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

Friday, June 25, 2010

Family June has been an exciting month with lots of family birthdays and birthday parties for the grandchildren. There has also been the University of Alberta graduation of a daughter, and her receiving her first contract as a teacher. And last Saturday, four of the grand daughters were in a large (6-hour) dance rehearsal held at the Jubilee Auditorium. And on Sunday most of the family were to our house for Fathers Day. It has been a wonderful month to be a grandfather! ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Family History Center Last night 10 people who had attended the Family History classes at Parkland Ward came to my FHC by special invitation. It was wonderful that they came! One man found his grandparents' family in the 1920 US census in Oregon on ... another found himself on a passenger manifest on as a baby with his parents and an older sister who subsequently died. The manifest even listed the address of the family home back in Scotland. ... another found his great grandmother's birth record, which named her parents. ... another found his grandparents on the 1911 census of Ireland, and then found both of them in the 1901 census of Ireland as children living with their parents and siblings. One family was shown as Church of Ireland and the other was Roman Catholic ... verifying family stories of religious conflict between the two families. A fun time was had by all, at the Family History Center! ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Tip One tip I had to keep repeating is to NOT fill in every space in the Search forms. I had to explain that otherwise they will eliminate finding any records that do not contain all of the same information. (e.g. only death records will have a date and place of death, only marriage records will usually have a date and place of marriage, so putting in both sets of information eliminates nearly all records) ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Slide Presentation At the FHC I found a partial backup of my slide presentation on the FHC Services Online Portal, saving me perhaps 6 hours of work! And yesterday I captured the remaining screen shots. I saved two copies of it to be on the safe side, plus I left copies on the FHC computer. I have about 120 screen shots. For actual presentations I will make copies of this and delete the slides I don't want to use. I hope you are having a wonderful week. Here, the flowers are blooming and the world is beautiful!

Friday, June 18, 2010

A Shift at the Family History Center Yesterday was an interesting shift that started off very badly and ended very nicely. For the past two weeks I have been working on a comprehensive Impress/PowerPoint presentation on the resources in the FamilySearch Online Portal. I can't access the portal from home, so I have been going in to the FHC early to work on my presentation. Yesterday I discovered that my file would not open, and I had no backup. I really do know better, but I had neglected something very basic. I tried opening the 90-slide presentation on 4 different computers, I looked for help on the internet, but I will probably need to rebuild the presentation (and a back-up) from scratch. From there, things got better. Brother and Sister Lee were serving their shift when I arrived about 3 PM, and a couple were visiting with them. They introduced themselves as the Lambs from Provo, Utah. They said they work at the Family History Training Center there. I mentioned that I served in FamilySearch World Wide Support with someone who worked there, but I couldn't remember who, so they mentioned some names. Jill Woodbury! I served with Jill Woodbury for at least a year and a half and had frequent contact with her by phone, chat and email. Every week we had a little ML meeting together with Luisa Welsch from FamilySearch. It's a small world! Bill Lamb even took a photo of me to share with Jill. Time passed, the Lees and the Lambs left. I set to work creating a spreadsheet of the Ancestry Institution databases sorted by country rather than by title. I also installed the free FHC software on the last two computers. Before I knew it, Lonni and Whitney arrived for our shift. We were expecting a man to arrive to get help preparing a Family Ordinance Request, and a lady to get help using AncestralQuest to synchronize her database with the new She arrived and I got busy helping her. A young man came in, and then a couple, so we were all busy. I was unfamiliar with downloading ancestors from nFS, but was still able to be some help. I also separated some combined records for Mihaly Hegedus that were causing problems. I also helped find the Hegedus family in the 1916 census of Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Alberta. (It was indexed as Hagedus, or there would have been no problem. I finally found them by searching Ancestry for all people in that census who were born in Hungary and immigrated to Canada in 1900.) My patron told of the varying results in trying to get information from Saskatchewan on her family. I then told her about the local histories readable online at In about 5 minutes I found the story of her grandfather's family in the local history of Atwater, Saskatchewan. She was thrilled! It was nearly closing time and the young man was the only patron still there. I asked him his name. Hyde? Any relation to Vern Hyde? Yes! This was interesting. His grandfather, Robert Vernon Hyde, was my cousin or at least a cousin's cousin! I was able to look him up on my personal web site. They were amazed to recognize the same names on my web site that they had been working with on the nFS web site. Indeed, it is an incredibly small world. I hope you are enjoying your contacts with your family, and your research on your ancestors.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Installing Free Software and Accessing Databases at the FHC Last week I installed a variety of software programs at the Edmonton Riverbend Family History Center. These programs are free to all FHCs. We also got working on our computers with help from I was quite impressed by what has made available to the FHCs. While it is not the full ancestry package, it seems very extensive, including censuses for the USA, UK (England & Wales), and Canada (including the 1916 census of Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta). I continue to try out the resources in the FHC Services Online Portal. There is an abundance of resources available at your local FHC. Free nFS Printing Site Found There is a free website that will print very nice charts from the data on, (available to most LDS at present, and is expected to be available to the general public by the end of 2010). The printing site is and seems to be completely free (but I see it is marked as a beta site). One problem I ran into was that it printed my 9-generation fan chart on a single letter sized page. Even with a magnifying glass it was hard to read. So I tried again, checking my printer settings. This time I chose to change Page Scaling to None, so it prints on 8 sheets of letter sized paper. Much better! Lost Relatives Found I was contacted by one of my Forsbury relatives in Australia, who told me that her aunt lives in western Canada, just a few hour's drive from me! My Dad (Peter) has a sister who emigrated to Canada in the 60’s... they have lived all over Canada. Kind regards Caroline On Fri, Mar 12, 2010 at 1:58 AM, Caroline wrote: Hi Bill, Yes always interested in more family tree stuff. We recently found the trial records of my husbands ggg grandmother, who was transported to Australia for stealing... like you said it was amazing hearing her actual words. I have found a lot more information on my husband's family and my maternal side as well ... the family tree is getting bigger, but amazingly every single one is English... not even a drop of irish or scots blood in there. Kind Regards Caroline Caroline gave me the name and email address of her aunt. I sent the aunt an email and a photo of my great grandparents. I hope she contacts me so we can share family stories and information.

Sunday, June 06, 2010

In one of the forums I subscribe to, the basic question was asked: "Which paid subscription sites do you suggest people use?" I suggest caution. A friend of mine spent $300 for a year's subscription to one service and received almost nothing in return. (This was not entirely the service's fault as my friend lost his username and password at one point.) ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ On the other hand, I currently subscribe to the British service GenesReunited which costs about $25 for a 6-month subscription. It is basically a gedcom matching service. I have had good success connecting to other people researching my Linnen, Waller, Goldring, and Kinney lines through this service.
This past week I received a notice from GenesReunited saying that someone wanted to contact me regarding Ada Ing. I clicked the link. A message popped up saying: "William Smith was my Maternal Grandfather as you will see from my tree. He remarried [after the death of Marion Ing] and had a number of children including my mother ... I have Marion Ing's Bible which records a number of events including the death of Thomas Ing and the emigration of Ada and her mother. I would like to exchange further information, but current work commitments don't allow me the time to respond immediately I will always reply to any communication Best Wishes" Wow! I was stunned! Thomas Ing was my great grandfather! I was very familiar with the story of my grandfather and his brother selling their oxen to pay for the passage of Marion's mother Martha and sister Ada to Canada in 1907. I had never been able to find anything on William Smith, of London, England, born about 1880. This was despite frequent "possible matches" in GenesReunited. Now I had William's info, his parents' info, his second wif'e's info and the names and birth years of his 14 children! Of course, if you don't have British ancestry, a GenesReunited subscription would be a waste of money. If you do have British ancestors, it may be worth checking out. (I have no connection to this company beyond being a satisfied subscriber.)