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

Monday, March 28, 2011

Monday is a "day off" for Me
This gives me a full day to spend on my various pursuits.

In the morning, my friend Bob Wolf and I helped another friend to fix up her horse barn, which had been damaged by the horses. This was cold work but only took about an hour and a half.

In the afternoon, I created gedcom genealogy files for uploading to and to Wikitree. Let's see whether I get any real "Hot Matches" from GenesReunited, now that I have more ancestors in their "matching" database. I am trying Wikitree, it is free and allows gedcom uploads. I am considering using it to build a collaborative family tree.

I also offered help on the online forums that I monitor, and wrote my handouts for Thursday's class.

In the evening I watched Jeopardy and puttered around some more on the computer.

Family Video
In 1994, my son James was in Grade 8 at school and starred in the school's drama production. This past week, my brother Lloyd was able to copy the VHS recording to a DVD. Friday night, Judy and I popped some popcorn and watched both sessions of the play. James did a wonderful job in his starring role. Now that we have it as a DVD and an MPEG2 recoding, it may last for generations ... you never know about that sort of thing.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Revisiting Old Data
I came across this information in an old posting of mine to
Date:  24 Feb 2006, 04:07:31 PM
Subject:  Early History of Elma Township [Perth County, Ontario, Canada - where my Buchanans settled in the autumn of 1847.
["The Elmanac" is a history of Elma Township]

I would like to call your attention to to the phrase "The names in this group include Joseph Caruth, James and Robert Buchanan, John Porter, David Glen, and Robert Thompson."

If two brothers of Ann Thompson Buchanan came to Canada with the family, William and Robert Thompson seem like the most probable candidates. [This was even prior to being aware of her father James Thompson's probate in Australia.]

The earliest (1861) census lists these Thompsons:
Thompson Henry (b. 1822 Ontario),
Thompson John (b. 1810 Ireland, child b. 1842 Ontario),
Thompston Robert (b. 1820 Ireland, child b. 1843 Ontario)
Thompson William (b. 1816 Ireland, child b. 1845 Ontario),
Thompston William (b. 1820 Ireland, child b. 1843 Ontario),
Thompson William (b. 1822 Ireland, child b. 1847, Ontario).
So of this group only the last William Thompson seems like a possible candidate, if the ages and birthplaces are accurate. [Since the others apparently arrived before 1847]

Thompson William L 33 C 12 Farmer Ireland Ang 38 Married Male  1822
Thompson Jane   " " 30 Married Female  1830 [This might be Jane Love, who married a William Thompson on 27 Jan 1847 in Urney Presbyterian Church, Urney Parish, Tyrone, Ireland]
Thompson Margaret   Ontario " 13 S F  1847
Thompson James   " " 11 S M  1849
Thompson Ann   " " 9 S F  1851
Thompson Jane   " " 7 S F  1853
Thompson John   " " 5 S M  1855
Thompson Joseph   " " 3 S M  1857
Thompson ?   " " ? S M
[The last number is a calculated year of birth, which I have added.]

Other accounts have a William Thompson leading the first group of settlers
to Elma, but which one of the three?

I wondered if John Porter was one of our group, since Charles Buchanan was
married to Ann Porter.

From the 1861 census, it looks possible.
Porter John L 35 C 11 Farmer Ireland Meth 32 Married Male  1828
Porter Ann   " " 31 Married Female  1829
Porter Robert   Ontario " 13 S M  1847
Porter Thomas   " " 11 S M  1849
Porter John   " " 9 S M  1851
Porter William   " " 7 S M  1853
Porter Mary Ann   " " 5 S F  1855
Porter Jacob   " " 3 S M  1857
Porter M. Jane   " " 1 S F  1859

I wondered if David Glenn might be related to Elizabeth Glenn, who married James Buchanan.
I see the same pattern of immigration here. [i.e. born in Ireland in 1810-1820 and has children born in Ontario in the late 1840s] But Elizabeth is too old to be the daughter of David's wife Mary. Maybe David is her brother or cousin.
Glenn David L 35 C 11 Farmer Ireland Pres 45 Married Male  1815
Glenn Mary   " " 33 Married Female  1827
Glenn M. Jane   Ontario " 13 S F  1847
Glenn Margaret   " " 11 S F  1849
Glenn James   " " 9 S M  1851
Glenn Matilda   " " 7 S F  1853
Glenn William   " " 5 S M  1855
Glenn Sarah   " " 1 S F  1859

Buchanan James L 25 C 12 Farmer Ireland Meth 36 Married Male  1824
Buchanan Elizabeth   " " 22 Married Female  1838
Glenn Catherine  Servant Ontario " 15 S F  1845
Buchanan M. J.   " " 2 S F  1858
Buchanan Andrew   " " 1 S M  1859

There is also an Alexander Glen aged 40 and a Charles Glenn aged 27 in the 1851 census of Mornington, but no Elizabeth or Catherine. Elizabeth might belong to one of these families.

[The Elmanac, the History of Elma Township 1857 - 1997, pp. 4-5]

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Today is my 43rd wedding anniverary. It has been a wonderful 43 years, and I owe that to my wife Judy! Originally we planned to get married on the Easter long-weekend of 1968, but moved the date up to March 23rd.

An Adventure
On the date we originally planned, we returned to the place we were married to visit family members, and got stuck in a snow drift in the middle of the highway. We got a ride with a truck to Raymond. A relative brought me back to our car with his huge army-surplus 6-wheel drive truck and pulled me out of the snow bank. The engine compartment of the car was jammed full of snow and the engine wouldn't start, so I was towed to Raymond behind the truck on the end of a long chain swinging back and forth like a pendulum , but never quite going into either ditch. It was an adventure long-remembered!

If we had gone ahead with the original wedding date, it is probable that neither us nor our guests would have made it to the wedding!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

RootsTech Conference
Did you miss the RootsTech conference? RootsTech brought together the users and the developers of technology for genealogy. With over 3000 in attendance and and estimated 4500 attending sessions over the internet, it was a huge success.

Free videos of some of the best talks are now available online if you have high-speed internet access.

In addition, Lisa Louise Cooke of has some of her video interviews available for free at


Wednesday, March 16, 2011

I just received this from the NEHGS.

"I wanted to take a moment to let you and your readers know that The New England Historic Genealogical Society (NEHGS), the American Jewish Historical Society of New England (AJHSNE), and the Jewish Cemetery Association of Massachusetts (JCAM) have made available for the first time online access to a growing database that currently includes 13 Massachusetts Jewish cemeteries, with approximately 5,000 records. More records are being added weekly until all 106 JCAM cemeteries, which include more than 100,000 total records, are online. ...

"For more information, visit the NEHGS website at , the American Jewish Historical site at or visit the Jewish Cemeteries Association of Massachusetts at"

Saturday, March 12, 2011

It has been a good week.

My granddaughter asked for family history information for a Social Studies assignment, and later had a Facebook chat with me on the subject. I sent her a 4-generation pedogree chart.

Information our of the RootsTech conference was extremely positive. There was a lot of excitement over getting genealogists and technicians together to compare their wish lists!

I am trying Dropbox as a way of synchronizing data across 3 computers.

My presentation at the Edmonton Multi-Stake Family History Workshop was well received. The topic was "Are Family History Centers still needed?" has completed their 3-part series "A Date Guide to English Genealogy". It is accessible for free and has very useful information for anyone doing research in England and Wales. i.e. dates when certain types of records came into existence, and what they contain

Sunday, March 06, 2011

Value of a Blog
My blog and my website bring me contacts from very distant relatives of me and my wife. Here is part of a recent one:

Hello from Australia! My name is ..., I accidentally came across your family tree website while I was on Google looking for my great great great grandma, Gertrude Henery. Well, I think she's that, not sure I could have one too many 'great's' in her title, but I'm keen to find out. As Popeye would say, "Blow me down!", is what I was thinking when I was reading about all my grandparents, aunts, uncles & cousins on your site. I was absolutely amazed!!! Where did you get such, in some cases, such detailed information? ...
We started corresponding, and he sent me some old photos. (I love those!) It occurred to me to send them to two of our cousins in Australia. I received the following response.

Dear Bill
[My wife] only came home from hospital last week after almost a month so is still not well enought to come down to the office to check emails etc. I told her about your email today and she is over the moon as she had never seen a photo of her great grandmother even though her great grandfather lived with her family when she was a tot. When she is well enough she will get back to you.

This exchange (which has involved 11 messages so far), has allowed me to bring joy to two of my cousins who didn't know each other. I gave the first cousin two more generations of his ancestry, and gave the second cousin a photo of her great grandmother whom she had never seen.

Who says genealogy isn't fun?!!!

Back in 2002 Judy and I took a vacation trip that we had dreamed of doing for years. Why not? I was now retired, we had a new car, and we both foresaw health issues that were not yet serious. And our son Andrew was willing to come along and help with the driving.

We drove from Alberta to Neepawa, Manitoba, where my great grandparents had settled in 1879, and spent a few days visiting relatives and visiting places of interest in our family history. My cousin Darlene offered to let us stay at her house and to help us in our quest while in Manitoba. Then on to Donegal, Ontario, where our family settled in 1847. We were able to attend the big 80th birthday party of a cousin and meet many of the relatives. We also scanned old photos to add to my growing collection.

Cemetery in Donegal, Ontario

Then we visited Niagara Falls, crossed into New York, attended the Hill Cumorah Pageant at Palmyra, and followed the Mormon Trail west to Ohio, Illinois, Missouri, and Nebraska. Then we drove home by way of Raymond, Alberta, where we visited Judy's aunt, Sally Hippard. We had borrowed Laurel's camcorder, so we had recorded some videos of the trip, which I copied to VHS tape for our use. Nine years passed.

I knew that my brother, Lloyd had the necessary equipment to copy VHS tapes to DVD. I was anxious to not lose the recordings from this trip, and I asked if he would help me. I think it was a bigger job than I expected, but he did it. I now have our trip recorded on DVD and as an MPEG2 file for posterity.

Thanks Lloyd! It is much appreciated.