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.
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

Friday, May 25, 2018

Mom's Obituary

Dorothy May Buchanan
May 5, 1920 – May 20, 2018

It is with sadness that we announce the passing of our beautiful mother and friend on the evening of Sunday, May 20, 2018 at the remarkable age of 98 years. For the past few years, Leduc had become her home, but the majority of her years were spent in the Breton area. Together, Dorothy and her husband George worked extremely hard and were blessed to have raised five children. 1975 was a difficult year for Dorothy and her family, as they grieved the loss of her husband George. In time, the family grew to include 14 grandchildren, 23 great-grandchildren and one great-great-grandchild. Dorothy will be greatly missed and lovingly remembered by her children, Bill (Judy), Reg (Carol), Lloyd, Ed (Michelle) and Judy (Bernie) Tetreau along with their families; sister, Myrtle (Evans) Carson, numerous nieces, nephews, extended family and many life-long friends. She was predeceased by her loving husband, George; sisters, Marion and Violet and brothers, Walter and Charlie.  Funeral Services will be held at Breton Community Hall on Monday, May 28, 2018 at 1:00 p.m. with interment to follow at Breton Cemetery.  For those who so desire, memorial contributions in Dorothy’s honour may be made directly to the Breton Community Hall Building Fund or to the Breton Golden Age Club  Condolences may be sent to  Arrangements in care of Joelle Valliere, Funeral Director at:

There will be a viewing at 12:00 noon.
The casket will be closed during the funeral service.


Tuesday, May 08, 2018

Happy 98th Birthday Mom!

On Saturday we had a little birthday party for my mother. Eighteen members of her family were there, including one son from Cranbrook, one from Calgary, a grandson for High River, and the rest of us from the Edmonton area. This gave us a chance to get caught up on the family news and my youngest brother showed us the photos he took last month in China. It was also the first chance in a long time to take photos of Mom with her five children.

Mom was tired, as you can see in the photo. After an hour and a half she asked us to take her to her room. We love you Mom, thank you for being the wonderful person that you are!

Friday, April 06, 2018

5-Generations, Thoughts of Drumquin


On Good Friday we were finally able to coordinate our schedules so that three families could make a trip to visit my mother. She is now 97, soon to be 98.

There were two car loads of us. My granddaughter, T, was especially anxious to get a 5-generation photo with her new baby. We found Mom sitting at a table in the dining room and brought her into the TV/social room to visit and take some photos. She was somewhat disoriented but my daughter, L, has a special talent for communication, and we visited with Mom from about 10:15-11:00 am. She kept asking us where her sister Vi was, and whether she would come and visit her today. She deeply misses her deceased sister, who was her best friend and constant companion at family outings and social events for the past 40 years. This past year or two has been very hard on my mother.


After returning home I looked at youtube videos of Druquin, County Tyrone, Ireland and sent the following to my family:

Dear Family,

On Youtube, I came across some beautiful videos of this village where some of our family lived in the 1840s, and where we have DNA matches with the Buchanans of Kirlish and Cooel. The flight video shows churches and other sights that would have been familiar to our family. (William Buchanan and Anne Thompson were married in the Lower Langfield church on 24 Mar 1846.)

Besides the aerial views, I enjoyed the haunting melody and words of "The Hills Above Drumquin", which includes references to Cooel (now pronounced "cool") and Kirlish and Langfield. I am seldom described as "sentimental" but it actually brought a tear to my eye.

I hope you enjoy it.



That evening we had a special musical program to celebrate Easter, entitled "He Is Risen". Some of our family members were in the choir. I was surprised at the difficulty of finding a parking spot for the car and seats for the two of us in the chapel. It was a thrilling retelling of the age-old story of Christ's love, his suffering for our sins and our hurts, and his victory over death. Christ lives!

Tuesday, March 06, 2018

Louisa Ellen Wright

Grandma impressed me as a person of great inward strength and courage. She had seen both poverty and wealth.  In England, she worked as a servant for some wealthy families, one was named Stokes. Lady Stokes entertained royalty from other countries - with their fine clothes and all their jewelry. The ladies often wore heavy silk dresses, so stiff that the dresses could probably stand up even if no one was wearing them. They also wore necklaces of diamonds or pearls. The gentlemen were elegantly dressed as well, with diamond cufflinks, tie pins, etc. Louisa worked in the kitchen, but the girls who served the tables would leave the door open a crack so that the kitchen help (like Louisa) could enjoy the spectacle too. The milk delivery man would call “Milko, Milko” as he approached the house. This was good until the parrot learned to imitate his call, sending the cooks on many false errands. Then he’d laugh at them!

Louisa was engaged to marry Wally, a merchant sailor on the "Montezuma" and the future looked good. But on his last voyage before their marriage, he was drowned when the boat capsized while returning to the ship one night. It has been speculated that the sailors had been too boisterous, leading to the tragedy, but we do not know. Apparently Wally’s body was never found, just his cap with his name in it. He had signed everything over to Louisa because of their impending marriage, but she refused to accept it, sending everything to his widowed mother. Louisa had an oil painting of the Montezuma, which she kept throughout her life and I later inherited it.

Louisa’s life had been turned upside down by this tragedy, but life goes on. Later, someone suggested that she write to Richard Ing, a young single man they knew, who had moved to Canada as a boy, about 15 years previously, and who had sent money for passage to Canada to his mother and his sister just a few years previously. “Dick” and “Lou” wrote letters back and forth, and finally he proposed, asking her to come to Canada and marry him.

On her trip to Canada, the Salvation Army band on shore played "God be with you 'til we meet again", as the ship left port. They could hear it far out to sea. When the band on the ship asked for requests, one of the porters always requested "Where Is My Wandering Boy Tonight?", thinking of his missing son. On the ship she looked after a little girl named Dorothy [Wilson], who was traveling to Canada. Louisa’s daughter Dorothy was named after her. One day little Dorothy was skipping on the deck, when her shoe flew off her foot and into the ocean.

She was a passenger on the White Star Line’s Laurentic, Tonnage: 9254, Total adult passengers: 1543, Leaving Liverpool, June 24th 1913, to Quebec. (The Titanic disaster was probably on the minds of many.)

The passenger manifest of the RMS Laurentic describes her as: Wright, Louisa age 28; travelling with the Salvation Army group; Single; To be married to R. Ing, Wilhelmina, Alta; Born in England, English; Landing in Montreal, Que; Employed as a Maid in UK and as a Maid in Canada; Religion: Church of England; Travelling from port by Canadian Pacific Railway.

Richard knew when Louisa should arrive at the closest railway station, which was at Macklin, Saskatchewan, and travelled there with friends from Kirriemuir, Alberta, to be ready to meet his bride and get married. But the railway journey from Montreal ran into a problem. Somewhere north of Lake Superior, a landslide had blocked the railway tracks. It took several hours to clear the tracks so that the train could continue its journey. As a result, it was almost midnight when the train arrived at Macklin, and so Louisa and Richard were married at the minister’s house at midnight. Louisa was horrified to discover that the trunk holding her wedding dress could not be found, so she was married in the dress that she was travelling in.

During the night they were awakened by the sound of shouting and pounding on the roof. “It’s the Indians, isn’t it?”, she asked anxiously, expecting to be scalped any minute.  Richard laughed. “No it is probably just my friends.” He was right, of course. Friends had come to celebrate the wedding.
The next day, they made the trip to Richard’s homestead cabin. This was a much humbler place to work than the mansions where she had served in England. But this small framed-lumber house was hers. And some neighborhood homes were sod cabins or dug-outs, so a framed lumber house looked very good in comparison.

Richard’s brother James Ing’s family lived nearby. When Louisa first visited them, Jim’s wife Jane was in the garden on her hand and knees with her face in a row of vegetables. “Whatever is Jane doing?”, she asked. “Her eyesight is very poor, and she is weeding her garden”, he explained. Aunty Jane soon became completely blind, but she continued to do nearly all of her household tasks except for taking the bread out of the oven. Uncle Jim looked after this. The two families remained very close, so that as the children grew up the cousins were almost like siblings.

Richard loved to tease. Jim’s children were favorite targets. They were in a quandry, “What will we do if Aunty Lou can’t stand his teasing and decides to go back to England?” They discussed it and decided “We will still call her Aunty Lou!” They did not need to worry. Louisa was there to stay. They had a wonderful marriage full of love and laughter. Their children said that they could not remember either parent spanking any of the children.

Times were difficult. They lived in one of the areas hardest hit by drought. In fact they moved in the 1920s to avoid the drought, only to be overtaken by the drought again and again. Finally they moved to the Norbuck area in the late 1930s, where they farmed until their retirement to Breton about 1948.
They saw their two sons and two of their sons-in-law join the army to fight in World War 2. They had no way of knowing that all four would return safely, but we thank God that they did.

I remember as a young child, visiting them on their farm. There was a frame house and a log house. Used 22 shells had been pounded into the ends of some of the logs to spell out initials. I thought that was very clever. Grandma kept milk cold in a pan sitting in a small creek that flowed through the farm. And they had a 3-legged dog that had lost a leg in an accident, but could still run and play.

The house in Breton was a frame house that had a living room, kitchen/dining room, bedroom and guests room. Both houses had the Montezuma painting and the old mantle clock. And on the wall, were words from the patriotic song, “There Will Always Be an England.”
There'll always be an England
While there's a country lane,
Wherever there's a cottage small
Beside a field of grain.
There'll always be an England
While there's a busy street,
Wherever there's a turning wheel,
A million marching feet. …
There'll always be an England,
And England shall be free
If England means as much to you
As England means to me.

Louisa believed in the importance of daily prayers, and her bedtime prayer was usually
“Now I lay me down to sleep.
I pray the Lord my soul to keep.
If I should die before I wake,
I pray the Lord my soul to take.”
She taught this prayer to me, and when she was in her 90s I found her offering this same prayer.

Louisa loved to sing, and she sang constantly throughout the day as she did her work. Even when she was down on her knees scrubbing the floor she would be singing. She often sang the hymns "I Need Thee Every Hour" and "Will There Be Any Stars in My Crown?"

She set a powerful example, in my opinion.

On Jan. 26, 1986, Louisa Ellen Ing of Wetaskiwin passed away at the age of 101 years. Louisa Ing was born in London, England, December 12, 1884, came to Canada in 1913 and married Richard Ing. The first 12 years of their marriage they lived on the prairie in the Kirriemuir district moving to Breton and Wetaskiwin in the later years. She spent ten years in Stony Plain Nursing Home, coming to Wetaskiwin Auxiliary Hospital last April.

In her younger years she was an avid gardener and loved to grow flowers. She loved to sing, especially the old country songs which she sang until just a few months ago. She enjoyed her family and on her 100th birthday had a party with all her family there. She leaves to mourn her loss her loving family Marion of Wetaskiwin, Walter of Breton, Charlie of Breton, Dorothy of Breton, Violet of Winfield and Myrtle of Clive, 18 grandchildren, 31 great grandchildren and six great great grandchildren. She was predeceased by her husband Richard in 1967 and two grandsons.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

One of my favorite love stories from our Buchanan family history

I wrote this for another purpose and then decided to include it in my blog.

In 1903 William Andrew Buchanan was 29 years old, single, and owned a blacksmith shop in Neepawa, Manitoba. 

The family of George Watson stopped for a few months to visit relatives in the area, while George went on west looking for opportunities in the Northwest Territories in the vicinity of Edmonton. Bill Buchanan was totally smitten by the 22-year old daughter Elizabeth Jane Watson. 

Bill sold his business, and when the George Watson family moved west to Leduc, he followed them and on 3 May 1905, Bill & Lizzie were married in Edmonton. They had 4 children, my father was the oldest.

Lizzie suffered from asthma, and in 1920 they moved to Tacoma, Washington, perhaps in the hope that she would benefit from a change in climate. Unfortunately, she died there of kidney failure in 1923, and Bill brought the family back to Alberta. 

Bill was only 49 years old and in good health and owned his own business. His youngest child was only 11 years old. Most men in his circumstances would have remarried but he never did.

Apparently no woman could replace Lizzie, who was the love of his life.

Saturday, January 20, 2018

A Wonderful Visit with My Mother

My mother, aged 97, has lived in an extended care facility for about 5 years.
This morning I had the best visit with her that I have had for the past year or so.

We arrived about 10 am and stayed until 11 am. She was in the cafeteria when we arrived, so we moved her to the visiting area. Mom knew who we were and was perfectly alert.  I read her some of my early memories and we were able to talk about old times. We were able to ask her about things and she was able to us about things. It was like old times.

Our visits with her before Christmas were not so good. We were uncertain whether she recognized us.

But our visit when we came with Laurel's family on January 2nd went much better. We arrived about 10:15 and we stayed for about a half hour. She recognized us, and we explained that Tananda and Nathan are expecting their baby in late February, which will be Mom's first great-great grandchild. We took some "4.8" generation photos.

Apparently, my brother Ed and his wife visited her at Christmas, and she did not recognize them and told them to go away.

James and Karin visited her on January 4th, and had a good visit, although Mom couldn't remember who was pregnant.

Those of you who have loved ones suffering from dementia, know what this is like. Sometimes, there are good days and there are bad days. We have found that visits early in the day work best, before she gets tired. And during our best recent visits I have read written accounts of my early life, which trigger her memories.

I love my mother and I am grateful for the wonderful example she has been throughout my life. In recent months we have felt that she is slipping away from us. It is a real blessing to have a visit like the one today.

Friday, December 22, 2017

Merry Christmas for 2017

This has been a very good year for us. Judy and I are slowing down, but continue to enjoy good health. Bill has continued to serve in FamilySearch Support, and we serve together in the Edmonton Riverbend Family History Centre on Thursday evenings and in the Edmonton Alberta Temple on Saturdays. And during the summer, we have enjoyed our garden. Our potato harvest was less remarkable than last year, but the other vegetables made up for it. We enjoy fresh home-grown food. We had harvesting activities where family members helped us harvest and returned home with bags of fresh vegetables.

But it has been a hard year for my mother, with the death of her sister Vi, and her own declining health. A year ago, we could have a good conversation with her. Sometimes now she doesn’t recognize us.

Rob and Rachel’s baby Lillyanna is a welcome addition to our family. She is beautiful! Rachel’s parents came from Vietnam and stayed to help her for 6 months.

Evelyn remarried, this summer. She and Gary had been dating for over a year, so we were hopeful! Gary is a wonderful guy. We got to know him as we worked together on some upgrade projects on Evelyn’s home. Gary has two grown daughters and a teen-aged son. Evelyn’s family are in St Albert now, and her home in Spruce Grove is up for sale. It is now one of the nicest homes in its neighborhood. Good work Evelyn!

We finally had new family photos taken. Yes, it had been a while, and the old photos are missing some of the newer members.      

Family history research has found some ancestors we had not been aware of, including Judy's Constable line in Yorkshire, and Bill's Ings in Buckinghamshire.

Tananda and Nathan are expecting a baby, Charlotte, in February. This will be our first GREAT grandchild, although we think that each of the grandchildren is great in their own way!

The grandchildren are all growing so fast. There has been so much progress in the past year. We have enjoyed numerous Christmas concerts, band concerts, competitions, school plays and performances. 

On the evening of Dec 22, some of our family members will participate in the 28th annual Spruce Grove outdoor Nativity pageant. This helps us remember the reason for the season, the promise by the angel of peace through “a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.”  Let us remember Him as we celebrate Christmas this year. May God bless you and your loved ones throughout the coming year!
– Bill & Judy Buchanan