John Charles Slowey – Wisconsin to South Dakota – Part 7

I think we left off with a letter going to the Register’s office for John Charles’ birth certificate, and having discovered a completely different birth date – roughly a year prior to what was contained on all his other records.  While waiting for the Register’s office to respond, and since it’s Halloween, I thought I’d try to find out where he is buried.  Cemetery searches … doesn’t get more spooky than that, right?

His death certificate says he is buried in Catholic Cemetery in Mayfield, South Dakota.  I started with a search at one of my favorite FREE sites: Find-A-Grave.  They had a total of 2 Sloweys for Yankton County, South Dakota … and those were two that I added myself not too long ago.

I headed over to South Dakota Gravestone Photos and did a general search for “Slowey” in Yankton County.  Wow!  There are a LOT of Sloweys buried in Yankton, South Dakota!  Sadly, not any of the ones listed are my great great grandfather.  Keep in mind, this is only a list of the graves that have had photos taken, not a complete listing of all the graves in all the cemeteries.

While I was revisiting some of my saved websites, I ran across a listing at South Dakota State Historical Society that I had not noticed before.  They keep cemetery records.  It can’t hurt to search, right?  So I searched for all the Sloweys in Yankton County.  What returned is a list of 23 individuals buried in three different cemeteries:

There he is, buried at … Mayfield Catholic Cemetery in Irene, South Dakota … not Mayfield, South Dakota.  There are his parents, too, Patrick and Catherine.

So, I headed back over to Find-A-Grave and did a cemetery lookup for Mayfield Catholic Cemetery.  It had one individual listed.  One.  So, I went ahead and added John Charles Slowey to the record. 

Once he was added (and this is the best part about this site), I went to his listing and clicked on the button that says “Request a Photo.”  Now, someone who lives up there near the cemetery can swing by when they have a few minutes to spare and take a photo of the grave marker and upload it to the site.  I will get a notification by email that my photo request has been successfully fulfilled, and then I can click on the link to view the photo.  Hopefully, it will only take a few days or so.  I will also put in requests for Patrick and Catherine’s graves.

Speaking of Find-A-Grave, I strongly encourage you to check it out.  It’s a great service that is completely volunteer driven.  Every once in a while, you can find me traipsing around a few of the Chattanooga cemeteries and snapping photos.  You don’t have to have a request to get the photos, either.  If I see an interesting grave marker, I’ll use my Find-A-Grave Droid App (beta), which I downloaded for free from the Android Market, to make sure there isn’t already a photo on the site.  If there isn’t, I’ll snap a photo and upload it to the site when I get home.  (I rarely use my camera phone to take cemetery photos).  Check it out, become a volunteer.

Next time, the hunt for an obituary.  Happy Halloween!

© copyright 2012 – All rights reserved

Are My Roots Showing?

FamilySearch Indexing

All you folks out there who are interested in getting started on your family history, are already working on your family history, or are just interested in history in general … this is for you!

FamilySearch (a service provided by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints) needs volunteers to help index millions of rolls of microfilm from over 100 countries so they can be posted at for free searches.  If you are interested in volunteering for this worthy cause, head over to and sign up.  It’s super easy to get started, and they even provide training and have folks on hand to answer questions if you get stuck.

There’s a community of indexers online and they have a chat on Skype ( that you can join, and there are indexing message boards at

I encourage you to volunteer.  Aside from just being plain interesting, the more volunteers we have, the faster we can get these records indexed and out for searching.  You never know … it might even help YOU break down a brick wall!

© copyright 2012 – All rights reserved

Are My Roots Showing?

Mystery Photos

This photo was discovered in the box of photos Mary Jane’s mom gave her.  The only thing inscribed on this photo is “Yankton, South Dakota.”  Does anyone recognize these children?

The only clue given for this one is the name “Slowey.”  Any ideas?

It’s short and sweet today.  I’ll be working for the next week on writing a Bill to be presented at the Tennessee Intercollegiate Student Legislature (TISL), and an appellate brief for the Appellate Moot Court Collegiate Challenge (AMC3) in Nashville in November.  In case I don’t have time to post anything new in the next week, happy hunting!

© copyright 2012 – All rights reserved

Are My Roots Showing?

John Charles Slowey – Wisconsin to South Dakota – Part 6

Well, I think I may have figured out why I’m having such a hard time finding records for John’s birth.  You remember back in the beginning, I used math (I think I may have even called it “simple”) to calculate John’s birth date from his death certificate?  The information on the death certificate was wrong!  This just reinforces two things I already knew: (1) I really shouldn’t do math; and (2) Don’t take every document at face value (in other words, confirm, confirm, confirm!)

I headed over to the Looking 4 Kin ( website and hopped into the chat room.  I had never been in the chat room there, and thought I would just check it out.  Everyone there was so nice!  I told them about John and what a problem I was having finding him in Wisconsin.  Two very nice people, sonofedd and Spivey, actually did a couple of searches and found him on the 1860 federal census!  His name was indexed as “Sloway” on Ancestry and as “Slowny” on HeritageQuest.

So because the census shows that John was 3/12 years old in July 1860, we know that he was probably born in April 1860.  I’m not sure this information will help me find a birth certificate any easier, but at least with more accurate information and some alternate spellings of Slowey, I might be able to repeat some old searches and uncover something else!

© copyright 2012 – All rights reserved

Are My Roots Showing?

Treasures from the Attic (well, basement)

I feel like I’ve been touched by an angel.  Her name is Mary Jane and she is a cousin of mine I never even knew I had.  My first cousin, twice removed, to be exact.  I saw a post she made on the message boards on for the Slowey surname.  I read her post and thought, “those are MY Sloweys!”  I then looked at the date on the post.  Wow … 2001.  A lot of time has passed … what are the odds she’s even still looking?  I thought, “what the heck,” and sent her a message anyway.

You can imagine my surprise when I received an email from her … the very next day!  John Charles Slowey is her great grandfather.  We decided that we would share information and see if we could make any progress on our little family.  It turns out she had a box of her mother’s photos and some other papers in her basement for years and just never went through them.  It was indeed a treasure trove!  Just look:

According to the inscription on the back, this is (from left to right):  Mary Christopher, Theresa Burns, and John Charles Slowey.  This photo was taken in 1928, about 3 weeks before John died.

Inscription on photo says John & Theresa Slowey with Katherine and Peter.  This photo had to have been taken sometime between 1888 and 1891.

This photo is of John Charles Slowey’s brother, Patrick Edward Slowey, II.

The inscription says that this is a photo of (left to right) Ellen Slowey Murray (1867-1945), Patrick Slowey (1866-1942), Pete Slowey (1870-1950), and Kate Slowey Cunningham.  These are four of John Charles Slowey’s brothers and sisters.

I’ve never understood why no one ever smiled for photos back in the day.  Whatever, I’m just so glad that we are able to put faces with names now!  She sent me some other photos, but I will have to post them separately (apparently, there is such a thing as too much blog!)

If anyone in Helena, Montana is reading my blog and you run into Mary Jane, give her a big ol’ hug for me!

© copyright 2012 – All rights reserved

Are My Roots Showing?