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

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Last week I posted the Buchanan immigrant story on our family listserv.

Our Buchanan Immigrant Experience
St Patrick's day is not far past, and I was reflecting upon the experiences of our Irish ancestors.
Our Buchanans were Irish famine immigrants from Binnawooda townland in the western part of County Tyrone. Some thought they were leaving hardships behind, but Andrew Buchanan senior realized that there would be hardship ahead, and so appreciated the fact that his family were all grown to young manhood.
In 1847 Andrew and Jane Buchanan of County Tyrone Northern Ireland set sail for Canada in a wooden sailing ship.
There was the father Andrew, aged about 57 (all ages should be considered approximate)
The mother Jane aged 53
Robert 32
Charles 30
James 24
Andrew 21
John 18
Samuel 17
Jane 11
There were also Charles' wife Ann (Porter), aged 22 and daughter Mary aged 1.
Also William's wife Ann (Thompson), aged 23, and baby daughter.
Ann Thompson's older brothers Robert and William may have come on the ship with them. If so, both were married and Robert probably had 3 small children.

On the first try, the ship ran into a severe storm and nearly sank. It had to return for repairs.

On the second try, they reached the Canadian quarantine station on Grosse Ile with an epidemic of immigrant fever (typhus) on board. Grosse Ile was already full of sick people, so they were sent on to Kingston, where Andrew the father, and William's baby died. The wonderful people of Kingston risked their own lives to nurse the sick and dying Irish, as there was no cure for typhus!

Eventually the family was released from quarantine, penniless. All of their money had been spent for passage on the ship and for food during the month or so in quarantine. They went west to Esquesing to work in the harvest, to earn a little money. Then they travelled west to North Easthope, where the women stayed while the men cut a trail through the wilderness and claimed land about 30 km north of Stratford, Ontario. Early in the new year, the women joined them. The Buchanan settlement was later named Donegal, and in 1853 it became part of Elma township, Perth County, Ontario. William Buchanan's daughter Margaret, born in 1848, is said to be the first white child born in the area that became Elma Township.

A generation later, in 1879, most of our Buchanan family moved west as far as the railroad could take them (now St. Boniface, Manitoba), then by ferry and covered wagon. The things that could not fit into the wagons were sent up the river by riverboat. The town of Neepawa, Manitoba was later established near their farms, and became their main source of supplies. David James Watson, son Jane (Buchanan) Watson wrote an interesting account of this journey.


Today I received a query ...

Hi Bill:-

   Did you have an early map of Ontario, just wondered where Esquesing and North Easthope is?



I did a little research and sent this reply.


Hi Ken,

Esquesing township is in Halton County. Here is a map
For another perspective try a search for Acton, Ontario, Canada  at and zoom out.
It appears to be maybe 60 miles/100 km east of Donegal, "as the crow flies". Of course without a network of roads it may have been 3 times the distance back then.

North Easthope is about 15 miles/25 km southeast of Donegal. Search for North Easthope, Perth East, ON, Canada
"Perth East was created in 1998 after the Ontario government imposed amalgamation on many local governments throughout the province. The village of Milverton was combined with the surrounding former townships of Ellice, Mornington, North Easthope and South Easthope."

I hope this helps.



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