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!