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.
Since April 2010, I have served 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

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Binnawooda Townland, Ireland - Easter of 1847
I was thinking of my Buchanan ancestors, and what they would have been doing in Ireland at Easter in 1847. My great grandfather John, as a teenager, was one of the younger family members. Charles and William, two of his older brothers were already married with small children.

The potato blight was devastating the country. In some areas of western Ireland, the populations of whole rural districts had already starved to death. Fortunately, in the western part of County Tyrone the situation had not reached that point yet ...  But by this time, the decision would have already been made by the family to leave Ireland, and preparations would be well in hand. We know that the children attended Sunday School, so the family would probably have attended the Easter services in one of the closest churches, perhaps in Drumquin.

Their prayers at Easter of 1847 would have had a new dimension. Undoubtedly the Easter message of eternal life through Jesus Christ was on their minds, but their prayers were probably focused on more immediate concerns: seeking God's help with their escape from Ireland, and their survival on the ocean, and in the remote colony of Upper Canada. Travel by wooden sailing ships was dangerous. Some ships failed to survive the storms that made the North Atlantic infamous. They must have known of the risk of "immigrant fever" that killed many on shipboard. Yet, they were prepared to face these dangers and say farewell to friends and relatives, knowing that they would never see them again in this life. 

It must have been a heart-rending time! But they had faith in the future, and that they were making the right choice. I am among the tens of thousands of their descendants who can be grateful for the decision that they made.

Happy Easter everyone!


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