Wednesday, August 22, 2012

... In Which I Do the Genealogy Happy-Dance!

I was so busy doing the happy dance, I almost forgot to provide an update on my post (here) about the genea-angels at the Douglas County Historical Society in Armour, South Dakota!

When I sent my letter to the Douglas County Historical Society requesting information on the Armour House hotel, of which my 2nd great grandparents were proprietors, I fully expected the same response I had always gotten, which was "no."

To my surprise, I received a response rather quickly, and it wasn't "no!"  (Okay, I was kind of doing a little happy dance at this point).  The Society did, indeed, have a couple of photos of the interior of the hotel, and it was believed that my 2nd great grandfather was in one of the photos.

To say I was excited might be the understatement of ... well, ever!

I came home from work last Monday and there was a large envelope from the Society in my mailbox.  It was all I could do to walk ALL the way back to the house (about 50 feet) before I opened it! 

The first picture I saw was of the dining room of the hotel:
The next photo was of the lobby:
Now, before I go any further, I would like to point out that this was the photo said to show my 2nd great grandfather.  However, they said it was the gentleman behind the desk in his shirt sleeves.  I think they're wrong.  I believe the gentleman standing between the desk and the stove is Zenophile Lanctot (mainly because the other man is too thin to be him).  Here's his photo - you be the judge (just imagine him with a mustache):
Incidentally, after I scanned it, I enlarged the lobby photo enough to be able to tell that the calendar on the wall behind the desk was showing the month of November and the first day of the month fell on a Sunday.  I consulted my handy-dandy perpetual calendar and discovered that November 1 occurred on a Sunday only in 1908 and 1914.  Zenophile died in 1913, so the photo must have been taken in November 1908.  (Of course, this hinges directly on the hope that my inability to remember to change the calendar on the wall was not an inherited trait).

The final photo is of the kitchen area:
This photo was the one that caused me to do the happy dance ... like, for real.  The woman standing at the stove with her hand on the skillet?  That is, without a doubt, my 2nd great grandmother, Eliza Bourke Lanctot!  No one ever mentioned that she might have been in these photos!  Here she is (and you can see why I'm so sure that's her):
In addition to the three photos, I also received a photograph of the couple's grave marker and a copy of the deed to the two lots upon which the hotel was situated (I'm saving that for a later post).

Now I just have to try to identify all the other people in the photos.  Maybe they are their children and/or siblings!  I can't wait!!

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


Debi Austen said...

What a great discovery - I'm doing the happy dance right along with you!

Jenny Lanctot said...

Thanks Debi! (I'm just glad no one was taking video that day ... seriously).

Anonymous said...

Congratulations on your awesome find! I can understand how excited you must be!

Jenny Lanctot said...

Thanks Karen! It is very exciting. I'll be even happier when (and if) I identify all the other people :)

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