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, February 16, 2010

Family Day was fun. We expected only Laurel's family and Andrew's family. Evelyn had decided to stay home to do some lesson plans for her final round of student teaching. But except for Evelyn's family and Rob, everyone else came home, even James and Karin who expected that they could not come. Laurel's family brought some extra toys to leave here for family gatherings. (They will be really appreciated by the grandchildren.) Nina had to work, but Blaine brought the girls. Andrew's family came too. We had a fun time. Judy had baked bread sticks for the first time. ("... the one and only time", she says. "It is too much work for what you get from it.") We visited, ate, and played games. James and Karin brought Carcassonne, a game they recently bought. It is a tile game where you gradually build a map of farms, cities, roads and churches. It reminds me somewhat of the old Waterworks game, but has more variety. I found the name and the picture on the box interesting, as I was familiar with the real medieval walled city of Carcasonne in southern France. I had visited it, taken the guided tour, and read its history ... a fascinating place!

Carcassonne - the Count's castle

I also showed a slideshow of photos I had taken with the new camera the family gave me for Christmas, and a 10 minute video of my mother and her sister Violet telling family stories they had heard as children. When their mother was young she was a servant for a Lord and Lady Stokes in England. When she started working for them, she worked in the kitchen, as she did not yet have the training to serve as a parlour maid. There was a big party, and the girls serving the food left the door open a crack so that she could look out into the room. What she saw was something she would never forget. The wealthy ladies were wearing rich gowns and a fortune in jewels and some of them wore jeweled tiaras in their hair. The men also were richly dressed with diamond cuff links and diamond tie pins. It was a very different world from the working class London that she knew! The milk man would come to the Stokes home delivering milk. When he did, he would call "Milk-oh! Milk-oh!" and the cooking staff would rush out to get the milk. But there was a parrot who learned to imitate the milkman's call! Often the girls would rush out the door to find no one there, and return infuriated by the parrot's mocking laughter! It was before the age of the internet, but my grandparents courted by snail mail! Finally she received his proposal of marriage, and they made plans for her departure for Canada. My grandfather and some friends traveled from Kirriemuir, Alberta to the closest railway station at Macklin, Saskatchewan. He arranged that the minister there would marry them when the train arrived. But unknown to Grandpa, a rock slide had blocked the railway tracks and it took several hours to clear the tracks. Grandpa was tempted to give up waiting and go back to Kirriemuir, but the minister said "Please wait! We need more young couples like you." So he waited and the train arrived many hours late and they were married. She had bought a wedding dress and brought it in her baggage, but because of the mixup she didn't get a chance to put it on! With the new camera I could get these old stories on video, which I could not have done with my old digital camera ... which I have passed along to Evelyn and Ed. I have finished using AncestralQuest to synch my database with the new FamilySearch. I think Gaylon Findlay has done a wonderful job with the FamilySearch menu in AQ12, but I find it awkward that the keyboard shortcuts and icons are often different from PAF. I need to start working on the Ing family book and the Lidgett family book, but Ernie is currently without a computer which makes it hard to collaborate on the project. I have been helping Andrew to put in a suspended ceiling, but it still needs some finishing touches. Then we can install the laminate flooring. I also promised to help Blaine to install the plumbing in his new kitchen cabinets when they are installed. Somehow I seem to be as busy as I was when I was serving in FamilySearch, but it is all in a good cause. Last Wednesday I spent a few hours in the Edmonton Riverbend FHC, helping to make it easier for patrons to use the computers there. I hope to follow-up tomorrow.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

When I visited Mom, she gave a me a box of photographs. Most were less than 10 years old, but a few date back nearly 100 years. I have spent my "spare" time scanning them. They were scanned 3 or 4 at a time, and need to be cropped into individual photos, and labeled. It will take some time, but it will be time well spent! In July 2009, my cousin Darlene Perrett visited the old lands of our Buchanan family. She recently sent me photos (and permission to post them on the internet). Some of the photos were from Binnawooda Townland in Ardstraw Parish or County Tyrone, Ireland. This is where my Buchanans lived before emigrating to Canada in 1847, during the peak of the great Irish potato famine. Y-DNA test results stated that we were of "a typical chiefly line" of Clan Buchanan, so Darlene also went to Scotland to visit the ancestral homeland of the world's Buchanans, centered in Buchanan Parish in Stirlingshire. This is on the east shore of Loch Lomond, where the Highlands meet the Lowlands, quite a pretty place according to her photos. The photos can be viewed at