Bill's Genealogy Blog

Bill Buchanan is a long-time genealogy enthusiast, living at Onoway, 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. During July 2007 - January 2010, and September 2011 - March 2014, I provided part-time support for 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

Thursday, October 02, 2014

Ancestors of Ernest (Robert) Kinney

I have created books on various of our family lines, and the time arrived for me to create one on Judy's father's ancestors. His genealogy was a challenge to the family because he was an orphan who knew relatively little about his family. Even in the case of his own parents, he did not know when and where they were born. His guesses in that regard were misleading, preventing progress to the point where family members basically gave up looking.
Even his own name added to the confusion. When he disappeared after WWII he was still using the name Ernest Kinney. When he contacted the family again several years later, he was using the name Robert Kinney, and called himself "Bob".
Some of the family information he provided was correct, such as the names of his parents and the approximate time and place of their marriage and deaths. As better records became available, I was able to determine that his father was not born in Belfast, but in Liverpool. And his mother was born in Liverpool too, not in Cheshire or Wales. The official records confirmed some facts and added many new facts. Because his parents were born in England, better records were available to identify them and their ancestors.
The story began to unfold, as ancestral lines led to other parts of England, Ireland, Scotland, and the Isle of Man.

The book is in the form of a PDF file. It has a narrative ancestry report, an index, and a set of pedigree charts. The narrative includes many of my research notes, documenting my findings. I will be happy to provide a copy to any family members who are interested.

Saturday, September 06, 2014

Rob's Novel

I am re-reading the epic fantasy novel written by my son Rob. The first chapter is one of the most gripping introductions I have ever read in a fantasy novel. It really pulled me into the story. Then, there is continuous action, with an interesting cast of characters: Morganna: the orphaned child mage, Corr: the mage who is her rescuer and mentor, Loren: the swordsman protector, Zac: the young officer who sees the rightness of her cause but is bound to follow orders, Kharak: the bear-like warrior devoted to Morganna; and on the opposing side, the Green Queen: a powerful mage with a thirst to become a god at any cost, Arios: her general and champion, an imprisoned god of destruction, and a twisted and corrupted army.

Rob has put together an engaging novel, that I find to be a real page-turner. I have recently read the "Divergent" series and the first two books of the "Percy Jackson and the Olympians" and I find "The God Chronicles" compares very favorably with both, but is more of adult fiction than juvenile fiction.

I like reading the paper version, but it is also available as an inexpensive e-book for about $4 from Chapters Indigo.

Siding the Garage

We have finished siding the garage, and are very satisfied with the results. Notice that the new siding on the garage matches the siding on the home.

Our last major siding project was when we built our house in 1977. It was done using Masonite hardboard siding, guaranteed for 20 years, and still looking great after over 35 years. Vinyl should last at least that long.

Masonite is HEAVY and awkward. Cutting it required a jigsaw. But vinyl is feather light, and still a bit awkward, as it is highly flexible. I would still consider it a 2-person job for that reason. Cutting it across was easily done with a pair of aviation tin-snips ($12 at Home Depot) and longitudinal cuts were easily done by scoring with a utility knife and folding on the scored line. Watching the YouTube videos greatly simplified the task!

Local History Books

One of the very best sources of family history is found in local history books.

Living near Edmonton, Alberta, I have good access to the Provincial Archives of Alberta. They have a huge number of local history books for Alberta. I have been thrilled to find the stories of many of my relatives there. I have purchased a few local history books myself, I and recently donated my copies of the Breton and Carnwood area history books to the PAA.

Online, the free Canadian OurRoots/NosRacines project has many local history books digitized for all of Canada. These can be found at You can print or download and save copies of the most interesting pages.
My most recent "discovery" is which seems to have most of the local history books for Manitoba. Since my father's family were pioneer settlers in the areas of Neepawa and Riding Mountain, there are wonderful stories about them and their kin. I have spent the last 3 days enjoying their stories.
This free site is fabulous, although I found that downloading the local histories there was different than I expected. Unlike Our Roots, you download the entire book as one PDF file, which is better but did not always work. (On a different computer, the books opened in a viewer instead of downloading, and the viewer would not let me copy the text properly.) As usual, if one browser doesn't give the results you want, try another browser.

I found myself constantly looking up births, marriages and deaths on the free Manitoba Vital Statistics database The two sites work beautifully together.

And I would sometimes look the families up in the census records to verify what I was finding.

Did I have fun? Certainly. A few weeks ago I listened to a talk called "It's All About the Dash" i.e. What happened between the individual's birth and death dates? Local histories can often answer that question. 

In one of the Manitoba books, I found that a relative of mine was not only one of the two founders of the town of Neepawa, but had previously been a member of the North West Mounted Police, and had helped build Fort McLeod and Fort Calgary, the two earliest NWMP forts in Alberta. What full and exciting life he lived! It deserves to be remembered.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Vinyl Siding

We are in the process of siding the garage at Evelyn's place.

We have 3 walls basically sided, and they look beautiful. But the big challenge will be the north side with its double swinging barn doors. It is going to require a lot of measuring, cutting and fitting. That is Monday's project. ... and maybe Tuesday's, Wednesday's etc. It is nice to be doing something constructive.

Finding More Kinneys!

For the last few days I have been sourcing my family tree at FamilySearch Family Tree.

Most of the sources that I found were ones that I already had attached to the people, but I found some new ones. I find it a little frustrating that FamilySearch uses the British census indexes from findmypast. My issue is that their index doesn't list the other people on the page, just the person you are searching for. Clicking the link to the page image on fandmypast brings up a "This page is coming soon" message, which is of no immediate help. I much prefer searches on the censuses on

I searched on for Harry Kinney, who seemed like a possible member of the William James Kinney family. I found him in the 1891 census!

1891 England Census about Harry Kinney
Name: Harry Kinney
Age: 6
Estimated birth year: abt 1885
Relation: Son
Father's Name: James Kinney
Mother's name: Jane Kinney
Gender: Male
Where born: Liverpool
Civil Parish: Kirkdale
Ecclesiastical parish: St Paul
County/Island: Lancashire
Country: England
Registration district: West Derby
Sub-registration district: Kirkdale
ED, institution, or vessel: 34
Piece: 2966
Folio: 8
Page Number: 15
Household Members:
Name Age
James Kinney 44
Jane Kinney 38
Lillie J Kinney 21
Susan Kinney 17
Edward Kinney 15
William Kinney 13
Thomas Kinney 10
Robert Kinney 8
Harry Kinney 6
Mary Kinney 4
Frederick Kinney 3/12
Margaret Kinney 19

Up to this point, the most complete information I had on this family was from the 1881 census, where Thomas was the baby. The 1891 census added four children that I was unaware of. Yea team!!!

I had other successes too, but especially appreciated this one, since one of the children, Edward, is Judy's grandfather. 

Family History Fair

This is a genealogy fair taking place on the evening of Friday September 26 and Saturday September 27 at 400 Mcleod Avenue, Spruce Grove, Alberta.

This will be a fun activity, with sessions geared for children, youth, and adults.

I just received this from my friend Helen Gwilliam:

"We'd love likes and or great comments but mostly we need to have an idea of numbers attending to help with our planning.

If you are not on Facebook go to and the other links below for info and to register - it's free!!

If you don't do internet - that's ok - we'll have info in the ward bulletin etc. each week. We'll make sure you know what's happening.

This is a great event to invite friends and family within the community. The following url's will lead you to more details.
See us listed on Alberta Culture Days website at
Helen Gwilliam"

I will be there. I hope that you can come too.