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, April 09, 2012

Find Your Tree in the Forest in Red Deer, Alberta

The Red Deer Branch of the Alberta Genealogical Society will host a conference starting on Friday evening, April 13, and then continuing all day Saturday, April 14. I was honored to be invited to speak at this conference and I see there are quite a few other speakers listed as well: Gena Philibert Ortega, Thomas MacEntee (presenting remotely via Webinar), Penny Allen, Jim Benedict, Ronna Byam, Shannon Cherkowski, Janice Cushman, Peter Darby, Elise Friedman, Nancy Millar, Wayne Shepheard, Lois Sparling and Jean Tilbert. This promises to be a great event! You can find the entire schedule at

The conference is sponsored by the Alberta Family Histories Society and by the Alberta Genealogical Society. Several hundred genealogists are expected to attend.

If you are in or near Red Deer, you might want to join us. The Conference will be held at the Holiday Inn at 6500 67th Street, Red Deer, Alberta. More information may be found at

[re-posted from Dick Eastman's Blog.  I would love to be there but can't make it.]

Thursday, April 05, 2012

Personal Ancestral File and Android

I was recently asked whether PAF can run on Android devices. The answer of course is no, for at least two reasons.

1. hardware (Android tablets and phones do not use an x86-based CPU)
2. software (Android is a different operating system than Microsoft Windows)

But this does not mean you can't use PAF to take your genealogy with you on your Android tablet or smart phone.

You use PAF's Create webpage function to create an HTML version of your PAF database. It takes 10 minutes if you have done it before, but longer if it is a new experience.

Then use the USB cable to copy the website (folder of HTML files) from your Windows "Documents" folder to your Android device. My 7" Iconia tablet has a slot for an external microSD card, so I chose this as my destination. I expected that clicking the index.htm file on my Android would launch the website, like in Windows. Not so! I needed to install a free app named OpenHTML. Now I can click on index.htm and select OpenHTML to open my PAF website in my default Android browser. Or I can launch OpenHTML to open my PAF website. I should be able to add my index.htm file to the browser favorites to make life even simpler.

This is a read-only solution, but it is a handy one to know if you have PAF and an Android tablet or phone. And it is free.


Wednesday, April 04, 2012

The big genealogy news this week is the release of the 1940 US Census on April 2nd. FamilySearch is heading "the 1940 US Census Community Project". In a meeting this morning, we were told that the project is moving forward at an unprecedented rate.
(The following is part of an announcement from

The 1940 U.S. Census Is Now Being Indexed!
4 April 2012

The 1940 U.S. Census is here and the 1940 US Census Community Project has kicked off to a great start! The excitement and enthusiasm for this project is far greater than anything previously seen in the six years that FamilySearch indexing has been available. Online volunteers completed the indexing for the state of Delaware in the first 24 hours. They are now indexing Alabama, Colorado, Florida, Kansas, Oklahoma, Oregon, and Virginia!

Yesterday I indexed two batches from Colorado, and today I indexed a batch from Kansas. Each batch is a page with 40 names, and I probably averaged 40 minutes per batch. If you would like to help, go to

On my side of the border, even bigger news is that the 1921 Canada Census should be released next year, since the Canadian 92-year privacy law will allow it.
(In the USA, the privacy law is for only 72 years where the federal census is concerned.)
My grandfather Buchanan's family will probably not be in this census, as they were living in Tacoma, Washington, where Grandma died in 1923. I could not find them in the 1920 US Census, but I did find them in a city directory.

Tacoma Washington 1921 City Directory, page 202:

BUCHANAN WM A (Elizabeth) trkmn h 1814-1/2 S Tacoma Street. [From this I believe he was employed as a trackman by the Tacoma Street Railway at the time. George worked cleaning streetcars, probably about this same time.]