Thursday, December 30, 2010

My Genealogy Goals for 2011

I've been playing catch-up on my Google Reader with the umpteen gazillion blogs that I follow (okay, maybe I exaggerate a little), and I see that a lot of folks are posting their genealogical goals for 2011.  I thought, "well heck, mine can be summed up in one goal: do more research!"  But then I thought maybe it would be a good idea to have some sort of plan, especially since I'll be done with school in May, and I'll have all sorts of time to really start digging.  So, here goes:

1.  Plan (and execute) a trip to the National Archives in D.C. (to coincide with my visit with my mom! I'll be dragging her along with me so we can play with my new Flip-Pal that she got me for Christmas).

2.  Request pension files for my military ancestors.

3.  Break down the brick wall that we call my grandfather's biological parents!

4.  Scan and organize all of my photos.  I may have to become a regular at the ScanFests!

5.  Re-source all of my research ... well, some of it is sourcing for the first time, but I just need to make sure everything has a source!  I guess before I do this, I really need to pick a program and stick with it.  I'm bouncing around between 3 or 4 different ones right now ... mainly because I don't have access to the new FamilySearch yet, so RootsMagic has kind of taken a back seat, and I like the layout of Family Tree Maker, but sourcing is confusing to me.  Ugh.  So many decisions!

6.  Keep a to-do list in ONE place, and actually work on it!  (Thanks to all you folks who have posted some great ideas on how to do that)

7.  Increase my FamilySearch Indexing output by at least twofold.

8.  Finally take a trip to the Family History Library in Ooltewah, TN (yes, it's only about 15 minutes away, I just keep forgetting to go!)

9.  Transcribe all the documents I have obtained (and will obtain).

10.  Last but not least ... start writing my family history!  Note: it will probably be 2064 before I actually FINISH it, but at least I can start writing it.

Rats.  Now I'm going to have to look back on this at the end of the year and see what I didn't do, aren't I?

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Happy Birthday to Me!

There will be no Christmas talk today.  In my house, Christmas doesn't exist on December 19.  Today is my birthday.  I'm older than I care to admit, but I enjoy my birthday just the same.

As any "Christmas baby" knows, being born this close to Christmas really stinks.  We get half the gifts that everyone with "normal" birthdays gets, and our gifts are always wrapped in Christmas paper.  We never really get to have parties because everyone is always out of town with their families and can't attend.  (Such was the case with my 10th birthday party.  No one came, and my parents had to call my aunt and uncle to show up just so I wouldn't feel bad. Just pitiful.)  I haven't tried to have another party since.

My grandmother was smart though.  For a time, until I was about 16, she and I used to celebrate my birthday in June.  It was perfect.  I didn't have to compete with any holiday!

That being said ... finals are over, it's the weekend, and it's my birthday.  I'm going to go take care of some ME stuff!  (Sadly, that includes organizing my research and scanning photos - but it's for me, so I can't complain).

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Advent Calendar - December 18 - Christmas Stockings

When I was little, when we woke up Christmas morning and no one else was up (probably because it was around 4 a.m.), we weren't allowed to open our gifts, but we WERE allowed to go through our stockings, which had been hung by the chimney with care.  It has always been a tradition in our family for as long as I can remember.  It wasn't until I was older and had a child of my own that I realized why that was the rule.  Turns out 4 a.m. on a day you don't have to work is only fun when you don't have a job.  Or kids.  Or a house to clean.

Our stockings were always filled with fun stuff, even if it was meticulously planned to keep us occupied for as long as possible: coloring book and crayons, some breakfasty-type snack, Lifesaver books, some type of lip gloss (see my post from Dec 9), and other odds and ends.

My sister and I used to jump out of bed, run into the living room, rip our stockings off the fireplace and unceremoniously dump their entire contents on the floor and start sifting through.  We would keep ourselves busy until at least 6 a.m. or so.  Then we couldn't stand it anymore and we'd go wake our parents up so we could open presents!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Advent Calendar - December 14 - Fruitcake - Friend or Foe?

I vote Foe!  Drunk fruitcake almost burned our house down!

It all started when we got a fruitcake as a gift from a friend, relative, or neighbor ... I can't remember.  Obviously, it was someone who didn't like us very much.  In any case, my stepdad got the bright idea to make it "better."  I suppose anything would be a step up.  He got a dishtowel and soaked it in rum, then wrapped the fruitcake up in the towel and put it in a cookie tin and stuck it in a cabinet.  You know the one ... the corner cabinet with all that dead space where you put things, and no one finds them again until you move?  Yeah, that one.  "We'll just leave it there for a few days and it will be fantastic!"  Famous last words.

Needless to say, the fruitcake was forgotten.  Had it been fudge, cookies, or a chocolate torte, my guess is that it wouldn't have even been there when someone went looking for it.  Turns out no one wanted to find the fruitcake.  One night while making dinner a year later, my stepdad went looking for something in that cabinet.  He reached way in the back, pulled out the tin, and said "oh wow ... this is that fruitcake!" (or something to that effect).  He placed the tin on the counter next to the stove, opened the lid, and flipped open the dishtowel ... which touched the burner on the stove and promptly caught fire, burning the entire towel, fruitcake, and seriously discoloring the underside of the cabinets.  All in all, not a bad day.  We still didn't have to eat the fruitcake.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Advent Calendar - December 10 - Christmas Gifts

When I was little, I used to love seeing all the gifts trickle in from out-of-town family and fill up the empty space under the tree.  All those presents, and most of them were for me and my sister.  We always wondered what was in them.  We'd shake them and listen to them and smell them ... but we couldn't ever figure it out.

At night, after everyone was asleep, my sister and I would sneak out into the living room and sneak peeks at our presents.  We were always armed with extra scotch tape (shiny and dull - you can never be too prepared) in case anything got out of hand.  I think my mom was onto us though because pretty much all we ever were able to find were clothes.  But then on Christmas morning, there were tons of other presents under the tree too.

We were always surprised, but the sneaky-peeks ended up not keeping our interest for too long since we always knew what we would find.

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Advent Calendar - December 9 - Grab Bag (An Ode to Lip Gloss)

This post is about gifts.  The gifts kids give their parents.  Actually, the gifts that parents give their kids money to get.  My mom used to pay to receive such gifts.  She would give my sister and me a certain amount of money (I can't remember how much now ... but it was enough to buy something thoughtful, but not extravagant) before Christmas and turn us loose in the mall (back in the day when you used to be able to do that) to shop for her.

Let's pretend she gave us each $10.  This was probably in the mid to late 70s, so that would be like ... $100 in today's money, right?  Probably not that much, but it was a lot to us.  So there we are in the mall with $10 each.  What could we possibly get Mom for Christmas that she doesn't already have?  I mean, she has everything already.  Except lip gloss.  So we head down to the little drug store and each buy some Kissing Potion for her.  Different flavors, obviously.  Probably cost about a dollar, not much more.

Actual 1970s Kissing Potion bottles
Well, what to do with all that leftover cash?  Well, we can't give it back, she'll know how much her gift cost.  Might as well head over to the Hello Kitty store and spend the rest!  So we did.  We got some of the coolest Sanrio stuff for ourselves with mom's Christmas money.

I'm not sure if we were just that naive or what ... but I'm not sure what made us think mom wouldn't figure out that the lip gloss didn't cost $10 ... and where the big bag of Hello Kitty stuff came from!

The reason I even remember this is because I'm pretty sure it has been a running joke at Christmas ever since.  Now that we're grown, we have started putting lip gloss in mom's Christmas stocking every year.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Advent Calendar - December 8 - Christmas Cookies

When I think of holiday foods, I think of cookies.  My grandmother always used to make Horseshoe Cookies at Christmas.  It's a recipe that I've made, but I'm not sure anyone can make them like my grandmother used to.  I even Googled them today, and I didn't find any that were like the ones we used to make.  The cookies themselves were simple enough ... it was what happened to them after they came out of the oven that was the best!

Once the cookies were cooled, the ends (or the feet) got dipped in melted chocolate, then in any number of goodies - chopped pecans, shredded coconut, those little candy dots that go all over the kitchen if you spill them, pretty much anything we could get to stick.  They always look so festive!

Those were (and still are) my favorite Christmas food!  Here's the recipe - maybe you can start a new tradition at your house!

1 c. soft butter
1/2 tsp. salt
2 c. sifted flour
1/4-1/2 c. sugar
2 tsp. vanilla

Roll out about 1/2 tsp of dough, then bend into a horseshoe shape and place on cookie sheet about 2 inches apart.  Bake at 350 deg for about 10-12 minutes.  Once they are cool, you can melt your chocolate and get your decorations ready and dip away ... but only put the feet in the chocolate.  I recommend having several small bowls for all your goodies, otherwise it just makes a mess.

I can't remember how many cookies this recipe makes.  I do know that it won't be enough - no matter how many it is.

The cookies are very fragile, so handle with care when decorating!

*I tried to find a photo online of these cookies, but apparently no one else makes them.  There were some similar ones, but none like these.  Enjoy!

Saturday, December 04, 2010

Advent Calendar - December 4 - Christmas Cards

What I remember about Christmas cards is when I was growing up, we would get cards from friends and family.  A lot of cards.  My mom would hang them all up around the doorway between the kitchen and breakfast room.  It was quite impressive.  We must have been very popular.

When my daughter was little, I wanted to keep up the tradition, so we got very excited when we got the first card in the mail.  We would carefully hang it in the center of the doorway between the living room and kitchen (so the multitude of cards would be perfectly balanced as they were added, you see).  As the cards trickled in, we would keep hanging them.  Before long we had like ... 5 cards!  Turns out we just didn't know enough people who sent Christmas cards, I guess.

We started saving the cards from previous years and hanging them up when we got out all the decorations just so we'd have a bunch of cards!

Every year I have good intentions of sending out Christmas cards.  This year, I may actually do it.

Ancestor Approved Award

Just a few days ago, I was so excited because my blog had gone "international" (meaning that folks from other countries were reading it ... Canada, Romania, South Africa, Germany, Russia, Australia, South Korea, and the U.K.).  Now I feel like I just won an Academy Award or something!  I've only been blogging for a short time, so I am quite humbled and honored.  Thank you, Leslie Ann!

The award comes with a couple of requests:
1.  List ten things that you have learned about your ancestors that surprised, humbled, or enlightened you.
2.  Pass the award to ten other genealogy bloggers.

I certainly won't have a problem finding 10 other bloggers who are quite deserving of this award (provided they haven't already received it, that is).  I have read some fantastic blogs over the last several months.  Where do you guys find the time?!

Ten things I've learned about my ancestors ... hmmm.  Let's see ...

1.  I was surprised to learn that my paternal great great grandfather, John Charles Slowey, may have been born a year earlier than everyone thought.  All of the documentation I've seen points to a birth date in 1861.  However, a U.S. Census taken in Lafayette County, Wisconsin in 1860 may prove otherwise.  I'm trying to obtain a birth certificate to confirm.

2.  I learned that my paternal great great grandmother, Theresa (Trasey) Burns Slowey, was a midwife.  Apparently, she was a good one too, because according to "Slowey History" compiled by Bob & Phyllis Hanson, she was "well known as a midwife and was much in demand at childbirth and other sicknesses."

3.  My paternal great grandfather, Thomas Patrick Slowey (son of John Charles and Theresa Slowey above), got his hand caught in some type of corn picking machine in his early adulthood and was never able to use his hand properly again.  While that's not all that unusual, here's what is: John Charles' brother, Barney Slowey, also got his hand caught in some type of corn picking/shredding machine and lost his arm in 1894 ... two decades before Thomas Patrick suffered the same type of accident!  (I have made a mental note to stay away from farm equipment).

4.  My maternal 3rd cousin, John W. Crow, was a member of the 10th Alabama Infantry Regiment in the Civil War.  He is said to have been present at the siege on Harper's Ferry, Fredericksburg, and Gettysburg.  In 1864 he was taken prisoner at Reams Station and held at Point Lookout, Maryland, where he died.  He is said to be buried in a POW graveyard in Maryland, but I have not confirmed this. 

5.  John W. Crow's brother, Ferrington, was a member of the 28th Alabama Infantry during the Civil War.  In July 1862, his regiment was camped less than 10 miles from where I currently live.  Two days later, they camped at Tyner Station, about 10 miles on the other side of me, to await their trains and artillery.

6.  My paternal great grandfather, Louis Phelisa Lanctot, was killed in 1922 when a truck loaded with lumber turned over and pinned him underneath.  The truck belonged to a neighboring homesteader in Casper, Wyoming.  They were hauling lumber to build the homestead for his mother, as time was running out to get her house built to secure the homestead claim.  It is unclear that they ever told her that it was her lumber.  The truck came around a curve and met another vehicle with bright lights, which blinded the driver.  Louis was in the back of the truck (the cabs weren't big enough for 3 in those days).  They thought Louis had tried to jump out of the truck, but his coattail caught on the lumber and it threw him under the truck.  His neck was broken and the hub of the wheel rested on his temple.  (This is according to a letter written to me by my great aunt, Josephine Margaret Lanctot several years ago).  My grandfather was only a year old when his father died.  It made me very sad that he never knew his father.

7.  My paternal great great grandfather, Joseph Zenophile Lanctot, and his wife Elizabeth (Bourke) Lanctot, ran the first hotel in Armour, South Dakota.  It was called Armour House.  He ran the hotel until he died in 1913.  It is said that Elizabeth ran the hotel for a short time after that.  Records show that Hans Boock was the proprietor in 1916.  I wonder if this is some relation to Elizabeth Bourke.  Seems like more than a coincidence to me.

8.My other paternal great great grandfather, Louis Schneider, lived in Utica, South Dakota, and grew cane for sorghum, tobacco for his pipe, and broom cane and made brooms.  He used large beer pans to cook the sorghum and as roofs for his buildings.  I'm not sure what a beer pan is ... and apparently neither does Google.  It's a little scary that they are big enough to use as a roof for a building.

Wow ... this is harder than I thought!

9.  My paternal grandmother, who is still alive and kicking, was called "Mackie" when she was younger (her given name is Maxine).  She was a member of the Glee Club in high school, and performed in "The Whole Town's Talking" in her Junior year.

10.  My paternal grandfather, who is also still alive, played football and was on the track team in high school in Yankton, South Dakota.  He also served in the National Guard during World War II, re-enlisted and served during the Korean War.

Now I would like to present the Ancestor Approved award to the following deserving bloggers:

1.  Climbing My Family Tree
2.  Have You Seen My Roots?
3.  Greta's Genealogy Blog
4.  Mascot Manor Genealogy
5.  Finding Our Ancestors
6.  Branch Out Genealogy
7.  Caro's Family Chronicles
8.  Journeys Past
9.  Long Lost
10. Shakin' the Family Tree

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Advent Calendar - December 2 - Holiday Foods

As far as favorite holiday foods go, I'm not really sure what my ancestors did.  However, I do know what my living family did.  We baked.  A lot.  I'm sure there were feasts of turkey and fixin's ... but that's not what sticks in my memory.  What I remember are cookies.  A lot of cookies.  I'll touch on my favorites in a later post.

Another thing I remember ... and my memory is a little foggy these days, so it may not have even happened on Christmas, but it always makes me think of Christmas morning ... my mom's Hungarian Coffee Cake (we don't even have any Hungarian roots!).  It was a bundt cake-shaped mass of break-apart pieces of gooey-sticky heaven.  I had to go web surfing to find a photo, mainly because at the time the coffee cake came out of the oven, the camera was the LAST thing I was reaching for.

This is the cake.  Isn't it fantastic?  I have searched for the recipe, but I don't think I have it anymore.  I used to have it.  I know this because I tried to make it once.  Once.

In any case ... Mom: if you happen to visit in the near future, bring that recipe and I'll let you see if it turns out the same in my kitchen.  For purely experimental reasons, you understand.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Advent Calendar - December 1 - The Christmas Tree

Ahh, the Christmas Tree.  The most widely recognized symbol of Christmas (aside from Santa, I guess).  One of the first images that comes to mind when I think of a Christmas Tree is the scene from National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation when the squirrel jumps out of the tree and wreaks havoc on the entire Griswold house.  Good times.  But I digress.

The year was 1997.  I was newly divorced and my daughter and I moved out of my mom's house (where we had been staying until we got back on our feet) and into our own place.  We decided that we would have a nice fresh Christmas Tree that we would go pick out ourselves and decorate.  It would be just ours.  Our house was about a gajillion years old and had 12- or 14-foot ceilings (after 7 feet, it gets a little irrelevant since I'm only 5'2") ... which meant we needed a really big tree.  Turns out, the taller the tree, the bigger around it usually is.  I had a little car.  You do the math.

After hiring a team of professional wrestlers and administering about 395 yards of twine, we finally got the tree secured.  I drove home very carefully (read: slowly) because it still made me a little nervous.  A lot of people must have thought I had the best tree in town because everyone was honking and hollering ...

An hour and a half after we got home, we finally got the tree off the car.  So there it was ... lying in the driveway.  Mostly because we couldn't figure out how to carry it ... the branches were too long for me to grab it by the trunk, and the darn thing was heavy!  We ended up each grabbing one of the bottom branches and dragging through the front door.  That was the easy part.  Trying to get it upright AND in the stand at the same time?... whole 'nother issue.

After much exasperation and foul language, we got the tree upright and secure in the stand enough to release it.  We were both covered in sap and pine needles, but once we saw it standing in the corner of the living room so majestic, we decided it was worth it.  I poured some water in the stand and we got to work on the lights.  Surprisingly, it went a lot smoother than I thought.  All the lights lit up on the first try ... thank goodness, because we had just taken them out of the box!  The hardest part was reaching the very top.  We got all the ornaments on the tree, along with bead garlands and shiny bows.  Then I got out the angel.  She wore a beautiful flowing burgundy velvet gown and her wings were almost iridescent in the lights.  She held a tiny candle and her halo lit up as well.  We ooohed and aaaahed for a minute or two.  Then I brought out the special ornament that I picked up as a surprise for my daughter.  It resembled Wedgewood China and said "Mother and Daughter's first Christmas."  I let her hang it on the tree in a place of prominence.  It was a beautiful tree.

Of course, my cats kept drinking the water out of the stand, which left the tree thirsty, which made it shed its needles all over the living room.  I was vacuuming needles until Easter.  It was the last live Christmas tree we ever had.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

This Week in My Family History - November 28 to December 4

This is something new I'm trying.  I totally stole borrowed this idea from Linda McCauley's blog: Documenting the Details (Thanks, Linda!).  I thought it was such a neat idea that I would try it myself.  Here goes:

Dead Folks' Birthdays & Anniversaries
28 Nov 1725   Francois Bouteiller and Marie Lanctot married in Quebec, Canada [Marie is my 7th great grandaunt]
28 Nov 1874   Leota Mount born in Indiana (d. 7 Nov 1876)  [my 2nd cousin, 4x removed]
28 Nov 1753   Marie Monique Lanctot born in Quebec, Canada (d. 8 Jul 1770)  [my 5th great grandaunt]
29 Nov 1895   James Francis Murray and Elizabeth Slowey married in Yankton, SD [Elizabeth is my 2nd great grandaunt]
30 Nov 1902   Albert L. Crowe born in Tell City, IN (d. 29 Apr 1983) [my great granduncle]
30 Nov 1951   Candice Kay Slowey born (d. 13 May 1959) [my 3rd cousin, 1x removed]
1 Dec 1935      James Ritchey Crow and Ruby Carey Brown married [James is my 4th cousin, 4x removed]
1 Dec 1841      Julius Allen Peet and Hester Ann Crow married in Linn, IA [Hester is my 2nd cousin, 6x removed]
2 Dec 1819      Reuben Crow and Elizabeth Duncan married (2nd wife) [Reuben is my 1st cousin, 7x removed]
2 Dec 1861      William Schneider born in Washington, IA (d. 1939) [my 2nd great granduncle]
2 Dec 1799      Wesley M. Crow born in Chatham, NC (d. 10 Oct 1834) [my 2nd cousin, 6x removed]
3 Dec 1843      Truman Judson Peet and Nancy Crow married in Jones, IA [Nancy is my 2nd cousin, 6x removed]

Living Folks' Birthdays
28 Nov            Thomas Mack [my 2nd cousin, 2x removed]
28 Nov            Bradley Mount [my 5th cousin, 1x removed]
30 Nov            Maria Hart [my 6th cousin]
1 Dec              James Lanctot [my uncle]

So I think next time I will stick with my direct line for now ... at least until I find a better way to extract this information.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

With all the talk about huge family gatherings and long-standing traditions, I thought I'd take a different spin on Thanksgiving.  My siblings all live about 2-1/2 hours away and my mom is a good 8-9 hours away.  It's just my daughter and me at our house.  We decided this year not to travel for Thanksgiving.  In the past, when we have decided not to cook for Thanksgiving, we always head to the Chinese Buffet.  This year, we will continue this "tradition" (which, incidentally, began several years ago out of pure laziness), except we've  added breakfast at Waffle House to the list.  I figure by the time our breakfast settles, it will be time to head to the buffet and start all over.  Best thing?  No dishes to wash.

Happy Thanksgiving!! 

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Mystery Woman

I'm going to shift gears a bit for a minute.

Many years ago, among the old family photos I inherited with my late grandfather's genealogy research, was a photo of a beautiful woman who appears to be African-American descent.  Now, since (as far as I know) my ancestors on that side of the family were pretty much Caucasian Irish Catholic, I was a little puzzled.  I asked my grandmother about the photo and the explanation I was given was essentially that she was "a family friend."  Nothing else.  No name, no relation, nothing.

I came across this photo again while going through my records (trying to get everything organized - still working on that) a couple of weeks ago.  I mentioned it to my mother on the phone last week.  Since my grandmother has had some health issues and she is getting up there in years, her mind is not what it once was.  However, my mother said that she would ask her about the photo and see if she could get any other information out of her.

Here is what I know:

1. My grandfather was adopted in 1928.
2. My grandfather was at the Foundling Hospital in New York City from 1924 to 1928.
3. My grandfather's adopted parents were Walter Gallagher and Ruth Burrows.
4. Walter Gallagher was born in New York in 1902, lived in Hudson, NJ in 1920, working as a telephone installer.
5. Walter and Ruth lived in Ridgefield, New Jersey according to the 1930 census.
6. Walter Gallagher had at least one mistress in his lifetime.
7. My grandfather kept this photo for a reason.

This is the photo:

The photo is rather old, printed on thick stock.  I don't know much about photographs, so I can't date it very specifically other than to say it's old.  There are no studio markings or dates, or anything written on the back.

If anyone can identify this woman, or an approximate date this photo could have been taken, please let me know.  I really would like to know how she fits into my family.

Brand New Cousins!

As many of you know, I was at the Tennessee Intercollegiate Student Legislature in Nashville this weekend.  I served as a Special Judge for the Supreme Court and helped preside over the preliminary rounds of the Appellate Moot Court Collegiate Challenge (AMC3).  On my last night in Nashville I had dinner with my cousin (Julie) from the Slowey side of my family, and her parents (Joe and Mary Ann), whom only a couple of weeks ago I had no idea even existed.   Julie has recently begun researching her family history.  We actually made a connection on and started emailing from there. Imagine my surprise to find out that she lives only 2 hours away!

We had a wonderful dinner, and during our conversation realized that we had both eaten lunch at the same restaurant for lunch the day before ... at the same time.  She was upstairs and I was downstairs!  What are the odds?

It was a very nice visit.  I just wish I had more time to spend with them.  At least now I have a partner in genealogical crime!  I'm really looking forward to collaborating with her and getting some brick walls knocked down!

Here's to family!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Sunday’s Obituary - Mary Alice Schneider

Mrs. E.A. (Alice) Chambers is my great grandmother, Mary Alice Schneider.  She married my great grandfather, Louis Phelisa Lanctot in 1913 and had four children.  Louis died in 1922, shortly after my grandfather was born.  Alice remarried in 1950 to Ernest A. Chambers.  She died on September 29, 1969.

This is a copy of a card that was made from her obituary.  It says (verbatim):

A Tribute
published in the pages of
The Aberdeen American-News
Aberdeen, South Dakota
Sep 29, 1969

Memorial Obituary

Entered Into Eternal Rest
Monday, Sept. 29, 1969

Service To Be Thursday

Mrs. E.A. (Alice) Chambers, 77, of 20 7th Ave S.W., died Monday morning, September 29, 1969 at St. Luke's Hospital. Services are to be at 11 a.m. Thursday at Sacred Heart Church in Yankton.

Rosary will be said at 7 p.m. Tuesday at the Gates Funeral home by the Rev. Andrew Foley of Sacred Heart Church of Aberdeen. Rosary will also be said Wednesday evening at the Schenck Funeral Home in Yankton.

Mrs. Chambers was born May 28, 1892 in Bon Homme County. She was married to Louis P. Lanctot at Yankton in 1913. They lived in Yankton and in Wyoming. Mr. Lanctot preceded her in death in 1922. In 1950, she was married to E.A. Chambers at Yankton. They had lived in Aberdeen since that time.

Survivors include her husband; two sons, James Lanctot, Sunnyside, Wash., and Edward Lanctot, Portland, Ore.; two daughters, Mrs. Lee (Marie) Rardin, and Mrs. Sanuel (Josephine) Swift, both of Portland, Ore.; 17 grandchildren; 19 great-grandchildren; one step-son; three step-daughters; two brothers, Charles Schneider, Casper, Wyo., and Robert Schenider, Minneapolis and one sister, Mrs. Margaret Tester, Sioux City, Iowa.

Family History Expo - Day 2

I really wanted to get this posted last night, but after a 2-1/2 hour drive home and a 750-word essay due before midnight, the blog took a back seat for a moment.  Better late than never!

Ok, I told myself I wasn't going to complain about any of the goings-on at the Expo.  I understand it's a huge event and there are billions of moving parts and all that.  However, I am going to ask one question in hopes that it might help the folks at Family History Expos and Gwinnett Center think about something:

Would it have been that difficult to have someone selling coffee outside the exhibit hall before the classes got started in the morning?

Ok.  Rant off.

Even without my morning coffee, my first class managed to keep my attention pretty well.  Raymon Naisbitt with FamilySearch spoke about Finding Your Irish Ancestors.  Now, I'm still working on my peeps in the United States and am nowhere near ready to dive into any overseas research just yet.  Frankly, overseas research scared me a little.  Ok, I'm still a little scared of my German research, but not so much anymore with Ireland.  I know it's going to be hard to find a lot of records since my preliminary research and unconfirmed information tell me that my ancestors were in Ireland before civil records were kept, and (of course) they were Catholic.  I learned that the Catholic churches were terrible record keepers out of fear of persecution.  Fabulous.  At least now I know before I start my research over there and I can plan around those records (or lack thereof).  Nice job, Raymon.

Finally, I was able to get my hands on some coffee and headed to my next class: Finding Your Family's Stories Online.  First, I just have to say that Tami Glatz is amazing.  How she manages to have that much energy in the morning is astounding (obviously, the speakers were able to get coffee before the classes started!).  I have pages of notes just from one hour with her, and I can't wait to get all this information saved into my browser favorites!  I know there are stories out there ... now I will be able to put my hands on them!  I will be sure to post any findings.

My next class was with Leland Meitzler of Family Roots Publishing: State and Territorial Censuses and Census Substitutes.  I know, yawn-fest, right?  Well, not so much.  Leland was able to keep the information flowing and keep my attention.  I learned where to go to look for information for the 10 years in between the federal censuses and in case my ancestor's portion of the federal census was damaged or is missing.  Now I have a better chance of being able to find John Charles Slowey's father, and hopefully prove his birth date!

After lunch, Billy Edgington spoke to us about Civil War Records.  She really knows her stuff!  Now I know what to do with the records I found on Footnote.  She gave us some excellent tips on what to ask for and what to expect from the request, and where to go from there.

Now, I've been using Family Tree Maker by Ancestry for a very long time ... since the 1990s I think.  This weekend, I broke down and purchased RootsMagic 4.  They were having a special for the Expo, so I picked up RootsMagic and the book, Personal Historian, and Family Atlas for 50 bucks.  Not a bad deal.  It's going to take some time transferring all of my research over to the new program, but I figure it will give me something to do until I have access to the New FamilySearch ... which leads me to my next class  Michael Booth, one of the developers of RootsMagic.  He spoke to us about how RootsMagic works with FamilySearch.  I was impressed with how easy it looked.  Of course, all that may change once I start trying to get it to work with my family, but we'll see.  He was very helpful after the class in answering some questions I had about transferring my research.

The closing keynote address was given by Holly Hansen, the President of Family History Expos about a brick wall she had recently broken down. Very motivational. They drew the names for all the fabulous prizes after she was finished.  The grand prize was a week-long research trip to the Family History Library in Salt Lake City where the folks at the library would be at your beck and call, paid hotel and everything.  It was at about this time in the ceremony that I realized I hadn't written my name on the back of my little ticket that I spent so much time going from vendor to vendor to have them sign off.  Oh well.  I never win anything anyway.

They will be back next year, November 11-12, and I have already put it on my calendar.  My goal for the remaining 364 days until the next Atlanta Expo is to figure out how to be in 11 places at one time so I don't miss anything!

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun - Photo Effects

Once again, Randy Seaver at Genea-Musings has posted a challenge that I can't refuse!  Here it is:

1)  Go to the AnyMaking website (  - it's FREE to use) and ...

2)  Doctor some of your priceless photographs using one or more of their photo effects to turn your photo into a cartoon, into a puzzle, into a wanted poster, etc.  Try it, it's fun.

So here's what I did with it:


... and after:

It's kinda cool.  I wish I could have put my hands on a color photo instead, but I'm so tired from the Expo this weekend that I simply cannot get up and put one on the scanner.

Incidentally, the couple shown in the photo above is Bernard Slowey (John Charles Slowey's brother) and his wife Elizabeth Isabel McKeachie.  I'm not sure when the photo was taken, but it had to be some time between 1894 when he lost his arm and 1939 when he passed away.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Family History Expo - Day 1

I left home around 5:30 this morning and headed down to the Family History Expo in Atlanta.  I arrived around 7:30 and picked up my name badge.  I don't think I ever realized that Gwinnett Center was so huge.  The main hall had enough seats for what seemed like a gajillion people, and it was almost full.

So while I was waiting for the keynote address to begin, I heard a familiar voice.  It was Pat Ritchley of DearMYRTLE fame!  (I recognized her voice from the Beginning Blogging class I took online via Legacy - good work Myrt!)  She was sitting about 10 feet away from me.  I felt like I was in the presence of a celebrity!  I have been following Myrtle since the beginning of time, pre-blog -- when she was putting out newsletters -- sometime in the 1990s.  It was very exciting, I was especially excited when I got to attend a Social Networking Q&A session with her and Thomas MacEntee (Geneabloggers), Amy Coffin (We Tree), and Tonia Kendrick (Tonia's Roots).  We were joined by Holly Hansen, the President of Family History Expos.  This panel of bloggers was amazing.  They had so many great ideas, and it was a small enough crowd that it felt more like a casual conversation between friends than a "class" or a "lecture."

I also attended two classes with Lisa Alzo: Tracing Your Immigrant Ancestors and Finding Your Female Ancestors.  Fortunately, she provided a wonderful syllabus for each class, because there was so much information given in those two classes that had I tried to write everything down, I would have had full-blown carpal tunnel by the end of the day!

David Dilts with FamilySearch gave me a fresh perspective on census records and the wealth of information they offer, and not only for the person who is the subject of your search.  He went over so many things I never even thought of when working with census records.

In between the classes, I visited the vendor hall ... WOW.  Everyone was there!  I got a lot of information from folks I never knew existed until I went to the Expo.  I may not need their services right this second, but at some point in the future, I definitely will ... and when I do, I'll be ready!  I did go ahead and purchase a book called Stories to Tell from, well, Stories to Tell Books.  While I'm not ready to start writing a book just yet, I thought it might be a good idea to start organizing my information from the beginning, so it won't be so hard when it's time to get started on the book.

Best part of all (for those of you who couldn't make it to the Expo) ... FREEBIES!  In addition to the free sticky note pad from, I picked up this little cutie from FamilySearch.  I call him StressMan:

I checked into the hotel, grabbed a gin and tonic and a bite to eat at the restaurant.  All in all, it's been a pretty good day.  More tomorrow ... good night!

P.S.  If any of my family are reading this.  I'm officially putting this on my Christmas list!

Sunday, November 07, 2010

What Music Moved Your Ancestors?

Yesterday, in the practically sub-zero weather (that's how devoted I am!), I traveled to Lake Lanier Islands (in Buford, GA) to listen to my brother's jazz band play at an outdoor venue.  While I was sipping my Irish Coffee by the fireplace, a thought occurred to me: "I wonder what music my ancestors listened to during their 'down' time."

What type of music would John Charles Slowey have heard while he was growing up in the 1860s?  Then my mind started racing ... where would I find such information?  My first thought was Billboard Magazine Archives, which are fascinating, but they only go back to 1940.  I Googled "1860 music" and found a neat little website: Public Domain Music that has a chronological listing of music back to 1767.  I'm pretty sure this is only American music.  I haven't searched for any non-U.S. music yet.

Now that I could see the song titles and artists, I wondered what type of music it was.  One entry from the 1866-1899 listing of music caught my eye - "Father's a Drunkard and Mother Is Dead" (1866).  Hmm.  Sounds like a country song.  I did manage to find the lyrics on Public Domain Music:

One dismal, stormy night in winter, a little girl--
barefooted and miserably clad-- leaned shivering
against a large tree near the President's House.
'Sissie,' said a passing stranger, 'why don't
you go home?'
  She raised her pale face, and with tears dimming
her sweet blue eyes, answered mournfully:
'I have no home. Father's a Drunkard, and Mother
is Dead.'

Out in the gloomy night, sadly I roam,
  I have no Mother dear, no pleasant home;
Nobody cares for me-- no one would cry
  Even if poor little Bessie should die.
Barefoot and tried, I've wander'd all day,
  Asking for work-- but I'm too small they say;
On the damp ground I must now lay my head--
  _'Father's a Drunkard, and Mother is dead!'_

CHORUS [sung after each verse]
Mother, oh! why did you leave me alone,
With no one to love me, no friends and no home?
Dark is the night, and the storm rages wild,
God pity Bessie, the Drunkard's lone child!

We were so happy till Father drank rum,
  Then all our sorrow and trouble begun;
Mother grew paler, and wept ev'ry day,
  Baby and I were hungry to play.
Slowly they faded, and one Summer's night
  Found their dear faces all silent and white;
Then with big tears slowly dropping, I said:
  _'Father's a Drunkard, and Mother is dead!'_
Oh! if the 'Temp'rance me' only could find
  Poor, wretched Father, and talk very kind--
If they would stop him from drinking-- why, then
  I should be so very happy again!
Is it too late? 'men of Temp'rance', please try,
  Or poor little Bessie may soon starve and die.
All the day long I've been begging for bread--
  _'Father's a Drunkard, and Mother is dead!

Words by Stella, of Washington
Music by Mrs. E. A. Parkhurst

Wow.  How depressing.  I decided to look for something that might be a little more upbeat.  "Goober Peas" (Words by A. Pindar, Esq., Music by P. Nutt, Esq.) or "I Wish That I'd Been Born a Boy" (Words and Music by H. Angelo, Arranged by James W. Porter) (I wonder if Beyonce knew someone beat her to the punch about 150 years ago).

I haven't been able to find any actual recordings of any of these songs, and certainly no MP3s, so I still don't know how the music sounded.  I did notice there was a LOT of patriotic-themed, slave-themed, and Christmas-themed music back then (such as "Up on the Rooftop").

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun - Make a Genealogy Wish!

Randy Seaver at Genea-Musings posted this blog prompt yesterday:

Your mission, should you decide to accept it, is to:

1)  If you found a bottle on the shore, and it had a genea-genie in it, and rubbed it and you had ONE WISH to make about your genealogy and family history research, what would it be?

Okay, so technically it's Sunday Morning Genealogy Fun.

Well ... this one was easy for me.  I would wish that my Genea-Genie would magically unseal the 1928 adoption records for New York City, which apparently take a literal Act of Congress to open.  I just want to know who my grandfather's biological parents are so I can grow that stubby little branch of my family tree.  My grandfather tried to get them unsealed prior to his death in 1990, and I have been trying to find a way to do it ever since.  All parties involved are deceased, so I'm not sure what the big deal is ...

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Atlanta Family History Expo

So I realized yesterday that our office is closed on November 12th for Veteran's Day/Marine Corps Birthday (the lawyer I work for is a retired Marine Corps Lieutenant Colonel).  When I got home, I opened my Google Reader to check for recent posts to blogs that I follow.  On DearMYRTLE's Genealogy Blog, there was a post about the Family History Expo in Atlanta that weekend.  I had totally forgotten about it!

I've never been to a Genealogy Expo before, so I thought ... "why not?"

I bit the bullet and went ahead and signed up before I got distracted by something shiny.  Two full days of hanging around with people who don't get that glazed-over look when you talk about your family history?  Sounds like heaven to me!

Now I'm going to go read Myrtle's blog post again so I can figure out the right way to Twitter while I'm at the conference.  Apologies in advance if my tweets are discombobulated!  In any case, I'll hopefully have time to blog while I'm there.

If anyone has any helpful hints about what to take with me (or what not to take), what to look for, etc., please let me know.  I appreciate any insight I can get!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

John Charles Slowey - Wisconsin to South Dakota - Part 7

I think we left off with a letter going to the Register's office for John Charles' birth certificate, and having discovered a completely different birth date - roughly a year prior to what was contained on all his other records.  While waiting for the Register's office to respond, and since it's Halloween, I thought I'd try to find out where he is buried.  Cemetery searches ... doesn't get more spooky than that, right?

His death certificate says he is buried in Catholic Cemetery in Mayfield, South Dakota.  I started with a search at one of my favorite FREE sites: Find-A-Grave.  They had a total of 2 Sloweys for Yankton County, South Dakota ... and those were two that I added myself not too long ago.

I headed over to South Dakota Gravestone Photos and did a general search for "Slowey" in Yankton County.  Wow!  There are a LOT of Sloweys buried in Yankton, South Dakota!  Sadly, not any of the ones listed are my great great grandfather.  Keep in mind, this is only a list of the graves that have had photos taken, not a complete listing of all the graves in all the cemeteries.

While I was revisiting some of my saved websites, I ran across a listing at South Dakota State Historical Society that I had not noticed before.  They keep cemetery records.  It can't hurt to search, right?  So I searched for all the Sloweys in Yankton County.  What returned is a list of 23 individuals buried in three different cemeteries:

There he is, buried at ... Mayfield Catholic Cemetery in Irene, South Dakota ... not Mayfield, South Dakota.  There are his parents, too, Patrick and Catherine.

So, I headed back over to Find-A-Grave and did a cemetery lookup for Mayfield Catholic Cemetery.  It had one individual listed.  One.  So, I went ahead and added John Charles Slowey to the record. 

Once he was added (and this is the best part about this site), I went to his listing and clicked on the button that says "Request a Photo."  Now, someone who lives up there near the cemetery can swing by when they have a few minutes to spare and take a photo of the grave marker and upload it to the site.  I will get a notification by email that my photo request has been successfully fulfilled, and then I can click on the link to view the photo.  Hopefully, it will only take a few days or so.  I will also put in requests for Patrick and Catherine's graves.

Speaking of Find-A-Grave, I strongly encourage you to check it out.  It's a great service that is completely volunteer driven.  Every once in a while, you can find me traipsing around a few of the Chattanooga cemeteries and snapping photos.  You don't have to have a request to get the photos, either.  If I see an interesting grave marker, I'll use my Find-A-Grave Droid App (beta), which I downloaded for free from the Android Market, to make sure there isn't already a photo on the site.  If there isn't, I'll snap a photo and upload it to the site when I get home.  (I rarely use my camera phone to take cemetery photos).  Check it out, become a volunteer.

Next time, the hunt for an obituary.  Happy Halloween!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

FamilySearch Indexing

All you folks out there who are interested in getting started on your family history, are already working on your family history, or are just interested in history in general ... this is for you!

FamilySearch (a service provided by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints) needs volunteers to help index millions of rolls of microfilm from over 100 countries so they can be posted at for free searches.  If you are interested in volunteering for this worthy cause, head over to and sign up.  It's super easy to get started, and they even provide training and have folks on hand to answer questions if you get stuck.

There's a community of indexers online and they have a chat on Skype ( that you can join, and there are indexing message boards at

I encourage you to volunteer.  Aside from just being plain interesting, the more volunteers we have, the faster we can get these records indexed and out for searching.  You never know ... it might even help YOU break down a brick wall!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Mystery Photos

This photo was discovered in the box of photos Mary Jane's mom gave her.  The only thing inscribed on this photo is "Yankton, South Dakota."  Does anyone recognize these children?

The only clue given for this one is the name "Slowey."  Any ideas?

It's short and sweet today.  I'll be working for the next week on writing a Bill to be presented at the Tennessee Intercollegiate Student Legislature (TISL), and an appellate brief for the Appellate Moot Court Collegiate Challenge (AMC3) in Nashville in November.  In case I don't have time to post anything new in the next week, happy hunting!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

John Charles Slowey - Wisconsin to South Dakota - Part 6

Well, I think I may have figured out why I'm having such a hard time finding records for John's birth.  You remember back in the beginning, I used math (I think I may have even called it "simple") to calculate John's birth date from his death certificate?  The information on the death certificate was wrong!  This just reinforces two things I already knew: (1) I really shouldn't do math; and (2) Don't take every document at face value (in other words, confirm, confirm, confirm!)

I headed over to the Looking 4 Kin ( website and hopped into the chat room.  I had never been in the chat room there, and thought I would just check it out.  Everyone there was so nice!  I told them about John and what a problem I was having finding him in Wisconsin.  Two very nice people, sonofedd and Spivey, actually did a couple of searches and found him on the 1860 federal census!  His name was indexed as "Sloway" on Ancestry and as "Slowny" on HeritageQuest.

So because the census shows that John was 3/12 years old in July 1860, we know that he was probably born in April 1860.  I'm not sure this information will help me find a birth certificate any easier, but at least with more accurate information and some alternate spellings of Slowey, I might be able to repeat some old searches and uncover something else!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Treasures from the Attic (well, basement)

I feel like I've been touched by an angel.  Her name is Mary Jane and she is a cousin of mine I never even knew I had.  My first cousin, twice removed, to be exact.  I saw a post she made on the message boards on for the Slowey surname.  I read her post and thought, "those are MY Sloweys!"  I then looked at the date on the post.  Wow ... 2001.  A lot of time has passed ... what are the odds she's even still looking?  I thought, "what the heck," and sent her a message anyway.

You can imagine my surprise when I received an email from her ... the very next day!  John Charles Slowey is her great grandfather.  We decided that we would share information and see if we could make any progress on our little family.  It turns out she had a box of her mother's photos and some other papers in her basement for years and just never went through them.  It was indeed a treasure trove!  Just look:

According to the inscription on the back, this is (from left to right):  Mary Christopher, Theresa Burns, and John Charles Slowey.  This photo was taken in 1928, about 3 weeks before John died.

Inscription on photo says John & Theresa Slowey with Katherine and Peter.  This photo had to have been taken sometime between 1888 and 1891.
This photo is of John Charles Slowey's brother, Patrick Edward Slowey, II.

The inscription says that this is a photo of (left to right) Ellen Slowey Murray (1867-1945), Patrick Slowey (1866-1942), Pete Slowey (1870-1950), and Kate Slowey Cunningham.  These are four of John Charles Slowey's brothers and sisters.

I've never understood why no one ever smiled for photos back in the day.  Whatever, I'm just so glad that we are able to put faces with names now!  She sent me some other photos, but I will have to post them separately (apparently, there is such a thing as too much blog!)

If anyone in Helena, Montana is reading my blog and you run into Mary Jane, give her a big ol' hug for me!

John Charles Slowey - Wisconsin to South Dakota - Part 5

I thought I would try to dig up some more information on my great great grandfather.  Since I don't have a primary source for his birth, I thought I'd try to find a birth record of some sort.  According to all the documentation I have, he was born in Wisconsin.  The 1870 federal census puts the John living with his parents in the town of Kendall, Lafayette County, Wisconsin. 

I consulted my Resource Book for Genealogists and discovered that pre-1907 birth records are indexed and available through the Wisconsin Historical Society.  Luckily, the WHS has a website!  (

Lots of Sloweys ... not the one I need.  It's entirely possible that because John was born in 1861, his birth was simply not recorded.

Just to be on the safe side, I did a search on to see if maybe I could find his family in Kendall or Lafayette County.  I even looked for Darlington, which is now the county seat of Lafayette County.  Nothing.  If anyone has a link to a website that has city directories for Wisconsin indexed, please let me know!

Since I seem to be striking out on the birth record, I guess I'll search for the record of John's marriage to Theresa Burns.  Remember the South Dakota state census said that they were married in 1886, but we don't know when.  I headed over to GenWed ( to see if they had any records for Yankton County, South Dakota.  Nada.  Well, I'm just not getting anywhere today.  Looks like I'm going old school.  Snail mail.

I did a search for the Register of Deeds for Yankton County, and I will give them a call on Monday and find out their fees, etc. and send a letter.  While I'm waiting for that information to arrive, I'll try to solve another mystery: where is John buried?

John Charles Slowey - Wisconsin to South Dakota - Part 4

Now that I have tracked great great grandpa John back to his childhood with federal census records, I can see if any state census records are available.  I went to ( and found three South Dakota state census records for him, 1925, 1915, and 1905.  The writing is a bit faded on the 1925 enumeration sheet:
But I can make out that he was 64 years old, lived in Mayfield township, Yankton County.  His occupation was "agriculture."  I guess he got fancy in his old age.  His parents were both born in Ireland, and his wife's maiden name is Theresa Burns.  That will come in handy later.  It shows that they were married in 1886.  Well, that narrows down my search for their marriage certificate ... and shortens the time that they were married before Katie was born in November 1886.  It also tells me that he is Catholic.  Perhaps church records can tell me about their marriage if I can't find it at the county level, since South Dakota didn't start keeping marriage records as a state until 1905.

On the 1915 enumeration sheet, we find even more information:

We see that yes, John is a farmer and he owns his farm. We also see that he was born inWisconsin (which we already knew from the federal census, but always good to confirm).  We also know now that John was never in the military.  Down in the lower left corner, it shows that he has lived his entire 54 years in the U.S., but only 43 years in South Dakota.  Aha!  We now know that he arrived in South Dakota at age 11! 

The 1905 enumeration sheet confirms the information from the other two years:
John is living in Mayfield township, Yankton County, is married, can read and write, was born in Wisconsin, and has lived in South Dakota for 33 years.

I know that South Dakota conducted a state cenuses in 1895 and a special Dakota Territory census was conducted 1885 (thanks to a handy-dandy little book called The Family Tree Resource Book for Genealogists which can be found at Family Tree Magazine's store:, but I haven't had any luck finding either.  It appears that the 1895 census only included 6 counties, not Yankton.  The 1885 census appears to not include most of the southern part of the territory (which, of course, includes Yankton County).  Looks like I'm going to have to find another way.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

John Charles Slowey - Wisconsin to South Dakota - part 3

The 1900 federal census is probably my favorite.  It includes a plethora (don't you just love that word?) of information such as the month and year of birth, along with the age.  Sometimes it's a good idea to check the math of the census taker.  It tells you how many years of marriage, as well as how many children the females have borne, and how many are still living.  This will help determine if there have been any stillbirths, or deaths in infancy/childhood.

So now we have our happy couple ... with fewer children.  But wait!  Who is this Trasey person showing up as John's wife?  Was he married to someone else?!  Probably not.  Trasey ... Theresa ... it's more likely that (1) the enumerator was a terrible speller, or (2) Trasey was a nickname.  If you look down the list, you'll notice that the children are the same ... and there's another Trasey.  See?  A nickname. 

The census tells us that Theresa has given birth to 8 children, and 8 are still living.  Hmmm.  There are only 7 listed on this census.  We'll definitely have to investigate that further.  I'll put that on my list. 

We have an additional child, Katie, who appears to be the oldest now, at age 13.  We can see that John and Theresa have been married 14 years.  We can deduce that they were probably married in 1886.  Also notice that Katie was born in November 1886.  Shotgun wedding?  The census was taken on June 15, 1900, so John and Theresa would have had to marry before June 15 in 1886, but after June 15, 1885.  Obviously, another fact we will need to corroborate, especially with the missing 8th child.  I love a good scandal!

I found John on the 1880 federal census, living with his parents Patrick and Katherine, in Yankton County in the Dakota Territory (South Dakota didn't become a state until 1889).

You're probably thinking ... "Wait just a minute!  You skipped 20 years there!  What about 1890?"  Well, the 1980 federal census was destroyed by a fire at the Commerce Department in Washington, DC in 1921.  Of the roughly 62 million people enumerated in 1890, only about 6,000 records survived.  The Veterans and Widows census scheduled survived, and can sometimes be used as a substitute for the lost records.

Ok, back to our census record.  John is a 21-year-old living with his parents and siblings.  You will also notice an odd name at the bottom ... Georg Meter, age 3, listed as "adopted son."  I wonder where he came from.  He was born in Dakota, but his parents are from Prussia.  Something else to put on my list of facts to check.  That list just keeps getting longer and longer ...

The last census record John will appear on is the 1870 census.  Apparently, they weren't real big on getting a lot of information in 1870.

The family lived in the town of Kendall, Lafayette Co., Wisconsin.  So now we know that at some point between 1870 and 1880, the family moved from Wisconsin to South Dakota.  I will have to try to find some state census records in either Wisconsin or South Dakota to try to narrow down the time frame.

Friday, October 22, 2010

John Charles Slowey - Wisconsin to South Dakota - Part 2

The federal census has been taken every 10 years since 1790, and is very helpful in genealogical research.  (Although sometimes they create more questions than they answer!)  Probably the easiest place to search census records online is or (both paid services), but you can also search for free the non-digitized census microfilms at the National Archives in Washington, DC or one of the regional facilities, or at the State Archives.  The LDS Family History Centers around the country can obtain the rolls via interlibrary loan from the National Archives as well.  Your local library may be able to get them too.  You may also find the records you are looking for as part of the USGenWeb Census Project:

So I managed to locate several federal census records for my great great grandfather.  The 1920 census shows John Slowey and wife Theresa, ages 58 and 54 respectively, still living with two sons, Clarence and Clement (ages 17 and 15 respectively) in Mayfield Township, Yankton Co., South Dakota as of January 10, 11, and 12, 1920.  It shows that John is a grain farmer and son Clarence is a farm laborer (likely working for dad).  John was born in Wisconsin and Theresa was born in Missouri (aha! more info on Theresa!).  Both boys were born in South Dakota.  We also know from this census that John's and Theresa's parents were born in Ireland.  Another clue!
The 1910 (May 4, 1910) federal census for Mayfield Township, Yankton Co., South Dakota shows our beloved John and wife Theresa, but with many more children! 
Peter, Mary E., Theresa, Ellen, Thomas P., John E., Clarence, and Clement - ranging in age from 5 to 21.  Obviously, six of the children flew the coop over the next 10 years.  We'll have to find them on their own census records.  We can tell from this census that both parents and all the children can read and write, and that John owns his home (with a mortgage).  We can also see that John is not a survivor of the Union or Confederate Army or Navy (obviously because he was only a toddler during the Civil War).

You'll notice that the actual census forms are fairly difficult to read, so it's hard to determine what each of those columns identify. has some handy-dandy census extraction forms that help determine what each column is for, and you can use them to transcribe the information you find (very helpful when you don't have the option to print or save to your computer/laptop right away).  They can be found (for free) at:

Thursday, October 21, 2010

John Charles Slowey - Wisconsin to South Dakota

John Charles Slowey is my 2nd great grandfather.  He was born February 24, 1861 in Wisconsin.  I believe this to be true - not because his death certificate shows his date of birth (oh no, that would be too easy) - but because his death certificate DOES give me his exact age of 67 years, 2 months, and 0 days.  John died on April 26, 1928.  I simply did the math.

It turns out that death certificates are chock full of information!  John died on April 26, 1928, in Yankton Township, Yankton County, South Dakota at Sacred Heart Hospital at 2:15 a.m.  He was the husband of Theresa Slowey and was a farmer.  His father was Patrick Slowey, born in Ireland, and his mother was Catherine McCabe, also born in Ireland.  He was sick from March 29, 1928 until April 26 when he died.  It looks like his cause of death was "multiple abscess of the lung" as a result of pneumonia that he contracted while in Irene, South Dakota.  He was buried on April 28, 1928 in Catholic Cemetery in Mayfield, South Dakota.  The undertaker, Joseph Frick, signed the certificate.  I wish I could read his doctor's name.  The "informant" for the certificate is listed as "Mrs. John Nooney."  I wonder how she fits into this puzzle ...

Whew!  All that from one piece of paper (which, it turns out, I have had in my possession since January 2000).

Obviously, I have some serious digging to do in order to discover more information about my great great grandfather.  Next stop ... census records!