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.

My Photo
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

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Merry Christmas of 2010! It has been a good year for our family.

My wonderful 30 month FamilySearch mission ended in January. I am now serving in the Edmonton Alberta Riverbend Family History Centre, where I have been teaching classes on Thursday evenings. There has been progress in our own family history research, as well as assistance given to others.
In January we replaced the scruffy carpeting in my office with laminate flooring. (Reminder to self: paint the new plaster twice before repainting the wall. It does a better job and it is half the work!)

We hired a company to remove four large trees that threatened our power line. (It is always good to bring in the experts for the big jobs, right?) On April 23 we arrived home to find that this company had destroyed the power line by dropping a tree on it. They also destroyed our plum tree by dropping a tree on it, narrowly missing the house! We were without electricity, furnace, and running water for 2-1/2 days. Needless to say, we were not impressed! A friend loaned us a small generator, which kept the food in the freezer frozen. We are thankful for family and friends!

We had fun with the family at birthdays and major holidays. The grandchildren are growing so fast! A year ago the youngest was a baby. Now he is one of the kids.

I helped my son Andrew to install a suspended ceiling in his family room in February. Then in November, I helped him to install laminate in the family room. It is looking really good. At home we tore out the old carpet from our living room-dining room area and installed laminate. The old carpet had to be torn up in strips and the underlay removed with a scraper. We got the missionaries to move our piano onto the new flooring. (I know you won't be reading my blog, but thanks, you are wonderful!)

Evelyn received her Bachelor of Education degree with distinction from the University of Alberta, and has her first job teaching kindergarten. James is pursuing his Certified Management Accountant designation. James and Karen went to the UK in October with friends, visiting England and Scotland. Rob went to New Orleans and Mexico on vacation. Judy and I went to southern Alberta and BC, visiting Judy’s brother Bob and my brother Reg. This was our only “trip”, but somehow our new Corolla has over 40,000 km.

On the 19th of June, four of the granddaughters were in a dance recital at the Jubilee Auditorium. In June one was in her school play, so we have some young performers in the family.

We had strange weather, with a hot April and a snowy May. We had to cover the tomato plants every night for the longest time! We still had a fairly good garden, although the deer ate up the peas. We also bought an additional apple tree, a Norkent. We bought strawberry plants and they did well. We had a good harvest from our Heyer-12 apple tree. These apples are thin skinned and about 2 to 2-1/2 inches in diameter. Peeling them removes most of the flesh of the apple, so instead we split them, cored them, and sliced them in the food processor for pie filling. It worked OK. We enjoy our flowers and all of the greenery around.

I wrote a personal history by topics, and have just finished my Buchanan Family Tree 2010 e-book, but my books on the Ing and Lidgett families remain unfinished. Judy wrote a Buchanan Family Recipes cookbook, as part of the Personal Progress goals she is working on. Both of us have done some indexing for Rob has written a fantasy novel, which Judy and I enjoyed reading this year.

I am also learning to create DVD movies of the family. I am using Windows (Vista) Movie Maker to assemble the movies and the free Sothink Movie DVD Maker to create DVDs that will play in a home DVD player. Sothink Movie DVD Maker supports the title screens created by Windows Movie Maker, and creates a menu that allows you to select the movie you want to play with the TV remote control. So it is a good combination. I am putting together video clips I have taken over the last 4 years, also an interview with my mother and her sister, a walk-through of the family home, and clips of me telling old family stories. My camera is a Canon PowerShot A200IS (whatever that means!). It is a digital camera that can take videos with sound.
Our health continues to allow us to do the things we want to do. We are truly grateful.

We treasure the ancient message of hope and reassurance. “… God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.” (John 3:17)

May God bless you all at Christmas and throughout the coming year!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

I have to believe in angels. They came to my rescue three times yesterday.
They were dressed in ordinary clothes and claimed to be my neighbors, but I know who they really are and who sent them.

We had a heavy snowfall. Backing up my long driveway onto the road, I drove fast enough that my momentum would help me to break through any drifting. But I overshot the road very sightly, getting stuck. A young man came by and pushed my car to help me get going. He told me that the "all weather tires" on my new car were not suitable for the weather conditions, and suggested that I stay home that day if possible. As I drove to Edmonton the weather report, listed the highway as "treacherous". I passed numerous vehicles in the ditch.

Coming back home about 9 PM, I found that our subdivision road was not snowplowed. "This does not look good!", I thought. About 1 km before my house, the last set of recent tracks turned off the road. I was now beating a new path through the snow. A slight hill brought me to a stop. I was stuck in the middle of the road. It was definitely "prayer time". Then I backed up and put kitty litter for traction in my tire tracks. I took a few runs at the road, and advanced a few car lengths after maybe 20 tries. Then I saw headlights behind me. ... old rectangular headlights on an older pickup truck, like the one that had stopped to help me that morning. The driver walked up, and I recognized my earlier rescuer. "I see that you made it out safely. My truck is just 2-wheel drive, but if we can move your car towards the shoulder of the road I can get by, then I will come back and push you. If you can follow in my tracks, you will be OK." With amazing speed, he shoveled a place for me to pull over to the side of the road, and helped me to move my car. He drove past me and stopped at the top of the hill, and then walked back to push my car. I drove up behind his truck, and then I carefully followed in his tracks as he drove past my house, where I turned into my freshly plowed driveway.

Hmm... I don't have a snowplow! Even if I did, my good wife would not have the strength to operate it. It seems that another angel had been hard at work!

Thank you angels! ... all angels, wherever you may be! Thank you for all of the good you do for the people around you.

May there be other angels sent to help you, in your time of need. God bless you all! May you have a wonderful Christmas!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Fun at the FHC
Last night was the first Thursday night in recent months that I haven't taught a class at the Edmonton Riverbend Family History Center. We intended to discuss our plans for classes for the new year. Instead we had patrons come in for help, which was much more fun. One was a family history consultant helping a family from Fiji to register on and prepare a Family Ordinance Request, something she had not done before. She was easy to help, and in a half hour they went on their way happy. Another was a man wanting help with his research, and our director helped him.

I helped a lady who wanted help with her research. Her ancestor, George Fletcher Hurst was born in Ontario about 1879, and his parents might be named Lawrence and Martha. I "struck out" on the 1881 census from, but succeeded on the 1891 census from Collections Canada. This gave his full name, his parents and four younger brothers, ages and birth places. The 1901 census at gave the exact birth dates of the parents and the children who were at home. My patron was really happy at this point!

She said she thought that Lawrence died in Manitoba. I told her that we could probably find his death registration at Sure enough!

DATE OF DEATH: 18/04/1929
AGE: 77

At I found the marriage registration!
004166-80 Lawrence HURST, 25, blacksmith, widower, England, Madoc, d/o John & Mary, married Martha EMBRY, 20, Madoc, same, d/o John & Phoebe, witn: Mary BUSH & Abigail BOUDER both of Madoc on Feb. 2, 1880 at Madoc

This confirmed the previous information and added the names of the parents of the bride and the groom. My patron was ecstatic, and so was I!

I didn't finish planning for our future classes, but I had a wonderful time!

Thursday, December 02, 2010

FamilySearch Websites as of December 2010

At the present time, FamilySearch has multiple sites that are accessible individually. By the end of 2010, it is expected that they will all be accessible on the redesigned website. FamilySearch is the main family history site of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Among other things, this is where you access the Family History Library Catalog of microfilms and microfiche that you can borrow. Online ordering of microfilms and microfiche, at a small cost. is the site for creating computer-searchable indexes of family history records. records from FamilySearch Indexing, but are being moved to ... holds the records from FamilySearch Indexing, including the latest. Free family history research advice for the community, by the community browse any topic listed for helpful family history research and FamilySearch product information provided by experienced FamilySearch patrons. FamilySearch Community Trees are primarily lineage-linked, sourced genealogies contributed by partners. England 1851 Jurisdictions maps, including parishes. It features graphical family trees that can be edited online in real time. An account is needed to access it. It is currently only available to LDS but will be made public sometime within the next year, excluding the temple information. is a "sandbox" site for learning to use with sample data. is the registration site for LDS Family History Consulants and leaders with family history responsibilities. > Serving in the Church > Family History > Temple and Family History Course Materials > Training Videos for Family History Leaders