Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Wednesday’s Child: Marianne Desgroseilliers

In the village of Hearst in northern Ontario, Canada, a baby girl was born on 23 January 1932. She was baptised “Hélène Marie Anne” on the following day, but was known as Marianne to her family. Her parents Eugène and Juliette (Beauvais) Desgroseilliers had three other children: Mariette (4), Madeleine (2½) and Simone (1½). Four more children would come after Marianne, three sisters and a brother.

During the 1930s, the Depression caused great hardship throughout the country, but the Desgroseilliers family managed to weather the storm. Eugène was the chief of police in Hearst and was able to provide for his family. He was also a charitable man, who gave food and money to the poor and needy of the village.

Marianne and Madeleine Desgroseilliers
Marianne (right) with her sister Madeleine, about 1936.

When Marianne was about 4 years old, her family moved to Rouyn in northwestern Quebec, where Eugène served as chief of police. It was here that her sister Normande was born in early 1937. Within a few months, Eugène relocated to nearby Duparquet, where he continued to work as chief of police.

1938 began with such promise for the family. Marianne’s sixth birthday was coming up in three weeks’ time, and her mother Juliette was expecting her ninth child. However, Marianne became very ill. It was appendicitis. She died on 3 January 1938. Her sudden death plunged her family in mourning. Eugène was present at his little girl’s funeral, which took place two days later at St-Albert-le-Grand church in Duparquet. She was buried in the local cemetery.

Marianne was not forgotten. When my sister was born in 1960, Mom named her Marianne after her beloved sister.

Copyright © 2013, Yvonne Demoskoff.


  1. sad story but great pic. moom looks like lise when she was young.

    1. I find there's quite a resemblance between Marianne and your Mom. I suspect it's the Beauvais side of the family genes that we're seeing. Thanks for commenting, Jean-Paul!

    2. Keep those old pics and stories coming! My mom is over for dinner right now, and says hello to you. Hope all is well :)

  2. What a sad story about Marianne. To lose a child so quickly and out of the blue must have been devastating to your grandparents and her siblings. I'm sure the month of January was difficult for the family due to the anniversary of Marianne's death and birthday. Think it's both sweet and touching that your mother named her daughter after her beloved sister.

    1. I appreciate your comment, Queen Bee. My mother and her sisters remember how much it affected their mother to lose her little girl while expecting a baby. She gave birth to my aunt Jeanne d'arc just two weeks after Marianne's death. So very, very sad...


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