Wednesday, July 01, 2015

Happy Canada Day!

Happy Birthday, Canada!

Wherever you are in Canada and around the world, I hope my Canadian friends and readers have a safe and happy July 1st! Joyeuse fête du Canada, tout le monde!

If you have a spare moment during Canada’s 148th birthday celebration, head on over to How Canadian are You, eh? and test your knowledge of Canadian history with a short, multiple choice quiz. I tried it a couple of days ago and got 90%. (I shouldn’t have hesitated on two questions – lol.)

Image credit: This reproduction is a copy of the version available at

Copyright © 2015, Yvonne Demoskoff.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

My Grade 8 Graduation

Yvonne Belair
At the doors of the church before Mass

It was a hot summer’s day (the temperature reached a high of 30C) when I graduated from Grade 8 on 28 June 1972 – 37 years ago today.

I had spent the last two years of elementary school (grades 7 and 8) at St-Gérard in my hometown of Timmins, Ontario. Since the school was located within the parish of Notre-Dame-du-Perpétuel-Secours, the ceremony took place at this church.

I didn’t keep an invitation or a program as souvenirs, but from other photos, I know that the graduation class and our guests first attended Mass. We then went downstairs to the church hall, where I think a buffet was served. The diplomas and awards portion followed, and our evening ended with a student dance.

Yvonne Belair
Receiving our diplomas.
I'm second from the right, beside my friend Carole Arsenault.

I really looked forward to my graduation and the planning that went into it. It was a special occasion and Mom splashed out on new dress for me. It was better than a store-bought dress, though, because mine was made by my Aunt Joan, my godmother, who’s a great seamstress. I can still see myself at the fabric store looking through patterns trying to decide which one to choose, but I can’t remember if Mom or Aunt Joan was with me. I also chose the light cotton fabric in a beautiful lemon yellow floral pattern. The lined dress was gently gathered at the waist and featured a scooped neckline, short, flared sleeves, and a long yellow satiny bow. I loved my grad dress and kept it all these years. It’s in as good condition as the day I wore it.

That afternoon, I had my hair done in town by Mom’s hairdresser. I usually wore my shoulder-length hair loose or in ponytails, but for my grad, my hair was styled tightly in a bun with curls framing my face. I also remember that the hairdresser used so much hairspray that it took me days to comb out my hair.

My teachers and I

In the above picture, I’m standing with my teachers. I remember them all, except for Madame Bourget. (I wonder if she was from the school board?) From left to right are Madame Lina Bourget, Madame Gail Lafleur, myself, Madame Lorraine Bergeron, Mademoiselle Joanne Duciaume, and Madame Mariette Julien. Monsieur Claude Belanger is at the back.

Besides my dress and photos, I have three other souvenirs of my graduation: my final report card (Bulletin d’appréciation du progrès réalisé), signed by my main teacher (Madame Bergeron) and the school principal (Soeur Hectorine Dupuis, s.a.s.v.), my diploma (Certificat de promotion), and my certificate of excellence (mention d’excellence) in History.

Copyright © 2015, Yvonne Demoskoff.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Friday’s Faces from the Past: William Demoskoff and the Columbia River

William Demoskoff and Walter Barisoff on Kettle Falls bridge in Washington state

This picture is from my late father-in-law William (Bill) Demoskoff’s photo collection that he gave to me and his son Michael a few years go. It shows Pop with his friend Walter Barisoff posing on a bridge.

Bill wrote on the back of the photo:

William Demoskoff
Walter Barisoff
on Columbia
river bridge

Pop identified the ‘who’ and (some of) the ‘where’, but not the ‘why’ or the ‘when’. He moved to British Columbia from Saskatchewan to work in the Okanagan orchards in the mid-1940s, so the picture was presumably taken around that time.

As to which bridge on the Columbia River, it appears that it was the Kettle Falls Bridge in Washington State, USA, based on two factors: online images of that bridge [1] and a border manifest on which Pop, Walter and Ida (Walter’s wife) travelled by car into Washington at Danville (south of Grand Forks, British Columbia) on a day-trip in September 1944. [2]


1. “Historic American Buildings Survey, Engineering Record, Landscapes Survey”, database and images, Library of Congress ( : accessed 25 June 2015), “Columbia River Bridge at Kettle Falls, U.S. Route 395 spanning Columbia River, Kettle Falls, Stevens County, WA”.

2. “U.S., Border Crossings from Canada to U.S., 1895-1956”, database and images, ( : accessed 5 June 2011), entry for William W Demowskoff [sic], 25 September 1944, Danville, Washington, USA; citing National Archives and Records Administration; Washington, D.C.; Manifests of Alien and Selected U.S. Citizen Arrivals at Anacortes, Danville, Ferry, Laurier, Lynden, Marcus, Metaline Falls, Northport, Oroville, Port Angeles, and Sumas, Washington, May 1917-Novembe [sic]; National Archives Microfilm Publication: A3403; Records of the Immigration and Naturalization Service.

Copyright © 2015, Yvonne Demoskoff.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

52 Ancestors 2015: #25 Little House on the (Canadian) Prairie

I’m participating in “52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks: 2015 Edition” by Amy Johnson Crow of No Story Too Small.

For the 25th week of this challenge, I used the optional weekly theme (The Old Homestead) and chose to write about the prairie home of my parents-in-law Bill and Ann Demoskoff.

Demoskoff family home near Pelly Saskatchewan
Demoskoff family home in late 1952

Bill and Ann lived in the central Canadian province of Saskatchewan. Their house wasn’t an ‘old homestead’, but it was their first home as a married couple. Since the house was purpose-built, I decided to record my husband’s childhood memories and conversations we had with his late father about their Prairie family home.

Before he married, my father-in-law Bill owned some property (two quarter sections, each 160 acres) about ten miles north of Pelly, located in Saskatchewan’s Aspen Parkland region. Since neither land had a house, Bill lived about half a mile away to the north of his quarter sections in a house he shared with a friend.

In the spring of 1952, Ann’s brother Larry asked Bill where he and his sister were going to live after their June wedding. My husband doesn’t know what his father replied, but whatever he said, it seems that Larry had other plans. He and his brothers Fred and Pete decided to build Ann a house as their gift to her. (She was their only sister and the youngest of the family.)

The brothers needed lumber, so they asked around to see if any farmers were allowed to harvest timber. Fred eventually found two loads of green timber and borrowed a neighbor’s portable planer to convert the timber to usable lumber. Larry, Fred, and Pete began by digging out a basement (on one of Bill’s quarter sections) using horses to drag out the dirt. They made forms and poured cement to make a foundation. After they back-filled the dirt to the foundation, they started framing the house. Later on, Larry got more sizes of lumber for finishing work, like cupboards.

My husband thinks the house was about 30’ x 40’. It had five rooms on the main floor: a living room, kitchen, pantry, and two bedrooms. A staircase in the living room led to the upstairs, which was divided in two large rooms that were used for storage. While they were young, my husband and his sister shared a bedroom on the main floor, but when he was about six years old, he moved upstairs where the south-facing room was converted into a bedroom for him. The bathroom (outhouse) was fifty feet down the hill at the back of the property.

The front door faced south towards the highway about fifty feet away. The kitchen, which faced north and east, had a wood-burning stove and a cast iron hand pump for water from the basement well. The house was wired for electricity, but Bill couldn’t afford the cost of residential power in the early years. Instead, a wind generator provided energy for indoor lighting.

My husband and his sister (seen above, ca 1963) and their parents lived here until the summer of 1964. That year, Bill sold his farm and moved with his family to the nearby town of Kamsack.

Copyright © 2015, Yvonne Demoskoff.

Wedding Wednesday: Laronde – Kekijicakoe

Wedding rings with cross and candles

One of the more interesting weddings among my ancestors is that of Toussaint Laronde, a voyageur, and his Native American (possibly Algonquin) wife Marie Kekijicakoe, from whom I descend patrilineally. [1]

Toussaint and Marie seem to have been a couple from about 1812 or 1813 when their first child (daughter Angélique) was born. There were thirteen more children born to them until about 1839. [2] I’ve written about two of those children in Sibling Saturday: Euphrosine and Elisabeth Laronde.

In 1837, Toussaint and Marie married in a Roman Catholic ceremony officiated by Father Pascal Brunet, a missionary priest from Notre-Dame-de-Bon-Secours, now Montebello, Papineau County, Quebec. [3] Toussaint and Marie were granted a dispensation to marry because of their relationship of second degree of consanguinity (they were first cousins). [4]

I searched digitized images of the parish registers of Petite Nation and Buckingham (both in the province of Quebec) and Notre-Dame Cathedral in Ottawa, Ontario for 1836-1837, where some of Father Brunet’s sacramental records are conserved, but didn’t find an entry showing this Laronde marriage. [5]

Before they married, Toussaint baptised (specifically, “ondoyé”) Marie. [6] A spiritual affinity or relationship thus formed between the one who baptised (Toussaint) and the one who was baptised (Marie). [7] Father Brunet was not aware of this baptism and the resulting affinity, an impediment to the marriage.

It wasn’t until a year later that another missionary, Father Louis-Charles Lefebvre de Bellefeuille, a Sulpician priest from Montreal, discovered the impediment. [8] He accordingly granted two dispensations (spiritual affinity and consanguinity) and rehabilitated or ‘ratified’ Toussaint and Marie’s 1837 marriage, making their union canonically valid. [9] The rehabilitation took place on 28 August 1838 at Poste des Allumettes on Ile des Allumettes in Pontiac County, Quebec. [10]

Note that no mention is made in Toussaint and Marie’s 1838 marriage record that they were previously wed in a Native American ceremony or that they received an annulment for such a ceremony. [11]

Finally, here are images from the FHL microfilm showing the marriage rehabilitation record, followed by my English translation of the French text. I originally prepared the translation (Appendix C, further below) on 20 March 2011 when I put together my Laronde research in a 23-page document (“The Family of Toussaint Laronde and Marie Kekijicakoe”); it appears on my blog for the first time.

Marriage rehabilitation record of Toussaint and Marie Laronde (page 77 verso and page 78 recto)

Marriage rehabilitation record of Toussaint and Marie Laronde (page 78 verso)

English translation of the marriage rehabilitation record


1. Marie’s surname is “Kekijicakoe” in her son François’ baptismal entry. (Her name appears to be spelled Kekiji[cakoe], although it is somewhat difficult to decipher.) To date, this is the only record I have found in which Marie’s Aboriginal surname is explicitly stated. St-Grégoire-de-Nazianze (Buckingham, Quebec), parish register, 1839-1854, p. 35 verso, entry no. B136 (1840), Francis Laronde baptism, 15 September 1840; St-Grégoire-de-Nazianze parish; digital image, “Quebec Vital and Church Records (Drouin Collection), 1621-1967”, ( : accessed 28 February 2011).

2. “Registres paroissiaux” [Régistres des missions de 19 juillet 1836 au 27 may [sic] 1839], p. 77 verso, no entry no. (1838), Laronde – Laronde marriage rehabilitation, 28 August 1838; Family History Library (FHL) microfilm 1703968. Toussaint and Marie had fourteen children, according to their marriage rehabilitation record. By 1838, thirteen survived and they were all legitimated by Father de Bellefeuille when their parents married that year in August. (The deceased child is not identified in the record.) The children and their ages appear in the record in the following order: Denis (23), Angélique (25), Marie (22), Toussaint (19), Euphrosine (17), Anne (15), François (13½), Elizabeth (11), Charles (9½), Eustache (8), Louis (7), Paul (3) and Susanne (4 months). According to some online family trees, Toussaint and Marie were the parents of an elder son named Alexander. The marriage rehabilitation record does not mention Alexander, suggesting that he is not Toussaint and Marie’s son.

3. The marriage rehabilitation record of 1838 states that Father Brunet married the couple “l’année dernière” [last year]. “Registres paroissiaux”, p. 77 verso, Laronde – Laronde marriage rehabilitation, 28 August 1838.

4. “Registres paroissiaux”, p. 77 verso, Laronde – Laronde marriage rehabilitation, 28 August 1838.

5. Notre-Dame-de-Bon-Secours (Montebello, Quebec), parish register, 1815-1900, pages 118-130 (1837); Notre-Dame-de-Bon-Secours parish; digital image, “Quebec Vital and Church Records (Drouin Collection), 1621-1967”, ( : accessed 28 February 2011). Also, St-Grégoire-de-Nazianze (Buckingham, Quebec), parish register, 1836-1860, pages 1-22 (1836-1837); St-Grégoire-de-Nazianze parish; digital image, “Quebec Vital and Church Records (Drouin Collection), 1621-1967”, ( : accessed 20 March 2011). Also, Notre Dame (Ottawa, Ontario), parish register, 1829[-1948], unpaginated, entries no. 19–24 (1836); Notre-Dame parish; digital image, “Ontario, Canada, Catholic Church Records (Drouin Collection), 1747-1967”, ( : accessed 12 March 2011).

6. “Registres paroissiaux”, p. 77 verso, Laronde – Laronde marriage rehabilitation, 28 August 1838.

7. “The Catholic Encyclopedia”, New Advent ( : accessed 18 June 2015), “B: Baptism: Minister of the sacrament: Extraordinary minister”. See also Fr. John Zuhlsdorf, “ASK FATHER: Can a godparent marry a godchild? Confirmation sponsor a confirmand?”, Fr. Z's Blog, 28 October 2014 ( : accessed 18 June 2015).

8. Father de Bellefeuille led three missions from 1836 to 1838 to minister to the Christians and Native Americans who lived at Poste des Allumettes and the nearby region of Lake Timiskaming. It was during his last mission in August 1838 that he rehabilitated Toussaint and Marie’s marriage, before his death that October in Montreal. Dictionary of Canadian Biography/Dictionnaire biographique du Canada ( : accessed 18 June 2015), “Louis-Charles Lefebvre de Bellefeuille”.

9. A rehabilitated marriage is a non-canonically valid marriage that receives official church recognition. “The Catholic Encyclopedia”, New Advent ( : accessed 18 June 2015), “V: Validation of Marriage”.

10. “Registres paroissiaux”, p. 77 verso, Laronde – Laronde marriage rehabilitation, 28 August 1838. Poste des Allumettes, also known as Fort William, was a Hudson’s Bay Company trading post situated on the Ottawa River near Sheenboro in Pontiac County, Quebec.

11. “Registres paroissiaux”, p. 77 verso, Laronde – Laronde marriage rehabilitation, 28 August 1838.

Copyright © 2015, Yvonne Demoskoff.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Military Monday: My Carignan-Salières Regiment Ancestors

Carignan-Salieres Regiment Flag

Thanks to Gail Dever of Genealogy à la Carte for bringing to her readers’ attention last week the 350th anniversary of the arrival of the Carignan-Salières regiment in New France (First of Régiment Carignan-Salières arrived 350 years ago today).

This famous regiment of 1200 men left France for Canada between June and September 1665 to “combat the Iroquois threat to the struggling colony of New France”. [1]

I have lines of descent from about 43 of those soldiers. (I haven’t finished adding details to my database, so there might be more.) At least two of those forty-three were part of the first four Companies (Chambly, Froment, La Tour and Petit) that sailed on Le Vieux Siméon and arrived in Quebec on 19 June 1665. [2] They are

Bernard De Niger (Deniger) dit Sanssoucy (ca 1627-before 25 Nov 1700) [3]
Origin: archdiocese of Bordeaux, Guyenne, France
Company: Froment
Rank: Soldier
Spouse: Marguerite Raisin (ca 1651-1700), a fille du Roi, who arrived in 1670. I have three lines of descent (all maternal) from Bernard and Marguerite.


Pierre Marsan (Merçan) dit Lapierre (ca 1626-between 1691 and 1693) [4]
Origin: Rouen, Normandy, France
Company: Chambly
Rank: Sergeant
Spouse: Françoise Baiselat (ca 1646-1694), a fille du Roi, who arrived in 1668. I have two lines of descent (paternal and maternal) from Pierre and Françoise.

Reconstition régiment Carignan Sallierres au fort Chambly


Image credit: Wikipedia contributors, "Carignan-Salières Regiment," Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia ( : accessed 20 June 2015).

Photo Credit: “Reconstition régiment Carignan Sallierres au fort Chambly [sic]” by Richard Coté (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons ( : accessed 20 June 2015).

1. “Carignan-Salières Regiment Lineage Chart”, database, Acadian and French Canadian Genealogy ( : accessed 20 June 2015).

2. “Regiment”, database, La Société des Filles du roi et soldats du Carignan, Inc. ( : accessed 20 June 2015), “Regiment (Ships)”.

3. René Jetté, Dictionnaire généalogique des familles du Québec (Montréal: Les Presses de l’Université de Montréal, 1983), 775. Also, Peter J. Gagné, King’s Daughters and Founding Mothers: The Filles du Roi, 1663-1673, 2 vols. (Pawtucket, Rhode Island: Quintin Publications, 2001), 2: 481.

4. Jetté, Dictionnaire, 332. Also, Gagné, King’s Daughters and Founding Mothers, 1: 64.

Copyright (c) 2015, Yvonne Demoskoff.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

National Aboriginal Day 2015

National Aboriginal Day 2015
Aboriginal artwork display

June 21st is National Aboriginal Day in Canada. It was created in 1996 as a way to celebrate “the unique heritage, diverse cultures and outstanding achievements of First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples in Canada”. [1]

This afternoon, my Mom, my husband, and I went to a BBQ organized for National Aboriginal Day. It took place at Telte-Yet Campground that overlooks the Fraser River in town (Hope, British Columbia).

Jacqueline Belair and Yvonne Demoskoff
Mom and I

We had delicious salmon served with rice and (fried) bannock. Snack foods, like fresh fruit and baked bannock with jam, were complimentary, while assorted pies and muffins were available for sale.

I didn’t get the name of the artist, but a young Aboriginal woman gave lessons in making roses from cedar bark.

National Aboriginal Day 2015
Aboriginal artist

It was (and still is) a beautiful, sunny day for the event, but even though it was 29C outside, the campground’s splendid cedar trees provided plenty of shade.

View of campground


1. “National Aboriginal Day”, database, Government of Canada ( : accessed 21 June 2015).

Copyright © 2015, Yvonne Demoskoff.

Father’s Day 2015

I couldn’t let Father’s Day go by this year without thinking about my late father-in-law, William (Bill) Demoskoff, who passed away on January 8th.

William Demoskoff with his son Michael and grandson Nicholas on Father's Day 1993

My husband Michael is holding our son Nicholas, while his Dad (Pop) sits beside them. The picture was taken on Father’s Day 1993 at my parents’ house. We spent the day visiting Minter Gardens (a tourist attraction near Chilliwack, BC, now closed), playing at our town’s children’s park, and having dinner at a local restaurant.

Copyright © 2015, Yvonne Demoskoff.