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 https://familysearch.org This is very rewarding. I have helped others with the Family Tree and related FamilySearch products.
Since April 2010, I have served 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 http://mormon.org/

Friday, October 06, 2017

Will the Real James Wright Please Stand up?

Here is part of a genealogy chart given to me by my mother's first cousin Jessie Evans Wright in 1963.


The Mr & Mrs Wright are Charles Wright and Mary Ann Grant from Carleton Rode, Norfolk, England. Samuel is my great grandfather, who married Charlotte Harriet Eley, and gave her the brooch that has been passed down in our family and worn by 5 successive generations of brides.

The problem is Jim or James. He appears nowhere in the official records. He was never born, registered, or appeared as a member of the family in any census. 

But Jessie's chart is missing Alexander Wright, who appears in all the public records.

An email message this week from a descendant of Benjamin Wright ("Ben" in Jessie's chart), brought me back to this puzzle. Looking closely at James and Alexander, I noticed that James' children had the same names as some of Alexander's children.

Alexander Wright (c.1849)
sp: Emma Elizabeth York (b.1850)
 Charles William Wright (b.1870)
 Alexander John Wright (b.1872)
 Samuel Wright (b.1873)
 Emma Elizabeth Wright (b.1875)
 Thomas Wright (b.1877)
 George Wright (b.1879)
 Louis Wright (b.1885)
 Albert Wright (b.1887)
 Alice Wright (b.1890)

I checked the military records of Alexander's son Charles William Wright, a military career that spanned 30 years, retiring with the rank of Company Quarter Master Sergeant. His record included service in India, Mauritius, and South Africa. He had a bullet wound in the thigh. A handful of medals are listed in his record, maybe not a VC (Victoria Cross), but a YC ... whatever that is. This Charles certainly fits the profile of "James" Wright's son Charles.

In one place he lists his father's given names as Alexander Wm, and in another as Alexandera James!

I think I have the answer. Alexander may be the name used on all of his official records, but maybe he sometimes used James as a nickname with family and close friends.


I wonder where I could find official documentation of Albert Wright catching "a well known German spy in the west end of London during 1st World War". It seems like an interesting story!

Sunday, October 01, 2017

The Burns Family

On September 25, 2017 I received this email message:

Hello Bill,
I am Arthur Morton Burns' granddaughter and I was wondering if you have any information on him or perhaps any pictures. I just found out that he was my grandfather and would love all the information that you could send me please and thank you. 
Carol

I immediately recognized the name of the first husband of Dad's first cousin, Emily Jane Sheffield. In fact, Dad (William "George" Buchanan) and Emily's brother Carl Sheffield, owned a farm together north of my grandfather's blacksmith shop, at the "10 Mile Corner" west of the town of Millet, Alberta.

I was able to give Carol the birth information for Arthur ("Shorty") Burns:

Canada Births and Baptisms, 1661-1959
Name: Arthur Morton Burns
Gender: Male
Birth Date: 14 Jul 1887
Birthplace: South Norwich Township, Oxford, Ontario
Father's Name: Charles Burns
Mother's Name: Harriet Avy
Indexing Project (Batch) Number: C01608-8
System Origin: Canada-EASy
Source Film Number: 1845886  Reference Number: cn 25406


And a record that includes his parents and siblings:
Burns, Charles
    * b. ABT 1846
          o England
    * e. Occupation
          o 1881
          o Butcher
    * e. Residence
          o 1881
          o Burford, Brant South, Ontario
    * m. Avey, Harriette
          o 22 Dec 1868
          o Oxford County, Ontario, Canada
---
Burns, William C.      * b.  ABT 1871            o Ontario, Canada
---
Burns, Nellie Marie    * b.  ABT 1876           o Ontario, Canada
---
Burns, Edith M.         * b.  16 Jul 1884          o Ontario, Canada
---
Burns, Arthur Morton  * b.  14 Jul 1887        o Ontario, Canada
------

Shorty was a businessman, owning stores in various rural communities: Millet, Patience, Pipestone
Emily and Shorty had two daughters, Marion and Dorothy, before they divorced and went their separate ways. I was unaware that he had another family. 

References to the families of William Buchanan and George Watson in “Tales and Trails of Millet”, v.2
Porto Bello School Division 3146; Tales and Trails of Millet, p.507
The 10 Mile Corner is 10 miles west of Millet. Buchanan's "Blacksmith Shop/Shoe Repair Shop" was on the NE corner (SW35-47-R25-W4) (bought from Carl Sheffield), Pydde's "Farmers Trading Store" was on the SE corner (NW26-47-R26-W4), Cameron's dairy was on the NW corner and Millet Seventh Day Adventist Church was on the SW corner. (NE27-47-R26-W4)
Porto Bello School was on NE22-47-R26-W4.
St. Peters Lutheran School was on SW27-47-R26-W4.
Wm. Buchanan farm NE34-47-25-W4
-...
WATSON, George Allan; Tales and Trails of Millet II, page 556; Wetaskiwin
The Watson Family
Mr. and Mrs. [George] Watson, his two sons. Dick and Allan [George Allan], and two daughters, came to the Porto Bello and Telford districts to homestead, in the early 1900's.
The mother enjoyed smoking a corn cob pipe,
Daughter Margret moved to Michigan as a young girl and married Arthur Sheffield, and in 1911 moved back to Millet. They had two children, one son, Carl, who married Leona Hagen, and one daughter, Emilia [Emily], who married Shorty Burns. Arthur passed away in 1923 and Margret in 1941.
The second daughter married Bill Buchanan, the blacksmith. They had four children: George, Jack, Maggie and Inez. Inez is the only surviving member of that family.
Allan married and had seven children.
Brother Dick was a bachelor and he and his nephew Ralph retired and lived in Millet.
-
Tales and Trails of Millet, v.2
Telford School District 1355 (west of Millet, Alberta)
SE2-48-26 R.J. Watson bought this farm from C. Brinker
NE2-48-26 bought by SW & RJ Watson from K&D Sidor [Who is S.W. Watson?] -p.620
Telford District... On Section 2 there was the Watson family: Dick, George and Allan and their sister Mrs. E. Sheffield, with her children Carl and Emily, as well as her nephews, Jack and George Buchanan, and niece Inez. p. 622
...
Telford boasted a baseball team for many years with Ray and John Brennan; Ben and Edward Glassman; Joe and Fred Coles; Bud Scott; Bill, Bob and Benny Arnholtz; Henry and Jim Deans; Norval Atkinson; Jack Buchanan; Carl Sheffield; Joe Benedetto, as some of the players. The girl's softball team was coached by Mr. Howard Fulcher (now retired in Millet). It comprised of Tracy (Krossa) Hougestol; Frances (Benedetto) Meaver; Jean (Benedetto) Cassidy; Kay Fulcher; Nora (Fulcher) Hall; Mary (Halat) Coles; Linda (Glassman) Heine; Pat Brennan; Jessie (Jackson) Rath; Irene (Jackson) Soper; and Inez Buchanan.
- p.622
Shorty Burns [Arthur Morton Burns] had a butcher shop on Main street [of Millet about 1913]- p.656

Emily had a daughter, Gloria, with Franklin William Knight.
She later married Harold Milligan Rogers and had a fourth daughter, who is still living.
According to Dad, Harold Rogers was murdered in his home by an intruder in 1949.

I really regret that I did not take photos of Marion and Gloria when Judy and I visited them in 2002, so I have no photos of either of them. Marion was able to fill me in on a few details on the Sheffield family. Gloria invited us to stay for supper, and we had a really nice visit with her too.
"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."

What a delightful incident. My Dad was remembered 75 years later for telling ghost stories?! Who could have guessed that?  😉