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

Friday, November 25, 2016

New Computer

Lloyd loaned me his VanTec NexStar hard drive dock. It is a very nice and simple piece of hardware. You plug in the sata drive from the other computer into the base, connect the power and the USB cable to the computer and press the power switch. The plugged-in drive comes up as an additional drive on the computer and it is as simple as that. I would probably go out and buy one myself if I did not have a kind-hearted brother I can borrow one from.

I copied drive D (mostly photos) to my laptop, thereby filling the hard drive on my laptop to capacity. Hmmm… my idea of using the laptop as a replacement seems less viable than I had thought. And the laptop screen is really small in comparison.

Judy urged me to buy a new computer, but I would like one with a 1 terabyte hard drive and 8 GB of RAM, so probably a $600 purchase. “We can afford it”, she urged. I looked online and found that the Spruce Grove Staples had a new Lenovo H50 on sale for $429. I checked for online reviews and they seemed positive. So, after family home evening, we went to Staples, and bought the last one in the store. It set-up much quicker and easier than I expected. Before bedtime, I even had Microsoft Office365 installed and running. I was very favorably impressed.

Tuesday 22 November 2016 The new computer is serving beautifully. The files have been copied to it from my old computer, using Lloyd’s docking station. somehow, I am missing 2 files that I use. If I need to rebuild them, I can. I have also been unable to get into one email account, but I sometimes have had difficulty accessing that account previously. (by Thursday this email account was functional.)

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Dead Computer

As of this morning, my trusty Dell desktop appears to be dead. There had been a few symptoms. Occasionally it failed to boot into Windows Vista without going through a Windows repair cycle. But this time it is a hardware failure. It does not bring up the BIOS. The beep from the Power On Self Test is absent. The green power light at the rear of the computer and the orange light on the motherboard both indicate that the power supply is working. But turning on the power causes the power switch to turn orange, rather than its usual green, and nothing else happens. There is a deathly silence, as not even the cooling fans spring into action. Following some YouTube videos, I have tried cleaning the interior, checking the cables, removed and replaced the RAM. I tried to reset the CMOS, but there is no jumper or any apparent means to remove the battery. I refuse to pay for expensive repairs to a 7-year old computer, so I think it is time to replace it.

My plan is to get my files copied from the hard disks to an external drive and then buy a new computer, and copy my files to the new machine.

In a way, the timing is good. Google no longer supports updates to Chrome on Windows Vista, And two weeks ago Cisco made an upgrade to the online meeting software I need to use (WebEx),so that it no longer works on Windows Vista. I guess it was time for me to get a new computer. But I hate to throw away an otherwise good machine. Now I only need to discard a non-functional piece of junk. It makes the decision  much easier.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Relocating Old Stories

My mother, at age 96 lives in an extended care facility. She has had to downsize her "holdings" in recent years. Recently, I inherited some of her old photos, newspaper clippings, and announcement cards for births, marriages, and deaths.

I decided that the Memories area of FamilySearch's Family Tree was the safest place to store them, where they would be safe and still accessible to all family members for free.

I was reminded that thousands of hours worth of family history was sitting in my free website, that could vanish instantly with no advance warning. This has happened to me several times in the past. I have it all backed up on my computer, but if I die, I doubt that anyone in the family would know how to find this material. So I made the big decision to move all of this material to FamilySearch Memories. It has been a big job, but things have survived the journey.

You know how one thing leads to another ...

I decided to add three books I created in 2008-2009 about early Buchanan history to Memories too. That led me to clean up the genealogy of the 22 chiefs of Clan Buchanan (1016-1682 AD) as best I could in Family Tree. I have basically finished that project too. But I am tired.

Judy is at a women's activity at church. I think I will curl up with NetFlix and maybe some popcorn, and watch StarTrek for a couple hours.

Friday, November 04, 2016

A Circular Search for Fred Miller

In October I was assigned two families to help with family history. One was interested in finding out more about a great grandfather, Fred Miller who farmed at Hanna, Alberta and may have been a minister there. In FamilySearch we found nothing on Fred or his wife Salme. I drew a blank at too.

My friend's father, was unable to give much information. "They were from Romania and spoke German, so I couldn't really talk to them. They  lived at Hanna, and I never really got to know them."

I knew that German-speaking people had settled along the eastern border of Romania, in a district called Bessarabia. And that the family name in German may well have been Mueller, or something similar.

At home I did some more research. A google search found old newspapers from Hanna, Alberta, telling of a deadly house fire in 1946 that killed three members of the Fred Miller family and hospitalized others. (I am not sure this is the same Fred Miller family.) There were also newspaper clippings of an engagement and two weddings.

Then I looked for local histories in and found "Hanna North", a wonderful book, that included a family history written by one of the daughters, that included a family group photo! In fact the daughter writing the Miller family story was one of the two whose wedding was reported in the local paper. This can be found on pages 366-367 of the book, or this direct link to the FRED MILLER STORY

With the additional information, I decided to look for Fred Miller in, a site that specializes in central and eastern European genealogy. I found a perfect match in MyHeritage to a record imported from FamilySearch! And in FamilySearch there was information on Fred and Salome's parents and siblings. It was wonderful! I felt that these people really wanted to be found.

6 March 1894, Mathildendorf, Bendery, Bessarabia, Russia
23 March 1963, Hanna, Alberta, Canada
Hanna, Alberta, Canada