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

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Memories of Ales, Gard, France

Friday while I was on duty for, a phone call came to me from Draper, Utah regarding a family history question. I discovered that the caller was the wife of a young Englishman I served with in Ales, France in 1966! It brought back a flood of memories, and I told her I had some old photos I could send.

The quality of the photos is poor. Color slides were the popular technology for photos at that time. If you projected the slides, it was almost like being there again. It was amazing! But the traditional color print photos retained their popularity after the slides craze had passed. It is probably a good thing, as their survival was much better.

Back when we arrived in Ales the only affordable housing we found was out-of-town in an old stone house without indoor plumbing other than cold running water in the kitchen sink. (In most areas of France and Switzerland our housing was excellent. Ales was a bit more primitive.)

One day a plowman came to plow the neighbor's vineyard. His plow was in a 2-wheeled cart. While he and his horse were busy plowing the field, my missionary companion and I took each other's photos standing beside his cart. Here is a poor quality photo of how I looked nearly 50 years ago.

Ah, the memories!

Wednesday, November 06, 2013

Research Success - Grants

I long believed that the maiden name of my 2GGM Mary Ann Wright was Grant. In, the only Mary Ann married to a Charles Wright in the right time period and general geographical area (Depwade Registration District of Norfolk, England) was this one:
Surname  First name(s)    District  Vol  Page
Marriages Dec 1839
GRANT  Mary Anne     Depwade  13 81
WRIGHT  Charles     Depwade  13 81

She repeatedly says in the censuses that she was born in Bunwell parish in 1821, but I could not find out who her parents were. Then I found this record:

England, Norfolk Bishop's Transcripts, 1685-1941, Norfolk, Archdeaconry of Norfolk, 1819
A-C,  Image 215 of 326 
It is 2 years earlier than she states in the census, but that is not uncommon.
1819 Sept 13, Mary Ann dau Stephen and Sarah Grant (late Hillings), Bunwell, Labourer

It even gave the mother's maiden name, not always present in British records. I began researching the family of Stephen Grant and Sarah Hillings. Things were going great until I looked at the 1851 census, and things fell apart! Their daughter "Mary Ann Hasle" was with them on census day. My Mary Ann was "Mary Ann Wright" by this time and was shown with her husband Charles Wright and their children. So obviously they were different Mary Ann Grants. At this point I decided to buy a copy of the marriage certificate of Charles Wright, in the hope it would clear things up. The wait for the certificate was agonizing. 

In the meantime, I decided to follow up on another line of investigation. In the 1901 census Mary Ann Wright is living as a widow with the family of a William Grant, about the right age to be a nephew. William might provide the clues I needed. I found a record in Pedigree Resource file that seemed to tie things together. Elcy Grant and Mary Ann Self had a son Elcy who had a son William. Elcy senior was shown with various siblings, including Stephen married to a Sarah, and among their children was a Mary Ann. This was definitely "Mary Ann Hasle". The somewhat sporadic PRF record showed that Elcy senior and Mary Ann also had a daughter shown as born 1824 and no husband listed. Could this be my Mary Ann? It seemed to all fit in place.

Yesterday we picked up the mail during our drive into Spruce Grove. Judy asked asked if I wanted her to open the envelope from the General Register Office, as I was driving the car. She knew that I was really hoping that the certificate would be for my Charles and that he was married to Mary Ann. I agreed. Before she said anything aloud I said. "Is Charles' father named Benjamin Wright?" She said "Yes, he is!" "And is Mary Ann Grant's father named Elcy Grant?" "Right again!" What a relief! I had spent hours putting the pieces together, and I was thrilled that I had come to the correct conclusions. 

I felt like doing some form of Genealogy Happy Dance, but this is not advisable when you are behind the steering wheel! 

Research Successes - Wrights

For many years I have been stymied in searching for the parents of Charles Wright, my grandmother's grandfather. I knew where he was born in Carleton Rode, Norfolk, England about 1815, so not THAT long ago, but earlier than the British civil registration. From, it appeared that his wife Mary Ann's maiden name was Grant. Then in September, I found parish records for Carleton Rode online at:  Wow!

Among the earliest christenings were these:
Event Ref No Event Date Individual Given Individual Surname Father's Given Father's Surname Father's Occupation Mother's Given
66 25/05/1817 Sarah WRIGHT Benjamin WRIGHT Husbandman Lydia
67 25/05/1817 Charles WRIGHT Benjamin WRIGHT Husbandman Lydia 

There was no other Charles Wright in that time period, so this has to be my Charles. From the Carleton Rode Parish transcription, the Wrights were apparently not very observant Anglicans. (One girl was christened at age 18.) In fact Grandma said that some of them were Baptists, although I didn't find them in the Baptist records. Maybe they were just Baptist sympathizers. So Charles being born in 1815 and christened (with an older sister) two years later was very consistent.

Now that I had Charles' parents' names, I could find Lydia's maiden name in the England, Norfolk Archdeacon's Transcripts, 1600-1812 for Norfolk  Carleton-Rode 1725-1812
Baptisms, Marriages, Burials
William christened age 2 years, Phoebe aged 9 months
page 106/131
Births 1802
William and Phobe son and daughter of Benjamin and Lydia Wright (late Hawes) were publicly baptized July 12, William aged 2 and Phobe aged 9 months

I could now look for Lydia's christening. I found it in Carleton Rode on 24 Mar 1776 and it listed her parents as William Hawes and Elizabeth Humphrey. And I found other family members as well.

But it didn't end there, this new information allowed me to find this:
I am looking for information about the family of Benjamin Wright who married Ann SCOTT at Carleton Rode 27 Nov. 1758. They had the following children born 1759-1771:-
Elizabeth (John Woodrow)
Charlotte (Elisha Briggs)
Mary (William RINGER)
William (Sarah Clarke)
Richard (Ann Briggs)
Benjamin (Lydia HAWES).

And this tantalizing possibility:
Name: Benjamin Wright
Gender: Male
Christening Date: 22 Jul 1733
Christening Place: Sisland, Norfolk, England
Birth Date: Birthplace: Death Date: Name Note: Race:
Father's Name: Samuel Wright Father's Birthplace: Father's Age:
Mother's Name: Bridget Mother's Birthplace: Mother's Age:
Indexing Project (Batch) Number: I07419-1 System Origin: England-EASy
GS Film number: 1702652 Reference ID: p22 

So I have reasons to do the genealogy happy dance!!!