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

Friday, August 05, 2011

Ing Family Reunion
The Ing family reunion is at Breton, Alberta tomorrow. I have been looking forward to it, especially since I missed it last year because I was helping with Evelyn & Ed's move to Wabasca. This time we also have a scheduling conflict. We have been invited to the wedding and reception of the daughter of our good friends the Bennetts. This is a girl we have known since she was born. We will miss the wedding but I think that by leaving the reunion at 5 PM we will be able to attend the reception.

I will bring along a chart of the descendants of Thomas and Martha Ing. I would like to video some interviews with family members. I plan to bring the night stand built by my uncle Jack Buchanan so that I can give it to his daughter Velda if she comes to the reunion.

Border Crossing Record
Last night at the Family History Center I was looking for information on my 2g-grandfather, James Watson in and I found that several people agree with my analysis that he is the son of James Watson (a sergeant in a regiment) and Isobel Gillis. That is somewhat reassuring. But even more exciting was an unexpected border crossing record for my g-grandfather George Watson on July 31, 1913. My first thought was "In 1913 he had been living at Millet, Alberta for 9 years, so why would he be crossing the border from the USA into Ontario? This must be a case of mistaken identity." But when I looked at at it I noticed the names of the two names on the lines below George and his wife: Mary Steel and Elizabeth Steel.  I thought, "Whoa! I wonder ...!" As I scrolled to the right on the page, a powerful story unfolded. George and Jane Watson were traveling from Raber, Michigan to Millet, Alberta to join their son Richard. They were bringing with them two 4-month old grandchildren "wards of grandparents Mr. & Mrs. Geo. Watson". A quick check of my database showed that their daughter Mary Elizabeth Watson Steele had died on 22 Jun 1913, just a few weeks before. Her husband Frank was left with several small children to care for. Apparently a set of newborn twins was more than he could take care of, so Mary's parents agreed to take care of the twins.

Many years ago, my father told me that his aunt Minnie (Mary) had died giving birth to twins. I had never found any corroborating evidence. When I finally saw her death certificate, the official cause of death was "chronic valvular disease of the heart", but I believe that the strain of giving birth to twins was a contributing factor, as she died 3 months later. So is Nellie really "Mary" or is she "Elizabeth"? Not even her death certificate gives any clue! When Allan and Carrie Watson adopted the girls they changed their names from Steele to Watson and apparently they changed the given names as well!

So this record answers some puzzling old questions, but adds some new questions of its own.

Much of the joy is in the journey, not just the arrival.


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