Friday, June 29, 2012

E is for ... EXCITEMENT!

Special thanks to Alona at Gould Genealogy for coming up with the Family History Through the Alphabet challenge!


It's official.  Hotel is booked.  Registration is paid.  Luncheons, workshops, and other outings are booked and paid.  My schedule of classes is (almost) done.  Yep.  I'm going to the Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS) 2012 Conference in Birmingham, Alabama!

I've been to a couple of genealogy conferences in the past, and they were great.  But this ... this is like one of the BIG ones.

I am fortunate that I live close enough to Birmingham to be able to drive, so the money I'm saving on airfare I'll be able to spend on goodies at the conference!

I'm a little sad that I don't have any "official" research to do while I'm in Birmingham (I don't have any direct ancestors from Alabama at all - at least none that I've found yet) ... although, I feel pretty sure that I can find a library or archives of some sort to wreak havoc spend some time in.

In preparation for my trip, I even bought one of those little badge holders with all the pockets in it. I can't wait to bling it out! I think I'm going to have to take the seam out of one of the pen holders on the back so my phone will fit in the little pocket back there.
P.S. Thanks, WhollyGenes- only $5 and super fast shipping

I'm going to take print my state "badges" from my 1940 Census indexing and do something super fancy and attach them to my little holder.  I also have a couple of geeky pins I'll attach.  

I've already started packing.  Laptop, check.  Camera, check.  iPad, check.  Contact cards, check.  Flip-Pal, maybe.  Batteries, check.  Oh, I guess I'd better add some sort of clothing to the list.  Jammies too.  Maybe a toothbrush.  Hmm ... tiara?

So if you happen to be at FGS and see me (I'll be the one wandering aimlessly around the conference looking completely lost), stop and say hi!

Do we share any ancestors?
Please email me at lostancestors [at] gmail [dot] com

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Gramma was a Hottie!

I submitted this post for the 5th Annual Swimsuit Edition (119th Carnival of Genealogy). You can read more about the carnival at this link:

While I was visiting my family last summer in Portland, Oregon, I scanned a lot of photos from my Grandmother's photo albums. I stumbled across this photo, nonchalantly intermingled with some other (less racy) photos. My jaw dropped open.
Gramma, circa 1942

"Gramma! Look at you!!" I said. She shrugged and said, "Yeah, that's me." So modest. (I would have kept that photo stapled to my shirt yelling 'yeah, this is ME!')

She then proceeded to tell me that was the photo she mailed to my Grampa when he was overseas during World War II. No wonder he worked so hard to come back! 

(The two would have celebrated their 68th wedding anniversary this August, if not for the passing of my Grampa last July).

Do we share any ancestors?
Please email me at lostancestors [at] gmail [dot] com

Sunday, June 24, 2012

D is for ... DRILLER!

Special thanks to Alona at Gould Genealogy for coming up with the Family History Through the Alphabet challenge!

D is for DRILLER!

Well driller, that is. My great grandfather, Louis Phelisa Lanctot, got his start in 1910 as a well driller in St. Helena, Nebraska.[1]  He traveled to Cedar Co., Nebraska and Yankton Co., South Dakota for work.

In 1912 or 1913, he was hired to drill a well on a farm in Utica Township, Yankton County, South Dakota. The man who hired him was Louis Schneider (otherwise known as my 2nd great grandfather). Louis and Mary Alice Schneider were marred in July 1913.

By 1917, Louis had started his own well drilling company[2] and employed Mary Alice's brother Charles to help with the workload. You know, keeping it in the family. Louis and Mary Alice purchased land in Bucknam, Wyoming (25 miles from Casper) and settled there in 1917.

I don't know much about the well drilling industry back in the early 1900s, but I found this photo of a "new" steam-powered well drill from 1903. I can imagine Louis might have used something like this when he started.

Louis worked as a well-driller for the remainder of his short life.  He died in a truck wreck in Casper, Wyoming in 1922.

1. 1910 United States Federal Census, Cedar County, Nebraska, (St. Helena/Precinct 2); p. 10B-11A, lines 96-2, T624_840, Img. 467, [database online]

2. "World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918," digital image [database online],, card for Louis Phelisa Lanctot, no. 75, Converse, Wyoming.

Do we share any ancestors?
Please email me at lostancestors [at] gmail [dot] com

Friday, June 22, 2012

C is for ... CANADA!

Special thanks to Alona at Gould Genealogy for coming up with the Family History Through the Alphabet challenge!

C is for CANADA!

My 2nd great grandfather, Joseph Zenophile Lanctot, was born in Quebec, Canada.  So was his mother Sophia (Longtin) and his father Pierre.  My 3rd great grandfather, Louis Bourk(e) was also born in Canada.  So was his wife Mary and his father Francis.  As you can tell, I have a little Canadian research that needs to be done.

I haven't been able to do a lot of research in Canadian records yet, as I'm trying to get all the research done in this country before I start venturing outside of it, but I have taken a peek at some of the Canadian census records for those two families - mainly to solve a couple of mysteries that continue to hang around my neck like an albatross.

I sure would like to know that when the time finally does come for me to jump into Canadian research that there are historical and genealogical records and archives still available to me.

Lorine McGinnis at the Olive Tree Genealogy Blog sent out this heartfelt plea to save the National Archival Development Program (NADP) in Canada.  The loss of access to the Canadian Archives doesn't only affect Canadians!  You can help by signing this petition.  It doesn't matter where you live ... Canada, the United States, Uganda, or Bora Bora ... your signature can help!

*updated to correct relationship errors

Do we share any ancestors? 
 Please email me at lostancestors [at] gmail [dot] com

Thursday, June 21, 2012

B is for ... BACHELOR!

Special thanks to Alona at Gould Genealogy for coming up with the Family History Through the Alphabet challenge!

B is for BACHELOR!

It doesn't happen often, but every once in a while you come across someone (in your collateral lines, obviously) who was a bachelor. Never married. No children. They can't possibly be of any genealogical value, right?

This couldn't be further from the truth.

For example, my great granduncle Eugene L. Stiker (brother to my great grandmother Lucile (Stiker) Crowe, was never married and never fathered or adopted any children. However, I happened to get my hands on an Affidavit of Heirship that the attorney for his estate prepared. Let me tell you, it is chock full of valuable information!

It starts by naming his mother, including maiden name, and father, detailing how many times and to whom they were married, when they died, and how many children they had.  Granted, no exact dates were given, but at least it gives me a sort of timeline to narrow the search field.

Then the next generation (all of Eugene's siblings) was detailed the same way, finally ending up with a complete list of ... wait for it ... all the nieces, nephews, and decedents who inherited from Eugene's estate!

Happy dance, anyone?


Do we share any ancestors?
Please email me at lostancestors [at] gmail [dot] com

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

A is for ... ADOPTION!

Special thanks to Alona at Gould Genealogy for coming up with the Family History Through the Alphabet challenge!  I'm really having to play catch-up with this challenge, as I just started and I'm already about 6 weeks behind :)

A is for ADOPTION!

My maternal grandfather was born on 29 September 1924. I'm not certain about the next several days, but what I can gather from the documents that I do have, it sounds like he was abandoned at the hospital. On 8 October 1924, the Department of Public Welfare delivered him to the Foundling Hospital in New York City. The record of commitment gave his name as Joseph Smith. He was baptized in the Roman Catholic faith at the Foundling Hospital.

In an affidavit dated 13 November 1928, Sister Xavier Maria of the Foundling Hospital stated that no parents or relatives have made any inquiry about Joseph, nor had anyone made any provision for his support or maintenance. The affidavit goes on to state that on 15 May 1928, Joseph Smith was placed with the petitioners (Walter W. Gallagher and Ruth L. Gallagher). They were considered "persons of good moral and religious training and habits, and financially able to care for, support and educate properly" young Joseph.

The same day in November 1928, Walter and Ruth Gallagher filed their petition to adopt Joseph Smith. They lived at 132 48th Street, Union City, New Jersey. Walter was the manager of a restaurant and earned $75 per week.

This is the part that breaks my heart: "petitioners have no knowledge or information as to whether the father or mother of said infant, or either of them is alive, or if alive, their or either of their post office addresses, and have no means of ascertaining such facts ..."  If the Foundling Hospital had knowledge of the identity or whereabouts of the biological parents, they would have to say, right?

The Order of Adoption was entered in the Surrogates Court for New York County on 4 December 1928, and Joseph Smith was forever after known as John Joseph Gallagher. An order sealing the records was entered on the same day.

For years I have tried (and my grandfather tried for years before that) to unseal the adoption records in an effort to determine who my grandfather's biological parents are. Unfortunately, given the information above, I'm afraid that even if I was given carte blanche access to all the adoption records in the state of New York, I would never find the names of his parents.

It is my intent to try to find a back door into his lineage by having my uncle (grampa's only remaining male child) take a Y-DNA test and an autosomal DNA test, and have my grandmother take the autosomal DNA test to eliminate her DNA from my uncle's DNA. This (theoretically) should leave my grampa's full DNA profile, right? From there, I should be able to determine if he has any biological relatives out there. Someone please tell me if this sort of "process of elimination" is possible, or am I just dreaming?

Do we share any ancestors? Please email me at lostancestors [at] gmail [dot] com

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Back In The Saddle Again ...

I'm not sure anyone has really noticed, but it's been a while since my blog has seen any activity.  A little over three weeks, to be exact.

It all started with a vacation that turned into an unexpected (but sorely-needed) sabbatical.  I returned on Memorial Day and didn't even plug my computer back in until yesterday.  Of course, I was still able to access my email and facebook from my phone, so I wasn't officially "off the grid."  By the same token, I also wasn't sitting in front of my computer for hours every day.  It was very liberating!

Now I'm getting back into the swing.  I've tried to catch up on my blog reading, and ran across the Family History Through the Alphabet challenge ... which I plan on hope to be able to tackle (and catch up to) in the next few days.

This weekend is pretty much monopolized by the live webcasts from SCGS Jamboree, and I'm getting some good ideas about ways to find new stuff about my ancestors.  I hope these will eventually turn into some pretty decent blog posts.

Until next time ... yee haw!

Do we share any ancestors?
Please email me at lostancestors [at] gmail [dot] com