Sunday, August 31, 2014

Sentimental Sunday: Birthday Girls

Birthday photo of Jacqueline, Julie and Joan

This wonderful photo is one of only a handful of photographs that exist of my Mom, my aunt, and my grandmother celebrating their birthdays on the same day.

Without a doubt, they were the three most important women in my early life: my mother Jacqueline (seen at right), my aunt and godmother Joan (on the left), and my beloved grandmother – Mémère Julie (in the centre).

When I was young, these birthday girls often celebrated their birthdays on the same day with one cake for all three, because Mom’s birthday was on August 30, Mémère was on August 31, and Aunt Joan was on September 1.

The photo is dated “FEB 1961”, but it was actually taken on one of those August or September days in 1960.

Copyright © 2014, Yvonne Demoskoff.

Friday, August 29, 2014

52 Ancestors: #35 Cordélia Racette

Amy Johnson Crow at No Story Too Small has issued herself and her readers a challenge for 2014. It’s called “52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks”, and as Amy explains, the challenge is to “have one blog post each week devoted to a specific ancestor. It could be a story, a biography, a photograph, an outline of a research problem — anything that focuses on one ancestor”.

For the 35th week of this challenge, I chose Cordélia Racette (1849-1928).

Cordélia is my maternal great-great-grandmother and is number 27 in my ancestor list.

Cordelia Racette
Cordélia (Racette) Léveillé

Born on 11 November 1849, Marie Delphine Cordélie Racette was baptized the next day in St-Pierre-du-Portage parish church in L’Assomption, L’Assomption County, Quebec. [1]

Known by her third name, Cordélia was the eldest daughter among the six sons and four daughters of Joseph Racette and his wife Marcelline Gagnon.

In about 1856, the Racette family left their home in L’Assomption County for Russell County, Ontario, where the younger children were born.

Cordélia married her third cousin Joseph Léveillé, a widower, on an autumn day in 1870. I wrote last week about how I haven’t been able to locate the exact date and place of their wedding through civil registration or sacramental records; see 52 Ancestors: #34 Joseph Léveillé.

With her marriage, Cordélia became stepmother to Joseph’s six year old daughter Adeline. For the next twenty-four years, she also became mother to her own brood of eleven children – four sons and seven daughters, including my great-grandmother Clémentine. The youngest child in the family, Eugène, was born in 1896 when Cordélia was 47 years old.

In June 1921, Cordélia and Joseph made their final appearances on a federal Canadian census. They lived in Russell County on their farm in the village of Limoges (known as South Indian at this time), with their daughter Adélaïde, their housekeeper. [2]

After Joseph’s death in late 1922, Cordélia went to live with her younger son Louis in Eastview, now part of Ottawa. She died there at home on 86 Cedar Street on 17 December 1928. [3]

Louis was the informant on his mother’s death registration. Interestingly, he gave Cordélia’s date of birth as 10 October 1849, four weeks earlier than the date seen in her baptism record. The cause of death was endocarditis chronic of three months duration. [4]

Cordélia’s funeral took place in St-Charles church in Eastview, followed by burial in Limoges. [5] She was survived by all her children, except her eldest son Joseph, who died as an infant in 1875, and by her stepdaughter Adeline, who died in 1894.

Sources:

Photo supplied by Paul Lavoie.

1. St-Pierre-du-Portage (L’Assomption, Quebec), parish register, 1849, p. 38 verso, entry no. B.168, Marie Delphine Cordelie Racette (written as Marie Delphine Cordelie Racette, indexed as Marie Delphine Cordelie Routh) baptism, 12 November 1849; St-Pierre-du-Portage parish; digital image, “Quebec Vital and Church Records (Drouin Collection), 1621-1967”, Ancestry.ca (http://www.ancestry.ca : accessed 20 August 2014).

2. 1921 census of Canada, Cambridge (Township), Russell, Ontario, population schedule, enumeration district 125, subdistrict 3, p. 9, dwelling 70, family 70, Joseph Leveille [sic] household; digital image, Ancestry.ca (http://www.ancestry.ca : accessed 11 September 2013); citing Library and Archives Canada, Sixth Census of Canada, 1921, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada: Library and Archives Canada, 2013; Series RG31, Statistics Canada Fonds.

3. “Ontario, Canada, Deaths, 1869-1938 and Deaths Overseas, 1939-1947”, digital image, Ancestry.ca (http://www.ancestry.ca : accessed 20 August 2014), entry for Cordelia Leveillée [sic], 17 December 1928; citing Archives of Ontario, Registrations of Deaths, 1869-1938, MS 935, reel 358; Archives of Ontario, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

4. “Ontario, Canada, Deaths, 1869-1938 and Deaths Overseas, 1939-1947”, digital image, Ancestry.ca, entry for Cordelia Leveillée, 17 December 1928. Endocarditis is “inflammation of the inside lining of the heart chambers and heart valves (endocardium)”. MedlinePlus, database, National Institutes of Health (http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/001098.htm : accessed 20 August 2014), “Endocarditis”.

5. St-Viateur (Limoges, Ontario), parish register, 1928-1939, p. 8, entry no. S.20 (1928), Cordelia Racette burial, 19 December 1928; St-Viateur parish; digital image, “Ontario, Canada, Catholic Church Records (Drouin Collection), 1747-1967”, Ancestry.ca (http://www.ancestry.ca : accessed 20 August 2014).

Copyright © 2014, Yvonne Demoskoff.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Travel Tuesday: Our Trip to England and France

British Airways plane
Our plane before leaving for England

Six years ago, my husband and I went on a trip-of-a-lifetime when we spent three weeks in England and France in August 2008. It was something I had wanted to do for most of my life. I’m a big fan of everything from British royalty to Shakespeare, to Sherlock Holmes, Poirot and Miss Marple, to afternoon tea, to Upstairs/Downstairs and Coronation Street.

One afternoon, I jokingly told my husband that I wanted to go to England for my upcoming birthday. He didn’t say no, kind of thought about it, and said that we might be able to manage it in a few years. That was all the encouragement I needed to start the process! I spent the next three years planning our vacation, with Michael working lots of overtime away from home (and in some cases out of country) to help pay for our trip.

I pre-planned just about everything I could by making good use of a variety of websites to learn about flights, hotels, cities, tourist attractions, timetables, maps, and more. We booked our hotels (mostly Holiday Inn), our flights (British Airways) and trains (Eurostar). I also bought online entrance tickets to sights that I was particularly looking forward to seeing ahead of time (like Buckingham Palace) in order to avoid crowds and line-ups.

I organized a pretty ambitious itinerary, with daily sights in London, overnight trips to Windsor and King’s Lynn, and three days in Paris. In England, we toured Buckingham Palace, including the Royal Mews and the Queen’s Gallery, as well as Clarence House, Kensington Palace, the Victoria & Albert Museum, the Tower of London, the Sherlock Holmes Museum, the Houses of Parliament and Westminster Abbey, the National Portrait Gallery, and the British Museum. We also saw the Changing of the Guard, rode on the London Eye, toured the city on one of those hop on-hop off buses, did some shopping, and did so much walking that I got shin splints. We spent a few days at Windsor and at the Queen’s private estate at Sandringham near King’s Lynn. We travelled to Paris by Eurostar on what an amazingly quiet and smooth ride. There we saw the Eiffel Tower, the Rodin Museum, Les Invalides and the Louvre.


Buckingham Palace
Buckingham Palace

Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace
Changing of the Guard, Buckingham Palace

Westminster Abbey
Westminster Abbey

Palace of Westminster with Big Ben
Palace of Westminster with 'Big Ben'

The Thinker by Rodin
The Thinker, Musée Rodin, Paris

The Louvre
Selfie at the Louvre Palace, Paris

Copyright © 2014, Yvonne Demoskoff.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

My 2nd Blogiversary

Goldfish in a bowl

Today is my 2nd anniversary of blogging! I was amazed to make it to my 1st anniversary last year, and I’m just as amazed and thrilled to be here after two years.

Blogging about my ancestors and those of my husband is still a creative outlet for me after twenty-four months. I like how researching and writing blog posts stretches me genealogically, and it’s also pretty cool to make contact with people who share the same passion as I have.

I’ve written 123 articles this year (including this one), which is about 15 per month. As a series, the articles I write for 52 Ancestors Challenge are among the most read at my blog. But the most popular posts since January 2014 are:

Top 5 Books I Use for French-Canadian Genealogy (309 views)

Wordless Wednesday: Father and Son (230 views)

In Memorian: Mariette White (206 views)

A Day in My Ancestor’s Life – Pierre Belair (205 views)

The Ragu Challenge: 3-2-1 CITE! (204 views)

Thank you to my followers and readers for dropping by and commenting, and for those who promote my posts on their blogs. I’m humbled and grateful that you are part of my genealogy journey!

Copyright © 2014, Yvonne Demoskoff.

Friday, August 22, 2014

52 Ancestors: #34 Joseph Léveillé

Amy Johnson Crow at No Story Too Small has issued herself and her readers a challenge for 2014. It’s called “52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks”, and as Amy explains, the challenge is to “have one blog post each week devoted to a specific ancestor. It could be a story, a biography, a photograph, an outline of a research problem — anything that focuses on one ancestor”.

For the 34th week of this challenge, I chose Joseph Léveillé (1839-1922).

Joseph is my maternal great-great-grandfather and is number 26 in my ancestor list.


Joseph Léveillé born 1839 died 1922
Joseph Léveillé

Early in my research, I found sources that stated Joseph was born about 1839 or in 1842 in New Glasgow, Quebec. It wasn’t until I got a subscription to Ancestry that I eventually found his baptism record. It showed that my great-great-grandfather was born and baptized on 23 August 1839 in St-Lin, L’Assomption County, Quebec. [1] Granted, New Glasgow and St-Lin are near each other, but not near enough to be the same place.

Joseph was a younger son of Jean-Baptiste Léveillé and Adélaïde Coderre. He had four older brothers, Jean-Baptiste, François-Xavier, Louis and Joseph (the last two died as infants), and two sisters, Marguerite and Marie Mélina (who also died as an infant).

The Léveillé family is enumerated on the 1851 census in L’Assomption (at that time Leinster) County in Quebec. Ten years later, Joseph and his parents are living in Russell County, Ontario, according to the 1861 census. It’s possible they were there as early as 1857, because a local history book names a Jean-Baptiste Léveillé and a Xavier Léveillé among some of the first settlers of Embrun. [2] These men could be Joseph’s father and brother, or his two eldest brothers, who paved the way, so to speak, for the rest of the family to join them in this part southeastern Ontario.

In October 1862, Joseph married as his first wife Marguerite Gauthier in Embrun. [3] The couple had one child, a daughter, before Marguerite died. Despite my searches, I haven’t found her burial record or her death registration. I also haven’t found his second marriage, to Cordélia Racette, in the sacramental registers of St-Jacques parish of Embrun. Fortunately, though, the 1871 census helps out by giving a date: November 1870. [4]

In the late 1980s, a distant cousin wrote to me about our mutual ancestors Joseph and Cordélia. He told me about the time he visited their youngest daughter Florida and how she had shared with him many details about her family, as well as photos of her parents. Florida appears to be the source for her parents’ marriage date and place of 10 November 1870 Embrun, Ontario and for the photo of Joseph seen above that was sent to me by my correspondent.[5]

Joseph and Cordélia, who were third cousins, had eleven children, born between 1872 and 1896: Mélanise (Mélanie), Joseph (who died young), Léonie, Clémentine (my great-grandmother), Adeline, Amanda, Adélaïde, Odilon Dominat, Louis, Florida and Eugène.

Joseph, who was a laborer and farmer all his life, died presumably in October 1922. He was buried on 21 October 1922 in the parish cemetery of St-Viateur in Limoges, Russell County, Ontario. [6] Unfortunately, his burial record doesn’t give his date or place of death. I didn’t find Joseph's death registration in Ancestry.ca’s “Ontario, Canada, Deaths, 1869-1938 and Deaths Overseas, 1939-1947” database or in “Ontario Deaths 1869-1947” at FamilySearch.org. I even searched the microfilmed death registration records at the Archives of Ontario when I was in Toronto last May, but didn’t locate Joseph. I also checked the "Le LAFRANCE" database at GénéalogieQuebec.com in case he died in the province of Quebec, but there weren’t any candidates. Finally, Joseph’s death wouldn’t be registered in that site’s “Mariages et décès 1926-1997” database, because the records begin in 1926, five years after he passed away.

Sources:

1. St-Lin (St-Lin-des-Laurentides, Quebec), parish register, 1839, p. 21 recto, entry no. B.102, Joseph Léveillé baptism, 23 August 1839; St-Lin parish; digital image, “Quebec Vital and Church Records (Drouin Collection), 1621-1967”, Ancestry.ca (http://www.ancestry.ca : accessed 22 August 2008).

2. J.-U. Forget and Elie-J. Auclair, Histoire de Saint-Jacques d’Embrun (Ottawa: La Cie d’Imprimerie d’Ottawa, 1910), 19; digital image, Our Roots (http://ourroots.ca : accessed 21 April 2013).

3. "Ontario, Roman Catholic Church Records, 1760-1923," digital image, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1951-24169-4211-91?cc=1927566&wc=M6VT-9TG:221001601,221046001,221030802,221049401 : accessed 27 March 2012), Russell > Embrun > St Jacques > Baptisms, marriages, burials 1858-1869 > image 62 of 187, Léveillé – Gauthier marriage.

4. 1871 census of Canada, Russell Township, Russell County, Ontario, population schedule, subdistrict d, p. 27, dwelling 95, family 95, Joseph Léveyer [sic] household; digital image, Ancestry.ca (http://www.ancestry.ca : accessed 22 August 2008); citing Library and Archives Canada, Census of Canada, 1871. The enumerator wrote “November” in Column 16 (Married within last twelve months), indicating that Joseph and Cordélia married in November 1870.

5. Paul Lavoie to Yvonne Belair, letter, 7 January 1988; privately held by Yvonne (Belair) Demoskoff, 2014. Paul, a great-great-grandson of Joseph and Cordélia (Racette) Léveillé, spoke with their daughter Florida (Léveillé) Leroux in Vars, Ontario in 1974.

6. St-Viateur (Limoges, Ontario), parish register, 1911-1927, p. 294, entry no. S.15, Joseph Léveillé (written as Léveillé, indexed as Laville) burial, 21 October 1922; St-Viateur parish; digital image, “Ontario, Canada, Catholic Church Records (Drouin Collection), 1747-1967”, Ancestry.ca (http://www.ancestry.ca : accessed 22 August 2008).

Copyright © 2014, Yvonne Demoskoff.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Treasure Chest Thursday: The Vase

Vase front
Front of vase

This beautiful vase came into my possession when I visited my aunt Darlene at her home in southern Ontario earlier in May. We were in the basement looking through her collection of photos and memorabilia, when she spotted the vase. She explained that she gave it to her mother (my paternal grandmother Julie) as a gift with the money she earned from her first job. My aunt didn’t tell me which job this was, where she worked, which year it was, or even how much she paid for it. (The vase was probably purchased in the mid-1950s.) In my excitement at seeing the vase and hearing that it once belonged to my beloved Mémère Julie, I never thought to ask my aunt about those details.


Vase back
Back of vase

Vase Specifications

Item: A two-handled, six-sided, multi-coloured tapered vase, decorated in a large floral pattern, accented with smaller, slightly embossed gold-colour flower petals, on an overall beige background. The back of the vase is decorated with a coordinating flower.

Size: The vase measures about 29 cm (11½”) tall, 21.6 cm (8½”) wide (at its widest point) and 15.2 cm (6”) deep (at its deepest point).

Weight: It weighs 865 grams (about 1.9 lbs).

Material: It is made of pottery, porcelain or plastic.

Condition: It’s in fairly good condition, with no nicks, scratches, chips or dents. There is light crazing over the matte surface. The vase’s colours are somewhat muted, but I’m not sure if that’s what they originally were, or if the passage of time has toned down their intensity.

Manufacturer: There are no markings that indicate a make or manufacturer, but there’s some indistinct text stamped on the bottom that might say “Made […]”.

The vase, safely packed in my suitcase, came home with me at the end of my vacation. It now sits on an end table in my living room.

Copyright © 2014, Yvonne Demoskoff.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Church Record Sunday: Possible Burial Record of Pierre Janvry dit Belair

Burial record of Pierre Vrille Janvril
Burial record of Pierre Vrille (1848)

Some years ago, a correspondent shared with me the burial record of someone who was possibly our common ancestor. It was for a man named Pierre Vrille, who died on 26 December 1848 and who was buried two days later in the parish of St-François-de-Sales in Pointe-Gatineau, now in Gatineau County, Quebec.

The burial record can be seen in “Quebec, Vital and Church Records (Drouin Collection), 1621-1967” at Ancestry.ca, but the image is almost unreadable. He appears there as “Pierre Vielle” in the database index, but as “Pierre Vrille” in the record. [1] A more legible image is available at FamilySearch.org, seen above in a cropped version. [2]

This record, written in French and signed by Father J. Ginguet, adds that the burial took place in the parish cemetery and that the witnesses were Jean Marie Lacloche and François Lacloche. No mention is made of a wife for Pierre, however.

The following points suggest that Pierre Vrille is the same man as Pierre Janvry dit Belair, my paternal great-great-great-grandfather:

Vrille pronounced in French sounds like the second syllable in Janvril(le), a variant of Janvry.

• Pierre Vrille was born about 1773, based on his age (“soixante et quinze ans” – 75 years old) at his burial. [3]

• Pierre Janvry dit Belair was born on 2 March 1772. [4]

• Pierre Janvry dit Belair resided in Aylmer in 1843 [5] and in nearby Hull in 1845. [6] Aylmer, Hull, Pointe-Gatineau and neighbouring communities merged in 2002 and became the city of Gatineau. [7]

• Pierre Janvry dit Belair died after 2 September 1845 (when he was present at his son’s marriage) [8], but before 29 September 1851 (when his widow remarried). [9]

• There is no burial record for a Pierre Janvry or Pierre Belair between 1845 and 1851 in the province of Quebec. [10]

Sources:

1. St-François-de-Sales (Pointe-Gatineau, Quebec), parish register, 1847-1857, p. 29 verso, entry no. Sépulture 16 (1848), Pierre Vrille (written as Vrille, indexed as Vielle) burial, 28 December 1848; St-François-de-Sales parish; digital image, “Quebec, Vital and Church Records (Drouin Collection), 1621-1967”, Ancestry.ca (http://www.ancestry.ca : accessed 4 March 2009).

2. "Québec, registres paroissiaux catholiques, 1621-1979," index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1942-28004-12486-60?cc=1321742&wc=9RL6-FMH:17434701,17434702,17552101 : accessed 12 August 2014), Pointe-Gatineau > Saint-François-de-Sales-de-Templeton > Index 1847-1876 Baptêmes, mariages, sépultures 1847-1874 > image 118 of 580, Pierre Vrille burial.

3. St-François-de-Sales, parish register, 1847-1857, p. 29 verso, Pierre Vrille burial, 28 December 1848.

4. Ste-Geneviève (Pierrefonds, Quebec), parish register, 1756-1775, no p. no., no entry no. (1772), Pierre Janvery [sic] baptism, 2 March 1772; Ste-Geneviève parish; digital image, “Quebec, Vital and Church Records (Drouin Collection), 1621-1967”, Ancestry.ca (http://www.ancestry.ca : accessed 23 March 2008).

5. St-Paul (Aylmer, Quebec), parish register, 1841-1851, p. 89 verso, entry no. M.19 (1843), Louis Poulin – Esther Jeanvril marriage, 5 September 1843, St-Paul parish; digital image, “Quebec, Vital and Church Records (Drouin Collection), 1621-1967”, Ancestry.ca (http://www.ancestry.ca : accessed 1 March 2012). Pierre and his wife Scholastique are residents “de ce Township” (of this township) at their daughter Esther’s marriage in 1843.

6. St-Paul (Aylmer, Quebec), parish register, 1841-1848, p. 250, no entry no. (1845), Paul Jeanvril – Angélique Lalonde marriage, 2 September 1845, Missions d’Aylmer parish; digital image, “Quebec, Vital and Church Records (Drouin Collection), 1621-1967”, Ancestry.ca (http://www.ancestry.ca : accessed 1 March 2012). Pierre and Scholastique were “de Hull” (from Hull) at their son Paul’s marriage in 1845.

7. Wikipedia contributors, "Gatineau", Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Gatineau&oldid=620823900 : accessed 12 August 2014).

8. St-Paul, parish register, 1841-1848, p. 250, Paul Jeanvril – Angélique Lalonde marriage, 2 September 1845.

9. St-Camillus (Farrellton, Quebec), parish register, 1851-1868, p. 17 verso, entry no. M.7 (1851), Joseph Clemens – Scholastique Michel [sic] marriage, 29 September 1851; St-Camillus parish; digital image, “Quebec, Vital and Church Records (Drouin Collection), 1621-1967”, Ancestry.ca (http://www.ancestry.ca : accessed 4 March 2009). Scholastique is described as “widow of Pierre Belair” in her marriage record.

10. “Le LAFRANCE”, database, GénéalogieQuébec (www.genealogiequebec.com : accessed 12 August 2014). A search for a burial record for “Pierre Janvry” (including Janvril and Jeanvril) or “Pierre Belair” between 1845 and 1851 proved negative.

Copyright © 2014, Yvonne Demoskoff.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Sympathy Saturday: Accidental Death of William Brennan

It’s been 75 years since the accidental death of William Brennan in August 1939, and four years since I first learned about him while researching my grandmother Julie’s relatives.

William John Brennan was a younger son of James Brennan and Olivine Fleury. He was born on 4 January 1892 at Trout Lake, and baptized one month later in Sheenboro, Pontiac County, Quebec. [1]

William suffered a double tragedy when he was less than two years old: his parents died within months of each other in late 1893. He and his infant sister Rose Mary went to live with their maternal grandparents, while their elder brother went to live with a maternal uncle.

In April 1914, William married Mary (Minnie) Vanasse in Chapeau, Pontiac County, not long after his sister Rose Mary married Minnie’s brother Francis Guy Vanasse there in September 1912. [2]

Francis Guy and Minnie were first cousins of my paternal grandmother Julie (Vanasse) Belair, who was a bit younger than they were.

William and Minnie had seven children: one son and six daughters, of whom four survived. A year after the birth of their fourth child, the Brennan family moved from rural Chapeau to the mining town of Cobalt, Timiskaming District, Ontario in 1922. [3]


Cobalt Ontario
Grand View Avenue, Cobalt. [Ont.] (1924)

One summer’s night in 1939, William was walking on a highway when he was struck by a “half ton panel truck owned by Pardon’s Service Station” on “the main road not far from the O’Brien Mill at Mileage 104”, a few miles north of Cobalt. [4] The accident occurred about 9:15 p.m. on Saturday, 19 August, 1939. William was taken to Cobalt Municipal Hospital, but did not regain consciousness. He died at 1:35 p.m. the following day. [5]

Unfortunately, it appears that William was under the influence of alchohol at the time of the accident. A witness “had seen Brennan ‘staggering’ about the middle of the road going toward Cobalt” and the attending doctor at the hospital attested that “there was ‘a strong odor’ of liquor on [Brennan’s] breath”. [6]

Later, a coroner’s inquiry “held the circumstances to have been accidental, ‘with no blame attached to the driver of the truck’ […]”. [7]

William’s funeral took place on 23 August 1939 at St. Patrick’s Roman Catholic Church. He is interred in Ste. Therese Cemetery, Cobalt. [8]

Photo credit: John Boyd / Library and Archives Canada /

Sources:

1. St. Paul the Hermit [St. Bridget] (Sheenboro, Quebec), parish register, 1873-1893, p. 335 (printed), entry no. B.3 (1892), William John Brennan baptism, 1 February 1892; St-Paul the Hermit [St. Bridget] parish; digital image, “Quebec Vital and Church Records (Drouin Collection), 1621-1967”, Ancestry.ca (http://www.ancestry.ca : accessed 8 September 2010). William’s parents were residents of Sheen[boro] township at his baptism, suggesting that he was born there. Alternatively, William was born in “Trout Lake, Quebec”, according to the 1925 death registration of his daughter on which his wife Mary (Minnie) was the informant. (“Ontario, Canada, Deaths, 1869-1936 and Deaths Overseas, 1939-1947”, digital image, Ancestry.ca (http://www.ancestry.ca : 15 September 2010), entry for Bernadette Brennan, 13 October 1925.)

2. St-Alphonse (Chapeau, Quebec), parish register, 1914, p. 6 recto, entry no. M.3, William John Brennan – Minnie Venasse [sic] marriage, 20 April 1914; St-Alphonse parish; digital image, “Quebec Vital and Church Records (Drouin Collection), 1621-1967”, Ancestry.ca (http://www.ancestry.ca : accessed 8 September 2010).

3. “Mrs. Brennan 90 years old and still going strong”, Temiskaming Speaker, 21 March 1979, p. 12a, col. 3; digital images, World Vital Records (http://wvr.paperofrecord.com : accessed 12 September 2010), Newspapers and Periodicals.

4. “Jury Exonerates Driver In Saturday Accident”, Temiskaming Speaker, 24 August 1939, p. 1, col. 7; digital images, World Vital Records (http://wvr.paperofrecord.com : accessed 12 September 2010), Newspapers and Periodicals.

5. “Jury Exonerates Driver In Saturday Accident”, Temiskaming Speaker, 24 August 1939.

6. “Jury Exonerates Driver In Saturday Accident”, Temiskaming Speaker, 24 August 1939.

7. “Jury Exonerates Driver In Saturday Accident”, Temiskaming Speaker, 24 August 1939.

8. “Jury Exonerates Driver In Saturday Accident”, Temiskaming Speaker, 24 August 1939. Also, Find A Grave, digital image (http://findagrave.com : accessed 15 August 2014), photograph, gravestone for William John Brennan (1892-1939), Find A Grave Memorial no. 72899549, Sainte Therese Cemetery, O'Brien, Timiskaming District, Ontario.

Copyright © 2014, Yvonne Demoskoff.

Friday, August 15, 2014

52 Ancestors: #33 Flavie Lepage

Amy Johnson Crow at No Story Too Small has issued herself and her readers a challenge for 2014. It’s called “52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks”, and as Amy explains, the challenge is to “have one blog post each week devoted to a specific ancestor. It could be a story, a biography, a photograph, an outline of a research problem — anything that focuses on one ancestor”.

For the 33rd week of this challenge, I chose Flavie Lepage (1847-1906).

Flavie is my maternal great-great-grandmother and is number 25 in my ancestor list.

Born on 1 December 1847 in St-Constant, Laprairie County, Quebec, Flavie was the eldest of the fourteen children of Narcisse and Flavie (Moquin) Lepage. [1] By the time she married Pierre Desgroseilliers on 7 November 1865, [2] Flavie’s mother had eleven children, and would go on to have three more.

Flavie fille was used to moving from town to town from a young age. Before she married, she, her parents and her siblings lived in three different locations in Laprairie and Châteauguay Counties in southwestern Quebec. After her marriage, Flavie, her husband and their children lived in five different communities in Quebec and Ontario, including Montreal’s Hochelaga district in the early 1890s. [3]


City of Montreal 1889
Birds eye view city of Montreal 1889.

Like her mother, Flavie gave birth to a large family – thirteen children – over the course of 24 years. Two died as infants, son Albert in 1873 and daughter Elodia (Azilda) in 1886. The children who reached adulthood and married were Philomème, Joseph, Narcisse, Emma, Euphémie, Prosper, Albert (my great-grandfather), Célestin, Ovide, Dorilla and Marie Célanise.

While taking care of her large brood, Flavie was also godmother to at least six children. Four were her own grandchildren, while the other two were her youngest brother and her husband’s niece.

Flavie’s date of death is a bit of a mystery. Depending on the source, she died on 30 March 1906 [4] or on 1 August 1906 in St-Charles, Ontario. [5] I didn’t find her burial information when I looked at the parish records of St-Charles, Ontario, using Ancestry.ca’s “Ontario, Canada, Catholic Church Records (Drouin Collection), 1747-1967” database. (St-Charles’ records begin in 1905, but they are unfortunately incomplete.) I also searched for her death registration at Ancestry.ca, but couldn’t locate it in the “Ontario, Canada, Deaths, 1869-1938 and Deaths Overseas, 1939-1947” database. Last, I was unsuccessful at finding her death record when I viewed the relevant microfilms at the Archives of Ontario this past May.

Image credit: Library and Archives Canada, online MIKAN no. 4137889.

Sources:

1. St-Constant (St-Constant, Quebec), parish register, 1847, p. 28 recto, entry no. B.126, Flavie LePage [sic] baptism, 2 December 1847; St-Constant parish; digital image, “Quebec Vital and Church Records (Drouin Collection), 1621-1967”, Ancestry.ca (http://www.ancestry.ca : accessed 11 August 2007).

2. St-Chrysostôme (St-Chrysostôme, Quebec), parish register, 1865, p. 27 verso, entry no. M.26, Desgroseilliers – Lepage marriage, 7 November 1865; St-Chrysostôme parish; digital image, “Quebec Vital and Church Records (Drouin Collection), 1621-1967”, Ancestry.ca (http://www.ancestry.ca : accessed 24 August 2007).

3. “Lovell’s Montreal Directory, For 1891-92 […]”; digital image, Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec (http://bibnum2.banq.qc.ca/bna/lovell/index.html : accessed 27 April 2012), 483, “Pierre Desgroseillier [sic]”. Pierre resided at 51 rue Davidson; he was a laborer.

4. St Charles Cemetery (Dunnet Township), digital images (http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~murrayp/sudbury/st_char/public/page0002.htm : accessed 10 August 2014), photograph, grave marker for Flavie Lepage, St-Charles, Ontario. To view Flavie’s gravemarker, click on image “desgros1”.

5. Lionel Séguin, Historique de la paroisse Saint-Charles (Saint-Charles, Ont., 1945: 232); digital images, Our Roots (http://www.ourroots.ca/ : accessed 18 June 2013).

Copyright © 2014, Yvonne Demoskoff.

Follow Friday: Italian Canadians as Enemy Aliens

Flag of Canada

Flag of Italy

Earlier this week, I was searching for some background information about another subject when I came across a new-to-me website called Italian Canadians as Enemy Aliens: Memories of World War II

Not only is this a website I’ve never come across, but it also deals with a topic I’ve never considered – that some Italian Canadians were considered enemy aliens in the 1940s. I learned that during World War II, “31,000 were designated as enemy aliens. They were fingerprinted, photographed and ordered to report monthly to the police; about 600 were interned in remote camps”. [1]

One thing that caught my eye almost immediately after being on the site for just a few seconds was the Internee List. It can be searched by “Name” or by “Location”. I don’t believe I know anyone personally in the list, but I did recognize the surname Mascioli, because it was a well-known business family in my hometown of Timmins, Ontario.

For those with a general interest in this subject, the website is worth a visit for learning more about the Italian Canadians’ experience during World War II. For those with a genealogical interest, it might be very useful for finding names of relatives or ancestors during this time frame.

Source:

1. “About Us”, Italian Canadians as Enemy Aliens: Memories of World War II (http://www.italiancanadianww2.ca/static_pages/freeformpage/footer_about_us : accessed 12 August 2014).

Copyright © 2014, Yvonne Demoskoff.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Wordless Wednesday: Butchart Gardens


My Mom Jacqueline (left) with her sisters Simone (centre) and Madeleine (right) in August 1980 at Butchart Gardens in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada.

Copyright © 2014, Yvonne Demoskoff.

Friday, August 08, 2014

52 Ancestors: #32 Pierre Desgroseilliers, buried and reburied

Amy Johnson Crow at No Story Too Small has issued herself and her readers a challenge for 2014. It’s called “52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks”, and as Amy explains, the challenge is to “have one blog post each week devoted to a specific ancestor. It could be a story, a biography, a photograph, an outline of a research problem — anything that focuses on one ancestor”.

For the 32nd week of this challenge, I chose Pierre Desgroseilliers (1841-1904).


Pierre is my maternal great-great-grandfather and is number 24 in my ancestor list.


He was born on 11 June 1841 in Ste-Martine, Châteauguay County, Quebec. [1] He was the seventh child and third son of François Desgroseilliers by his wife Elisabeth (Isabelle) Lemieux. On 7 November 1865, Pierre married Flavie Lepage in St-Chrysostôme, also in Châteauguay County. [2] The couple had thirteen children – seven sons and six daughters – between 1866 and 1890. The family moved to the relative wilderness area known as Grand Brûlé, now St-Charles, south of present-day Sudbury, Ontario, in the late 1890s.


A little over a year ago, I wrote an article about determining when Pierre died. I wanted to show that he couldn’t have died in 1901 as seen in a local history book that was published in 1945. [3] You can read about it here in Proof Summary: Pierre Desgroseilliers’ Death Date.


That publication might have been wrong about Pierre’s date of death, but it also had interesting details about his life in St-Charles.


For example, Pierre was the “premier villageois” (first villager) in that community, although he wasn’t the first inhabitant in the area. [4] In 1901, Reverend Father Charles Langlois, the curate of nearby Verner, occasionally celebrated Mass at Pierre’s house, located on Lot 12, Concession 1 in Dunnet. [5] A few years later, Pierre was one of three men who chose the site for the new church, after the two earlier chapels were destroyed by fire in 1900 and 1903, respectively. [6]


One particularly interesting item stands out in the text, though.

View of a cemetery

The first Roman Catholic cemetery in St-Charles was located close to the first chapel built in 1900, on a small hillside shaded by tall willow trees. [7]


There was a problem with the land, though: it didn’t drain well. A committee decided to relocate the cemetery on a new plot of land. Accordingly, the coffins from the first cemetery were exhumed and moved to the new location. Pierre Desgroseilliers was among the souls who were relocated. [8]


Unfortunately, this second location proved just as difficult to drain, so much so, that it wasn’t unusual to see coffins floating to the surface. And so, a third location was considered in 1939, but in the end, the parish kept the current cemetery, having levelled it and drained it. [9]


And that’s how my great-great-grandfather Pierre Desgroseilliers was buried and reburied.


Image source: Microsoft Clip Art.


Sources:


1. Ste-Martine (Ste-Martine, Quebec), parish register, 1841, p. 21 verso, entry no. B.8115, Pierre Desgroseilliers baptism, 12 June 1841; Ste-Martine parish; digital image, “Quebec Vital and Church Records (Drouin Collection), 1621-1967”, Ancestry.ca (http://www.ancestry.ca : accessed 24 August 2007).


2. St-Chrysostôme (St-Chrysostôme, Quebec), parish register, 1865, p. 27 verso, entry no. M.26, Desgroseilliers – Lepage marriage, 7 November 1865; St-Chrysostôme parish; digital image, “Quebec Vital and Church Records (Drouin Collection), 1621-1967”, Ancestry.ca (http://www.ancestry.ca : accessed 24 August 2007).


3. Lionel Séguin, Historique de la paroisse Saint-Charles (Saint-Charles, Ont., 1945: 232); digital images, Our Roots (http://www.ourroots.ca/ : accessed 18 June 2013).


4. Séguin, Historique de la paroisse Saint-Charles, 129. The townships of Appleby, of Jennings and of Casimir, known as St-Charles, were established as a municipality in 1908.


5. Séguin, Historique de la paroisse Saint-Charles, 342.


6. Séguin, Historique de la paroisse Saint-Charles, 43-45. The other two men were Reverend Father Charles Langlois and Antoine Chaloux.


7. Séguin, Historique de la paroisse Saint-Charles, 51.


8. Séguin, Historique de la paroisse Saint-Charles, 52. To view Pierre's gravemarker, click on image "desgros2" at St Charles Cemetery (Dunnet Township).


9. Séguin, Historique de la paroisse Saint-Charles, 52.


Copyright © 2014, Yvonne Demoskoff.

Wednesday, August 06, 2014

Workday Wednesday: The Bridge Accident

My grandfather Fred Belair was a steel worker for the Dominion Bridge Company in the 1920s and early 1930s. While working on the new bridge in Montreal, Quebec in the afternoon of 5 August 1929, he was “struck by [an iron] beam which fell on him”. He sustained a “fractured right thigh and open fracture of the leg”. [1]

His accident was reported in at least two Montreal newspapers: in English in The Gazette and in French in La Presse [2]. Both articles misspelled his surname (Blair instead of Belair).

The Montreal Gazette newspaper clipping
The Gazette (6 August 1929)
La Presse Montreal newspaper clipping
La Presse (6 August 1929)

This new bridge must have been Montreal Harbour Bridge (renamed Jacques Cartier Bridge in 1934) that Dominion Bridge constructed between 1925 and 1930. [3]

Jacques Cartier Bridge in Montreal in 1936
S.S. "Duchess of Richmond" passing under Montreal Harbour Bridge, Montreal, P.Q. (1936)*

* Photo credit: Canada. Dept. of Interior / Library and Archives Canada / PA-044424.

The accident was serious enough to keep my Pépère Fred in Notre-Dame hospital for a few weeks. I wonder how my grandmother Julie coped during his hospitalization? Not only did she have their two year old son Maurice (my father) to care for, she  was also eight months pregnant.

Fred was still in Notre-Dame when Julie gave birth there to a baby girl (my Aunt Joan) on September 1st. How was life for their little family once Fred and Julie were back at home? Did my grandfather return to work or did he lose his job because of his enforced absence from the Dominion Bridge Company? How did they manage to pay their hospital bills? Did neighbors help my grandmother care for her newborn and toddler? (As far as I know, they didn't have relatives living with them in Montreal.)

I don’t know if or what kind of operation my grandfather might have needed during his hospital stay. Come to think of it, I also don’t know who cared for my Dad while both his parents were in hospital. Somehow those details were never brought up in any of the conversations I had about this subject with my grandfather, my Dad or my Aunt.

One thing I do know, though, is that my grandfather Fred was left with a slightly shorter leg and walked with a bit of a limp.

Sources:

1. “Bridge Worker Hurt”, The Gazette (Montreal, Quebec), 6 August 1929, p. 5, col. 5; digital images, Google News Archive (http://news.google.ca : accessed 4 May 2011).

2. “Accident au nouveau pont de Montréal”, undated clipping, ca August 1929, La Presse, Montreal, Quebec; privately held by Joan (Belair) Laneville, 2014. Joan, who was Fred’s elder daughter, allowed her niece Yvonne (Belair) Demoskoff to scan the image while visiting her home in May 2014.

3. Wikipedia contributors, "Jacques Cartier Bridge", Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Jacques_Cartier_Bridge&oldid=613822624 : accessed 4 August 2014).

Copyright © 2014, Yvonne Demoskoff.

Tuesday, August 05, 2014

Our 25th Wedding Anniversary

Today, my husband Michael and I celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary.

Yvonne and Michael on their wedding day

We were married at Our Lady of Good Hope church on 5 August 1989 in the small town of Hope, British Columbia. Father Kevin Silke, o.m.i, an Irish-born priest, celebrated our wedding mass.

My parents gave me away, and I was attended by my sister Marianne, my sister-in-law Margaret, my brother Raymond and my brother-in-law Gabriel, as well as my niece Natalie and her brother Jason as flower girl and ring bearer, respectively.

It was a gloriously hot and sunny day. The ceremony went well, as did the photo taking at the photographer’s studio. We looked forward to joining our guests at the golf and country club and have our wedding supper.

Not long after we arrived, though, we found out that the air conditioning system had stopped working. During the meal, my mother brought me the bad news that someone left our beautiful wedding cake in a closed room where it partially melted. Later, just as we prepared to leave, we found out that the keys were locked in our car.

But never mind! We’re still here and still in love after all these years!

Copyright © 2014, Yvonne Demoskoff.

Sunday, August 03, 2014

Census Sunday: The Vanasse Family and the 1921 Census

1921 census of Canada
1921 census of Canada (Chichester Township, Quebec) [1]

My paternal grandmother Julie Vanasse was enumerated on the 1921 census of Canada. [2] She, her parents and some of her siblings lived in rural Chichester, Pontiac County, Quebec.

Julie was born on 31 August 1896, so her presence on the 1921 census marks her third appearance on a federal Canadian census.

Cropped version of 1921  Chichester Township census

The family’s surname is spelled Venasse on the above images, but is indexed Vinson in the census database at Ancestry.ca.

There were eight members in the household: head of family Oliver (54), wife Elizabeth (54), and children Mary Ann (31), Willie (28), my grandmother Julia (24), Joseph (23), David (18) and Agnes (15). Three other children, eldest son George, and younger daughters Celia and Cora, lived in their own homes or in other communities.

Although the census form is bilingual (French and English), the responses are in English. I don’t see a date on this return, but the official census date was 1 June 1911. [3]

Oliver is a farmer. He owns his house, which is constructed of wood and has four occupied rooms. [4] The family is Roman Catholic, all its members were born in the province of Quebec, Oliver cannot read or write, his wife Elizabeth can write, and all their children can read and write. The family speaks French and English.

The thing that strikes me the most interesting about my Vanasse great-grandparents’ family on this census is that almost all of their unmarried children lived at home. I would expect to see teenager Agnes and perhaps her 18-year-old brother David still at home, but the others are between 23 and 31 years old and of an age to be living in their own homes or working out of town. I like to think that this nearly complete household means that they were a particularly close and united family.

Sources:

1. 1921 census of Canada, Chichester Township, Pontiac-Témiscamingue-Abitibi, Quebec, population schedule, subdistrict 7, p. 7, dwelling 49, family 49, Oliver Venasse [sic] household; digital images, Ancestry.ca (http://www.ancestry.ca : accessed 8 August 2013); citing Library and Archives Canada, Sixth Census of Canada, 1921. Ottawa, Ontario, Canada: Library and Archives Canada, 2013. Series RG31. Statistics Canada Fonds.

2. 1921 census of Canada, Chichester Township, Pontiac-Témiscamingue-Abitibi, Quebec, pop. sched., subdist. 7, p. 1, dwel. 49, fam. 49, Oliver Venasse [sic] household.

3. Dave Obee, Counting Canada: A Genealogical Guide to the Canadian Census (Victoria, BC: Dave Obee, 2012), 160.

4. “1921 Canada Census Enumerator Instructions”, Ontario (Upper Canada) Genealogy and History - 1921 Canada Census Information (http://www.ontariogenealogy.com/1921canadacensusinformation.html : accessed 2 August 2014), entries no. 73, 77 and 78.

Copyright © 2014, Yvonne Demoskoff.

Saturday, August 02, 2014

Sibling Saturday: Maurice Belair, the eldest of six

Maurice Belair
Maurice in early 1928

Today – August 2 – would have been my father’s 87th birthday. He passed away 18 years ago, but his family does not forget him, and later today we will spend time remembering him when we visit his grave.

Dad was the eldest of his parents Fred and Julie’s six children. Dad and his little sister who died at birth were born in Ottawa, where my grandparents married in October 1926. The next two children, Joan and Ray, were born in Montreal, Quebec, where my grandfather Fred was an ironworker. After my grandparents settled in northern Ontario in the mid-1930s, their fifth child Darlene was born at the hospital in Cochrane. The last child, a little boy named Joseph, was born at home in Fauquier, but he lived only one hour.

My aunts and uncles in birth order:

• Maurice, born 2 August 1927, died 6 May 1996

• An unnamed daughter, born and died 29 June 1928

• Jeanne (Joan), born 1 September 1929

• Raymond (Ray), born 19 January 1931

• Darlene, born 18 October 1935

• Joseph, born and died 31 January 1937

Maurice Belair with his sister Joan and their cousin Lucille
Maurice (right) with his baby sister Joan and their cousin Lucille (left), 1930

Maurice Belair with his siblings and young cousins
Dad (centre) with his brother and sisters and their young cousins, about 1941

Maurice with his mother and sister and brother
Dad (centre) with his mother Julie and his brother Ray and sister Darlene, about 1943


Copyright © 2014, Yvonne Demoskoff.

Friday, August 01, 2014

52 Ancestors: #31 My parents are 6th cousins

Amy Johnson Crow at No Story Too Small has issued herself and her readers a challenge for 2014. It’s called “52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks”, and as Amy explains, the challenge is to “have one blog post each week devoted to a specific ancestor. It could be a story, a biography, a photograph, an outline of a research problem — anything that focuses on one ancestor”.

For the 31st week of this challenge, I chose my late father Maurice Belair (1927-1996).

My Dad, who passed away 18 years ago, knew that he and Mom were related. I showed him a chart I made after discovering their most recent common ancestors, a couple named Paul Martel and Marie Madeleine Guillot, who married in 1698 on Ile d’Orléans near Quebec City.

Here’s the chart I originally created in 1986, which I updated for my blog. It shows how my Mom Jacqueline is the 6th cousin twice removed of my Dad Maurice.




Copyright © 2014, Yvonne Demoskoff.