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.

My Photo
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

Thursday, January 24, 2019

Genealogical Puzzles

This past few weeks have been interesting, and busy.
I have been serving my usual 25 hours per week helping in FamilySearch Support.

Recently, I was contacted by Rose and Alice, former neighbors and friends from my elementary school days. They wanted help tracing their ancestors Beatrice and Bertie.

Their grandfather and grandmother came to Canada from England in 1906, shortly after their marriage. We knew their names and approximate ages.
The information on the grandmother Beatrice, was easiest to find. And in the 1911 Canada Census, we discovered that her parents and siblings had also come to Canada. I made good progress in tracing her ancestry. There were lots of primary and secondary census to document my discoveries. But one of the discoveries brought me to a halt. Beatrice died in 1922. And Rose and Alice's mother was born in 1925. Beatrice was Bertie's first wife but she was not their grandmother!

Meanwhile, I was stuck on tracing the ancestry of the grandfather, Bertie. Then in his marriage record, he said that his father's name was William, a vital clue. Then the breakthrough I needed, I found Bertie and his mother in the village of Cheshunt, Hertfordshire, near (the original) Edmonton. His mother was Maria, and both were born in Cheshunt. Their ages were given in the census. And the previous generations of the family had been born there. I love it when that happens! 😊
A shower of sources presented themselves: censuses, General Register Office indexes and vital records, parish registers. Thank you FamilySearch,, MyHeritage, and findmy past! I was able  to trace Bertie's ancestry for 4 generations, until I found an ancestor who was married in Cheshunt but came from somewhere else.

What about the biological grandmother, Bertie's second wife?
We found her name and her marriage to Bertie in 1924, and were able to trace her family lines back for 4 generations as well. For these Irish Catholics living in Quebec, the Druoin Collection was marvelous.

Rose's father was born in Poland but I could find no record of him there. I found him on a passenger manifest coming to Canada, found his marriage, and found his grave. Fortunately, the family had information on his parentage.

The other person for whom I did research had discovered families with his English surname living in Uruguay and nearby counties in South America. They claimed to be all one big extended family. This was somewhat of an adventure, as I had never done research in South America. After researching extensively in England, I was disappointed at how spotty the records were in Uruguay. Sometimes I would find a record and had no way of verifying which branch of the family they belonged to. The use of double surnames was a big help. I assembled what I could find, in FamilySearch, and sent it to my friend to share with the people in South America. Maybe they can fill in the gaps for me.

And the adventure continues...

I hope you are all enjoy the genealogical puzzles that present themselves to you throughout the new year. 😊