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

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The Bowl At Thanksgving we had a beautiful family dinner at our son Blaine's house. Judy took along our special chinaware created by her aunt Sally Hippard. Sally gave these to Judy shortly before she died, and they are a family treasure. They have been carefully protected and are used for special family dinners. It was a wonderful dinner! Nina also arranged with a neighbor to take our family photos in the park across the street. As we were packing to leave, I went to the car to get the towels we used to protect the dishes. As I picked up the towels, a bowl fell out and crashed on the paved driveway. It was one of Sally's hand-made bowls. She had mixed the slip, poured it in the mould, cleaned the greenware and scratched her "Happy Haven" picture and "SEH 1978" into the base, and then fired it in her electric kiln. Then she added the decals and glazing to the bisque and fired it again. It was a work of love and the passion of creation. Now it lay in pieces. It was no one's fault, but I grieved its loss! I put the broken pieces on the rear floor of our car, expecting to give them a burial on our acreage. But Judy did the reasonable thing and cleaned the car and threw them out. I still grieved its loss. A few days later I was talking to Bill Thomas, with whom I serve at He said he would need two days off. His friend's son had committed suicide. The viewing was on Tuesday and the burial on Wednesday. I felt unbelievably foolish to be grieving over a bowl when someone else was grieving the loss of a son! It occurred to me that I attach too much importance to things ... not to money, but to objects I have grown attached to. Often these are objects that have no value to anyone else, but precious memories keep them dear to my heart. I realize that sooner or later there comes the time when all of these things are left behind. But emotionally, I don't think I am at that point yet.

Over the past two weeks I have been working on another project. Since October 1999 the Buchanan family listserv has been a handy way for mwembers of the family to pool their research findings. Originally it was, then when Yahoo took over, it became This was a closed list, available to descendants of Andrew and Jane Buchanan who left County Tyrone, Ireland in 1847 by sailing ship to come to Canada.

Editorial comment: I felt that the postings to this email list were too good to lose. I have previously published some of them e.g. "Letters From the Past", but much of the research would be lost if the list and archives of the group ceased to exist. I didn’t want to take that chance. The postings are listed in chronological order, not by topic. There is no index, but the electronic document is easily searchable by computer. I have endeavored to delete personal information on living people where it is provided in personal letters and email messages. (Subscribers to the list can find that information in the List archives.) Where personal information has been previously published in books, newspapers, etc. it has not been deleted. Yahoo deletes the last part of all email addresses from the archives. Yahoo also deletes all attachments. So we don’t have access to them. I hope these postings will continue to be a help to all who are researching our Buchanans and related families. Unless other members of the list object, I consider this document to be publicly accessible to all people interested in researching these families. If they would like their postings removed, they should contact me at
... now I am waiting for Suzanne's approval to make the book public. If she says no, I will keep it for my own reference. If she says Yes, I will make it public. I find it useful as sort of a research log of the contributions of various family members.

Friday, January 02, 2009

Camping in the 1970s with Rob and Blaine
A week before Christmas our furnace quit. Two of our friends came over and spent most of the evening trying to get it working. It is a blessing to have friends! Then, the next day the furnace came on. Then a few days later it quit again. We were able to get a furnace mechanic to get it running again, but it is on its last legs. Another friend offered us a 9-year old furnace for free! A few days before Christmas, my brother Lloyd dropped in for a visit. He bought our mother a digital picture frame for Christmas and wanted to get some family photos that he could upload to the picture frame. We spent an enjoyable hour or so looking through my family photos and copying them to his flash drive. On Christmas eve our son Rob arrived, and then our daughter Evelyn and her family. On Christmas day all of the family were there. It was wonderful! We visited, ate, played games, etc. Everyone seemed impressed by our new family room, which cost us maybe $600. We were planning on staying home on New Year's eve, but we received an invitation from Laurel to spend the evening with her family and Evelyn's and Blaine's and Andrew's. So we did. It was very nice. We reminisced about camping trips and camping spots we had used over the years, from the comfort of The Whistlers in Jasper with its hot showers, to the paved lot on Mount Whistler, BC where the camping fee didn't even include trees or grass. And Hope, BC where it seemed we spent hours in the laundromat waiting for wet clothing and bedding to dry! But it was the form of travel we used in the 1960s-1980s. It was popular back then and very affordable. All in all, 2008 was a very good year and 2009 might be better yet. Best wishes to all!