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

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Vinyl Siding

We are in the process of siding the garage at Evelyn's place.

We have 3 walls basically sided, and they look beautiful. But the big challenge will be the north side with its double swinging barn doors. It is going to require a lot of measuring, cutting and fitting. That is Monday's project. ... and maybe Tuesday's, Wednesday's etc. It is nice to be doing something constructive.

Finding More Kinneys!

For the last few days I have been sourcing my family tree at FamilySearch Family Tree.

Most of the sources that I found were ones that I already had attached to the people, but I found some new ones. I find it a little frustrating that FamilySearch uses the British census indexes from findmypast. My issue is that their index doesn't list the other people on the page, just the person you are searching for. Clicking the link to the page image on findmypast brings up a "This page is coming soon" message, which is of no immediate help. I much prefer searches on the censuses on

I searched on for Harry Kinney, who seemed like a possible member of the William James Kinney family. I found him in the 1891 census!

1891 England Census about Harry Kinney
Name: Harry Kinney
Age: 6
Estimated birth year: abt 1885
Relation: Son
Father's Name: James Kinney
Mother's name: Jane Kinney
Gender: Male
Where born: Liverpool
Civil Parish: Kirkdale
Ecclesiastical parish: St Paul
County/Island: Lancashire
Country: England
Registration district: West Derby
Sub-registration district: Kirkdale
ED, institution, or vessel: 34
Piece: 2966
Folio: 8
Page Number: 15
Household Members:
Name Age
James Kinney 44
Jane Kinney 38
Lillie J Kinney 21
Susan Kinney 17
Edward Kinney 15
William Kinney 13
Thomas Kinney 10
Robert Kinney 8
Harry Kinney 6
Mary Kinney 4
Frederick Kinney 3/12
Margaret Kinney 19

Up to this point, the most complete information I had on this family was from the 1881 census, where Thomas was the baby. The 1891 census added four children that I was unaware of. Yea team!!!

I had other successes too, but especially appreciated this one, since one of the children, Edward, is Judy's grandfather. 

Family History Fair

This is a genealogy fair taking place on the evening of Friday September 26 and Saturday September 27 at 400 Mcleod Avenue, Spruce Grove, Alberta.

This will be a fun activity, with sessions geared for children, youth, and adults.

I just received this from my friend Helen Gwilliam:

"We'd love likes and or great comments but mostly we need to have an idea of numbers attending to help with our planning.

If you are not on Facebook go to and the other links below for info and to register - it's free!!

If you don't do internet - that's ok - we'll have info in the ward bulletin etc. each week. We'll make sure you know what's happening.

This is a great event to invite friends and family within the community. The following url's will lead you to more details.
See us listed on Alberta Culture Days website at
Helen Gwilliam"

I will be there. I hope that you can come too.


Thursday, August 07, 2014

Research Success

I spent some more time researching my Murton line in FamilySearch and

In Family Tree I have been able to add the parents of John Murton L7FZ-1ZS b.1701 (married to Leah Hock), (John Murton 1664- 9KC2-V8Y and Audry Aslet 1680- 9KC2-VDR) and the parents of this John Murton (John Murton 1631-1669 MMHW-813 and Rose Hadly 1634- LF7J-JX4) and the parents of John Murton 1631 (Edward Murton 1600- L4GD-B6Z and Joane or Jane Tidball 1610- KG4Y-NHG) along with various children.

Three generations added, on that line! This is my most successful day of research in a long time. 

I have tried to be systematic, to avoid missing anyone, and looking for sources. 

It is sad that so little is recorded about their lives. I listened to a talk "It's All About The Dash", and I really agree. For example: "John Murton 1631-1669". What did he do during the dash (the time between his birth and death)? What kind of person was he? He died at the age of 38, leaving his wife Rose a widow at a young age. What caused his premature death? Maybe some day I will find out. 

We are fortunate that with the internet, we can search through millions of records in just a few minutes. But it still takes time and effort to unlock forgotten information.

Wednesday, August 06, 2014

Cuthbert Grant jr. Canadian Metis Leader

One of our patrons at the FHC is a descendant of this famous Canadian Metis leader. His father Cuthbert Grant sr. was one of the founders and partners of the North West Company, fur trading rivals of the Hudson Bay Company. The rivalry became increasingly bitter. On 19 June 1816 the local HBC governor, with a group of armed HBC employees, tried to arrest a group of armed Metis buffalo hunters led by Cuthbert Grant. Many people have asked, "What was Semple thinking? He was facing a larger group of armed men, who could shoot buffalo with deadly accuracy from the back of a galloping horse!"  The result was 21 HBC men and and 1 Metis dead. The news reached England and the British government forced a merger of the two rival companies. For more details on the battle see

Cuthbert Grant was credited with preventing a general massacre of the HBC population. While he was in Winnipeg answering charges resulting from the battle, his wife Bethsy and infant son James disappeared and were never seen again. Was it an act of reprisal against him because of Seven Oaks? We may never know. He remarried twice. After the merger of the HBC and the NWC, he was hired by the new HBC and given the title "Warden of the Plains". He was respected as the leader of the Metis nation and founder of the community that became St Francois Xavier, Manitoba.

This is interesting reading to anyone with an interest in western Canadian history, but my patron's problem was related to Cuthbert's family, and how it was shown in the FamilySearch Family Tree. One son Cuthbert Louis Marie George Grant was shown as dying at the age of 6 months, being christened several months after his death, being married to two different women at the same time and having several children. What a mess! With some research we found that the christening was for another brother named Cuthbert Grant, who married Marie Gingras and had a large family in the Dakota Territory. The other wife, Euphrosine Gladu, was actually married his brother Charles Grant. This family also lived at Pembina North Dakota.

The beauty of the FamilySearch Family Tree is that regardless how much someone has messed up your part of the Family Tree, you can normally correct the errors yourself. And the new Hints feature makes it easier to source the information. Hopefully, beginners will think twice before changing records that have good sources. Whim and logic need to be replaced by official sources whenever possible.

Housing Recap

Things have certainly been busy since March 12 when I finished my FamilySearch support mission. The BIG thing was selling our acreage. This required some repairs and upgrades. We painted the walls, installed new heavy vinyl "Ceramalite" floor tiles throughout the upstairs areas that did not have laminate flooring. We also installed it in  the stairway and downstairs bathroom. I also replaced the vanity and some drywall in the downstairs bathroom. I did minor electrical repairs and upgrades including new light fixtures in the downstairs hallway and the bedrooms. I installed a new water heater and new stairs into the basement. We hauled many trailer loads to the waste transfer station and made 2 trips to the Rosshaven land fill site. Some of the items were left in the recycle shed and were quickly claimed by other people. Other good stuff was simply dumped, including a washer and dryer, dresser, recliner chair, and old tools.

On July 5th we moved into Evelyn's new house in Spruce Grove. But most days we returned to finish various jobs on the acreage. Certainly the most puzzling was an odor in the furnace room. I checked for propane leaks by using liquid dish soap and water and found none. I bought a gas detector from Home Depot and it detected neither propane nor carbon monoxide. I plugged the floor drain in case it was the source of the odor. I checked the gas flue size (when I bought the furnace I was told the flue size bordered on needing a liner) and online research indicated that installing a flue liner would probably not solve the problem. Lastly I checked the vent and screen on the outside intakes for combustion air and cold air return. The screen was virtually plugged by cotton fluff from the trees. I cleaned this with a stiff brush, and I hope I have solved the odor problem by allowing fresh air to enter the furnace room. I was also reassured by the fact that the home inspector, gas inspector and 2 teams of appraisers found no problem. July 31 was the possession date for the new owners. We hope they love the acreage as we have loved it.