family History Centre. I have a FHC blog at Bill's Family History Center Blog For information the Latter-day Saints and family history click

Thursday, August 22, 2019

A Fosberry Breathrough in Hampshire, England

Tuesday 20 August 2019, I did research on my Fosberry line and had amazing success. I have known for many years that the father of my great grandmother was James Fosberry, who moved to London and changed the spelling of his name to Forsbury (still pronounced “Fosberry” in that part of England). James' parents are listed as Thomas and Mary on his christening records. But I have been stuck at that point ever since.

Tuesday, I made a breakthrough. I found Thomas' christening on 27 April 1782 in Winchester, Hampshire (25 miles west of Rogate) and discovered that his parents were John Fosberry and Olive Nicholson.

I found John Fosberry's christening on 6 December 1751 in Old Alresford, Hampshire (partway between Winchester and Rogate)

His parents were John Fosberry and Caroline Bendall. This John was christened on 19 Dec 1714 in
Kingsclere, Hampshire, England. Caroline was christened on 12 Mar 1732 in Winchester, her mother was Avis Bendall and no father is listed.

John's parents are listed as Peter Fosbury, christened on 21 January 1665 in Kingsclere and Alicia
born about 1670.

Peter's parents were Thomas Fosbury christened on 25 June 1643 in Kingsclere, and Jane Norcot, daughter of Thomas Norcot.

Thomas Fosbury was christened on 2 April 1615 in Kingsclere. his father was another Thomas Fosbury, and Mary Wetmor.

Unfortunately neither of his parents are listed on Thomas' christening record, but another Fosbery child about his age was more fortunate. So it seems almost certain that the father of Thomas and the other Fosberry children born in 1617, 1629, 1624, and 1629 is John Fosbery born about 1590. That seems to be as far back as the Kingsclere records go.

And Olive's Nicholson line were cooperative too, at least the fathers.
Olive Nicholson was christened on 28 September 1746 in Bighton,Hampshire,England
Her parents were Joseph Nicholson and Ann Taphouse,

Joseph Nicholson was christened on 02 February 1723 in Ropley, Hampshire, England
I can find no christening record for Ann Taphouse,

Joseph Nicholson's father is Robert Nicholson, christened on 5 January 1691 in Bighton, Hampshire

Robert's father is John Nicholson christened on 10 April 1652 in Bighton, Hampshire, England

John's father is John Nicholson christened on 12 October 1623 in Bighton,Hampshire,England

The next generation is Thomas Nicholson christened in October 1590 (no specific date) in Bighton

And the earliest Nicholson I found on this line was Thomas Nicholson born about 1560 and living in Bighton

What was my process? 
FamilySearch is said to have microfilmed 10,000 British parish registers, In FamilySearch Records, I looked for the parents close to where the child was christened. I estimated that they were maybe 30 years old when the child was born, since I do not know whether this was their first child, last child or somewhere in between. I have started by assuming that the father married at age 25 and the mother at age 20. As details were discovered I have adjusted my expectations. 

Am I doing the "genealogy happy dance"??? I certainly am!!!

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

A Wrong Spouse, an Interesting Story

I noticed that in the FamilySearch Family Tree my cousin Annie Gertrude McMane
23 April 1916 – July 2000, was shown with two husband's who both have the surname Ingram. This seemed unusual, and her mother and grandmother had only mentioned one husband, John (Jack) Ingram. Out of curiosity, I looked at the other husband, Frank Donald Ingram, who died in 1941, Annie could have conceivably married Frank, and remarried John after Frank's death, but the more I looked at the evidence, the more doubtful I became.

Frank's military record describes a man who lived his whole life in Fernie, BC until his short military enlistment. My cousin Annie lived her whole life in Ontario, at the other side of the continent. Frank married Anna Mary (last name not given in the military records) in the United Church Manse in Fernie on 17 June 1936. Then a breakthrough! One of the pension records recorded that Frank's widow had remarried and was now Anna M,. Ursual. This is a beautifully uncommon name.

A Google search on Ursual Fernie found the gravestone that Anna shared with her second husband, Roy Ursual, along with their dates of birth and death.
Google also gave me Roy's obituary, which said he was born at Kayville, Saskatchewan.
Next a Google search for Ursual Kayville gave me his sister Ilene's wonderful obituary, which lists her brothers with the surname Ursu except for Roy Ursual married to Anna Ursual. Aha! Roy changed his Romanian family name slightly.

From there it was easy to find Roy's siblings and parents. But what was Anna's maiden name?
At last I found the starting point of the confusion:

Event Type:Marriage
Registration Number:1936-09-436050
GSU Mfilm Number:2135990Event Date (YYYY-MM-DD):1936-06-17
Event Place:FERNIE
Vital Stat Images(s): MRG_1936436050.jpg

BC Archives have numerous records of the Zuffa family.
Also see her memorial at
Which gives the names of her parents and siblings

I could now safely remove Frank Donald Ingram as a husband of my cousin and give him his correct wife. It was an enjoyable experience discovering some of their triumphs and tragedies.. Frank was one of two Canadian soldiers killed when a land mine exploded accidentally in Sussex, England. Roy Ursual served in various prominent positions in Fernie, including two terms as an alderman.

Sunday, August 11, 2019

Researching a Russian Immigrant Family

My mind was directed towards the family of Norman Ephriam Woolsey who was born in Pontiac, Quebec in 1886, who married Dad's first cousin Lillian Margaret Hamilton who was born 11 Feb 1896 in Neepawa Manitoba. In particular I was mindful of their daughter Norma Edith Woolsey, with whom I had spoken on the telephone maybe 15 years ago. Norma gave me a lot of of Hamilton and Woolsey information, but I realized that I had almost no information on her husband Alexander Kabanuk. Out of curiosity, I decided to see what I could find.  Immediately I found the following:

1921 Census of Canada
Name: Alec Kabanick
Gender: Male
Marital status: Single
Age: 8
Birth Year: abt 1913
Birth Place: USA
Relation to Head of House: Son
Father's name: Vladimir Kabanick
Father Birth Place: Russia
Mother's name: Amar Kabanick
Mother Birth Place: Russia
Year of Immigration: 1916
Racial or Tribal Origin: Russian
Province or Territory: Alberta
District: Edmonton West
District Number: 6
Sub-District Number: 59
City, Town or Village: T74 R6 W6
Section Number: SM6
Township Number: 74
Range Number: 6
Meridian Number: W6
Occupation: Student
Neighbors: View others on page
Household Members:
Name Age
Vladimir Kabanick 39
Amar Kabanick 28
Olga Kabanick 11
Annie Kabanick 10
Alec Kabanick 8
Edward Kabanick 6
Lily Kabanick 9/12

Wow! I had his birth place as Sexsmith, AB, and when I looked up the legal land description, I found a rural area just SW of Sexsmith. So Sexsmith might not be where he was born but he considered it his home town.

I also found the Kabanuk family in the 1916 Canada Census on their farm at Sexsmith,

And I found them in the 1910 US census living in North Dakota, with a baby names Olga, which helps prove it is the same family. Fortunately there are numerous sources in North Dakota to confirm that it is the right family. I find it interesting that that this Russian immigrant family are consistently shown as Baptists, and not Catholic or Orthodox.

1910 United States Federal Census
Name: Ladmer Kabowick [Ladmer Kabonak]  [Ladmer Bakanuk]
Age in 1910: 24
Birth Year: abt 1886
Birthplace: Russia
Home in 1910: Strasburg, Sheridan, North Dakota
Race: White
Gender: Male
Immigration Year: 1907
Relation to Head of House: Head
Marital status: Married
Spouse's name: Oliana Kabowick
Father's Birthplace: Russia
Mother's Birthplace: Russia
Native Tongue: Russian
Occupation: Farmer
Industry: General Farm
Employer, Employee or Other: Employer
Home Owned or Rented: Rent
Farm or House: Farm
Naturalization Status: Papers
Able to Read: Yes
Able to Write: Yes
Years Married: 1
Household Members:
Name Age
Ladmer Kabowick 24
Oliana Kabowick 17
Olga Kabowick 0

This couple are the only one in North Dakota who could be the parents of William (Wladimir) Kabanuk.

1920 United States Federal Census

Name: Carl Kabanuk
Age: 75
Birth Year: abt 1845
Birthplace: Russia
Home in 1920: Max, McLean, North Dakota
House Number: X
Residence Date: 1920
Race: White
Gender: Male
Immigration Year: 1902
Relation to Head of House: Head
Marital status: Married
Spouse's name: Marth Kabanuk
Father's Birthplace: Russia
Mother's Birthplace: Russia
Native Tongue: Russian
Able to Speak English: No
Occupation: None
Home Owned or Rented: Own
Home Free or Mortgaged: Free
Naturalization Status: Naturalized
Able to Read: Yes
Able to Write: Yes
Neighbors: View others on page
Household Members:
Name Age
Carl Kabanuk 75
Marth Kabanuk 65
Rosy Kabanuk 15 [probably a granddaughter, they lost a daughter-in-law at about that time.]

And there are numerous records for Stephen, Phillip, and Nestor whose ages would make them brothers to William (or possibly cousins.).

I was amazed to all I found in the space of a very short time. I guess the Kabanuks wanted to be found and remembered.

Genealogy Buddies

Many of us have "genealogy buddies" who help us with our research. I have been very fortunate to have discovered helpers and mentors in the early days of my research. People like Mervyn Buchanan, Mabel Henry, and Anne B. McMane were of enormous help getting started on my Buchanan family line. Lorne and Doris Buchanan's Buchanan Family Tree book provided a ton of help on branches of our extended family. Since the Watsons were intermarried with the Buchanans, these sources provided help with Watson family research too. Among my loved and appreciated genealogy buddies are Darlene, Barry, Patty, Suzanne, Vera, and many others.

But on my mother's side such help was very rare. Grandma gave me what information she could remember on her Wright and Eley lines. And Grandpa did the same on his Ing and Forsbury lines. It was fortunate that I was able to interview them in the 1960s, as they have been gone now for a generation or more. I have found local history books in the Provincial Archives of Alberta to be a good source of family stories, but it is very hit or miss. And these are stories of their relatives rather than their ancestors.

We hope and pray for miracles and they do come occasionally. When the 1851 Census of England was published online, I found the christening of James Waller in Rogate, Sussex in 1834. When I googled that information, I found a genealogy message board posting from Australia asking about him. Knowing that James had emigrated to Australia, I excitedly replied to the message. As a result, I was able to receive 150 years of family history of James' descendants and I was able to give my Australian cousin 150 years of family history of James' sister's family, my Ings and Forsburys.

Which brings me to my Goldring line in the Rogate area. I have a copy of the Rogate parish records. My ancestors William Walder and Elizabeth Goldring were married there on 6 May 1717 and over the next 10 years had 4 children christened there. An Elzabeth Goldring was christened there 10 Jun 1690, daughter of John Goldring. Excitedly, I added this information to my family tree. Then I had a letter from Spain, that basically said "Bill, I see that you have made the same mistake as many other Goldring researchers. John Goldring's will mentions that his daughter is Elizabeth Cobb (not Walder!!!) and a quick search finds the marriage of Elizabeth Goldring and an Richard Cobb in nearby Haslemere." I read the will for myself, and I had to prune off that line. Well!!!

So where was my Elzabeth Goldring born and who are her parents? With the help of my genealogy buddies Jeremy in France and Jennifer in New Zealand, I am trying to find out. Please wish us success.

Monday, July 29, 2019

Bob Layton's lesson takes flight

You may not be familiar with the fact that I share grandchildren with TV and radio personality Bob Layton. In his personal life, Bob also has a flair for the dramatic. Here is one of his amazing ideas:

Give your grandchildren a chance to fly a plane - literally!!!

Bob has arranged with the Edmonton Flying club to allow 14-year olds to steer a small plane once it is safely airborne.

Grandpa Bob has provided our mutual grandchildren opportunities that I (Grandpa Bill) could never have imagined. When my grandson told friends at school that he had flown a plane, none of them would believe him. I wonder whether my granddaughter will have more success in convincing her friends. Of course, the news story in the Edmonton Sun should be a big help. 😊

My grandson reported “I remember two emotions when I went up. They were, ‘Oh my goodness this is awesome,’ and, ‘Oh my goodness, I hope the pilot has prepped the plane good.’ ”

My granddaughter said “The pilot handled the takeoff and landing. I got to turn and pull the nose up. The instructor told me to keep the plane under 3,400 feet. And, when I got out, I felt really awesome.”

Bob sits in the back seat with endless pride. “When the instructor says it’s time for a grandchild to take the controls, and they do … it’s a pretty neat feeling.”

“That personal time with each grandchild is very precious to me.”

Good work Bob!
Thank you for all you do.

Bill & Judy Buchanan

Saturday, June 29, 2019

An unexpected flood

Yesterday, Judy noticed some water in the utility room, in particular along cracks in the floor.

We discovered that with all the rain we have had over the past two weeks, the sump was filled with water almost to the top of the floor. But the sump pump was not running. I plugged it into the other outlet and it still did not run. Then I plugged a fan into the same outlet, and the fan verified that the outlet was live, but the pump was dead.

James and Karin spent an hour or more bailing out the top 6" (15 cm) of the sump, but the water kept coming.. James called a friend who does home inspections to see if he could come over and fix the pump, but he was not available.

So James called Dennis another friend, who is a tradesman who does home inspections. Immediately Dennis came over. He verified that the pump was not working, and left to buy a new pump, Unfortunately the new pump was a submersible pump but it had no float mechanism to turn it off and on. So Dennis returned that pump and bought another, He removed the broken pump and installed the new one. Success!

After 30 minutes of pumping the sump was almost empty, although water continued to drain into the sump. Dennis worried that the water being pumped out was draining back into the sump, but he verified that this was not the case. At this point Dennis needed to leave to attend a dinner with his wife and a couple they are ministering to.

We really appreciate the service freely given by our friend. The water had been forcing itself up through cracks in the utility room floor, There was a serious danger of water coming up through the floor of the other rooms, which would have required replacing the flooring in all of our home. A major disaster was barely averted. 

James reimbursed him for the pump but Dennis would take no money for all the work that he did for us.

Bless him and others like him! They make the world a better place for all of us!

Possible descent from the Laird of Blairvockie

I have a possible genealogy breakthrough in the Buchanan line.

Our ancestor Andrew Buchanan's father may be a John Buchanan estimated to be born about 1750, from Fintona, Tyrone, and likely a child or grandchild of William Buchanan and Margaret Creery of Fintona. This William Buchanan may be the former Laird of Blairvockie or his son. William Buchanan, Laird of Blairvockie sold his estate in Stirlingshire, Scotland to his cousin John Buchanan and moved to Fintona in County Tyrone, Ireland.

This may be our connection to the chiefly line of Clan Buchanan. What has led me to this point is:

1. The YDNA tests that identified our family as a typical chiefly line of Clan Buchanan. We have found close YDNA matches with the Buchanan families of Cooel and Kirlish in the Drumquin area, of County Tyrone, but no perfect match.

2. Darlene's autosomal DNA test that finds Samuel David Keys as a possible 2-4th cousin. David Keys is a descendant of Samuel Buchanan and Samuel Buchanan's wife Matilda Buchanan, so he could have autosomal DNA from two Buchanan families. Samuel and Matilda lived in Cooel, but have no known living male Buchanan descendants so a YDNA test is not possible.

3. The Tyrone Constitution article that mentions Samuel and Matilda's daughter Mary, being named after her grandmother Mary Caldwell.

4. The Buchanan Book (Alexander Buchanan of Montreal, descended from William Buchanan and Margaret Creery, stating that William Buchanan descended from the Laird of Blairvockie who sold his estate to a cousin and moved to Fintona, Omagh, County Tyrone, Ireland..

5. Genealogist Auchmar's Buchanan history, which gives information on the Lairds of Blairvockie/Blairvocky and their connection to the chiefly line of Clan Buchanan. [A Historical and Genealogical Essay Upon the Family and Surname of Buchanan]

From Darlene's autosomal DNA test, and the timeline, Andrew Buchanan our ancestor could be a brother or other close family member) to Samuel or Matilda Buchanan. Samuel's father is said to be John Buchanan of Fintona born about 1750-1760, who might be a son of William Buchanan and Margaret Creevy of Fintona who married in 1733 and had a son John born in Fintona about 1740-1750  From The Buchanan Book, this William appears to be the former Laird of Blairvockie or his son.

So there are lots of maybe's. But it seems like something worth following up on. I am asking for help from a cousin who has researched multiple Buchanan lines.

3. Tyrone Constitution  Friday 20 April 1906
"Last week we stated that Dr. J M Caldwell of Blackbury [sic Blackberry], South Carolina, was desirous of tracing his ancestors in Ireland. As an indication of the importance of the “Tyrone Constitution” as a news conveying and advertising medium, we received a letter in the beginning of the week containing some information regarding the matter. Mrs. John Buchanan, Hill House, Cavandoragh, Magheracriggan, Castlederg, County Tyrone, is a relative of William Caldwell, who left Cavandoragh,(Megaracriggan being the post town)in the parish of Ardstraw, and on the Duke of Abercorn’s estate. A sister of William Caldwell was married to John Buchanan of Cooel, and their son, Samuel, to Matilda Buchanan of Drumclamph. Mary, their daughter was named after her grandmother, Mary Caldwell, from Cavandoragh, whose brother William Caldwell, went to America, She was married to John Buchanan of Cavandoragh."

4. Family of Dr. George Buchanan of Fintona, Co. Tyrone. Pages 315-317
"Beaver Buchanan, of Fintona, born in 1710, was descended from William Buchanan, last of Blairvockie, who settled in Ireland. According to Mr. Thomas Hardinge Buchanan, of Dublin, who has made extensive researches as to the family of Buchanan in Tyrone, Beaver Buchanan was the son of William Buchanan of Fintona, who died in 1764. This William Buchanan married, in 1733, Margaret Creery, and had four sons, John, who had a son William; Andrew, William and Beaver, and three daughters, Anne, wife of Andrew Anthony; Margaret and Alice. This William Buchanan appears to have had two brothers, Eccles Buchanan of Fintona, who died in 1762, and John Buchanan of Mullamenagh, living in 1764. Eccles Buchanan, of Fintona, was married three times: first, in 1724, to Mary Pitkem; secondly, in 1748, to Margaret Johnston; and thirdly to Elizabeth . He had four sons, Thomas, John, Robert and George, and a daughter, Margaret. ..."

[I also see Beaver Buchanan listed elsewhere as born in 1840, which is more consistent with the marriage date for his parents, but perhaps inconsistent with the birth dates for his children. Maybe William had a marriage previous to his marriage to Margaret Creery?]

This seems like a possible solution to a long-lasting genealogical puzzle in Ireland, a country with few records prior to 1864. DNA tests can fill in some of the gaps.