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.
Since April 2010, I have served 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

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Don't Format! Yesterday a friend brought over a 10-year old floppy disk containing a file he wanted to use. My desktop computer's floppy drive reported the disk as unformatted and offered to format it. Knowing that formatting would destroy the data, I refused. Instead, I put the disk into the floppy drive of my laptop, which read it without difficulty. The moral of the story is, that floppy disks are not the best medium for long-term storage, and even if they work in one computer, they may not work in another. If you can, copy any PAF files received from relatives (or other files you want to keep) to CD/DVD or flash drives for longer term storage. (Of course, BLANK disks need to be formatted before they can be used, but usually they are sold pre-formatted - some CD/RWs being the most common exception.) Succession Planning I received an email from a cousin yesterday saying that a relative of ours died suddenly in an automobile accident on Friday. It can happen to any of us. What happens to your genealogy when you die? You have invested hundreds and maybe thousands of dollars in your research. What do you want to happen to it? Is it in your will? If not, why not write a Codicil to include with your will. I believe if it is handwritten, signed, and dated, it should be sufficient. Any lawyers on our lists will set me straight if I am wrong. :) Identify what is included (books, papers, disk, computers, heirlooms, or whatever) and who should receive them and what you would like done with them. The last item might not be legally binding, but it may be the best you can do. Or is it? There are various free online services that would be happy to post a copy of your database on the internet. That way it will not be lost when you are gone. Remember that other people will have access to the information too while you are still alive and may "steal" your genealogy. Whether or not this is a concern is up to you. Personally, it doesn't worry me nearly as much as the fruits of my research dying with me (which I hope is still several years away). Why not create a book? PAF will help you. Then print off a copy for each person on your Christmas list. If you have an inkjet printer (rather than a laser printer), it may be cheaper to print one copy and then make photocopies. Bill

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

My book "Bill's Buchanans and Watsons" was emailed out as a pdf file to some of the relatives. I had to remove the photos and maps to shrink it down from 56MB to about 200KB. (I have decided that only my immediate family will get printed copies of the long version.) On Monday I sent a 56MB copy on a CD to my cousin Darlene in Manitoba, since I was sending her some other genealogy anyway. I received a Christmas card from the Harpers in New Zealand. (Very suitable with the snow and cold weather we are having in the NW prairies.) I also received two certificstes and a bunch of nice family photos from my cousin Irene in Australia. At the Family History Center Last week I was guiding someone over the telephone as they did a Match and Merge on their database. Scary stuff! This week I helped someone having problems with the new microfilm scanner/printer, and helped a lady to find the marriage of one of her ancestors (thanks to freeBMD), and then found the parents, siblings and grandfather of the spouse (thanks to's British Censuses) Then after the FHC closed, I stayed there to download some genealogy podcasts, and catch up on my blog. I may not make it to the archives today, but they will still be there next week.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

November 15, 2006 at the Provincial Archives of Alberta I found some more stories of our relatives . I am running out of local histories to research, but I will probably check again next Wednesday after my shift at the Family History Center. Pioneers and Progress 971.233 AL26 PAA Page 815 Mr. and Mrs. Cleave Carson Page 816 Evans Carson family Surprisingly, I even found someone I wasn't looking for. I was looking for Dick Watson in the Crowsnest Pass history books, when I found a history of Frank Knight. Frank ownwed a string of sawmills in the Crowsnest Pass. Besides a family connection, as a teenager I worked for the summer at Edgewater Sawmills, where the sawmill was designed by Frank Knight.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Genealogy Podcasts I just found another genealogy podcast site. The Family History Minute. As the name implies, these are short (less than 10 minutes, but well done and excellent motivation) To subscribe: has issued another podcast in her Family History Hour series. (the first in about 4 months) Actually this one is quite short and not in her usual format. Hello Bill, enjoyed your pages....Thought you might be interested in the Irish Roots Cafe genealogy podcast from : Also available on iTunes as 'Irish Family Cafe' or 'Irish Roots Cafe'.. Thanks, Pat Donahue While I sometimes find it awkward to subscribe to podcasts or download them over a slow phone line, I really enjoy listening to them. Bill

Digital Genealogist If you haven't downloaded the free first issue of the Digital Genealogist, you will probably find it interesting. There is an article by David Renquest on the up-coming changes at There is also a Mumford article comparing genealogy software. I find this comparison biased in favor of complexity, but you can make up your own mind. and click the "DG Is Here" link. I found it to be 42 pages of very interesting reading. Bill

Friday, November 10, 2006

I spent some time at the Provincial Archives of Alberta on Wednesday. By checking their Library Catalog, I found some histories of my Ing family in the local history books in the possession of the Archives. Bill

OUR HISTORY - by Millecent Hagen
I was born at Lavalle, Ontario. My parents were Mr. and Mrs. James Ing. I have a brother George Ing and a sister Mrs. Hatty [Hetty] Chaplin. Dad came west in 1910 and filed on land near Irma, Alberta, After hearing about the prairie land to be had further south he gave up his place and homesteaded at Wilhelmina, Alberta, as it was called before the railroad came in. It is now the Kirriemuir, Altario and Wheatsheaf districts. While dad had his place at Irma, he worked around Camrose and helped lay some of the first sidewalks. He and the other men slept in the loft of the old firehall. He told us he saw the biggest hog he has ever seen in Ohaton. In 1912 my mother, brother, sister and I came west to the homestead. We children were just like wild animals let out of a cage, as we had the whole prairie to roam over and had such good times herding cattle, snaring, trapping and drowning gophers. We had to work hard picking rocks, stooking grain, etc., as dad had to work out most of the time. However I have wonderful memories of that part of the country where I grew up. Mr. and Mrs. Carl Hagen and family came from Norway to Bawlf in 1911. They, too, heard of the land further south, with no clearing to be done, so they settled south of Provost and north of Altario, then called Bideford. However it wasn't until 1922 that we met the Hagens. There were seven children in their family. We soon became acquainted and in 1927, Hart and I were married. We lived on his farm in the summer and at my dad's in the winter near Kirriernuir for the first few years, as our house was not finished. On March 7, 1930 our first boy was born, but only lived one week as he had rickets, and in 1932 a girl was stillborn. In July, 1936, our son, Harold, was born. He was a healthy child and we were very happy with him. In those years the crops were very poor. Quite often, we didn't even get our seed back. In 1937, we [Photo: Harold and Alfred Hagen, 1929 or 30 Chev.] [photo: Hart and Millie Hagen] moved from that dried out area. My folks had already moved to Norbuck, near Winfield, and Breton, so we also decided to move to Norbuck where we lived until 1943. Our son, Alfred, was born there in 1939. We enjoyed living there, but the boys were reaching school age and we were quite a distance from school. When Harold was seven years old, we moved to Bawlf. At Bawlf, Hart worked for Jacob Lovrod, and for other farmers for fifteen years. We were very happy living there among our relatives and made many lifelong friends in the district. Mr. Jim Mohler in Ohaton heard that Hart was a good man with livestock, so one day, he came to our place to see him. He offered Hart year round work, with a share in the stock. As Hart had just had summer work at Bawlf, we decided to accept Mr. Mohler's offer, and moved to Ohaton in 1957. We lived there for seventeen years. We have made many wonderful friends at Ohaton, too. During the year of 1974, we retired to the city of Camrose, where we are still living.

The Lure of the Homestead, 194 971.233 Oh1 Provincial Archives of Alberta
The James Ing Family
The James Ing family came to Alberta from Ontario in 1912. Mr. Ing had come earlier and located on a homestead southeast of Kirriemuir. They had three children: George, who still lives on the old homestead; Millicent, who married Hart Hagen and had 2 boys, Harold and Alfred; and Hetty, who married Ted Chapin and had two girls born in the Wheatsheaf district and a boy born after they moved to the Norbuck district southwest of Edmonton. Ted junior was born in 1927. Ted senior died in 1960. Pearl, the eldest girl married Floyd Stenseth. They have two children, Linda and Larry. Linda is married and has two boys. Joyce married Bill Anthony and they have five boys and one girl: [photo: The Ing family. Back Row: (1 to r) Hetty, George and Millicent. Seated in front are Mr. and Mrs. James Ing] [photo: Millicent Ing and Hetty Ing sitting in the teacher's chair at Dry Lake School] David, Edward, Douglas, Mitchell, Donna and Ross. Edward and Donna are both married. They all live in B.C. Ted Jr. married Doreen Iverson. They have three children, two girls and a boy: Cheryl, Debby and Dwayne. They are all in school yet. They live southwest of Edmonton at Breton, Alta. [photo: Millicent holding pony, 'Ned'. Sitting on the pony are Marion Ing, Edna Campbell (center) and Walter Ing]

  The Richard Ing Family Mr. and Mrs. Richard Ing homesteaded in the Kirriernuir district about two miles north of the Dry Lake School. They had a family of six children. The family is all married with children of their own. Mr. Ing died a few years ago and Mrs. Ing is in her nineties.

Thomas Ing Mr. Thomas Ing lived in the Kirriernuir district where he homesteaded and worked around the neighborhood. He was unmarried. After living for some years in the district, he went to Daysland where he spent his last years.

History of the Ing Family by Millicent Hagen
I was born at Lavallee, Ontario. In 1910, my father, James Ing, came West and filed on a homestead near Irma, Alta. He worked around the Camrose district helping to lay some sidewalks in Camrose. After hearing of the prairie land to be had farther south, with no brushing to do, he gave up his land at Irma and homesteaded in the Kirriemuir district, then called Wilhemina. He went back to Lavallee and got our belongings, one of which was our little Indian pony Ned. He built a frame house and then went out to work.
In 1912, my mother Elizabeth Jane Ing, my brother George, sister Hetty, and I came west by train to Macklin, Saskatchewan. Our neighbor Mr. Herbert Walker met us there and took us to my uncle Richard Ing's place. My Dad was away cooking for the Wheatsheaf threshing outfit when we arrived. We went to visit him there and remember he fed us all the pie we wanted. We children were so happy with our new found freedom and were just like wild animals let out of a cage. We were running all over the hills and trapping, snaring, and drowning out gophers by pouring water down their holes.
Hetty and I played house having one bluff of bushes each for our homes. We had lots of fun. We soon got some horses and cattle and we children had to drive the cattle to a spring nearby; a mile from home for water. In winter this was a very cold job but we enjoyed it, even having the horses trained so we didn't even need a halter on them. We rode bareback and steered them by slapping them on one side or the other of their neck. We just about lived on horseback.
My Dad drew plans for our first school which was Dry Lake. I was six when we came to Wilhemina and it must have been several years later that the school was built. I have many happy memories of school days at Dry Lake.
My Dad also tried his hand at photography and we still have some of the photos that he took with his camera which used glass plates and he developed and printed himself.
Our schooling was hit and miss as we did not always have school in winter. One year when our teacher, Mildred Staples, got married to Roy Anderson, Hetty and I drove with horse and toboggan to her place twice a week. She set lessons for us and under our mother's supervision we progressed fairly well.
One winter I went to Calgary to take my grade seven but I nearly died of homesickness. My folks had to sell chickens to get money to bring me home again. How good it was to be back home. Our neighbor Mrs. Kewley had a welcome home party for me.
In winter we had much fun tobogganing down our hills and also over at the Walkers. They had a large family and we played together like brothers and sisters.
Then we attended school at Bideford (now Altario). It was while attending school there that we met the Chapins and Hagens. The Hagens were a family of four boys and three girls. In 1925, Hetty married Ted Chapin and I married Hart Hagen in 1927.
My folks and also Uncle Dick and family had moved to Winfield and Breton, Alberta, so we took over my Dad's farm.
In 1930 our first boy was born but only lived a week. In 1932 we had a baby girl, stillborn. They are both buried in the cemetery at Altario, as are Hart's mother and dad.
In 1936 our son Harold was born. He was a good healthy baby and brought us much joy after losing our first two. He now lives at Prince George, B.C.
We farmed in the Kirriernuir and Altario districts for several years, until getting dried out several years in succession not even getting our seed back. Then we thought it time to move elsewhere. My folks liked it at Winfield so in '1937 we moved out there.
Our son Alfred was born there in 1939. He is in Edmonton just now.
We lived there for six years. In 1943 we moved to Bawlf as there was no school close enough for the boys, being beginners, to attend. Hart worked for the farmers there driving tractors and other implements. We lived on a farm and kept a cow or two, some chickens, turkeys, and sometimes pigs. Our boys grew up there.
Then in 1956 we were offered a year around job with a share in stock at Ohaton so we moved there. We lived there till Hart had to retire on account of his health.
Last spring we sold our home there and moved here to Camrose. We bought an older home here but with water and gas which we didn't have at Ohaton.
With all our moving around we were always happy and contented wherever we were and made good friends in all those places.
My Aunt Lou and several cousins are still at Winfield and Breton so we go out to see them once in awhile. Uncle Dick passed away about ten years ago and Aunty is ninety now.
Both Mother and Dad passed away, Dad lived with us at Bawlf and Ohaton before entering the Bethany Nursing Home here in Camrose where he passed away.
We are enjoying living here in Camrose now and have many friends who were no strangers to us having moved to the city to retire from Bawlf and Ohaton, so it seems like home here. We often think of all our friends and neighbors back at Altario and Kirriemuir.
My brother George is still there on the old place. We have made several quick trips to down to visit him and some of Hart's relatives but never got time to stop and visit around as we would like to have done. We are both old age pensioners now. Hart is not in very good health, but I am fine and get out to church and Bible studies and W.C.T.V. meetings which I enjoy.
I will bring this to a close now as I think Hetty is writing about her family and that will be enough about the Ing family. May God bless you all.

The George Ing Story by Lois Galloway
George Ing came to the Kirriernuir district as a boy of nine, when his parents came out to homestead in 1912. As a young man, he tried his hand at a variety of jobs, one of which was to work on the crew which ploughed the fire guard for the C.P.R., from Kirriemuir to Kerrobert. This was a distance of about 65 miles. The crew consisted of Ken Lovell, Jim Lovell, and Coffee Mathews. They used a two furrow gang plough and four horses, and ploughed a guard sixteen feet wide. Other early jobs that he undertook were threshing, sawing wood, doing grading on the road, and working at Burrow's Mill at Norbuck. However, his first love was farming and he finally settled on his father's homestead.
He had a strong interest in all things mechanical and when he took over his dad's farm, he spent many happy hours working on engines, made himself a power saw, an automatic bale loader, and other work saving inventions. He did blacksmith work and sharpened plough shares.
George liked working with horses and took Professor Jessie Barrie's course on horse training, by mail. It was sent out from Pleasantville, Ohio. It proved quite helpful to a large number of prairie boys who studied it. George stated that any horse who had sense enough to eat had sense enough to be trained and he broke some pretty good ones. [Photo: Spooners threshing outfit with George Ing (centre)]
Along with his interest in horses, went a spell of hunting for coyotes with hounds. He built a box on the back of his cutter for his dogs and travelled many miles around the land south of Kirriemuir and north of Altario, with his hounds. One particularly sassy old coyote had been attacking farmer's dogs, as they travelled to Kirriemuir, and George went after him with his hounds. He caught him at the spring south of Kirriemuir and that particular old coyote didn't terrorize any more dogs.
One day his hounds startled the team of some Schmidt girls who lived north of Altario and caused a runaway. The girls were putting on a load of feed and were not on the rack at the time. George and a neighboring farmer finally caught the team and returned them to their owners.
All through the years he loved music, and gradually acquired a number of instruments: a mouth organ, an autoharp, an accordian, and a violin. He learned a wide selection of waltzes, jigs, square dances, minuets, and polkas, and was always willing to liven up a social gathering or concert. In recent years he has made some recordings with his sister, Millicent, playing the mandolin, and other members of his family. At 77 he is still ]earning new tunes and likes to share his music.
Another occupation he engaged in was well drilling. He either owned, or had an interest in, three horse driven rigs for well drilling. The deepest well he dug was 96 feet and it was a dry hole but he dug a forty foot well for Lou Vert, and it was almost a flowing well.
Other pioneers tell of horses used in treadmill fashion to drill wells or grind grain; and after the days work, when turned out for grazing, they would still travel in a circular pattern.
He remained a bachelor all his life and the following lines by Sam Foss might have been written about him:
"I see from my house by the side of the road,
By the side of the highway of life,
The men who press with the ardor of hope,
The men who are faint with strife,
But I turn not away from their smiles nor their tears,
Both parts of an infinite plan,
Let me live in my house by the side of the road
And be a friend to man,"
 Pioneer Heritage 2, pages 78-79; 971.233 w852p Provincial Archives of Alberta

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

My First Posting

I am an avid follower of the Genealogy Guys podcast at and for some time I have been thinking of starting my own blog. Today I was at the laundromat doing the white laundry. (Our well water turns white things grey, and we like our white clothing to stay white.) While doing the white laundry, I was getting caught up on the latest two podcasts. One of them had Drew Smith's interview with Steve Danko about Steve's genealogy blog. So, here goes ... This past week has been an active one for me where genealogy is concerned. Wednesday during my shift at the Bonnie Doon Family History Center, I helped one man order a birth certificate from England, helped another to clean up and repair his database (using PAF Insight), and spent an hour on looking unsuccessfully for records for another FHC worker. I ordered the birth certificate online for Charlotte Harriet Eley, my great grandmother. This will allow me to confirm the information I already have for her. I gave my brother Lloyd a copy of the "My Buchanans and Watsons" history, which I have nearly finished writing, and I mailed a copy to a cousin in Spokane, Washington. I received a thick book written on the family of my grandfather's uncle, James Waller. This was edited by Irene Kerr, a Waller cousin in Australia. I made miscellaneous postings on the two Personal Ancestral File lists I subscribe to: and I received an email from an unknown Vinnell relative who found an error on my website, and we were able to have a friendly and beneficial exchange of information on that family. I received an email from an unknown Buchanan cousin/cousin-in-law (if that term doesn't exist, it really should) and I was able to involve another cousin who was closely connected to her branch of the family. I even got 4 old family photos out of the deal! It was a sweet experience. Last week, resurrected our Andrew-Buchanan family mailing list and I was able to exchange information with the Buchanan cousins regarding the death of Douglas Keith Buchanan, a second cousin of mine. Well, I had better publish this before my telephone connection goes down again.