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, April 29, 2017

Fun Genealogy

I received an email from WikiTree It claims I am 24 connections removed from Lucrezia Borgia, daughter of Pope Alexander VI and sister to Cesare Borgia, who was said to be the model for Machiavelli's prince, in "The Prince". I don't clam any Italian ancestry, but who knows? WikiTree likes to connect everyone to Lucrezia Borgia. This link may work

The Borgias were certainly an interesting family. As they endeavored to control church and state, I get the impression that they were very dangerous enemies and dangerous friends as well. If they invited you to dinner, you might be doomed whether you accepted or not. Lucrezia was said to wear a hollow ring where she would keep a favorite poison as a special treat for some of her guests. But this is just old gossip and slander, repeated over the past 500 years by their enemies. She may have been a very nice person. She was certainly intelligent and had a remarkable education for a noble woman of her time.

Long Lost Cousin

Actually, she was not lost, but we had never been in touch.  :-)

As I was going through the records of my ancestors and their descendants in the FamilySearch Family Tree, I was looking for historical sources to add and duplicates that needed merging. So far I have done this on the Buchanan, Watson, and Ing/Waller lines.

As I was cleaning-up the information on the George Watson family, it occurred to me that Emily Sheffield's daughter Gloria Knight Praill might have died. Judy and I visited Gloria in 2003, the only time I had seen her. On that occasion we also visited Gloria's (half) sister Marion Bone in Hillcrest. I knew that Marion had died several years ago, but had heard nothing about Gloria.

I did not find an obituary for Gloria, but I found one for her half sister Evelyn Knight. It mentioned that Gloria died just 13 days after Evelyn.

This caused me to re-read a letter I had received from Gloria in 2001.


Dec 12/2001

Dear Cousin Bill,

First of all, I owe you an abject apology for not contacting you much earlier. There's really no excuse except for a few health problems. Since first hearing from you, I've had two hip replacements and then a major back problem. The hips are fine (very good result) but I'm afraid the back is something I have to learn to live with. - Not too easy to accept for such an active person! Anyway, you were wise to retire and enjoy yourself while you are still able to.

I'm afraid I have no old pictures at all. Mom didn't seem to have any, and if she did, Cora Jean would have them.

Regarding my family - my daughter is here and my son is in India. [...]

Thanks very much for the pictures. I do remember Dick [Watson] as we lived with him [about 1926] before moving to Washington [Tacoma, then Benge, Coeur d'Elene, Winona - where Harold died]. I also remember Buchanan's visiting at Dick's place, particularly a Geordie who told us ghost stories around a camp fire and scared us to death. He was GOOD. Was he your father - brother to Jack and Inez? Oh yes - I see on the back page you sent that he probably was.

If you ever get through this way on your travels, I would like to meet you and your wife. I had a call from Carl Sheffield's daughter Lorraine last week and we decided we would try to keep in touch a little better in the future. I guess the reason we don't do these things earlier in life is that we are too busy with our immediate families.

I hope you can read my writing - my typing fell by the wayside as arthritis got worse. Lucky I can still hold a pen, I guess. It's amazing how many small things one gets thankful for as the years pass.

Thanks again for all your trouble. I know [my sister] Cora Jean feels as I do - she has her problems, too, the last couple of years - much worse than mine.

Please keep in touch. Since my traveling days seem to be numbered, I would be very interested to hear about yours. I have decided to try one more trip down the Baja (Cabo San Lucas). I spent my winters there for 18 years and have now missed 3. My friends seem to want me one more time and it's the last year my insurance will cover me, so come Jan 14th, I shall try once more for 3 weeks. Wish me luck!



Judy and I spent a wonderful visit with Gloria and her new husband Ken. As I re-read her letter I noticed "I'm afraid I have no old pictures at all. Mom didn't seem to have any, and if she did, Cora Jean would have them."

I could find no obituary for Cora Jean, so I thought I would try to find her phone number or address. I eventually found a phone number and left a message. A few days later her daughter Diane called me, and I asked her about family photos. She told me that she has a box of them but does not know who most of the people are. So I offered to send the few Watson photos that I have to see if it would help. This morning I also sent her a copy of a 97-page book I had written on the Buchanans and Watsons.



These two families were closely related. John Buchanan married Isabel Watson, his brother Samuel Buchanan married Isabel's sister Mary Watson, and John's sister Jane Buchanan married James Watson, a brother to Isabel and Mary. David Watson, their brother married a different Jane Buchanan, a niece to the others.

Then in the next generation, my grandfather William Andrew Buchanan, a son of John and Isabel, married Elizabeth Jane Watson, a first cousin, daughter of George Watson and Agnes "Jane" Welsh. 

The attached book will help you to sort it all out. It includes brief stories from their lives. 
My website has various family stories including one by a Watson cousin from Abbotsford, BC.


Your cousin,