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.
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 https://www.comeuntochrist.org/

Sunday, March 03, 2019

My Great Aunt Jane

On Tuesday I had an email from a much younger cousin. He suggested that I call him to talk about family history. I spent probably an hour on the phone telling him about his great-great grandmother.

Elizabeth "Jane" Hatherley was born in Ontario, in 1871 and married James Alfred Ing on 11 Jun 1902 in Rainy River county, Ontario, Canada. She loved to sing and play the autoharp, and passed that love of music to their children. George. Millicent, and Hetty.

But what I remember most about her was that she was completely blind. My grandmother told me about the first time she met Jane. Grandma was newly-arrived in Canada, and had married Grandpa Ing on the day of her arrival from England. One of the first things on the to-do list was to visit James and Jane and their family. When they arrived, Jane had her face down in the middle of a row of vegetables. Grandma, Louisa asked "'What on earth is Jane doing?"  "She is weeding her garden. Her eyesight is very poor so she needs to put her face into the plants to see which ones are weeds."

Her sight became progressively worse. When I knew her about 40 years later, she was completely blind. Mom would warn us before visiting Uncle Jim and Aunt Jane, to not move our chairs. She had her home thoroughly memorized and she knew where each item of furniture belonged. If we moved a chair out of place she might trip over it and be hurt.

Their home was a small house with a wood stove for heat and cooking, a wash stand, and an outhouse. She did all of her household chores, except for putting the bread in the oven and removing the bread from the oven. Someone asked her how she knew when the laundry was clean . Remember that her "washing machine" consisted of a scrub board, and it had no timer. Her reply to the question was "It is clean when it smells clean." When Uncle Jim removed the bread from the oven, she could even check whether the bread was done by knocking on the crust to listen for the sound.

When they still lived on the farm, they attended Sunday School at the Norbuck School. One day Jane put on her newest dress, and went to Sunday School, where she sang and played her autoharp. After returning home, she discovered that her dress was inside out. No one wanted to embarrass her by pointing it out. She was a kind and loving lady. Various people said she was the most angelic person they knew, and they never heard a word of criticism by her or about her.

The cause of her blindness was probably cataracts. These days, this could be quickly corrected, but not in her day.

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