Sunday, April 15, 2018

Church Record Sunday: Mathilde Belair’s 1923 Burial Record

Mathilde Cloutier, second wife of my paternal great-grandfather Pierre Belair, died 95 years ago on 16 April 1923. [1]

Pierre’s first wife, Angélina Meunier, died in July 1896, leaving behind seven children, including my grandfather (Pépère) Fred, who was only six years old.

A year later, Pierre married Mathilde Cloutier, who was born and raised in Ste-Cécile-de-Masham, Pontiac County, Quebec, like Pierre and his family. They had five children: two sons and three daughters.

Mathilde’s burial record doesn’t indicate the cause of death (such records rarely did), but she was 62 years old at her death. Her husband was present at the funeral on 18 April, along with their son Joseph, my grandfather’s eldest half-brother.

I don’t know what kind of relationship Fred had with his stepmother. I wish I had thought of asking him when he was older after I got interested in genealogy.

Burial record of Mathilde Cloutier Belair
Mathilde Cloutier burial record (Ancestry)

The burial record above reads in French:

Ce dix-huit avril mil neuf cent vingt-trois / je soussigné curé de cette paroisse ai / inhumé dans notre cimetière le / corps de Mathilde Cloutier, épouse / de Pierre Belair, de cette paroisse / et y décédée avant-hier âgée de / soixante ans. Etaient pré / sents Pierre Belair, Joseph Belair et autres parents et amis qui ne / revinrent pas après le service. 
[signed] Hector Yelle, ptre

My English translation:

This 18 April nineteen hundred and twenty-three / I undersigned [parish priest] of this parish have / interred in our cemetery the / body of Mathilde Cloutier, wife of Pierre Belair, of this parish / and who died [the day] before yesterday aged of / sixty years. Were pre / sent Pierre Belair, Joseph Belair and other relatives and friends who did not / return [to the church] after the [burial] service. 
[signed] Hector Yelle, [priest]


1. Ste-Cécile (Ste-Cécile-de-Masham, Quebec), parish register, 1918-1930, p. 95 verso, entry no. S.11 (1923), Mathilde Cloutier burial, 18 April 1923; Ste-Cécile-de-Masham parish; digital images, “Quebec Vital and Church Records (Drouin Collection), 1621-1967”, Ancestry ( : accessed 30 March 2018).

Copyright © 2018, Yvonne Demoskoff.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

A Grandmother Remembers

I recently put order in some of my genealogy memorabilia and came across a spiral-bound booklet titled Grandmother Remembers: A Book of Special Memories for the Family to Share that I forgot I had. I bought it a few years ago with the intention of recording my mother’s memories for my son Nicholas, but I only got as far as pencilling in a handful of responses based on the prompts in the booklet.

I’ll probably never add more memories to Grandmother Remembers, so I thought I’d transcribe what I have in a blog post. (Mom’s words are quotation marks.)

• Mom said she was named “Jacqueline”, because “my mother liked that name”.

• Mom had a nickname – “Ki-kine” (it rhymes with Jacqueline). She told me, “Oncle Léon Desgroseilliers first called me that”. 

• Mom’s youngest sister Jeanne d’arc “was called Bébé until she was about 9 or 10 years old”.

• Mom said that some of her father Eugène’s favorite foods were spaghetti (he “loved that”) and baked beans (he “would bake them outside in the hot sand in summer”).

• Mom remembered one traditional family custom: “Christmas stockings”.

Juliette and Jacqueline Desgroseilliers about 1946
Jacqueline with her mother Juliette (ca 1946)

• Mom told me that she called her mother “Maman”. She described her as about 5’4”, with brown eyes and dark brown hair. Mom remembers that she was “quiet”, “pretty”, and “couldn’t speak English much and had me [Jacqueline] translate for her”.

Recording memories and good intentions … but at least it’s a little bit more than what I had before!

Copyright © 2018, Yvonne Demoskoff.

Sunday, April 08, 2018

Sunday’s Obituary: Florence Cazakoff

Obituary of Florence Cazakoff

Florence was the first wife of Lawrence (Larry) Cazakoff, my husband’s maternal uncle.

A younger daughter of Stephen and Elizabeth (Strelaeff) Perepelkin (var. Perepolkin), Florence was born on 25 July 1914 in Veregin [sic], Saskatchewan. She married John Remesoff by whom she had four children. He passed away in 1945.

Florence married Larry in 1968, but they did not have children. It was a brief union, because Florence died on 11 April 1970 in Kamsack, Saskatchewan after “a short illness”. She was interred three days later in Riverview Cemetery in Kamsack.

My late father-in-law Bill, who collected obituaries of family, friends, and acquaintances, added the year 1970 in pen at the top of the (yellowed) obituary clipping.


“Florence Cazakoff”, obituary, undated (1970) clipping, from unidentified newspaper; Demoskoff Family Papers, privately held by Yvonne (Belair) Demoskoff, Hope, British Columbia, 2018. Yvonne received an assortment of family memorabilia (including Florence’s obituary) from her father-in-law William (Bill) Demoskoff in 2012.

Copyright © 2018, Yvonne Demoskoff.

Friday, April 06, 2018

Friday’s Faces from the Past: Cousins at their First Communion

Marianne Belair and cousin Lise on their First Communion

This lovely photo features my younger sister Marianne (on the right) with our cousin Lise on the day of their First Holy Communion.

They attended the same school (St-Joseph) and were in the same grade (2), so they (and their classmates) made their First Communion on the same occasion at Notre-Dame de Lourdes church in Timmins, Ontario.

I don’t know the exact date, but it’s spring, possibly April, of 1968; snow can be seen on the sidewalks.

Marianne and Lise pose piously on the front deck of our Belair grandfather’s apartment on Commercial Avenue. My mother Jacqueline probably took the photo.

I don’t have any memories of this event, so I’m glad this picture exists and records that special day in my sister’s and cousin’s lives.

Copyright © 2018, Yvonne Demoskoff.

Thursday, April 05, 2018

National Read a Road Map Day

I never heard of “National Read a Road Map Day”, observed yearly on April 5, until I saw it recently in the “Calendar of Ideas” at GeneaBloggersTribe. It provided a good topic and gave me a chance to tell (and preserve) a little story about Dad and I. (Note to self: check regularly the “Calendar of Ideas” for other topics of interest to write about.)

Maps. Ugh.

Reading a paper map when I want to is one thing, but being made to read one on the spot, well, that’s another thing.

Toronto map
Toronto map [1]

I remember vividly one occasion (I was about 16 or 17 years old) when Dad and I were in our family car approaching Toronto. We were probably on the 400 or 404 when Dad, who was driving, suddenly told me to take the road map out of the glovebox and give him directions. He wasn’t lost, but needed guidance as to which road would be the best to get to our destination – downtown TO.* (Dad lived in Toronto when he and Mom were first married, so he knew the lay of the land, so to speak. I think he just needed a reminder to refresh his memory.)

Average Afternoon on Highway 401
Average Afternoon on Highway 401 (2) [2]

As the only passenger, I pretty much had to be the map handler. I didn’t like being put on the spot like that, though, and felt pressured to not screw up. I can still see myself opening that large, multi-folded sheet, orient it so that I could see where we were, and then figure out which road we would next need. I preferred to be passive and watch the traffic zooming past. It didn’t matter that I told Dad I didn’t know how to read the map, he just told me in a calm, but firm voice to go ahead and do it anyway. (Good ol’ Dad. He felt there wasn’t anything anyone couldn’t do if he or she really tried.)

And so, I did. After getting over my initial nervousness, I was surprised to realize I could read that darn map and give Dad the directions he needed. We got to our destination just fine, thanks to Dad’s skilled driving and my new-found ability to read a road map!

Oh, and I married a man that did the same – get me to read a road map on the spur of the moment when I least expect it. 😊

* Dad never admitted to being lost when we travelled by car. It didn’t matter to him if he took a wrong turn, he’d say it was somewhere he hadn’t yet been, so he might as well explore until he got back on track.

Image credits:

1. Wikimedia Commons contributors, "File:Toronto map.png," Wikimedia Commons, the free media repository ( : accessed 31 March 2018).

2. Wikimedia Commons contributors, "File:Average Afternoon on Highway 401 (2).jpg," Wikimedia Commons, the free media repository ( : accessed 31 March 2018).

Copyright © 2018, Yvonne Demoskoff.

Wednesday, April 04, 2018

Wedding Wednesday: Deschatelets – Colle

Nearly 240 years ago – on 4 April 1780 – my maternal 5x great-grandparents François and Marie Louise (Colle) Deschatelets married. [1]

François, born in 1755, was the second, but eldest surviving son of Joseph Marie Pineault dit Deschatelets and Marie-Gabrielle Sullière. For her part, Marie Louise, born in 1758, was a younger daughter of Jean-Baptiste Colle and Marie Josephe Paule Martel. Jean-Baptiste, originally Valentin Cole from Boston, converted to the Roman Catholic faith a few months before his marriage to Marie Louise’s mother in 1753.

François and Marie Louise were the parents of six children (two sons and four daughters) before Marie Louise died aged 30 in December 1788. Four years later, widower François married Marie Angélique Duquet, by whom he had eleven children. He died in 1833.

Marriage record of Francois Deschatelets Marie Louise Colle
Deschatelets – Colle marriage record, Ancestry

Transcription of François and Marie Louise’s marriage record:

Le quatre avril mil sept cent quatre vingt par nous ptre / apres la publication de trois bans de mariage faite au prone / des grandes messes parroissial entre francois dechatelest et / fils de Joseph Pinault dt dechatelest et de marie Gabrielle / Sullière de cette parroise d’une part et de marie Louise / colle fille de Jean Baptiste colle et de marie Josette paul / martelle aussy de cette paroisse d’autre part, sans [qu’il / ce soit?] trouvé aucun enpèchement canoniques [au Séville?] au / dt mariage et Leur avon donné La Benediction nuptial / avec les ceremony prescripte par notre mere La Ste Eglise / catholique apostolique et Romaine en presence de / Joseph dechatelest frere de l’epoux de noel lavoix son / oncle et de Jean LeBoeuf et du cotté de l’epouse de Jean / Baptiste colle son pere de Joseph Locas et plusieurs autres / parant et amis qui ont declaré ne savoir [signer?] [des … ?] / qui suivant Lordce 
[signed] Petrimoulx ptre

My translation of the text:

The fourth april one thousand seven hundred eighty by us [priest] after the publication of three banns of marriage at the sermons of the parish high masses between francois dechatelest and / son of Joseph Pinault [aka] dechatelest et of marie Gabrielle Sullière of this parish on the one part and of marie Louise / colle daughter of Jean Baptiste colle and of marie Josette paul / martelle also of this parish on the other part, without [having?] found any canonical impediments [as well as civil ones?] to the [said] marriage and [we] have given The nuptial Benediction / with the prescribed ceremonies of our mother The Holy catholic and apostolic Roman Church in the presence of / Joseph dechatelest brother of the groom de noel lavoix his / uncle and of Jean LeBoeuf and on the side of the bride of Jean / Baptiste colle her father of Joseph Locas and of several other / relatives and friends who declared could not sign [their names] [des … ?] / following the [ordinance] 
[signed] Petrimoulx [priest]


1. St-Pierre-du-Portage (L’Assomption, Quebec), parish register, 1777-1782, p. 78 verso, no entry no. (1780), Francois Dechatelest – Marie Louise Colle [sic] marriage, 4 April 1780; St-Pierre-du-Portage parish; digital images, Ancestry ( : accessed 11 February 2011).

Copyright © 2018, Yvonne Demoskoff.

Sunday, April 01, 2018

Happy Easter!

Easter card

A blessed and happy Easter, everyone!

Joyeuses Pâques, tout le monde!

Copyright © 2018, Yvonne Demoskoff.

Saturday, March 31, 2018

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun - Which Ancestors Were Born on This Date?

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

Randy asks: “Which of your ancestors were born on this day, 31 March 2018? How can you find out? Tell us how you did it.” He adds that if we “don’t have an ancestor born on this date, then select another date in March and list those.” Last, we are encouraged to “Share your findings in your own blog post, or in comments on this blog post, on Facebook or Google+.”

Here’s how I did:

1. I searched my Microsoft Word document “Ancestors of Yvonne Belair”, which contains over 18 generations of my ancestry. I did a “Control F”, entered “31 Mar”, and then clicked “Enter”. I was sure I’d find an ancestor born on this date, but I didn’t.

2. I selected another date in March – March 30th – and repeated the search. Success! I found the following two ancestors:

• Marie-Anne Brunet (1700-1770). Marie-Anne was born on 30 March 1700 in Lachenaie in the present-day province of Quebec. She was a younger daughter of François Brunet dit Belhumeur, a militia lieutenant, and his wife Anne Ménard. Marie-Anne (also known as Anne) married François Simon dit Délorme in 1727. The couple had three sons and eight daughters. Marie-Anne died on 21 March 1770 and buried two days later in Montreal. I descend from her eldest surviving daughter, a twin, Marie Angélique Simon (1728-1803), on my mother’s side.

• Joseph-Marie Longtin dit Jérôme (1727-1801). Born on 30 March 1727 in LaPrairie in the present-day province of Quebec, Joseph-Marie was one of thirteen children born to Michel Longtin dit Jérôme and his wife Marie-Charlotte Bertrand. In 1754, Joseph-Marie married Marie Josephe Lamarque dite Sansoucy and like his father, had a large family – fifteen children. He died on 19 July 1801 and buried two days later in St-Constant. I descend from his fifth child, Louis Charles Longtin (1760-1813), on my mother’s side.

3. I’ve shared my findings in this blog post!

Copyright © 2018, Yvonne Demoskoff.