Longevity – Week 3

This is week #3 of Amy Johnson Crow’s “52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks” blog prompt series.

This #52Ancestors topic was a difficult one for me.  At first, I thought of the obvious: Who lived the longest?  And while that does address the topic, it’s not exactly “stop-the-presses” material.  But when I thought about my own research, I realized the answer to that question is the also the same person who was married the longest, and has lived in the same home for the longest period of time.  And that is truly something.

Longevity – Life

My paternal grandmother just turned 95 years old a few months ago.  Born in Yankton, South Dakota in 1922, she has seen a lot of life.  She experienced historic events from the Dust Bowl, the Great Depression, and World War II to more recent events like the moon landing, the Kennedy Assassination, and 9/11.  She saw the the Berlin wall go up … and subsequently come down.

Longevity – Marriage

My grandparents were married in 1944, while Grampa was in the service.  When my grandfather passed away in 2011 they had been married 67 years.  During that time they saw the birth of 5 children, 12 grandchildren, and 12 great grandchildren (another one was just born a few months ago!).   They saw sickness and health, good times and bad times, and throughout it all I am certain that they were just as in love at the end as they were in the beginning.

Longevity – Residence

Several years after my grandparents married and my grandfather was discharged from the service, they moved with 4 of their children to Oregon and bought a home.  The house had been vacant for about a year and they paid $8,000 for it (the equivalent of around $75,000 today).  When they moved in, the only furnishings they had were two dressers left behind from the previous owners and the beds they brought with them. They had to hook up the neighbor’s hose in order to have some running water (and then everything started leaking).  Fortunately, my grandfather was a contractor with carpentry and masonry skills, so he was able to fix pretty much anything.  My grandmother still lives in that home, 64 years later.

Here’s to hoping that stick-to-it-iveness is an inherited trait!

Favorite Photo – Week 2

This is week #2 of Amy Johnson Crow’s “52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks” blog prompt series.

I may have used this photo in a blog post before, but I can’t help it.  As soon as I read this week’s prompt, this photo immediately popped into my head.  It is a photo of my paternal grandparents, Ed Lanctot and Maxine Slowey, when they were dancing at a picnic with some of Grampa’s friends from the service.  I just love how happy and  in love they look in this photo!

I think this photo was taken after they were married, and may have been when they passed through Yankton on their way to Ft. Snelling in Minnesota from Ft. Sill in Oklahoma around 1945.  Grampa was discharged from the service shortly after arriving at Ft. Snelling.  He served three years in the Southwest Pacific (northern Australia, New Guinea, and the Philippines).

Ancestor Spotlight: Edward John Lanctot (1921-2011)

ed-lanctot-as-a-childI don’t have many memories of my grandfather, as we moved across the country when I was only 5 years old, so I mostly remember my grandfather as an adult, and – I’ll regret it for the rest of my life – I didn’t see him as often as I should have. In the few memories I do have, I remember him being one of the kindest, loving, no-nonsense people I’ve ever known.  He loved to play baseball.He was a master carpenter, and (fortunately) I have a couple of pieces that he made: a knick-knack shelf and a side table.  These were made before I was even born (and that was a while ago), so there’s some quality craftsmanship for you.

In my quest to “Do-Over” my genealogy research, I’m putting together timelines to help me see what I have and (more importantly) what I’m missing.  Here’s what I’ve got so far:

30 Jul 1921Edward John Lanctot is born in Casper, Natrona, WyomingBirth certificate
1925Lived in Yankton, Yankton, South Dakota1925 SD state Census
1930Lived at 500 E. 8th Street, Yankton, South Dakota1930 U.S. Census
abt 1934Attended Sacred Heart Catholic School in Yankton, South DakotaOral interview with Maxine (Slowey) Lanctot
1935Lived in Yankton, South Dakota1935 SD state census
1940Lived at 705 Pine Street, Yankton, South Dakota1940 U.S. Census
1940Enlisted in the South Dakota National Guard, 147th Field Artillery, Battery E and are mobilized to Fort Ord for trainingNewspaper clippings from scrapbooks
29 Jan 1941U.S. Army Motor Vehicle Operator's Permit No. 2074813 issued to PFC E.J. LanctotCopy of original permit
Jul 1944Resides at Ft. McDowell, Camp Reynolds, Angel Island, San Francisco, CaliforniaOral interview with Maxine (Slowey) Lanctot
14 Aug 1944Edward John Lanctot and Clare Maxine Slowey are married at Sacred Heart Church in Yankton, South DakotaMarriage certificate; marriage notice
Sep 1944Lived in Little Rock, ArkansasOral interview with Maxine (Slowey) Lanctot
Mar 1945Granted emergency furlough from Camp Blanding, Florida due to death of Maxine's little brother Newspaper clipping
1950Re-enlisted with the South Dakota National Guard to serve in the Korean War*
1953-2011Purchased house in Portland, OregonOral interview with Maxine (Slowey) Lanctot
1973-1976Industrial Education teacher at Benjamin Franklin High School, Portland, OregonBenjamin Franklin H.S. Yearbook
8 Jul 2011Edward John Lanctot dies in Portland, OregonObituary; personal knowledge
13 Jul 2011Burial in Willamette National Cemetery in Portland, OregonPersonal knowledge

ed-lanctot-at-workThere are a lot of gaps in my timeline (obviously).  These are blanks I’ll need to fill in my talking to family and finding documentation.  I know that after he was discharged from the National Guard following World War II in 1945, he re-enlisted with the National Guard in 1950 to participate in the Korean War.  I have attempted to get a copy of his service record from the National portland-2011-022-800x711Personnel Records Center (NPRC), but was told that it had been destroyed by the fire in 1973, making it one of the “B” files.  Fortunately, NARA is working on cleaning and preserving the damaged records, and I can only hope that one day soon my request can finally be fulfilled.
In the meantime, I will continue to add things to my master to-do list, including following up with NARA for those records.


Genealogy Snapshot

Name: Edward John Lanctot
Parents: Louis Phelisa Lanctot and Mary Alice Schneider
Spouse: Maxine Slowey
Surnames: Lanctot, Schneider
Relationship to Jenny: Maternal Grandfather

  1. Edward John Lanctot
  2. Jenny’s dad
  3. Jenny


Ask an Ancestor …

Image by Alan Cleaver (shared under creative commons license)
Image by Alan Cleaver (shared under Creative Commons license)

When I read that today is Pretend to be a Time Traveler Day, I thought, “hmm … if I could travel back in time, what would I do?”  Well, duh.  I would ask my ancestors for some freakin’ answers, that’s what!

The first ancestor I would accost question would be my 3rd great grandmother, Eliza (or Elise or Sophie) Bourke.  I would want to know exactly where she was born, why I can’t find her family on the 1860 census, and what the heck her actual name is.

Then I would sidle up to my 3rd great grandfather, Zenophile Lanctot (husband of the elusive Eliza Bourke) and ask him why he kept [allegedly] bouncing back and forth between the U.S. and Canada, did he really come to the U.S. when he was only 16, and whether he was ever actually naturalized (and if so, where??)

And since we’re traveling back in time, I would go to September 29, 1924 Manhattan and skulk around in the shadows of the hospital until I found my grandfather’s (John Joseph Gallagher) birth parents.  Then – after discovering their identities – I would ask them why they abandoned him, whether they had any other children, and whether they ever attempted to find him later.

If you could travel back in time, who would you find and what would you ask them?


Happy Anniversary, Pierre and Sophie!

On this day in 1851, my 3rd great grandfather Pierre Lanctot married Sophie Longtin in Quebec.  They would go on to have 8 children (one of whom is my 2nd great grandfather Joseph Zenophile Lanctot) and live happily ever after, or at least until Pierre’s death in 1898.

Pierre Lanctot and Sophie Longtin - marriage record
Gabriel Drouin comp., “Quebec, Vital and Church Records (Drouin Collection), 1621-1967,” digital images, Ancestry.com (www.ancestry.com : downloaded 7 June 2013), entry for Pierre Lanctot and Sophie Longtin (18 Nov 1851), p. 24; Institut Généalogique Drouin, Montreal, Quebec, Canada.

Unfortunately, I have been unable to transcribe this document due to the poor quality (and the fact that some of the words are hidden by the margin), and therefore have also been unable to translate it.  Also, I don’t speak French.  Any takers?

In any case, here’s a big thank you to Pierre and Sophie.  Without you, I wouldn’t be here.