Thursday, December 24, 2015

Merry Christmas 2015

Christmas tree


From my family to yours:

a
 very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!


Copyright © 2015, Yvonne Demoskoff.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Wordless Wednesday: Christmas 1994

Nicholas Demoskoff on Christmas 1994

My son Nicholas at Mémère and Pépère’s house, Christmas 1994.

Copyright © 2015, Yvonne Demoskoff.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Treasure Chest Thursday: The Papal Benediction

In early 1980, I heard (probably from our parish priest or one of the teaching nuns) that Roman Catholics could request a papal benediction for events like wedding anniversaries. I decided to submit a letter asking for this privilege, with the idea that I would give the document to my parents Maurice and Jacqueline for their 25th wedding anniversary later that year.

Thirty-five years have gone by, and I’ve pretty much forgotten most of the details about that time. For example, did I write a free-form letter or did I have to fill out a special form; did I sent it through the diocese or directly to the Vatican; was there a cost or was it free?

A few months later, I received an envelope from Rome. If I remember correctly, the colourful document came rolled. The text, done in calligraphy, is written with red and black inks. It features the Papal seal (in the lower left centre). The parchment measures about 25.5 cm x 33 cm (about 10” x 13”).


As I read the text, I was surprised to see that the author gave an incorrect last name for my parents (“Melvin” instead of “Belair”). I couldn’t give the certificate to Mom and Dad the way it was, so I approached one of our church’s nuns to see if she had any suggestions. She knew a local artist who might be able to make the necessary correction. I gave her the certificate and kept my fingers crossed.

After the document was altered, I took it to an art and framing store in a nearby town. All that was left now was to gift wrap the newly-framed blessing and present it to my parents, which I did on their anniversary on December 18, 1980. They were very surprised, but also very happy, to receive such a special and unexpected gift.


If you’d like information about papal benedictions, visit Office of Papal Charities – Vatican City.

Copyright © 2015, Yvonne Demoskoff.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Wednesday, December 09, 2015

Monday, December 07, 2015

52 Ancestors 2015: #49 – Fred and Marianne’s December birthdays

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

For the 49th week of this challenge, I used the optional weekly theme (Holidays) to write about my paternal grandfather Fred and my sister Marianne.


Fred Belair and Marianne Belair on their birthday in December 1975

I’ve already written about my Pépère Fred in last year’s edition of 52 Ancestors (52 Ancestors: #2 Fred Belair), but since Amy’s theme this week consists of “what ancestor do the holidays put you in mind of?”, well, that has to be my grandfather and my sister, whose birthdays were celebrated the week before Christmas.

Fred was born on November 26, 1889, but maintained that his date of birth was December 18, 1889. Many years ago, he explained to me that the December date was his real birthday, because his parish church’s sacramental registers burned and when they were restored, an incorrect date of birth was entered into his baptism record.

December 18 was not only important because of my grandfather, but for three other family members: my mother’s eldest sister Mariette was born on that date in 1927, my parents married on that date in 1954, and my sister Marianne was born on that date in 1960.

We didn’t have the opportunity to celebrate my aunt Mariette’s birthday (she lived 960 km (about 597 miles) away in southwestern Ontario), but Mom would send her a birthday card and we would definitely think of her on her day.

On the other hand, we celebrated my grandfather Fred’s birthday every year, because he lived only a couple of houses from us on Commercial Avenue in Timmins. After we moved a few blocks away and then later to another part of town, we still got together for his birthday either at our house or at the house of his daughter Joan, my aunt and godmother.

When Marianne was young, she’d usually have a party at home with her little friends and our cousins, complete with her own cake. If it was a double birthday, Mom or Aunt Joan would host the party, bake a cake for Pépère and Marianne, and invite a few friends and neighbors.


Fred Belair and Marianne Belair on their birthday in December 1975

These two photos were taken on Pépère's 86th birthday and Marianne’s 15th birthday in December 1975. We were at my Aunt Joan’s house that year.

Copyright © 2015, Yvonne Demoskoff.

Sunday, December 06, 2015

Sunday’s Obituary: Olivier Vanasse (1863-1944)

Olivier Vanasse 1944 obituary
Olivier Vanasse obituary (The Evening Citizen)

My paternal great-grandfather Olivier Vanasse passed away seventy-one years ago on 7 December 1944. That’s the date according to his death registration and The Evening Citizen of 8 December 1944. [1] However, The Ottawa Journal of 9 December 1944 gives a different date: “yesterday”, that is, 8 December 1944. [2]

Both newspapers, though, agree that he died at home after an illness of two years.

Olivier was survived by his wife Elizabeth and their children, Mary, George, William, Cecilia (Celia), Julie (my grandmother), Joseph, Corinne (Cora), David, and Agnes (Aggie).

Sources:

1. “Mariages et décès 1926-1997”, database, Généalogie Québec.com (https://www.genealogiequebec.com : accessed 3 September 2009), death entry for Olivier Vanasse, 7 December 1944. Also, “Olivier Vanasse”, obituary, The (Ottawa, Ontario, Canada) Evening Citizen, 8 December 1944, p. 14, col. 3; digital images, Google News (http://news.google.com/newspapers : accessed 18 February 2014), News Archive Search.

2. “Ontario, Canada, The Ottawa Journal (Birth, Marriage and Death Notices), 1885-1980”, digital images, Ancestry.ca (http://www.ancestry.ca : accessed 2 July 2013), Olivier Vanasse obituary; citing The Ottawa Journal, 9 December 1944, p. 17, col. 4; City of Ottawa Archive, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada; database created from microfilm copies of the newspaper.

Copyright © 2015, Yvonne Demoskoff.

Wednesday, December 02, 2015

Tuesday, December 01, 2015

Imelda Desgroseilliers (1917-1935), A Young Death

Born on 14 September 1917 in St. Charles, south of Sudbury, Ontario, Imelda was the 14th of 16 children of Prospère and Emma (Beaulne) Desgroseilliers. [1] She was my maternal grandfather Eugène Desgroseilliers’ first cousin. 

Imelda Desgroseilliers (1917-1935) baptism record
Imelda Desgroseilliers baptism record (Ancestry.ca)

Eighty years ago today, on 1 December 1935, Imelda died in St. Paul’s Hospital in Hearst, in northeastern Ontario. [2]

Earlier that year in February, 17-year-old Imelda married Armand Lachance. [3] Almost immediately, she became pregnant.

Nine months later, Imelda gave birth to a son on 24 November 1935 in St. Paul’s Hospital; it was a “prolonged and difficult” delivery. [4] This serious situation led to “asphyxia neonatorum” for her child. [5] Newborn Joseph Armand did not get enough oxygen during the birth process; he lived only ten hours. [6]

Six days later, Imelda was dead; she was just 18 years old. The cause: pulmonary embolism due to puerperal infection. [7] One or more blood clots, presumably originating in her leg, dislodged and travelled up to Imelda’s lung(s). [8] The contributory cause, puerperal infection, is a “bacterial infection of the female reproductive tract following childbirth or miscarriage”. [9] Some symptoms are fever, chills, and lower abdominal pain. Puerperal infection “usually occurs after the first 24 hours and within the first ten days following delivery”. [10] Modern medical treatment and antibiotics might have saved Imelda’s life. [11]

Imelda Desgroseilliers (1917-1935) death registration
Imelda Desgroseilliers death registration (Ancestry.ca)

Imelda was buried on 3 December 1935 in Hallewood (now Hallebourg), near Hearst. [12] Her memory lived on in her family when her brother Armand named his eldest daughter ‘Imelda’ when she was born in June 1939. [13]

Sources:

1. St-Charles (St. Charles, Ontario), parish register, 1902-1925, p. 321 stamped, entry no. 27 (1917), Marie Imelda Adrienne Désgroseillier (written as Marie Imelda Adrienne Désgroseillier, indexed as Marie Imelda Adrienne Desgroseillier) baptism, 16 September 1917; St-Charles parish; digital images, “Ontario, Canada, Catholic Church Records (Drouin Collection), 1747-1967”, Ancestry.ca (http://www.ancestry.ca : accessed 23 May 2013). Imelda’s baptism record gives her date of birth.

2. “Ontario, Canada, Deaths, 1869-1938 and Deaths Overseas, 1939-1947”, digital images, Ancestry.ca (http://www.ancestry.ca : accessed 22 May 2013), entry for Emelda Lachance [sic], 1 December 1935; citing Archives of Ontario, Registrations of Deaths, 1869-1938; Toronto, Ontario, Canada: Archives of Ontario; microfilm series MS935, reel 508.

3. St-Charles, parish register, 1902-1925, p. 321 stamped, Marie Imelda Adrienne Désgroseillier baptism, 16 September 1917. Imelda’s date and place of marriage appear as a notation in her baptism record.

4. “Ontario, Canada, Deaths, 1869-1938 and Deaths Overseas, 1939-1947”, digital images, Ancestry.ca (http://www.ancestry.ca : accessed 22 November 2015), entry for Joseph Armand Lachance, 25 November 1935; citing Archives of Ontario, Registrations of Deaths, 1869-1938; Toronto, Ontario, Canada: Archives of Ontario; microfilm series MS935, reel 507.

5. “Ontario, Canada, Deaths, 1869-1938 and Deaths Overseas, 1939-1947”, digital images, Ancestry.ca, entry for Joseph Armand Lachance, 25 November 1935.

6. “Ontario, Canada, Deaths, 1869-1938 and Deaths Overseas, 1939-1947”, digital images, Ancestry.ca, entry for Joseph Armand Lachance, 25 November 1935.

7. “Ontario, Canada, Deaths, 1869-1938 and Deaths Overseas, 1939-1947”, digital images, Ancestry.ca, entry for Emelda Lachance, 1 December 1935.

8. “Diseases and Conditions”, database, Mayo Clinic (http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/pulmonary-embolism/multimedia/pulmonary-embolism/img-20006463 : accessed 30 November 2015), “pulmonary embolism”.

9. Wikipedia contributors, "Puerperal infections", Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Puerperal_infections&oldid=681922803 : accessed 30 November 2015).

10. Wikipedia contributors, "Puerperal infections", Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia.

11. Wikipedia contributors, "Puerperal infections", Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia.

12. “Ontario, Canada, Deaths, 1869-1938 and Deaths Overseas, 1939-1947”, digital images, Ancestry.ca, entry for Emelda Lachance, 1 December 1935.

13. St-Michel-Archange (Rouyn, Quebec), parish register, 1939, p. 41 verso, entry no. B.121, Imelda Anna Maria Desgroseillers [sic] baptism, 3 July 1939; St-Michel-Archange parish; digital images, “Quebec Vital and Church Records (Drouin Collection), 1621-1967”, Ancestry.ca (http://www.ancestry.ca : accessed 30 November 2015).

Copyright © 2015, Yvonne Demoskoff.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Thriller Thursday: DesGroseilliers Family Held Hostage at Home

It was 60 years ago today – November 26, 1955 – that the "reign of terror" began for Victor DesGroseilliers (a distant cousin of my mother) of Cornwall, Ontario. He and his family were held hostage in their home for five hours during a robbery. [1]
Desgroseilliers family hostages in 1955
"Five Hours of Terror" (Ancestry.ca)

Here’s a timeline of those events.

Evening:
Victor, a Dominion supermarket manager, and his wife Thérèse are out at friends playing bridge. Eldest son Robert (16) is home, while his brother Roland (15) and his sister Louise (5) are sleeping. A man knocks at the front door of the modest bungalow on Bryden Avenue; he asks if Robert’s father is home. He replies that he is out, but that he will be back about midnight. The man says he’ll return at that time and leaves. Robert tries to telephone his father, but “the telephone wouldn’t work”, Robert later said. (The “thieves had carefully cut the wires”, according to the police.) [2]

About 12:15 a.m.:
The man is back at the house, but Robert’s parents still aren’t home. He asks if he can wait; Robert says yes and the man sits in the living room. Robert notices that the man is “very nervous and uneasy” and that he keeps his left hand in his overcoat pocket. [3]

A few minutes later:
The man says he hears someone at the door and gets up; he lets a man in. Robert sees that this second man has a white handkerchief around his face and carries what looks like a sawed-off shotgun. The first man removes his hand from his coat pocket and holds what appears to be a German Luger. The men tell Robert to go wake his brother.

As Victor and Thérèse drive up to their house, they notice a man entering their home. Concerned, Victor walks into his house and heads toward the kitchen saying, “What is going on here!” [4] Suddenly, the kitchen light goes on and Victor and Thérèse find guns pointed at them.

The family is told to sit on the kitchen floor. The gunmen make them face the wall and tie them up with cords they brought with them. When those aren’t enough to bind them, the gunmen cut more cords from the house’s Venetian blinds. They then tell Victor they want his keys to the grocery store and the combination of its safe.

A short while later:
The gunmen leave, but the family hears someone outside. Soon, the men return telling Victor they could not open the safe. They ask him to repeat the combination number and then one gunman leaves. The other gunman notices a bedroom and asks whose it is. He’s told that it’s Ghislaine’s room, but that she will not be home for a while.

About 3 a.m.:
Ghislaine (20) and her friend Laurent Langlois (23) arrive back home from a dance. As they open the front door, they hear her mother say in French, “Don’t let Laurent in … don’t let Laurent in.” At that moment, Laurent feels a gun at his back; someone tells him, “Shut up or I’ll blast you.” [5]

Laurent and Ghislaine are pulled into the kitchen. A gunman “[ties] a rope from [Laurent’s] neck to the cellar door knob”. [6] He if moves or twists, the rope gets tighter. A handkerchief is stuffed into his mouth and secured with adhesive tape.

The gunmen laugh at “the sight of the captives spread over the kitchen floor”. They talk about how “big a hole the bullets in the gun would make [in the hostages]”. [7]

Sometime later:
The gunmen blindfold Victor and take him to the grocery store, about two miles away from his home. The family is warned that “If anybody moves my friend [outside] will take care of you.” [8]

At the store, the gunmen force Victor to open the safe, which is located “just inside the well-lighted, all glass front” supermarket. The gunmen begin to put the safe’s money ($17,451.00) into carrying cases. [9] Suddenly, they hear the store’s door lock being tested. It is a Cornwall police officer who is on his night rounds. One of the men puts a gun to Victor’s back and threatens him to not make a sound. After the officer leaves, the gunmen re-tie Victor and place him behind a counter. The robbers leave the grocery store.
Victor DesGroseilliers held hostage in 1955
"Five Hours of Terror" (Ancestry.ca)

About 5:20 a.m.:
Victor manages to free an arm and calls the police. Road blocks are set up, but the thieves escape.

Postscript

Victor and his family could not identify the four gunmen when police showed them pictures of suspects. Laurent thought they sounded Italian when they spoke. He said some were about 5’11” and others over 6’ tall. They wore long overcoats, and white masks and caps over their eyes. Louise said they had “funny faces”. [10] Nevertheless, one of them, 30-year-old Irwin William Stata, was captured the next night in Brantford, west of Toronto. [11] He later pleaded guilty at his trial and was sentenced to ten years in penitentiary. Stata was on parole the night he committed the Cornwall armed robbery. He had served ten years of an 18 year sentence for manslaughter. [12]

Sources:

1. “Five Hours of Terror”, The Journal (Ottawa, Ontario, Canada), 28 November 1955, p. 1; digital images, Ancestry.ca (http://ancestry.ca : accessed 23 November 2015), Newspapers & Publications.

2. “Five Hours of Terror”, The Journal, 28 November 1955, p. 1.

3. “Five Hours of Terror”, The Journal, 28 November 1955, p. 1.

4. “Five Hours of Terror”, The Journal, 28 November 1955, p. 1.

5. “Five Hours of Terror”, The Journal, 28 November 1955, p. 3.

6. “Five Hours of Terror”, The Journal, 28 November 1955, p. 3.

7. “Five Hours of Terror”, The Journal, 28 November 1955, p. 3.

8. “Five Hours of Terror”, The Journal, 28 November 1955, p. 3.

9. “Admits $17,451 Cornwall Robbery”, The Journal (Ottawa, Ontario, Canada), 14 December 1955, p. 1; digital images, Newspapers.com (http://www.newspapers.com : accessed 23 November 2015).

10. “Five Hours of Terror”, The Journal, 28 November 1955, p. 3.

11. “Five Hours of Terror”, The Journal, 28 November 1955, p. 1.

12. “Cornwall Robber Gets 10 Years”, The Ottawa (Ontario, Canada) Evening Journal, 21 December 1955, p. 1; digital images, Newspapers.com (http://www.newspapers.com : accessed 23 November 2015).

Copyright © 2015, Yvonne Demoskoff.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Sunday’s Obituary: Célestin Desgroseilliers

Celestin Desgroseilliers obituary 1957

Célestin Desgroseilliers passed away 58 years ago on 22 November 1957 in Ottawa, Ontario. [1] He was a younger brother of my maternal great-grandfather Albert Desgroseilliers. Célestin was born on 19 November 1881 in Embrun, Russell County, Ontario. He was the ninth child and sixth son of Pierre and Flavie (Lepage) Desgroseilliers.

In January 1904, Célestin married Fabiana Gauthier, by whom he had ten children. He and at least two of his brothers (Prospère and Albert) were tall men. He was a merchant in Sturgeon Falls and in Kapuskasing, Ontario before relocating to Ottawa in the mid-1950s.

Célestin died in hospital after a short illness. He was survived by his wife, 8 children, 16 grandchildren, and 5 great-grandchildren.

Source:

1. “Ontario, Canada, The Ottawa Journal (Birth, Marriage and Death Notices), 1885-1980”, digital images, Ancestry.ca (http://www.ancestry.ca : accessed 21 November 2015), Celestin Desgroseilliers death notice; citing The Ottawa Journal, 23 November 1957, p. 24, col. 1; City of Ottawa Archive, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada; database created from microfilm copies of the newspaper.

Copyright © 2015, Yvonne Demoskoff.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Wednesday’s Child: Lina Desgroseilliers (1905-1915)

2015 marks the 100th anniversary of the death of Lina Desgroseilliers, my first cousin twice removed. I meant to have this article appear on my blog in April, but didn’t get around to it.

Lina was born on 20 April 1905 in St. Charles, Ontario. [1] She was the sixth child and fifth daughter of Joseph and Azéline (Lemieux) Desgroseilliers. Joseph was the eldest brother of my maternal great-grandfather Albert Desgroseilliers.
Lina Desgroseilliers birth registration 1905
Lina Desgroseilliers' birth registration (Ancestry.ca)

At her baptism on 23 April, Lina received three names: Marie Marguerite Lina. Her godparents were her father’s brother Célestin and his wife Fabiana (Gauthier) Desgroseilliers. [2]

A few years earlier, Lina’s parents and their elder children left Russell County in southeastern Ontario for an area in northeastern Ontario that had recently opened up to colonisation. This settlement, Grand Brûlé, located south of Sudbury, would soon be known as St. Charles. Here, Joseph earned his living as a merchant, one of the first in the region. [3] He and Azéline had nine children: Liliane, Alice, Corinne, Florence, Hormidas, Lina, Léo, Alphège, and Lionel.

Tragedy struck the family in the spring of 1915 when Lina died suddenly a few days after her 10th birthday. [4] She was buried on 29 April 1915 in St. Charles. [5]

Lina Desgroseilliers burial record 1915
Lina Desgroseilliers' burial record (Ancestry.ca)

Neither Lina’s burial record nor her death registration gives a cause of death. Instead, I found that information in her family’s entry in the history of St. Charles published in 1945. According to that source, Lina died accidently “à la suite d’absorption de chlore” (after swallowing chlorine). [6]

A heart-breaking end to a short life. Rest in peace, my cousin.

Sources:

1. “Ontario, Canada Births, 1869-1913”, digital images, Ancestry.ca (http://www.ancestry.ca : accessed 16 April 2015), entry for Marie Desgrosillier [sic], 20 April 1905; citing Archives of Ontario, Registrations of Births and Stillbirths – 1869-1913; Toronto, Ontario, Canada: Archives of Ontario; microfilm series MS929, reel 180.

2. St-Charles (St-Charles, Ontario), parish register, 1902-1925, p. 8 stamped, no entry no. (1905), Marie Marguerite Lina Desgroseilliers baptism, 23 April 1905; St-Charles parish; digital images, “Ontario, Canada, Catholic Church Records (Drouin Collection), 1747-1967”, Ancestry.ca (http://www.ancestry.ca : accessed 16 April 2015).

3. Lionel Séguin, Historique de la paroisse Saint-Charles (Saint-Charles, Ont., 1945), 231; digital images; Our Roots / Nos Racines (http://www.ourroots.ca : accessed 22 July 2014).

4. “Ontario, Canada, Deaths, 1869-1938 and Deaths Overseas, 1939-1947”, digital images, Ancestry.ca (http://www.ancestry.ca : accessed 16 April 2015), entry for Lina Desgross[ei]lliers (written as Lina Desgross[ei]lliers, indexed as Lina Desgrawcelliers), 29 April 1915; citing Archives of Ontario, Registrations of Deaths, 1869-1938; Toronto, Ontario, Canada: Archives of Ontario; microfilm series MS935, reel 213.

5. St-Charles (St-Charles, Ontario), parish register, 1909-1967, p. 55 stamped, entry no. 4 (1915), Lina Desgroselliers [sic] burial, 29 April 1915; St-Charles parish; digital images, “Ontario, Canada, Catholic Church Records (Drouin Collection), 1747-1967”, Ancestry.ca (http://www.ancestry.ca : accessed 16 April 2015).

6. Séguin, Historique de la paroisse Saint-Charles, 231.

Copyright © 2015, Yvonne Demoskoff.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Tombstone Tuesday: William Guy Holden

William Holden gravemarker

William Guy Holden, known as William, was born on 2 June 1893 in North Bay, Ontario. Son of Anastasia Holden, he was recruited during World War I in 1917.

William married Cora Gagnon, a first cousin of my grandmother Julie (Vanasse) Belair, on 26 February 1927 in Ottawa, Ontario. (I wrote about Cora’s burial last month in Tombstone Tuesday: Cora Holden.) Later, William and Cora moved north to Timmins, where he worked as a miner.

William died in 1968. He was interred next to his wife in Whitney Cemetery, Porcupine, near Timmins. My husband photographed their gravemarkers during our visit to my old hometown in May 2014.

William’s gravemarker reads:


WILLIAM 
Beloved Husband of Cora 
1893 – 1968 
Rest in Peace

Copyright © 2015, Yvonne Demoskoff.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Remembrance Day 2015


Poppy


Today, November 11, is Remembrance Day. Let us take time to remember and pay tribute to our Canadian veterans.

Copyright © 2015, Yvonne Demoskoff.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Tombstone Tuesday: Cora Holden

Cora Gagnon Holden gravemarker

Cora was a younger daughter of François and Julia (Vanasse) Gagnon. She was born on 19 December 1902 in Chapeau (or Chichester), Quebec. She and my paternal grandmother, Julie (Vanasse) Belair, were first cousins.

Like her sisters Mary and Albertine, Cora left their home village in the 1920s to seek work in Ottawa, Canada’s capital. (I’ve written about Albertine and Cora in Sibling Saturday: Albertine and Cora Gagnon.) Here, she married William Guy Holden in February 1927. They couple eventually moved to Timmins in northern Ontario, where Cora’s cousin Julie lived.

Cora died in 1973 and was interred next to her husband William in Whitney Cemetery, Porcupine, near Timmins. My husband photographed their gravemarkers during our visit to my old hometown in May 2014.

Cora’s gravemarker reads:


CORA 
Beloved Wife of William 
1902 – 1973 
Rest in Peace

Copyright © 2015, Yvonne Demoskoff.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Church Record Sunday: Joseph Vanasse’s 1838 Baptism Record

For today’s CRS, I’m featuring a baptism record, since I wrote about burial records for the past two Sundays.

Joseph Vanasse, no. 22 in my ancestor list, is my 2x paternal great-grandfather. A younger son of (Jean François) Régis Vanasse, a cultivateur (farmer), and his wife Josephte Messier, Joseph had eleven siblings – six brothers and five sisters. His older brother Olivier (1832-1914) is also my ancestor (he's no. 20), because his son, Olivier, married Joseph’s daughter Elisabeth.

Joseph was born on 17 October 1838, presumably in the parish of St-Michel in Yamaska, where his parents resided at the time of his baptism. He was baptized the next day (October 18) in nearby St-David, Yamaska County, Quebec. [1] Alternatively, the attending priest travelled to Yamaska where he baptized Joseph in St-Michel church, but recorded the event in St-David’s sacramental register.

Joseph Vanasse 1838 baptism record
Joseph Vanasse baptism record (FamilySearch)

The baptism record (above) reads in French:


“Le dix huit octobre mil huit cent trente / huit nous Pretre curé soussigné avons / baptisé Joseph né la veille du légitime / mariage de Regis Vanasse cultivateur / et de Josephte Mainsier [sic] de la paroisse de St- / Michel dYamaska, parrain Antoine / Vanasse marraine Marguerite Vanasse / qui ont déclaré ne savoir signer.”

In English:

“The 18 October 1838 / we undersigned priest curate have / baptized Joseph born the previous evening of the / legitimate marriage of Regis Vanasse farmer / and of Josephte Mainsier of the parish of St- / Michel of Yamaska, godfather Antoine / Vanasse godmother Marguerite Vanasse / who have declared not able to sign [their names].”

The priest, J. Boucher, curé (curate) of St-David, recorded only the basic details. I wish he had added the relationship between newly-baptized Joseph and his godparents. His father Régis had a younger brother named Antoine, so he might be the godfather. As for Marguerite, she might be his father’s cousin, because Régis didn’t have a sister or an aunt by that name.

Source:

1. St-David (St-David, Quebec), parish register, 1835-1846, p. 65 verso, no entry no. (1838), Joseph Vanasse baptism, 18 October 1838; St-David parish; digital images, “Quebec, Catholic Parish Registers, 1621-1979”, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ : accessed 21 September 2015). Note: To access this browsable-only image, follow this path from the FamilySearch homepage: Search > Records > Canada > Quebec, Catholic Parish Registers, 1621-1979 > [Browse] > Saint-David > Saint-David > Index 1835-1876 Baptêmes,...ges, sépultures 1835-1846 > image 170 of 515.

Copyright © 2015, Yvonne Demoskoff.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

52 Ancestors 2015: #42 – André Bessette, a saint in the family

Saint Andre Bessette
Saint André Bessette

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

For the 42nd week of this challenge, I used the optional weekly theme (Proud) to write about Saint André Bessette, a distant relative of mine. After I read about his tireless work for the sick of Montreal, I felt very proud to know him. Today – 17 October 2015 – is the fifth anniversary of his canonization. He is the first Canadian-born male to receive this distinction. [1]

St. André and I have one or two, possibly more, sets of ancestors in common. For this article, I chose my maternal ancestors Jacques and Marie (Bouart) Antrade, immigrants from the province of Poitou, France to show how we are related. If you have French-Canadian ancestry, you quite possibly have this saint, too, in your family.

St. André was born Alfred Besset (var. Bessette) on 9 August 1845 in Mont-St-Grégoire, a village southeast of Montreal. [2] He chose André as his name when he joined the Congregation of Holy Cross as a lay brother in Montreal in December 1870. [3] Because of poor health, Brother André worked in a humble capacity for the Congregation. He was porter, sacristan, laundry worker, and messenger at its Notre-Dame College. [4] Brother André also cared for the sick – those who came to see him at the College and those he visited in their homes. When people were miraculously healed, he did not take credit, but believed it was due to the intercession of St. Joseph, for whom he had a special devotion, and to whom he prayed faithfully.

Led by this devotion, Brother André began construction of a chapel dedicated to St. Joseph in 1904. Soon, the small chapel gave way to a church, and later, to a basilica, also known as an oratory. Large crowds of people and pilgrims came to Saint Joseph to pray and to seek a cure for their ailments. As a sign of faith, those who were healed left behind their crutches. [5]

Oratoire Saint Joseph
Oratoire Saint-Joseph du Mont-Royal

Brother André died on 6 January 1937 in St-Laurent, now part of Montreal. His funeral was held at Saint Joseph Oratory on 12 January. The Archbishop of Quebec, the Lieutenant-Governor of Quebec, and the Premier of Quebec were among the dignitaries present. Also in attendance was “une immense foule” (
an immense crowd) not only from Montreal, but from the province of Quebec and the United States. [6]

On 23 May 1982, Brother André was beatified by Pope John Paul II as “Blessed André”. Twenty-eight years later, Pope Benedict XVI canonized him “Saint André Bessette” on 17 October 2010. [7] His feast day is January 6 in the USA and January 7 in Canada. [8]

Photo credit:

Saint André: Wikipedia contributors, "André Bessette", Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andr%C3%A9_Bessette : accessed 13 October 2015).

Saint Joseph Oratory: "Photo by Paolo Costa Baldi. License: GFDL/CC-BY-SA 3.0" (“Oratoire Saint-Joseph du Mont-Royal”, Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Oratoire_Saint-Joseph_du_Mont-Royal_-_Montreal.jpg : accessed 13 October 2015).

Sources:

1. “Saint Brother André: His Canonization”, Saint Joseph’s Oratory of Mount Royal (http://www.saint-joseph.org/en/sanctuary/saint-brother-andre/his-canonization : accessed 13 October 2015).

2. St-Grégoire-le-Grand (Mont-St-Grégoire, Quebec), parish register, 1845, p. 20 verso, entry no. B.92, Alfred Besset [sic] baptism, 10 August 1845; St-Grégoire-le-Grand parish; digital images, “Le LAFRANCE”, Généalogie Québec (http://www.genealogiequebec.com : accessed 13 October 2015).

3. “St. André Bessette”, Congregation of Holy Cross (http://www.holycrosscongregation.org/holy-ones/st-andre-bessette/ : accessed 13 October 2015).

4. Wikipedia contributors, "André Bessette", Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andr%C3%A9_Bessette : accessed 13 October 2015).

5. “St. André Bessette”, Congregation of Holy Cross (http://www.holycrosscongregation.org/holy-ones/st-andre-bessette/ : accessed 13 October 2015).

6. Notre-Dames-des-Neiges (Montreal, Quebec), parish register, 1937, p. 1 verso, entry no. S.1, Alfred Bessette burial, 12 January 1937; Notre-Dame-des-Neiges parish; digital images, Ancestry.ca (http://www.ancestry.ca : accessed 13 October 2015).

7. “St. André Bessette”, Congregation of Holy Cross (http://www.holycrosscongregation.org/holy-ones/st-andre-bessette/ : accessed 13 October 2015).

8. Wikipedia contributors, "André Bessette", Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andr%C3%A9_Bessette : accessed 13 October 2015).

Copyright © 2015, Yvonne Demoskoff.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Find A Grave Community Day

I’ve been asked to share this Ancestry message with my readers:

“Saturday 17th October, Ancestry is hosting our global ‘Find A Grave Community Day’.

Essentially, this is an annual day taking place across the world whereby we encourage people to visit their local cemeteries to take photos and videos of headstones, explore the grounds and share stories – to preserve the history of all our ancestors buried in cemeteries across the world.

You can find out more about this annual community day Find A Grave Community Day or on the Ancestry Ancestry blog.

Use #FGDay to post your pictures and videos to Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.”

Friday’s Faces from the Past: Aunt Darlene

Julie Belair and her daughters Joan and Darlene

Darlene is the younger daughter of Fred and Julie (Vanasse) Belair, my grandparents. Her older brothers and sister were Maurice (my father), Joan, and Ray.

That’s my Mémère Julie and Tante Joan with a young Darlene (at the front) in the picture, taken about 1943.

It’s Aunt Darlene’s 80th birthday this Sunday, October 18. We live about 4500 km (about 2800 miles) apart, she in Ontario and I in British Columbia, so I won’t be able to wish her “Happy Birthday” in person. Instead, I’ll call her that afternoon and let her know that I love her, miss her, and hope she has a wonderful day.

Copyright © 2015, Yvonne Demoskoff.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Wedding Wednesday: Gauthier – Meunier

Ovila Gauthier and Cecile Meunier wedding 1948

Sixty-seven years ago today, Cécile Meunier, my Dad’s cousin, married Ovila Gauthier on 14 October 1948 in Ste-Cécile-de-Masham (now La Pêche), Gatineau County, Quebec. Father Louis-Léon Binet, Ste-Cécile’s prêtre-curé, officiated at the ceremony.

Cécile was the daughter of my grandfather Fred’s half-sister Priscille Belair by her husband Aldoria Meunier. Born on 1 July 1924 in Masham, Cécile was the eldest of thirteen children. I’ve written about her mother Priscille in Church Record Sunday: Sisters Priscille and Domitille Belair.

I first saw this lovely black-and-white photograph when I visited my Aunt Joan last year. It looks like Cécile sent it to Joan’s parents, Fred and Julie (Vanasse) Belair, her uncle and aunt. Left to right are Aldoria, Cécile, Ovila, and Edmond, his father.

There are two handwritings on the back of the photo. The first one belongs to Cécile, who wrote: “Cela c’est mon père / et le père de mon / marie et moi et / mon marie”. (This one is my father / and the father of my / husband and me and / my husband.)

The second handwriting is Joan’s, who wrote: “Oncle AIdoria Meunier 1948 / Cecile Meunier’s Wedding / Ovila Gauthier son papa / Edmond Gauthier”. (Uncle Aldoria Meunier 1948 / Cecile Meunier’s Wedding / Ovila Gauthier his father / Edmond Gauthier.)

I don’t believe I ever met Cécile and her husband. She died in February 2009, while Ovila, who predeceased her, died in April 1985.

Copyright © 2015, Yvonne Demoskoff.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Canada General Election 2015

Ready to Vote image

Next week, Canadians will cast their ballots in another federal election, the 42nd Parliament since Confederation in 1867. The advance polls were this past weekend, with election day on Monday, October 19.

I received my VIC (Voter Information Card) last week, and I plan on being at my polling station come election day.

Rolls of Voter Information Cards next to printer

With this event in mind, I decided to record my memories of past Canadian elections by using “prompts dealing with your memories of elections and politics” at FamilyHistoryProducts. Written from a U.S. perspective, I’ve adapted the prompts for me as a Canadian.

List the [federal] elections that have happened during your lifetime?

I didn’t know the answer to this question, so I checked out “History of Federal Ridings since 1867” at Parliament of Canada. It turns out that there have been 17 general elections since I was a little girl, from the first one in June 1962 to the last one in May 2011.

Of those elections that you remember, what do you remember most about each?

The first election I remember was the June 1968 one, when I was ten years old. Of course, I was too young to know anything about politics and elections, but I watched the incoming results on television in our living room. I got caught up in the moment and when the winner was announced, I went outside and shouted (but not very loudly), “Trudeau won! Trudeau won!” I had no idea who Pierre Elliott Trudeau was, but he won, so I thought that must be a good thing. My enthusiasm was brief, however, because Dad heard me and told me to get back inside. He never believed in letting anyone know his political opinions and wasn’t about to let the neighbors think he approved of our new PM.

The next election I remember was in May 1979. It was the first time I was able to vote in a federal election, and I was thrilled to participate. I was eligible to vote since 1976 when I turned 18, but that was between the July 1974 and the May 1979 elections.

As for all the other elections since then, I don’t remember much about them, other than being disappointed that my vote didn’t count most years.

Which election was the first that you participated in (actually voted)?

The first time I voted in a federal election was in May 1979. I wasn’t sure what I thought about the various parties (Liberal, Progressive Conservative, NDP), so I considered voting the way Dad did. It wasn’t because he told us (Mom, my sister and I) how to vote, which he never did, but he explained why he chose a particular party and why he thought it was a good one. At some point, I decided that being almost 21, I’d be independent from him, so I voted for a different party that year.

On [May 2, 2011], [Stephen Harper] was [re-elected] as [Prime Minister of Canada]. What are your thoughts?

Well, I wasn’t happy. I was disillusioned with the Conservatives, and really hoped the Liberals or the NDP would win. It was exciting to think that for the first time in Canadian history the New Democrat Party became the official opposition, though. (In past years, it was almost always either Liberal or PC.)

Have you ever participated/volunteered (or wanted to) in a political campaign of any kind? Give details!

One year in the mid- to late-1970s, I volunteered at the local office of the Progressive Conservative party, because my friend and her mother, who supported the candidate, asked me to give them a hand. It was for a provincial election, though. I can’t remember what I did, but I probably put up posters, handed out flyers, that kind of thing. I wasn’t necessarily a firm believer in the PC, but it gave me something to do for a few weeks.

What about you, readers? What are your memories of past elections?

Images credit:

“Newsroom: Media”, Elections Canada (http://www.elections.ca/content.aspx?section=med&document=index&lang=e : accessed 11 October 2015) and “Newsroom: Multimedia”, Elections Canada (http://www.elections.ca/content.aspx?section=med&dir=gall&document=index&lang=e : accessed 11 October 2015).

Copyright © 2015, Yvonne Demoskoff.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Happy Canadian Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving to you


Wishing all my Canadian readers and bloggers a very “Happy Thanksgiving!” 

 Have a safe holiday, everyone!

Copyright © 2015, Yvonne Demoskoff.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Church Record Sunday: Jean-Baptiste Desgroseilliers' 1755 Burial Record

Jean-Baptiste Desgroseilliers burial record
Jean-Baptiste Desgroseilliers burial record (Ancestry.ca)

Jean-Baptiste Desgroseilliers, no. 385 in my ancestor list, is my 6x great-grandfather.

He had different surnames at different stages of his life. For example, it was Bouchard (his father’s surname) at his baptism in 1698, Dorval Degroseliers (his father’s dit name) at his marriage in 1734, and Desgroseliers at his burial in 1755.

Born on 17 January 1698 in Montreal, I imagine that he was raised hearing the stories and adventures of his maternal grandfather, Médard Chouart, sieur des Groseilliers, the famous coureur de bois and explorer. (I’ve written about him here.)

By his wife Marie-Josèphe de Chavigny, whom he married on 26 September 1734, he had ten children.

Jean-Baptiste died on 11 October 1755 – 260 years ago today. He was buried the following day in St-Joseph cemetery in Deschambault seigneurie, east of Trois-Rivières, on the north shore of the St. Lawrence River. [1] The priest, Menage, recorded Jean-Baptiste’s age as ‘about 50’, but he was actually 57 years old.

The burial record (above) was challenging to decipher, but I think I captured the most important words. It reads in French:

“Le douzieme jour […] octobre de l’année mil sept cent cinquante cinq dans / le cimetiere du […] paroisse de St-Joseph Seigneurie d’Eschambeau a été / enterré Jean baptiste desgroseliers àgé [autour] de cinquante ans mort du jour / précedant après avoir recue tous les Sacrements. […] assisté a son enterrement / pierre Arcan et pierre grolo [pris] et appeller pour [cousins] lesquels on déclaré ne / savoir écrire ni Signer de ce enquis […] lequel enterrement / à été fais par nous prêtre soussigné curé de St-Joseph. En fois de quoi nous avons / signé dans nôtre maison curialle […].”

In English:

“The twelfth day […] October of 1755 in / the cemetery of […] parish St-Joseph Seigneurie of [Deschambault] was / buried Jean Baptiste Desgroseliers aged [about] / 50 years died on the / preceding day after having received all the Sacraments. […] Present at the burial Pierre Arcan and Pierre Grolo [taken] and called as [cousins] have declared not / to know how to write nor to sign [their names] as were asked […] said burial / was done by us undersigned priest curate of St-Joseph. In faith at which we have /signed in our curial home […].”

Source:

1. St-Joseph (Deschambault, Quebec), parish register, 1713-1791, p. 57 verso, no entry no. (1755), Jean Baptiste Desgroseliers (written as Jean Baptiste Desgroseliers, indexed as Jean Desgroseliers) burial, 12 October 1755; St-Joseph parish; digital images, “Quebec Vital and Church Records (Drouin Collection), 1621-1967”, Ancestry.ca (http://www.ancestry.ca : accessed 10 October 2015).


Copyright © 2015, Yvonne Demoskoff.