Saturday, July 15, 2017

Family Health Concerns

I’m taking a break from blogging for the next few weeks.

My mother Jacqueline needed emergency surgery yesterday for a small-bowel obstruction.

Mom was taken to a hospital 1½ hours from home, because it’s a major facility that can provide the care she needs due to her complex health issues.

The surgery went well and Mom is now in recovery.

You never know when the "good old summertime" will take an unexpected turn.

Copyright © 2017, Yvonne Demoskoff.

Saturday, July 01, 2017

Happy Canada Day!

Happy Birthday, Canada!

Flag of Canada banner

It’s Canada’s 150th birthday!

Have a safe and happy July 1st holiday, everyone!

Joyeuse fête du Canada, tout le monde!

Copyright © 2017, Yvonne Demoskoff.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Nikifor Kazakoff or Nick Kazakoff – Who’s Who?

Nikifor Kazakoff versus Nick Kazakoff text box

While researching my husband’s paternal relatives recently, I found information that said his great-great-uncle Mikit Denis Tomelin (ca 1878-1944) married Anna Perepolkin after his first wife Anastasia (Nastia) Chiveldaeff (aka Mabel Cheveldave) passed away. The info added that Anna was the widow of Nikifor Kazakoff, by whom she had two children, John and Mary.

I didn’t know that Mikit married twice, so I went in search of Anna's first husband Nikifor. I found conflicting information about him in trees. I also found a Find A Grave memorial that merged him with a Nick Kazakoff. The confusion is understandable. Both men were born in Russia, both had fathers named Mike, and both were married to an Anna/Annie.

Differences between the men helped to untangle them. For example, Nikifor was known mostly as Nikifor, while Nick was known as Nikolai, Nicholas or Nick. Nikifor was a laborer and later a farmer, while Nick was a farmer and later a mechanic, who enlisted in World War I. Nikifor had one wife and two children, while Nick had two wives and six children. Nikifor’s wife was Doukhobor, while Nick’s second wife was Roman Catholic. Nikifor’s mother was living, but Nick’s mother was deceased.

After I made tables and charts to distinguish the men and their families, I determined that Mikit’s second wife Anna was the widow of Nikifor (“Nikifor Kazakoff, Farmer” in this document) and not the widow of Nick (“Nick Kazakoff, WWI Veteran” in this document). Here is a summary of my findings.

Nikifor Kazakoff, Farmer

Nikifor was born in 1890 or 1891 in Russia. Alternatively, he was born on 9 February 1888. [1] Nikifor left Russia with his younger brother Dmitry, their parents Mikhail and Maria, his uncles Petro, Ivan and Grigory, his grandparents Ivan and Ekaterina, and his great-grandmother Maria. They and nearly 2,000 other persecuted Doukhobors boarded the S/S Lake Superior for Canada in January 1899. [2]

The Kazakoff family lived communally in Saskatchewan with other Doukhobors for a few years. About 1911, Mikhail and Maria moved to British Columbia. [3] I suspect that Nikifor also went to B.C., because I did not locate him in Saskatchewan on the 1916 census. Mikhail and Maria returned to Saskatchewan in 1919 and settled near Veregin. Nikifor was definitely back in that province by 1921, because he appears on that year’s census.

About 1914, Nikifor married Annie (Anna) Perepolkin, daughter of Alex and Dora (Daykoff) Perepolkin. The couple had two children, John and Mary. [4]

Nikifor Kazakoff Family Tree

Nikifor is presumably the same person as the “Nikifor M. Kazakoff” who died on 28 March 1923 and is buried in Blahodarovka Cemetery, near Veregin, Saskatchewan. [5] After his death, Annie moved to British Columbia and married Mikit Tomelin. She died on 28 February 1954 in Pass Creek, BC. [6] Annie’s daughter Mary married Mikit’s son Alex in 1932. [7]


1. “Blahodarovka Cemetery – Veregin District, Saskatchewan”, database, Doukhobor Genealogy Website ( : 22 June 2017), entry for Nikifor M. Kazakoff (1888-1923).

2. Steve Lapshinoff and Jonathan Kalmakoff, Doukhobor Ship Passenger Lists 1898-1928, Crescent Valley, BC: self-published, 2001), 5.

3. St. Philips / Pelly History Book Committee, History Coming Alive: R.M. of St. Philips, Pelly and District, 2 vols. (Pelly, Saskatchewan: 1958, I: 511); digital images, Our Roots ( : accessed 19 June 2017).

4. History Coming Alive, I: 511. 5. “Blahodarovka Cemetery”, database entry for Nikifor M. Kazakoff (1888-1923). History Coming Alive, I: 511 states that “Mikifor” died in 1924.

6. “Genealogy – General Search”, digital images, BC Archives ( : accessed 21 June 2017), entry for Anna Tamelin, 28 February 1954, death registration no. 1954-09-004500.

7. History Coming Alive, I: 511 and “Genealogy – General Search”, digital images, BC Archives ( : accessed 26 June 2017), entry for Alex Tamelin – Mary Kazakoff, 29 December 1932, marriage registration no. 1932-09-900680.

Nikifor Kazakoff Farmer

Table 1 Notes:

1. Four Kazakoff households reported only heads of families on the 1906 census. These were Nick’s grandfather (Mikhail), his uncles (Petro, Ivan, and Grigory), and his father (Mikhail).

2. I didn’t find Nick‘s household in Saskatchewan on the 1916 census. He was possibly living in British Columbia at this time, because his son John was born there in Winlaw on Feb. 18, 1915 (according to his social security application) and his daughter Mary was born there in the province on Oct. 18, 1917 (according to her Find A Grave memorial).

3. The Nikifor M. Kazakoff buried in Blahodarovka Doukhobor Cemetery is possibly the same person as the above Nikifor. I searched but did not find a 1923 probate file for him. (“Saskatchewan Probate Estate Files, 1887-1931", digital images, ( : accessed 21 June 2017), Yorkton District, 1923, probate files). I also searched 1924, but did not file a probate file for him.

Nick Kazakoff, WWI Veteran

Nikolai (Nicholas, Nick) was born between 1885 and 1891 in Russia. His parents were Mikhail (Mike) Kazakoff and an unknown mother, possibly Dora Tarasoff. [1]

I didn’t find Nick on passenger lists for the S/S Lake Huron that departed in December 1898 for Canada or for the S/S Lake Superior that left in January 1899. [2]

The first time Nick appears in a family unit is on the 1905 Doukhobor village census. The household consists of father Michaylo, son Michaylo (with his wife and daughter), sons Nicholai and Ivan, and daughter Fedosia (Fanny). [3]

Nick appears to have married twice: first to possibly Nastanka (her name is difficult to decipher on the 1911 census image), by whom he had a daughter, and second to Anna, by whom he had two sons (Mike and Nick).

Although Nick was Doukhobor, Anna was Roman Catholic. [4] Daughter of Mike Bazelowski (var. Basalowski, Basiloski) and Evdokia Chopek, Anna was born on 15 August 1895. [5] Her birthplace was either Austria, according to the 1916 and 1921 censuses, or more likely Poland, according to her son Walter’s death registration.

Nick Kazakoff Family Tree

On 28 December 1915, Nick enlisted with the Canadian Expeditionary Forces (CEF) during World War I. [6] He was the only Doukhobor surnamed Kazakoff (or variation) to do so. [7]

Nick and Anna’s last child, Dora, was born about 1924. Nick died presumably in the 1920s, possibly in 1929. [8] Anna remained a widow and died on 13 December 1982 in Trail, British Columbia. [9]


1. Gwen Gamberutti, “Re: Tarasoff Line”, Doukhobor – Family History & Genealogy Message Board, 5 July 2002 ( : accessed 21 June 2017).

2. Steve Lapshinoff and Jonathan Kalmakoff, Doukhobor Ship Passenger Lists 1898-1928, Crescent Valley, BC: self-published, 2001). A search of the Lake Huron and Lake Superior’s manifests for Nikolai, his father, or his siblings proved negative.

3. Steve Lapshinoff, List of Doukhobors Living In Saskatchewan In 1905, Crescent Valley, B.C.: self-published, 1996, 146.

4. “1916 Canada Census of Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Alberta”, digital images, ( : accessed 22 June 2017), population schedule, enumeration district (ED) 10, sub-district 10, p. 14, dwelling 145, family 152, entry for Annie Kazikoff [sic], line 45, p. 14, Kamsack, Mackenzie, Saskatchewan; citing Canada, "Census returns for 1916 Census of Prairie Provinces"; Statistics of Canada Fonds, Record Group 31-C-1, LAC microfilm T-21925 to T-21956 [T-21938]; Library and Archives Canada, Ottawa. Also, “1921 Census of Canada”, digital images, ( : accessed 22 June 2017), population schedule, district 219, enumeration sub-district 61, dwelling 403, family 409, entry for Annie Kazakoff (written as Annie Kazakoff, indexed as Annie Razalaff), line 22, p. 38, Kamsack, Mackenzie, Saskatchewan; citing Library and Archives Canada, Sixth Census of Canada, 1921; Ottawa, Ontario, Canada: Library and Archives Canada, 2013; Series RG31, Statistics Canada Fonds.

5. “Genealogy – General Search”, digital images, BC Archives ( : accessed 21 June 2017), entry for Annie Kazakoff, 28 February 1954, death registration no. 1982-09-020807.

6. “Soldiers of the First World War, 1914-1918”, digital images, ( : accessed 22 June 2017), Nick Kazakoff, regimental number 888039; citing "Soldiers of the First World War (1914-1918)"; Record Group 150, Accession 1992-93/166, Box 4930 – 35; Library and Archives Canada, Ottawa.

7. “Doukhobors in the WWI Canadian Expeditionary Forces, 1914-1918”, database, Doukhobor Genealogy Website ( : accessed 21 June 2017), entry for Nick Kazakoff, regiment no. 888039. An Arhip Kazakoff (var. Kozokow), son of Petro Kazakoff, enlisted in the CEF in Montreal, Quebec in August 1915, but he was Russian Orthodox. (“Soldiers of the First World War: 1914-1918”, digital images, Library and Archives Canada ( : accessed 27 June 2017), Arhip Kazakoff, regimental no. 50370, digitized service file).

8. Find A Grave, database ( : accessed 21 June 2017), record for Nick Kazakoff (?-1929), Find A Grave Memorial no. 74373983, Riverview Cemetery, Kamsack, Saskatchewan, Canada, no photograph; citing burial on 25 Aug 1929; Sec: Old RV; Block:4; Plot:1; Lot: NE.

9. “Genealogy – General Search”, BC Archives, entry for Annie Kazakoff, 28 February 1954.

Nick Kazakoff WWI Veteran

Table 2 Notes:

1. Early Doukhobor ship passenger lists are incomplete and/or the originals are missing. For example, only 899 names of 1,997 passengers were recorded on the manifest of the S/S Lake Superior that departed for Canada in January 1899.

2. Portions of the 1901 census are incomplete, because 2,811 Doukhobors in 23 villages (located in the present-day province of Saskatchewan) refused to be enumerated.

3. The 1905 Doukhobor village census has only one Nicholas in which a Nick is the son of a father Mike who does not have a wife, which is how Nick described his family situation in his World War I service file.

4. Nick is possibly the same person as “Nick Kazakoff” who is buried in Riverview Cemetery, but I do not know if he is the same one who served in WWI. I searched but did not find a 1929 probate file for him. (“Saskatchewan Probate Estate Files, 1887-1931", digital images, ( : accessed 21 June 2017), Yorkton District, 1929, probate files) I also didn’t find a WWI veterans’ death card for him. (“Veterans Death Cards: First World War (Archived)”, digital images, Library and Archives Canada ( : accessed 20 June 2017).)

Copyright © 2017, Yvonne Demoskoff.

Tuesday, June 06, 2017

Maintaining a Find A Grave Memorial Page

After I fulfilled two requests for gravemarker photos at Find A Grave today, I wondered if my late father had a memorial and photo. I was surprised to find that he did. I decided to email the original contributor to see if Dad’s memorial could be transferred to me. Within minutes, I got a positive reply. I now maintain Find A Grave Memorial #170621093.

I made sure the info on his page was correct and then added a transcription of his gravemarker. 

Next, I decided to sponsor Dad’s memorial page by paying the small fee ($5 U.S.) to have ads permanently removed from his page. Here’s a screenshot of it: 

By maintaining Dad’s Find A Grave page, I feel like I’m honoring his memory. 

Copyright © 2017, Yvonne Demoskoff.

Saturday, June 03, 2017

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun -- Which Ancestor Moved the Furthest?

It’s Saturday and Randy at Genea-Musings has issued his weekly challenge to his readers.

Tonight’s challenge is to answer the following question: "Which ancestor moved the farthest from their home?"

My ancestors

Most of my ancestors who immigrated to New France in the 1600s and 1700s were from France, but a few came from England, Jersey, Spain, Switzerland, and Italy. A handful of others were brought to Canada as captives from New England.

I think the ancestor who moved the farthest from his home was Jean-Bernardin Lesage dit Le Piedmontois, no. 1862 in my ancestor list.

Jean-Bernardin, my maternal ancestor, hails from Racconigi, Piedmont, Italy. Born about 1657, he married Marie-Barbe Sylvestre on 8 January 1686 in Neuville, east of present-day Quebec City. Jean-Bernardin died on 13 April 1748 and was buried two days later in L’Assomption, a little to the northeast of Montreal.

My husband’s ancestors

My husband is a second-generation Canadian. His grandparents and some of his great-grandparents came to Canada seeking religious freedom from imperial Russia in 1899. They left their homes in Tiflis (now Tbilisi, Georgia), travelled to the port of Batum on the Black Sea, and then sailed for Canada.

My ancestor travelled a distance of 5,847 km (3,633 miles), while my husband’s ancestor travelled 8,320 km (5,169 miles). What journeys those must have been!

Copyright © 2017, Yvonne Demoskoff.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Church Record Sunday: Marie-Antoinette Chouart and Her Godchildren

Marie-Antoinette Chouart (1661-1731) was the daughter of the famous explorer and coureur de bois Médard Chouart, sieur des Groseilliers. She acted as godmother on several occasions to local French and Aboriginal children.

Stained glass window baptism

The first time was on 1 May 1674 in Trois-Rivières, when Marie-Antoinette was only 12 years old. (She turned 13 three weeks later.) She was godmother nine other times, from 1674 to 1717, when she was 56 years old.

Marie-Antoinette had five godsons and five goddaughters.

All were French, except Louis Ouramanampek, an Aboriginal.

Four of five of Marie-Antoinette’s goddaughters were named after her.

All the godchildren were infants at their baptism. The two exceptions are Marie Antoinette Barabbé in 1674, whose baptism record doesn’t mention her age, although she was likely a newborn or only a few days old. The second exception is Louis Ourmanampek, who was an adult when he received the Sacrament of Baptism in 1674.

Here is the list of Marie-Antoinette’s godchildren:

Godchildren of Marie-Antoinette Chouart

Marie-Antoinette could write her name. She signed seven of the ten baptism records. In the example below from 1697, we can see her beautiful, easy-to-read, balanced signature (indicated by the red arrow): “Marie antoinette choüard”.

Baptism record of Marie Catherine Jolive 1697
Baptism record of Marie Catherine Jolive [11]


Image credit: CCO Public Domain, Pixabay.

1. “Actes”, database, Programme de recherche en démographie historique (PRDH), ( : accessed 14 August 2009), Adrien Senegal, Baptême no. 87758.

2. “Actes”, database, Programme de recherche en démographie historique (PRDH), ( : accessed 14 August 2009), Marie Antoinette Barabbe, Baptême no. 87762.

3. “Actes”, database, Programme de recherche en démographie historique (PRDH), ( : accessed 14 August 2009), Louis Ouramanampek, Baptême no. 87764.

4. “Actes”, database, Programme de recherche en démographie historique (PRDH), ( : accessed 14 August 2009), Marie Antoinette Verger, Baptême no. 19435.

5. “Actes”, database, Programme de recherche en démographie historique (PRDH), ( : accessed 14 August 2009), Marie Antoinette Lorry, Baptême no. 19451.

6. “Actes”, database, Programme de recherche en démographie historique (PRDH), ( : accessed 14 August 2009), Jean Baptiste Delpesche Belair, Baptême no. 19508.

7. “Actes”, database, Programme de recherche en démographie historique (PRDH), ( : accessed 14 August 2009), Marie Antoinette Desoye, Baptême no. 19512.

8. “Actes”, database, Programme de recherche en démographie historique (PRDH), ( : accessed 14 August 2009), Marie Catherine Jolive, Baptême no. 41812.

9. “Actes”, database, Programme de recherche en démographie historique (PRDH), ( : accessed 14 August 2009), Pierre Bouchard, Baptême no. 43009.

10. “Actes”, database, Programme de recherche en démographie historique (PRDH), ( : accessed 14 August 2009), Charles Reaume, Baptême no. 13993.

11. Notre-Dame (Montréal, Quebec), parish register, 1695-1699, no page no., no entry no. (1697), Marie Jolive baptism, 25 September 1697; Notre-Dame parish; digital image, “Le LAFRANCE”, Généalogie Québec ( : accessed 17 May 2017).

Copyright © 2017, Yvonne Demoskoff.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Friday’s Faces from the Past: Maurice and Raymond

Maurice and Raymond Belair 1971

Here’s a wonderful photo of my late father Maurice with my brother Raymond.

Raymond looks about 14 months old, so it’s probably July or August 1971.

I think I took the picture (or maybe Mom did).

I have a few vague memories of that day: the weather was good and we obviously decided to take snapshots of ourselves. (There are other similar photos in the series.) Could it have been Dad’s birthday, August 2nd?

He and Raymond posed in the driveway of our rented duplex on the corner of Main (now Belanger Avenue) and Wilcox in Timmins, Ontario.

Whatever the occasion was, I love this picture. Dad is happy, Raymond is so cute, and it’s one of the few examples of them together in a photograph.

Copyright © 2017, Yvonne Demoskoff.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Treasure Chest Thursday: The Religious Certificate

My late father Maurice received this document, a Certificat d’Instruction Religieuse (Certificate of Religious Instruction) 78 years ago today, on 18 May 1939.

Religious Instruction Certificate of Maurice Belair

As a Roman Catholic, Dad learned his Catechism at school. (His first teacher was his mother, Julie, who taught him his prayers as a young child.) When it was time for his Profession of Faith, he and the other prepared students went to their parish church, Ste-Agnès (in Fauquier, Ontario), where family, friends and possibly members of the congregation gathered. After Father Arthur Doyon asked the children questions about their faith, they recited the Nicene Creed, a prayer symbolizing our Christian Catholic faith.

The Profession de Foi (Profession of Faith) is “a public act by which personal belief is outwardly manifested in the form of a recital of a creed giving witness to the community of the authentic belief by the person in the teachings of the Church.” [1]

In the early 1970s, the typical age for this Catholic rite of passage was 13-14 years old. I was 13½ when I made my profession of faith in June 1972, but Dad was only 11½ years old when he made his.

The certificate measures approximately 22 cm x 30 cm (9” x 12”). Years of folding has left it wrinkled. Cellophane tape residue remains on a tear (8 cm/3”) in the top right-hand corner. The writing is readable, but faded. I think the certificate was kept rolled up in Dad’s dresser when I was growing up, and at some point, it was put in a frame. Mom gave it to me after he passed away.

In the lower left-hand corner are fields for entering dates of one’s Baptism, First Communion, Confirmation, and Scapular. Only the last one, Scapular, is filed out. [2] I know Dad was baptised (1927) and confirmed (1935), but I don’t know when he did his First Communion. Dad and the teacher who prepared the Certificat probably didn’t know the dates, so left those spaces blank.

I have transcribed the text; bold italic passages indicate hand-written portions:

Paroisse de Ste Agnès
Fauquier, Ont.

d’Instruction Religieuse

Nous, soussigné, certifions que Maurice Bélaire [sic]
a subi avec Satisfaction l’examen final sur le catéchisme,
et a fait sa profession de foi et ses promesses de vie chrétienne.
En foi de quoi, nous lui avons décerné ce certificat.
Ce dix-huitième jour du mois de mai de l’an
mil neuf cent trente-neuf.

Baptême le … 19 … 
Première communion le … 19 … 
Confirmation le … 19… 
Scapulaire le 18 mai 1939

(Signed) Arthur Doyon ptre curé

My translation:

Parish of St Agnes
Fauquier, Ont.

of Religious Instruction

We, undersigned, certify that Maurice Bélaire [sic]
has undergone with Satisfaction the final Catechism exam
and has made his profession of faith and of promises of Christian life.
In witness whereof, we have awarded this certificate.
This eighteenth day of the month of May of the year
one thousand thirty-nine.

Baptism on … 19 … 
First Communion on … 19 … 
Confirmation on … 19 … 
Scapular on 18 May 1939

(Signed) Arthur Doyon [parish priest]


1. Reverend Peter M. J. Stravinskas, editor, Our Sunday Visitor’s Catholic Encyclopedia (Huntingdon, Indiana: Our Sunday Visitor Publishing Division, Our Sunday Visitor, Inc., 1991), 787, “Profession of Faith”.

2. A scapular consists of “two small pieces of cloth, about two and a half by two inches, connected by two long cords and worn over the head and resting on the shoulders”. Stravinskas, Our Sunday Visitor’s Catholic Encyclopedia, 868, “Scapular”. The Scapular that Dad received would have been a devotional one for lay people, not the kind worn by those in religious orders.

Copyright © 2017, Yvonne Demoskoff.

Monday, May 08, 2017

Joseph Desgroseilliers, Accidental Train Death

90 years ago today – on May 8, 1927 – Joseph Desgroseilliers was killed when his car was hit accidentally by a train. He was 59 years old. [1] He was a husband and a father, as well as a businessman and a pioneer of St-Charles, Ontario. [2]

Joseph was the eldest son of Pierre and Flavie (Lepage) Desgroseilliers, my maternal great-great-grandparents. He was born on 20 January 1868 in St-Chrysostome, Châteauguay County, Quebec. [2] An elder sister and eleven younger brothers (including my great-grandfather Albert) and sisters completed the family.

Joseph Desgroseilliers 1927 death registration
Joseph Desgroseilliers' death registration, top portion (
Joseph Desgroseilliers 1927 death registration
Joseph Desgroseilliers' death registration, bottom portion (

Joseph's death registration (bottom portion) gives the cause of death as “Accidental Automobile hit by train”. A local history book of St-Charles, Ontario where he lived, gives slightly more detail in French: “fut frappé par le train no 1, près de la gare de Warren” [was hit by the train no. 1, near the station of Warren]. [3]

Warren, Ontario, Canada
Warren, Ontario

Joseph’s funeral took place in St-Charles’ parish cemetery on 11 May 1927. His brother Albert and his son-in-law Vital Brisson were present as witnesses. [4]

He was survived by his wife Azéline (née Lemieux) and their five surviving children, the youngest one being 13-year-old Lionel.

Photo credit:

Wikipedia contributors, "Markstay-Warren", Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia ( : accessed 7 May 2017).


1. “Ontario, Canada, Deaths, 1869-1938, 1943-1944, and Deaths Overseas, 1939-1947”, digital images, ( : accessed 7 May 2017), entry for Joseph De Groseilliers (written as Joseph De Groseilliers, indexed as Joseph De Grossillier), 8 May 1927; citing Archives of Ontario, Registrations of Deaths, 1869-1938; Toronto, Ontario, Canada: Archives of Ontario; microfilm series MS935, reel 350.

2. Lionel Séguin, Historique de la paroisse Saint-Charles (Saint-Charles, Ont., 1945: 231-232); digital images, Our Roots ( : accessed 18 June 2013).

3. St-Jean-Chrysostome (St-Chrysostome, Quebec), parish register, 1868, p. 2 verso, entry no. B.8, Joseph Desgroseilliers baptism, 21 January 1868; St-Chrysostome parish; digital images, “Quebec, Vital and Church Records (Drouin Collection), 1621-1968”, ( : accessed 7 May 2017).

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

5. St-Charles Boromée (St-Charles, Ontario), parish register, 1909-1967, p. 75 stamped, no entry no. (1927), Joseph Desgroseilliers burial, 11 May 1927; St-Charles Boromée parish; digital images, “Ontario, Canada, Catholic Church Records (Drouin Collection), 1747-1967”, ( : accessed 7 May 2017).

Copyright © 2017, Yvonne Demoskoff.

Sunday, May 07, 2017

Church Record Sunday: Charles Gagnon’s 1797 Baptism Record

Today – May 7 – marks the 220th anniversary of the baptism of my maternal 4x great-grandfather, Charles Gagnon.

Eldest child of Charles Amable and Thérèse (née Poitras) Gagnon, Charles was born on 2 May 1797. He was baptised five days later in the parish church of St-Roch-de-l’Achigan, about 60 km (37 miles) north of Montreal. [1] Charles had five brothers (Joseph, François, Jean-Baptiste, Pierre, and Toussaint) and one sister (Marie Marguerite Thérèse, who died young). [2]

1797 baptism record of Charles Gagnon
Charles Gagnon's 1797 baptism record (

My transcription of Charles’ baptism record above (original lineation indicated by / ):

Le sept mai l’an mil sept cens quatre vingt dix sept par nous sous / signé prêtre curé de la paroisse Saint Roch a été baptisé / Charles né du deux du present mois du légitime mariage de Charles / Gagnon habitant de cette paroisse et de Marie Therèse Poitra. Le / parrain a été Charles Gagnon et la marraine Anne Poitra qui / avec le pere ont déclaré ne savoir signer
[signed] Raizenne ptre

My translation of the record (original lineation indicated by / ):

The seven May of the year one thousand seven hundred ninety seven by us under / signed parish priest of the parish of Roch was baptised / Charles born of the second of the present month of the legitimate marriage of Charles / Gagnon resident of this parish and of Marie Therèse Poitra. The / godfather was Charles Gagnon and the godmother Anne Poitra who / along with the father have declared they could not sign [their names]
[signed] Raizenne [priest]

In October 1823, Charles married his distant cousin Marguerite Ducasse, also from St-Roch, by whom he had nine children. He died possibly in 1860 in Russell County, Ontario.


1. St-Roch (St-Roch-de-l’Achigan, Quebec), parish register, 1797, p. 8 recto, no entry no., Charles Gagnon baptism, 7 May 1797; St-Roch parish; digital images, “Quebec, Vital and Church Records (Drouin Collection), 1621-1967”, ( : accessed 6 May 2017).

2. “Dictionnaire”, database, Programme de recherche en démographie historique (PRDH) ( : accessed 2 May 2017), Charles Amable Gagnon – Thérèse Poitras Turenne, Famille no. 75859.

Copyright © 2017, Yvonne Demoskoff.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Happy Easter!

Easter Cross

A blessed and happy Easter, everyone! 

Joyeuses Pâques, tout le monde! 

Copyright © 2017, Yvonne Demoskoff.

Saturday, April 01, 2017

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun -- Where Have You Visited?

It’s Saturday and Randy at Genea-Musings has issued his weekly challenge to his readers.

Tonight’s challenge is “Where Have You Visited?”

Randy tells us that “A meme on Facebook has been circulating about what states, countries and other places you have visited. The average for Americans is 8.” He then wants us to “Copy the list from this blog post and denote your places visited with an X, and add states or countries you've visited not on the list. Then total it up at the end of your list.” When done, we “Put your responses in your own blog post, in a comment on this blog post, or in a status or comment on Facebook.”

Here are the places I’ve visited (in italic, highlighted in yellow, and with an X):

Alberta X
British Columbia X
British Virgin Islands
California X
Canada X
Castaway Island
Cayman Islands
Costa Rica
Czech Republic
Dominican Republic
El Salvador
England X
France X
Hong Kong
Idaho X
Manitoba X
Maryland X
Montana X
Nevada X
New Hampshire
New Jersey
New Mexico
New York X
New Zealand
North Carolina
North Dakota
Ontario X
Oregon X
Pennsylvania X
Puerto Rico
Quebec X
Rhode Island
Saskatchewan X
Saudi Arabia
South Africa
South Carolina
South Dakota
South Korea
St Marten
St Thomas
Texas X
The Netherlands
United Arab Emirates
US Virgin Islands
Utah X
Virginia X
Washington X
Washington DC X
West Virginia

My total is 23 places: 4 countries, 6 provinces and 12 states (and 1 district).

Copyright © 2016, Yvonne Demoskoff.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Church Record Sunday: Jeanne Petit’s 1733 Burial Record

Born about 1656, Jeanne Petit was originally from Ste-Marguerite parish in La Rochelle, France. [1] She came to New France as a fille du roi in 1672. [2] That September, Jeanne entered into a marriage contract with François Séguin dit Ladéroute, a soldier from Picardie, France. They married the following month in Boucherville, now a suburb of Montreal. [3] Jeanne and François were the parents of six sons and five daughters. [4] Interestingly, I descend from three of those children: Françoise (1674-1751), Pierre (1682-1760) and Simon (1684-1758).

Jeanne died on 29 March 1733. She was buried the next day in the cemetery of St-Antoine-de-Padoue church in Longueuil. For some reason, the attending priest recorded her name as Françoise in her burial record. [5] Many people were present at the funeral: her daughter Jeanne and Jeanne’s husband Charles Patenaude, her son-in-law François Achin (Marie Madeleine Séguin’s second husband), as well as Charles Varri, Charles Truto and others.

Burial record of Jeanne Petit
Jeanne Petit's burial record (

My transcription of Jeanne’s burial record above (original lineation indicated by /):

L’an de nôtre seigneur mil sept cent trente et trois [...] / 30 mars a eté inhumé dans le cimetière de cette paroisse Le corps de / francoise petit, veufve de defunct Francois seguin Dit Laderoute envi / ron quatre vingt dix ans, decedée de hier, après avoir recu [la?] / penitence et extreme onction, en presence de jeanne seguin, pate / notre fille et fils de la defuncte, de francois achin son gendre [de] charles / varri de charles truto et de plusieurs autres qui [ne?] signent 
j. ysambart pr. cure De Longueuil 

My translation of the record (original lineation indicated by /):

The year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and thirty three [...] / 30 March was interred in the cemetery of this parish The body of / francoise petit, widow of late Francois seguin Dit Laderoute approximately / ninety years old, died yesterday, after having received [the?] / [sacrament of] reconciliation and extreme unction, in the presence of jeanne seguin, pate / notre daughter and son[-in-law] of the deceased, of francois achin her son-in-law [of] charles / varri of charles truto and of many others who did [not?] sign [their names] 
j. ysambart [priest of] Longueuil 

Father Ysambart noted that Jeanne was about 90 years old at her death, but she was more likely about 77 years old.

An epidemic raged in the St. Lawrence valley, including Longueuil, in 1733. [6] Many burial records in St-Antoine-de-Padoue’s sacramental register for that year indicate “picote”, aka “variole” (smallpox), as the cause of death for its parishioners, but Jeanne’s burial record does not mention this disease.


1. René Jetté, Dictionnaire généalogique des familles du Québec (Montréal: Les Presses de l’Université de Montréal, 1983), 1041. Jeanne’s age (25) on the 1681 census of New France gives her an approximate year of birth of 1656.

2. Peter J. Gagné, King’s Daughters and Founding Mothers: The Filles du Roi, 1663-1673, 2 vols. (Pawtucket, Rhode Island: Quintin Publications, 2001), 2: 451.

3. Jetté, Dictionnaire, 1041.

4. “Dictionnaire”, database, Programme de recherche en démographie historique (PRDH) ( : accessed 7 December 2016), Francois Seguin Laderoute – Jeanne Petit, Famille, no. 4015.

5. St-Antoine-de-Padoue (Longueuil, Quebec), parish register, 1731-1767, page no., if any, illegible, recto, entry no. S.18 (1733), Françoise Petit (sic) burial, 30 March 1733; St-Antoine-de-Padoue parish; digital images, “Québec, registres paroissiaux catholiques, 1621-1979”, ( : accessed 7 December 2016).

6. Rénald Lessard, Au temps de la petite vérole: La médecine au Canada aux XVIIe et XVIIIe siècles (Québec: Septentrion, 2012), 34.

Copyright © 2017, Yvonne Demoskoff.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun – The Day Your Grandfather Was Born

It’s Saturday and Randy at Genea-Musings has issued his weekly challenge to his readers.

Tonight’s challenge is “The Day Your Grandfather Was Born”. Randy asks us the following questions (in bold).

1) What day of the week was your Grandfather born (either one)? Tell us how you found out. 

I chose my maternal grandfather Eugène Desgroseilliers, who was born on 30 August 1900 in the village of St-Charles, Sudbury District, Ontario, Canada. The 30th was a Thursday. (The website is very useful at times like this one!)

2) What has happened in recorded history on your Grandfather's birth date (day and month)? Tell us how you found out, and list five events.

Five historical events that happened on 30 August (found at Wikipedia):

- 1464: Pope Paul II succeeds Pope Pius II as the 211th pope.
- 1835: Melbourne, Australia is founded.
- 1896: Philippine Revolution.
- 1918: Fanni Kaplan shoots and seriously injures Bolshevik leader Vladimir Lenin.
- 1945: Hong Kong is liberated from Japan by British Armed Forces.

3) What famous people have been born on your Grandfather's birth date? Tell us how you found out, and list five of them.

Five famous people born on 30 August (found at Wikipedia):

- 1334: Peter, King of Castile and León (r. 1350-1369).
- 1748: Jacques-Louis David, French painter and illustrator.
- 1896: Raymond Massey, Canadian-American actor and playwright.
- 1919: Maurice Hilleman, American microbiologist and vaccinologist.
- 1927: Geoffrey Beene, American fashion designer.

4) Put your responses in your own blog post, in a comment on this blog post, or in a status or comment on Facebook.

My answers are here on my blog!

Copyright © 2017, Yvonne Demoskoff.

Thursday, March 09, 2017

Those Places Thursday: Our Maple Street Home

296 Maple Street North – the only home my parents owned.

When I was growing up, my parents lived in various rented apartments or duplexes in the town where I was born, Timmins, Ontario. Some of these places were small like the upstairs apartment on Lincoln Avenue when I was a few months old and where Mom had to share the clothes washer in the basement. Other places were spacious like the three-bedroom duplex on Main Street when I was a young teenager. This house had a main floor, an upstairs, and a nice, cool basement, where I used to listen to my collection of 45s during the summers.

One evening in late winter of 1972, my parents and I went to see a house they were thinking of buying. It was newly built, awaiting its first buyers. We walked in the front door into a large living room with a roomy kitchen beyond it. There were three bedrooms and a bathroom on the main floor and a small back entrance with stairs that led to an unfinished basement. From the back bedroom window, I saw a large yard. To my amazement, I realized that the snow in the yard was almost as high as the window!

My parents bought this house at 296 Maple Street North and we moved in March 1972, 45 years ago this month. Since it was winter, Dad asked one of his friends who had a front-end loader to ‘shovel’ our backyard. Mom and Dad got the front bedroom, I got the middle bedroom (but no view because my window faced the house next door) and my sister and baby brother shared the back bedroom.

Maurice and Jacqueline Belair
Mom and Dad in our living room, New Year's Eve, 1973

It was exciting to move to a brand new house that was all ours, but there were some adjustments to make. For example, instead of belonging to our parish church on Commercial Avenue, we were now parishioners of the Cathedral in downtown. My sister Marianne changed elementary schools, but I opted to stay at my old school, St-Gérard. However, that decision meant I needed to take a city bus to get to the other side of town for school. There were only three months left in my Grade 8, so it was a small price to pay, and I got to be with my friends and teachers until the end of the school year.

Marianne Belair and Raymond Belair
Marianne and Raymond in our kitchen, ca 1974

In time, Dad made improvements to our house. He and friends built a one-car garage in the backyard (it was handy to the back lane) one summer. He also finished the basement with a family room (panelled in fake knotty pine, no less) and a workshop for himself.

Raymond Belair
Raymond in the front yard next to the evergreen Dad planted, 1974

Other improvements included putting up a white picket fence around the front yard and planting a small evergreen tree in the yard. (Mom used to say, “We planted that tree when Raymond was three.”) For her part, Mom, who loved wallpaper, papered the kitchen (her favorite patterns included ivy), parts of the living room and our bedrooms. She also put in green-patterned wall-to-wall carpeting in the kitchen, because Dad didn’t like the cold linoleum floor when he got up early in the mornings.

Cementing part of the backyard
Cementing part of the backyard, summer of 1977

One winter, Dad decided he had enough of paying high costs in heating, so he got a back issue of Popular Mechanics (Dad was a big reader of Popular Mechanics and Popular Science magazines) from the public library. From the instructions in the magazine article, Dad fabricated a wood-burning stove using sheet steel. Since he was a welder by trade, it was a do-able project for him. He ran a line through the stove that fed the water heater, which heated our home’s hot water. In fact, that wood stove heated our house so efficiently that Ontario Hydro came to our house one day to see if something was wrong, because our bills were so low. One look at that wood stove convinced the hydro fellow that we had a legitimate heat source for our home.

Front yard winter 1978
Front yard, winter 1978. Dad was a CB enthusiast and he
installed a tower in the backyard (seen above the roof). 

We lived on Maple Street from 1972 until the summer of 1979. That year, we moved to British Columbia when Dad decided to give up working as a welder and start a road-building business with his younger brother Ray.

In May 2014, my husband, our son and I visited Timmins. I wanted to see the places where I lived, so one day we drove to as many of the homes that I could remember. The first house we drove by was 296 Maple Street North. It looked about the same as it did when I lived there.

Our old house (front yard), 2014

The fence in the front yard was gone, though, and there was brick siding on the house and a new living room window. The backyard had a fence, but Dad’s garage was still there. By the way, that little evergreen sure grew, didn’t it?

Back yard 2014
Our old house (back yard), 2014

Copyright © 2017, Yvonne Demoskoff.