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/

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Finding Alberta Homesteads and Farmsteads (made easy)

As I was reading a recent newsletter from about.com, it referred to homesteads and had a link to the following site: http://www.abgenealogy.ca/search-1870-1930-alberta-homestead-records

I looked up the homesteads of my grandfather Richard Ing and his brothers James and Thomas.
Then I wondered whether my other grandfather William Andrew Buchanan had ever taken out an Alberta homestead.

Sure enough!

BUCHANAN, William Andrew Section 17 Township 41 Range 5 Meridian 5 Film # 2956 in Accession # 1970.313 at Provincial Archives of Alberta File # 2210868


Where on earth is that??? The 5th Meridian is just 5 minutes drive west of me, so it would have to be somewhere in the western part of Alberta, but where?

After a few false starts I found this site. http://www.ags.gov.ab.ca/gis/map_converters/Convert_ATS_CGI.exe

Then I followed this helpful note to plot the location using Google Maps! 

NOTE: If you will use these numbers with a GIS tool, like Google Maps or a GPS, you must put a MINUS sign in front of the longitude result. For example, 110.0079112 should be -110.0079112 when entered into Google Maps.

The result was a somewhat remote place roughly 20 miles or 30 km north of Leslieville, Alberta. This made good sense, since my dad had attended school in the Leedale-Leslieville area. Now I knew exctly where they lived!

You might want to give it a try for some of your ancestral farms in Alberta.

Sunday, August 09, 2015

Family Vacation

The week of July 26-Aug 1, 2015 was a fun-filled week, centered on our first real family vacation since the children were teens.


Sunday 26 July 2015
After church, we went home and changed into our travel clothes. Then we went to Evelyn's. We also met with Laurel and Chris, so the 3 vehicles traveled together to Leduc, where we dropped in for a visit with Mom. Our timing was awkward, as it was lunch time. But they directed us to another room where we had a nice visit. It was a special treat because of A.'s present for her, a picture she had painted of my Dad, and of excellent quality for 7-year old.
After the visit, Evelyn followed right behind us. We stopped at Olds and again in Cochrane, arriving at Radium about 7 PM. Andrew, James, and  Laurel all got there before us. We had a spaghetti supper, courtesy of James and Karin, and spent the rest of the evening visiting and planning.

Monday 27 July 2015
After a visit to the Kootenay Valley viewpoint, the family went on the Cobb Lake hike. I stayed back at the cars because I did not think I was physically capable of it. It proved to be a difficult hike for many members of the family. Judy went most of the way and then waited for the others to pick her up on the return journey. Andrew helped her on the way back. I was glad I had not gone, as Judy is a better hiker than I am.
We were planning on doing the little hike at Olive Lake, but everyone was tired and hungry so we returned to Radium.
In the afternoon we all went to the hot spring. We enjoyed the naturally hot water but also spent some time in the lukewarm "cool" pool. There, Karin did diving and swimming with two of the older (and more adventurous) grandchildren C. and D. Some of the younger children rode the slides into the water. After spending the previous day driving, I enjoyed the hot pool. Still the driving was not as hard on me as I thought it might be. I hadn't driven for more than 3 hours at a time for 2 or 3 years, and an 8 hour drive proved to be very manageable. That is a blessing, as I will also have to drive back!
Judy and I seized the opportunity to go to Edgewater, where I grew up. The house my parents rented from Harry Moore for $30/month back in 1954 is still there, and so is the house built by my parents. Both are looking very good for their age.
Later, Andrew and his children went swimming in the recreation centre included in the house rental.

Tuesday 28 July 2015
Everyone else went to Fairmont to go horseback riding. This was something that A. was especially yearning to do. Later, she told me all about her experiences riding a horse named Wendy.
I used the time to view the Columbia River wetlands from the “mile hill”, now known as Radium Hill. Then I proceeded to Windermere to visit the “stolen church”. The story of this church is interesting. It was built in Donald, BC. Then in 1900, when the Canadian Pacific Railway decided to move its divisional maintenance point from Donald to Golden, they offered to move the buildings to Golden for free. St Peter's Anglican church was one of the buildings loaded for moving to Golden, but it never arrived! The bell arrived, but not the church. A family from Donald had moved to Windermere, and decided to take the church with them. They stole it and it remains in Windermere today. When I visited it, I noticed that the family that stole it added a nice stained glass window to the little wood frame church.
I also visited the Columbia Valley Museum in Invermere, which my brother Lloyd had highly recommended. I enjoyed it thoroughly. I noticed that they had a flat iron exactly like the one I had been carrying around in the trunk of my car since the move from our acreage. I asked if they wanted it, and they cheerfully accepted it. So Mom's old iron is now in the museum. I am sure they would have accepted some of the other old things that I threw out in preparation for the move. Ah well...
Then I rejoined the family in Radium. After lunch we went to the amusement park in Windermere. There, we played miniature golf on an 18 hole course, and the kids did go-cart racing. The fellow looking after us was absolutely super! We paid for 8 minutes and he gave us much more time than that. When one of the kids crashed into the wall, he just brushed it off as a non-event. E. was disappointed that he had to ride with an adult, but Chris was absolutely super as his driving partner. He really knows how to make people feel good. Andrew rode with his daughter. The older grandchildren each drove a car. When these were finished their turns, Evelyn rode with her son, while her daughter and Laurel, and J. drove individual cars. Everyone thought it was a blast and I got some excellent photos.


Wednesday 29 July 2015
The big thing for the day was the rafting. I thought we were just going to be rafting from Invermere to Radium on the Columbia River ... a relaxing but boring trip. Instead we were signed up for a half-day rafting trip down the Kootenay River, an excellent trip! Judy tends to suffer anxiety in many types of transportation. I was really impressed by how she handled this trip! She was really part of the “crew”. We were bused from the Kootenay River Runners office in Radium, through Kootenay National Park to a site on the Kootenay River but south of the park boundary off Settlers Road. The road was just a wide path through the bush and the old school buses rattled and banged, but got us there. The guides set-up lunch as we waited for the rafts to come down from upstream. The rafts arrived. We had lunch together and the occupants of the rafts returned to Radium on the buses, while we suited-up for our turn on the rafts. The 15 members of our family were in raft #10 with Ian, our guide. The scenery was magnificent, and there was enough white water to make things exciting. Front and centre was our 6-year old captain E. The guide gave an interesting commentary. I have always been interested in geology, and he immediately caught my attention by pointing out that the cliffs were the remains of a glacial moraine, that at one time a vast glacier had descended this valley.
Ian made a game of learning all of our names. Some were a challenge, but he learned us all, even J. and D. In his 600 trips down this river in 12 years, he must have learned a lot of names. Originally from Prince Albert, he now makes his home in Saskatoon, when he is not working as a guide.
We came to a magnificent waterfall where Pedley Creek cascades into the river about 3:15, and Ian took photos of us.
Towards the end of the trip, there was a stretch where he said we could get out and swim. Karin seized the opportunity, as did many of the grandchildren. A. panicked and started screaming. The icy temperature and the difficulty of getting back into the raft upset her. The people in the raft behind us heard her screams and decided not to try swimming. She calmed down before we reached the take-out point about 4:30 PM.  The bus ride back was even longer. We got back to home base about 7 PM.

Thursday 30 July 2015
We packed up to return home. The house we rented was almost perfect for our needs. It could have used a third bathroom, but otherwise was excellent. I liked seeing the deer and wind turkeys that came close to the house and showed no fear. There were houses east of us that were empty shells that were never completed. Apparently during the recession of 2008 the developer went bankrupt and the workers abruptly stopped working. I hope someone can finish the houses, it seems like a shame to see them in this state.
Andrew left first, headed for Calgary to pick up Nicole and the youngest children. The rest of us left about 10 AM. Again Evelyn followed us. I had planned to take the David Thompson highway home, but decided that the Calgary route was guaranteed to provide opportunities to buy food and gasoline. We stopped in Canmore, where there was a McDonald's restaurant and paid $1.17/litre for gas that was $0.99/litre at home. But we got what we needed without any detours. At Airdrie we stopped again for a refreshment and bathroom break. From there on, we traveled straight home, arriving about 5 PM. It was a good trip.
Lloyd and Reg came for a visit about an hour after we got home and we had a good visit.

Friday 31 July 2015
The topsoil/final grade on James' house was completed today. It is ready for sod. Yea!
I mostly relaxed and read two novels

Saturday 1 August 2015
Evelyn called about 7:30 AM saying that my friend Henry had called trying to reach me. He would be unable to serve his shift with me because his house was flooded. I assumed it was caused by the rainstorm we had during the night, but later found out that the water line to the refrigerator had broken during the night, spraying water into the house. Besides the damage to the kitchen and living room it ran into the basement where it destroyed the drywall ceiling and flooded the carpets and soaked anything on the floor. Ouch!!!
We left for the Ing Reunion. This may be the last reunion. It was well attended. Even Ted Chapin was there with his son Dwayne and grandsons. I find it hard to attend the reunions because Judy and I have other responsibilities on Saturdays, and I need to arrange for other people to cover for us. But I enjoy visiting with the extended family and catching up on the latest changes.
My great niece T. drew me as a partner for the horseshoe competition. That was unfortunate for her. She was pretty good, but we were up against Al Sargent and Diane Matthews, and we lost in the first round. The shoes I tossed never went where I wanted them to go! Any gophers in the vicinity were in mortal danger!
I taped a genealogy chart to the wall and received some updates.
About 3:30 people started leaving, and we left then for home.
At home I updated my genealogy database with information from the reunion, and relaxed before going to bed.

So we had a memorable family vacation and it was affordable. We found Radium to be a great place for a family vacation. It also helped that Laurel and Karin did most of the pre-planning and organization!