Hi sstange1, To answer your questions:
I'm almost certain there is no relation between 'Demcie' and Alva; Demsey was all Norwegian & it shows Alva as being Scottish. At that time, members of my family had only been marrying other Norwegians.
The reason for my great grandfather's trip to Edmonton in 1919 w/$1100 was "Locate." So maybe he was looking at some land.. I used an online inflation calculator and $1100 then is almost $15,000 in today's money, so I guess it could be. But yet again, he was 60 years old at the time...a little late in life for relocating if that's what he had in mind, unless he was looking for an investment. Or maybe he was looking at land as a favor to his son with a possible loan in mind..
I also did happen to find 2 Border Crossing records for Demsey (mistranslated under "B.A. Emerson") for 2 different dates in May of 1915 and each time he had with him $1560 (about $35,000 today). So I guess he didn't make a purchase on the first trip.
Now, all I can surmise is that Demsey, growing up only a handful of miles from the Canadian border on land his father homesteaded, heard of good farmland for sale in Canada. Maybe I should look through the local paper (Bottineau Courant) for that time period and see if there are any ads for land for the Benson, Sask. area that show up. Maybe I'll find an answer to satisfy my curiosity!