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

Monday, May 23, 2011

Early Memories and Poetry
One of my early memories is a discussion of poetry by my parents. As I remember it, the discussion took place in about 1950. We were living in the old log house on our farm about 6 miles west of Breton, Alberta. The discussion may have been sparked by something I was studying. Mom and Dad grew up in a different time period. It was a time of little 1-room schools scattered among the farms, and children usually walked to school. Dad had only 6 years of schooling and Mom had 9. Even in my generation that would be considered inadequate. But it was quite normal for their generation, where the local school only offered grades 1-6 or maybe 1-9. But these schools emphasized the importance of life-long learning. My parents were both highly-intelligent and were voracious readers, so that in many areas they were better educated than I was, despite my university degree.

What poem were they discussing? I remember two actually ... "The Inchcape Rock" and "Abou Ben Adhem". It is the latter that holds my attention right now, by the English poet, Leigh Hunt. (The actual spelling of the central character's name has two different forms. I will use the simpler form.)

Abu Ben Adam,may his tribe increase
Awoke one night from a deep dream of peace
And saw, within the moonlight of his room
Making it rich, like a lily in bloom
An angel writing in a book of gold.

Exceeding peace had made Abu Ben Adam bold
And to the presence in his room he said
'What writest thou?'
The vision raised its head
And with a look of all sweet accord Answered:
'The names of those who love the Lord.

'And is mine one?' said Abu.
'Nay not so' Replied the Angel
Abu spoke more low
But cheerily still and said
'I pray thee then Write me as one that loves his fellow-men'

The angel wrote and vanished.
The next night it came again with awaking light
And showed the names of whom love of God had blessed.
And lo! Ben Adam's name led all the rest.

I think this poem carries a beautiful message. Dad in particular had a high regard for "the common man", his peer. Alexander Pope, in An Essay on Man wrote "An honest man is the noblest work of God." By this measure, all of us are of noble parentage, for we all have such people in our family tree!


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