Friday, July 27, 2012

H is for ... HEROES!

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

H is for ... HEROES!

My family tree is chock full of men who served in the military or law enforcement (or both).  Here are the ones I have confirmed, in reverse chronological order.

First, is my dad, Jon Lanctot.  He served in the U.S. Army during Vietnam.  My grandmother told me a story about when I was just a couple of months old.  I was very sick with something called pyloric stenosis and needed surgery immediately.  My doctor was Dr. Todd, who had been the family's doctor for a very long time.  My dad had orders to be deployed overseas a few days later.  He called my dad's commanding officer and asked him to delay the orders.  The CO refused.  Dr. Todd mentioned that he thought my dad was looking like he might be getting pretty sick too, and might need to be hospitalized for several weeks, possibly even months.  The orders were delayed.
John J. Gallagher

Next is my maternal grandfather, John Gallagher.  He served in the U.S. Army Air Corps, I think in the mid- to late 1940s.  I'm not exactly sure what he did, but I'm positive that he did it very well.

He was also a police officer in Ridgefield, New Jersey for many years, and then worked as a food stamp fraud investigator for the Adjutant General's office at the Department of Agriculture.
Ed Lanctot

Next is my paternal grandfather, Ed Lanctot.  He served in the 147th Field Artillery Battalion of the South Dakota Army National Guard during WWII.  I posted about him previously here.

James Lanctot & Co.
Next, my paternal grand uncle, James Lanctot, served in the same unit as his brother Ed (above) during WWII.  Yep, that's him ... 2nd from the left. 

My paternal granduncle, Vernon G. "Bud" Slowey served with James and Ed Lanctot in the 147th of the South Dakota National Guard.

My maternal granduncle, Harold Crowe Jr., was a Sergeant in the U.S. Army Air Corps during World War II. He enlisted at Ft. Benjamin Harrison in Indiana on October 31, 1942.
Charles W. Crowe

Another maternal granduncle, Charles William Crowe, joined the U.S. Navy in 1944 at the age of 17. He retired in 1971 as a Commander. He was an aircraft carrier pilot on the USS Midway.

In 1917, my maternal great grandfather, Harold John Crowe, enlisted in the Indiana Army National Guard and served during WWI. 

My maternal great granduncle, Eugene L. "Tex" Stiker, enlisted in the Indiana Army National Guard in 1922.

To all of these men ... and all the ones for whom I haven't confirmed military or law enforcement service ... Hats off to you!  Heroes all!

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

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

G is for ... GENEABUDDY!

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

G is for ... GENEABUDDY!

That's right.  My geneabuddy is as much a part of my family history as any of my ancestors.  I don't know about anyone else, but I can't spell "family history" without L-A-U-R-A.  Several of my previous blog posts go on and on (and on and on and on, I'm sure) about how awesome my Geneabuddy is.  I know for a fact that my research would not have progressed as much as it has (or been as fun to do) without my Geneabuddy, Laura.  Her blog can be found here.

We call it our "Success Team."  We meet by telephone every Saturday morning and go over how we did on our goals for the previous week, and set our goals for the following week.  There have been times when one of us has had to play the reality card for the other, which resulted in an adjustment to the list of goals for the week.  There have even been times when one or the other of us is just burned out (or, in my case, lazy) about the whole thing, and the other just has to play the butt-kicking card.  It's all about keeping it real.

One of the best things about having a Geneabuddy is that you have someone with whom you can share your frustrations and your victories (without the constant eye-rolling and feigned interest that usually follows any mention of genealogy around friends and family members)!

It's good to have someone in your life who can help keep you focused, keep you grounded, and - most of all - keep it fun!

If you'd like to know more, my prior posts about Success Team can be found here.

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

Friday, July 20, 2012

Where Were You 43 Years Ago Today?

Courtesy:  NASA

Today (well, tonight ... around 10:50 p.m. Eastern) marks the 43rd anniversary of Apollo 11's historic "small step, giant leap," successfully fulfilling a promise made to the American people by President John F. Kennedy in 1961 that America would land a man on the moon and safely return him to Earth. Sadly, Kennedy would not live to see his dream fulfilled.

On July 20, 1969, Apollo 11 Commander Neil Armstrong and Lunar Module (LEM) Pilot Buzz Aldrin landed the LEM (code name: Eagle - now you know where "The Eagle has landed" came from!) in the Sea of Tranquility.  The event was televised live and viewed by millions of people all around the world.

About six hours later, they donned their pressure suits and exited the safety of the LEM and took the first human steps on the moon. It was at this point that Neil Armstrong uttered those ever-famous words: "One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind."
Courtesy: Wikipedia

They wandered around out there for a couple of hours before returning to the LEM, but not before planting an American flag on the lunar surface, which was subsequently knocked over by the exhaust of the ascent stage of the LEM. (You'd think that, as engineers, they would have had the forethought to plant that flag a little more than 25 feet away from the LEM. Subsequent missions placed the flag at least 100 feet away). They left behind some scientific equipment to collect data and some other memorabilia - including an Apollo 1 mission patch and a plaque on the LEM ladder - to let future visitors know that they came in peace. All told, the astronauts spent a total of about 21 hours on the surface of the moon, but most of that time was spent indoors on the LEM.

During the time Armstrong and Aldrin were on the lunar surface, Command Module Pilot Michael Collins was all alone in Columbia, the CM, patiently orbiting the moon and keeping an eye on things. The Eagle safely rendezvoused with the CM and the men splashed down in the Pacific four days later.

Now, I will admit that I was alive before man landed on the moon ... but BARELY. I was only 7 months old at the time. I can't remember exactly how I got hooked, but space travel has absolutely fascinated me for a long time.

Want to know more?

Check out "From the Earth to the Moon," a miniseries initially aired on HBO in the late 1990s in which Ron Howard, Brian Grazer, and Tom Hanks (same guys that brought you Apollo 13) chronicled the entire Apollo program.

If you have the chance, visit the Smithsonian's National Air & Space Museum in Washington, D.C. and the Udvar-Hazy Center near Dulles Airport in Virginia. You won't be disappointed.

Want a good space movie?  The Right Stuff (chronicling the Mercury program - oh, and Chuck Yeager's supersonic trip in the Bell X-1), and Apollo 13 (undoubtedly one of the best space movies of all time). I'm not sure if you can still get either of these on DVD, but if you find them, KEEP THEM!

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

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Ancestor Spotlight: Eugene F. Stiker

Eugene F. Stiker

Eugene F. Stiker is my 2nd great grandfather. He is the third of six children born to Gustav Justin and Louisa (Canet) Stiker, born 19 May 1869.

Eugene's parents were both born in France and immigrated to the United States around 1838. This makes him my first American-born ancestor in this family line. He lived his entire life in Indiana, born and raised in Evansville (Vanderburgh County) and eventually settling 20 miles away in Mt. Vernon (Posey County) around 1900.

Eugene married Jeanette Heerdink on 20 Jun 1894 in Vanderburgh County.  The couple had seven children over the next 12 years: Justin, Frank, Vera, Lucile Frances (my great-grandmother), Lillian, Eugene L. "Tex," and Raymond.

Eugene worked for the Evansville & Terre Haute Railroad from approximately 1885 (around age 16) until at least 1930, according to census records. His first job with the railroad was as a "laborer." At some point he was promoted to "fireman," and then eventually to "engineer" in 1892. During the 45 years that he was employed by the railroad, it changed hands a few times, finally being known as the Chicago & Eastern Illinois Railroad by 1930.

He died at the age of 66 on 15 Nov 1935 in Evansville, Indiana and is buried at St. Joseph Catholic Cemetery.

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

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

F is for ... FARMERS!

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

F is for ... FARMERS!

Seriously.  Who doesn't have farmers in their family tree?  Of course, when you think about it, they really didn't have a need for a "customer service representative" or even a "paralegal" back in the day.  Unless you lived in the city, you were most likely a farmer.

Out of 3 sets of great-grandparents and 6 sets of great-great-grandparents, two-thirds of them were farmers.  (I am missing an entire branch of my tree because my maternal grandfather was adopted and I haven't found his biological family yet - but his adopted family were definitely not farmers).

That's right, 6 out of 9 direct ancestors were farmers.  A few had grain farms, but most are just listed as general farms.  They were all in South Dakota.  One of them was a farmer in Quebec, Canada before he wandered south and ... wait for it ... had a farm.

My great-grandfather, Thomas Patrick Slowey, was a farmer until sometime between 1940 and 1945, when he went to work in some sort of alcohol plant.  He was in his mid to late 40s at the time, so he older than the maximum age to be drafted for the war.  I'm guessing that he was working to assist the war effort.  If anyone knows anything about these types of plants, I would be very interested in learning more about them.

Oh ... the three who weren't farmers?  They are all on my maternal grandmother's branch.  They lived in Indiana.  One worked for the railroad; the other two were machinists in a garage.

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

Monday, July 02, 2012

Motivation Monday - 6th Month Goal Update

Well ... completely skipped May's progress.  Probably just as well.  I pretty much fell off the wagon for a few weeks in May.  So ... on to June!

1. Obtain the addresses, birth dates, and anniversary dates for all of my first cousins on both sides of my family … and names and birth dates of spouses and children. Oh and all my half siblings’ spouses and kids too.
Yep, still working on this one, but making progress.  I have a lot of cousins.

2. Attend at least five (5) Scanfests (or equivalent) this year - and actually scan stuff.
Well, I managed to attend the Scanfest for April.  There was no Scanfest for May, so that one's not my fault :)  Napped right through June's.  (Gimme a break, it was a rough day). 

3. Scan and label at least 15 photos and/or negatives each week, or until they are done, whichever happens first.
This goal is complete.

4. Attend at least two (2) genealogy conferences.
I already registered and made my hotel reservations for FGS in Birmingham in August.  I'm also planning on attending the Family History Expo in Atlanta in November.

5. Give at least two (2) presentations to my genealogical society.
Still trying to decide on my second topic, but it looks like I will be presenting in October.

6. Index at least 200 records per month at FamilySearch Indexing.
May was slow, and I think I only indexed about 80 records.  However, June was better.  I got about 120 in.

7. Add at least five (5) individual ancestor stories to my website.
Added one ancestor in May: Theresa Burns Slowey.  Didn't finish the one for June, so I'll post that one this month.  That makes 3 so far.

8. Blog at least twice per week.
Only 3 for May, but 7 for June.  10 total, still not too shabby.  

9. Finish reading Greenwood's "The Researcher's Guide to American Genealogy."
I read and attended the book club for Chapters 19 and 20 last week.  I've started reading Chapters 21 and 22.

10. Add at least three (3) website links per week to my online toolbox.
I've actually been doing pretty well at keeping this folder cleaned out.  I've added several new websites to my toolbox.

In the words of Scarlett O'Hara, "Tomorrow is another day."  Right?

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

Sunday, July 01, 2012

Are You Getting Any? Blog Comments, that is.

These are the top three reasons why I don't go out of my way to leave comments on blog posts:

1. Your full post doesn't appear in my blog reader.

Google Reader. It's a great time-saving application. It also allows me to catch up on my blog reading while I'm at work without having some fancy blog background splashed across my monitor.

I'm running across more and more blogs that don't allow full blog posts to appear in readers. I get frustrated because some of those posts seem like they would be interesting. There are days when I don't have time to read the first 4 sentences of your blog post, click on the link to your actual blog, and finish reading. And then there are days when I simply don't want to.

I get that there are folks out there who have ads on their blogs and want the traffic to increase their income, so they want you to click through to their content. Here's the thing: the ads show up in the reader too! If you don't have ads on your blog, you have absolutely no reason not to allow your full post to appear in the reader.

2. Your blog takes too long to load.

Let's say you have a bunch of sparkly graphics, fun little cursor images, and other background content on your blog that causes it to take 5 minutes to load. By the time I am able to actually SEE your content, I'm already tired of waiting and probably have already closed my browser window.

3. Your blog is hard to read without the reader.

Some blogs are easier to read in Google Reader simply because the design of the blog itself makes reading difficult. This could be because the font is too small, or the background is too dark (or light) for the color of the text, etc. Despite popular belief, white text in all caps on a black background is NOT easy to read. Also, if I have to highlight all the text on your blog just to be able to see it, it's not likely that I will revisit your blog. Ever.

You want to know if your content is easy to read? Ask someone over the age of 50 to look at it. Trust me. They'll tell you.

And don't even get me started on that bit about having music automatically playing in the background ...

I get that it's YOUR blog and you want it to be pleasing to you. However, most people are putting their information out there in a blog because they want people to read it. If that's not the case for you, then rock on ... keep doing what you're doing. If you DO, in fact, want people to read and comment on your posts (and possibly click through to see your ads), then make it easier for them to do so. You have to ask yourself: Is it about getting traffic to your site, or is it about getting potential cousins to read your blog?

Okay, I'm getting off my soapbox now.

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