Sunday, May 01, 2016

Church Record Sunday: Louise Lefebvre’s 1716 Baptism Record

Three hundred years ago today – on 1 May 1716 – my 6x maternal great-grandmother Louise Lefebvre was baptized.

1716 baptism record of Louise Lefebvre

Known as Louise or Marie Louise, her date of birth is not stated at her baptism, which took place at La Nativité de la Bienheureuse-Vierge-Marie parish church of La Prairie on the south shore of the St. Lawrence River across from Montreal. [1]

The fourth child and third daughter of Pierre Lefebvre by his wife Marie Louise Brosseau, Louise had three older siblings, Suzanne, Marguerite and Pierre, and three younger ones, Anne Catherine, Pierre and Jean Marie.

Here’s my transcription of her baptism record, above:

L’an 1716 Le 1er May ay baptisé une fille de pierre / Lefevre et marie Louise Brosseau ses pere et mere [mariy?] / [ombte?] à Laquelle on a donné le nom de Louise, Le parr- / ain a été Louis Bouchard, La maraine marg. Lefevre / veve de pierre bourdeau, a été present pierre brion qui / a declaré ne savoir signer de ce enquis. [signed Gaschier curé]

My English translation:

Year 1716 The 1st May was baptized a daughter of pierre / Lefevre and marie Louise Brosseau her father and mother [mariy?] / [ombte?] to whom we gave the name of Louise, The god- / father was Louis Bouchard, The godmother marg. Lefevre / widow of pierre bourdeau, was present pierre brion who / declared he could not sign [his name] as was inquired [signed Gaschier parish priest]

In 1737, Louise married Pierre Roy, by whom she had ten children. She died in 1754 in St-Constant.


1. "Québec, registres paroissiaux catholiques, 1621-1979," database with images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 15 April 2016), La Prairie > Nativité-de-la-Prairie-de-la-Magdeleine > Baptêmes, mariages, sépultures 1670-1755 > image 130 of 608; nos paroisses de Église Catholique, Quebec (Catholic Church parishes, Quebec).

Copyright © 2016, Yvonne Demoskoff.

Sunday’s Obituary: Lucy Demosky

My husband Michael’s paternal grandmother Lucy (aka Luchenia, Lukeria) Demosky passed away fifty-six years ago today. She suffered a stroke at home (she lived with her daughter Mable and her family in Edmonton, Alberta) and died in hospital on 1 May 1960.

Obituary of Lucy Demosky

A few days ago, Michael received his grandmother’s obituary as a PDF in an email. [1] The scanned image (above) isn’t very clear, so I’ve transcribed it. I’ve kept the original spelling, punctuation and capitalization, as well as the original lineation.

Transcription of obituary of Lucy Demosky

Lucy was interred in Tolstoy Cemetery near Veregin, Saskatchewan. Her husband Wasyl, who died in 1933, also rests there.


1. Mona Bacon, Librarian, EPL (Stanley Al. Milner Library), Edmonton, Alberta to Michael Demoskoff, email, 13 April 2016, “Demosky Obituary”; privately held by Michael Demoskoff, Hope, British Columbia, 2016. Mona attached a PDF of Lucy Demosky’s obituary from the Edmonton Journal of May 3, 1960 in her email to Michael. The scanned image does not show the newspaper’s edition date or the page number on which the obituary appears.

Copyright © 2016, Yvonne Demoskoff.

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun – Lifespans of Your 2nd Great Grandparents

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

Tonight’s challenge is “Lifespans of Your 2nd Great Grandparents”. How it works:

1) We each have 16 great-great grandparents. How did their birth and death years vary? How long were their lifespans?

2) For this week, please list your 16 great-great grandparents, their birth year, their death year, and their lifespan in years. You can do it in plain text, in a table or spreadsheet, or in a graph of some sort.

3) Share your information about your 16 great-great grandparents with us in a blog post of your own, in a comment to this blog post, or on Facebook or Google+. If you write your own blog post, please leave a link as a comment to this post.

Here are my answers (I’ve followed Randy’s format).

My 16 great-great-grandparents (shown with their ahnentafel number) are as follows:

16. Paul Janvry dit Belair (1822-1902), 80 years
17. Angélique Lalonde (1818-1900), 82 years
18. Ménésippe Meunier (1829-1883), 54 years
19. Louise Drouin (1835-1890), 55 years
20. Olivier Vanasse (1832-1914), 82 years
21. Elizabeth Frappier (ca 1832-1909), about 77 years
22. Joseph Vanasse (1838-1897), 59 years
23. Marie Guérard (1840-1917), 77 years

24. Pierre Desgroseilliers (1841-1904), 63 years
25. Flavie Lepage (1847-1906), 59 years
26. Joseph Léveillé (1839-1922), 83 years
27. Cordélia Racette (1849-1928), 79 years
28. Pierre Beauvais (1838-ca 1896), about 58 years
29. Arline Deschatelets (1846-1923), 77 years
30. Louis Hotte (1844-1923), 79 years
31. Marguerite Lacasse (1839-1907), 68 years

The average birth year for my 16 great-great grandparents is 1833, with a range from 1818 to 1849.

The average death year for them is 1905, with a range from 1883 to 1928.

So the average lifespan is about 71 years for my 16 great-great-grandparents, with a range of 54 to 83 years. Males average a lifespan of 70 years and females average a lifespan of 72 years.

I’ve shared my information in a blog post here and I’ve left a comment (with a link) at Genea-Musings!

Copyright © 2016, Yvonne Demoskoff.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Lucy Demosky’s Death Registration

Earlier this year, Caroline Pointer at asked her readers “What's your 2016 Blogging Genealogy goal?”. Was it to “to blog more in general? More consistently? Concentrate more on just a handful ancestors?”

Since I just discovered Caroline’s article, I picked a prompt at random – the January 3 one titled “Memento Mori "Remember You Die" Day”.

Once we get past the ‘morbid’ aspect, Caroline encourages us to write about an ancestor’s death certificate or record. The goal is to take the details apart and see what we can learn (or not) from the person’s life from the document. Alternatively, we can transcribe the details as a blog post.

Lucy Demosky death registration
Lucy Demosky's registration of death

I chose to write about my husband’s paternal grandmother Lucy (aka Luchenia, Lukeria) (Tomelin) Demosky’s death registration (above). [1] I’ve abstracted the following details:

1. Place of death
- rural: Edmonton […] Rge: 021-11
- city: Edmonton Alberta
- hospital: General Hospital

2. Date of death: May 1 1960

3. Length deceased resided
- where death occurred: 2 yrs
- in Alberta: 2 years
- in Canada, if immigrant: 61 yrs

4. Name of deceased: Lucy Demosky

5. Permanent residence of deceased
- rural: Rge 032-11
- city: Jasper Place
- street address: 8902 – 15 st.
- province: Alberta
- country: Canada

6. Sex: F / 7. Citizenship: Canadian / 8. Racial origin: Russian / 9. Province, state or country of birth: Russia

10. Date of birth: October 18 1885 / 11. Age: 74 years 6 months 13 days

12. Kind of work: House – wife / 13. Last worked at his occupation: April 7 1960 / total number of years engaged in this occupation: life

14. Single, married, widowed or divorced: widowed / Name of Husband: William Demosky

15. Name of father: Nick Tomelin / 16. Maiden name of mother: [unknown] Terichow / 17. Birthplace of father: Russia / 18. Birthplace of mother: Russia

19. Proposed date of burial: May 4 1960 / proposed place of burial: Kamsack Sask. / Tolstoi Cementery [sic]

Informant: Fred Demosky / relationship: Son / date: May 1st 1960

Now that I’ve taken apart the details about Lucy’s death, one item stands out – her date of death. Lucy’s son, my late father-in-law William (Bill) Demoskoff, believed that his mother died on 28 April 1960. [2] Yet, I see that her death was registered as “May 1 1960”. Could her son Fred, the informant, have made a mistake and put an incorrect date of death?

As I pondered this dilemma, it occurred to me that neither my husband nor his father possessed a newspaper obituary for Lucy. After a quick search on the internet, I saw that the Edmonton (Alberta) Public Library has an online searchable birth, marriage, death index. I looked for Lucy’s obituary in “Edmonton Obituaries” and found it in the 3 May 1960 edition of the Edmonton Journal. [3] The newspaper wasn’t online, so my husband Michael sent an email to EPL’s “Ask Us” service. A librarian replied the very next day with a scan of the obituary. (Thank you, EPL!) Lucy’s obit stated that “On May 1st Mrs Lucy Demosky […] passed away […]”. [4] It looks like Bill's memory wasn't accurate on this point, after all.

My husband then called his cousin Harvey to see if he knew when their grandmother died, but he didn’t remember. He explained that she was living with him and his parents when she suffered a stroke at home. Lucy was taken to the hospital and died there a few days later. Harvey added that he didn’t have any paperwork (like her obituary) or photos of his grandmother that he could share with us.

What else did I learn about Lucy? She was born in Russia on 18 October 1885 to Nick Tomelin and his wife (first name unknown) Terichow. In my opinion, her date of birth might only be a guess, though, because at this time in their history, Doukhobors did not believe in state interference in their lives and did not register vital events. Later, after immigrating to Canada, some, but not all, Doukhobors followed the government requirements and registered their children’s births.

According to the document, Lucy arrived in Canada “61 yrs” ago, that is, in 1899. That year is consistent with family tradition, according to my father-in-law, Bill (Lucy’s youngest child). [5]

The “proposed place” of burial – Tolstoi Cemetery in Kamsack, Saskatchewan – is not quite correct. Lucy was indeed interred at Tolstoy Cemetery, but it’s located a little to the north of Veregin, which is about 10 km west of Kamsack. [6]

Unfortunately, I didn’t learn Lucy’s mother’s given name. (Bill believed that his grandmother’s name was Maria or Anna.) I also didn’t learn precisely where Lucy and her parents were born in Russia.

Writing about Lucy’s death registration has been a worthwhile activity. I noticed details that I didn't the first time I looked at it and that led me to question certain points, which in turn led me to search out (and get) Lucy's obituary. 


1. Province of Alberta Department of Public Health, registration of death, no. 08-009495, Lucy Demosky (1960); Division of Vital Statistics, Edmonton.

2. William (Bill) Demoskoff, “Descendents of Mikhail (Konkin) Demofski) Demoskoff” [sic]; supplied by Bill Demoskoff, Grand Forks, BC. This unpublished and undated typescript consisting of six pages was researched by Bill Demoskoff probably in the 1980s or 1990s. The original typescript containing no supporting documentation for its data was given by the compiler to his daughter-in-law Yvonne (Belair) Demoskoff in the 1980s or 1990s.

3. “Edmonton Obituaries”, ( : accessed 12 April 2016), entry for Lucy Demosky, 3 May 1960. The Edmonton Public Library has a searchable index for the Edmonton Journal, with index coverage from January 1950 to December 1982.

4. Mona Bacon, Librarian, EPL (Stanley Al. Milner Library), Edmonton, Alberta to Michael Demoskoff, email, 13 April 2016, “Demosky Obituary”; privately held by Michael Demoskoff, Hope, British Columbia, 2016. Mona attached a scan of Lucy Demosky’s obituary from the Edmonton Journal of May 3, 1960 in her email to Michael. The scanned image does not show the newspaper’s edition date or the page number on which the obituary appears.

5. William (Bill) Demoskoff, “Descendents of Mikhail (Konkin) Demofski) Demoskoff” [sic]; supplied by Bill Demoskoff, Grand Forks, BC.

6. “Tolstoy Cemetery - Veregin District, Saskatchewan”, Doukhobor Genealogy Website ( : accessed 12 April 2016), entry for Lukeria N. Demoskoff [sic].

Copyright © 2016, Yvonne Demoskoff.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Workday Wednesday: Eugene Desgroseilliers, Chief of Police

Eugene Desgroseilliers as chief of police

My maternal grandfather Eugène Desgroseilliers (1900-1960) was Chief of Police in Hearst, a small northern Ontario community. I’ve always wondered how he got this position. He was a farmer when he married in August 1925 [1], but soon changed occupations and moved to law enforcement. I asked my mother if she knew how this happened (what qualifications did he have, what training did he receive), but she could only speculate that he was hired because he was so tall – Eugène was 6’ 7”.

Eugene Desgroseilliers as chief of police
Eugène Desgroseilliers, centre, with unidentified men (ca 1927)

Based on photographic evidence, Eugène probably became chief of police around the time his daughter Mariette was born in December 1927.

Eugene Desgroseilliers with his daughter Mariette in 1928
Eugène Desgroseilliers and his daughter Mariette (1928)

Eugène served as chief of police in Hearst from about 1927 to about 1936. He appears on a voters list for that community in 1935; his occupation is “town police”. [2]
Eugene Desgroseilliers on the 1935 list of electors for Hearst Ontario
Eugène Desgroseilliers (entry no. 102) on the 1935 list of electors for Hearst, Ontario (

In 1936, Eugène and his family moved to Rouyn, in northwestern Quebec. He continued with his police duties there and later in the nearby villages of Duparquet and Cadillac. In about 1940, Eugène became ill with double pneumonia and lost his job as police chief.

I’ve tried to find more details about my grandfather’s time as police chief in Hearst, but I’ve not been successful. For example, I corresponded with the Town of Hearst, who transferred my request to the local police force. In turn, the Hearst police department forwarded my request to the OPP (Ontario Provincial Police). Unfortunately, my grandfather was not in their “various OPP alpha-listings which go back to the 1920s”. [3]

I also hoped to find what happened to the medal Eugène was awarded for being “the youngest chief of police”, according to his daughters. They remember this medal, but they can’t recall what it looked like, when their father received it, or what became of it.

For now, the only sources I have about my grandfather Eugène’s years as chief of police are the above photos, an entry in a 1935 “list of electors”, and the memories of my Mom and her sisters. I’m not giving up hope, though, that one day I’ll find documentary evidence of his work and of his having received a medal for it.


1. “Ontario, Canada Marriages, 1801-1930”, digital images, ( : accessed 16 March 2010), entry for Eugene Desgroseilliers – Juliette Beauvais (written as Eugene Desgroseilliers – Juliette Beauvais, indexed as Eugene Desg Desgroseillien – Juliette Beauvais), 18 August 1925; citing Archives of Ontario, Registrations of Marriages, 1869-1928; Toronto, Ontario Canada: Archives of Ontario; microfilm series MS932, reel 740.

2. “Canada, Voters Lists, 1935-1980”, digital images, ( : accessed 30 March 2016), entry for Eugene Desgroseillier (written as Eugene Desgroseillier, indexed as Kugene Desgroseillier), page 817 (stamped), entry no. 102; citing Voters Lists, Federal Elections, 1935–1980; R1003-6-3-E (RG113-B); Library and Archives Canada, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.

3. Claudine Locqueville, Adjointe Administrative Assistant, Ville de/Town of Hearst to Yvonne Demoskoff, email, 24 March 2010, “FW: Police force of Hearst”; privately held by Yvonne (Belair) Demoskoff, Hope, British Columbia, 2016. Claudine forwarded the exchange of emails between the James Bay Detachments of the OPP and the OPP Museum in Orillia, Ontario to Yvonne regarding the possibility that her grandfather Eugene served with that police force.

Copyright © 2016, Yvonne Demoskoff.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Church Record Sunday: Desgroseilliers – Léveillé 1899 Marriage Record

My maternal great-grandparents Albert Desgroseilliers and Clémentine Léveillé married 117 years ago today.

Albert Desgroseilliers and Clementine Leveille marriage record 1899
Desgroseilliers - Léveillé marriage record (Généalogie Québec)

Albert, a younger son of Pierre and Flavie (Lepage) Desgroseilliers, was born in February 1879. His bride Clémentine, a younger daughter of Joseph and Cordélia (Racette) Léveillé, was slightly older: she was born in November 1878. The young couple were distantly related: Albert was Clémentine’s fifth cousin three times removed.

Albert, a farmer, and Clémentine married on 24 April 1899 in Limoges (known as South Indian, at this time) in Russell County, Ontario. [1] Father Joseph-Hercule Touchette celebrated the nuptial mass.

The marriage record (above) reads in French:

Le vingt quatre Avril, mil huit-cent quatre-vingt / dix neuf, vu la dispense de deux bans de mariage, ac- / cordée par nous, en vertu d’un pouvoir, à nous accor- / dé par Sa Grandeur Monseigneur J.T. Duhamel / Archevêque d’Ottawa, après la publication d’un / ban de mariage, faite au prône de nos messes parois- / siales entre Albert Desgroseilliers, fils majeur de Pierre / Desgroseilliers, cultivateur, et de Philenis Lepage / de cette mission, d’une part, et Clémentine / Léveillé, fille mineure de Joseph Léveillé / journalier et de Cordélia Racette de cette mission / d’autre part; ne s’etant découvert aucun empêchement / nous soussigné, curé de cette mission avons reçu leur mutu- / el consentement de mariage, et leur avons donné la bénédic- / tion nuptiale en presence de: [Rodrigue?] Laframboise et / Viateur Godard. [signed J.H. Touchette Ptre]

My English translation:

The twenty fourth April, one thousand eighty / nine, considering the dispensation of two banns of marriage, ac- / corded to us, in virtue of the power, to us accor- / ded by His Most Reverend J.T. Duhamel / Archbishop of Ottawa, after the publication of one / bann of marriage, stated at the sermons of mass of our parish / between Albert Desgroseilliers, son of age of Pierre / Desgroseilliers, farmer, and of Philenis Lepage / of this mission, on the one part, and Clémentine / Léveillé, minor daughter of Joseph Léveillé / day labourer and of Cordélia Racette of this mission / on the other part; not having found any impediment / we undersigned, curate of this mission have received their mutu- / al consent of marriage, and have given the nuptial blessing / in presence of: [Rodrigue?] Laframboise and / Viateur Godard. [signed J.H. Touchette Priest]


1. St-Viateur (Limoges, Ontario), parish register, 1897-1910, p. 18 (stamped), entry no. M.1 (1899), Albert Desgroseilliers – Clémentine Léveillé marriage, 24 April 1899; St-Viateur parish; digital images, “Registres du Fonds Drouin”, Généalogie Québec ( : accessed 4 July 2014).

Copyright © 2016, Yvonne Demoskoff.

Church Record Sunday: Pierre Bertrand’s 1816 Burial Record

Two hundred years ago this month, my maternal 6x great-grandfather Pierre Bertrand dit Aulas died.

Pierre Bertrand's 1816 Burial Record
Pierre Bertrand burial record (FamilySearch)

Originally from Aulas, Languedoc, France, Pierre came to New France (Canada) in 1756 as a soldier in the Seven Years War. Four years after his arrival, he married Marie Josephe Gauthier dite St-Germain on 4 November 1760 in her hometown of Boucherville, located across from Montreal on the south shore of the St. Lawrence River. Pierre and Marie Josephe had four sons and ten daughters, including my ancestor Marie Marguerite (1771-1846).

Pierre died on 23 April 1816. The parish priest was by his bedside and administered Extreme Unction (Annointing of the Sick). Pierre was buried two days later in the cemetery of St-Jean-François-Régis of St-Philippe, south of Boucherville, in Laprairie County. [1]

The burial record (above) reads in French:

Le vingt cinq avril mil huit cent Seize par nous pretre sous / signé a été inhumé dans le cimetiere de cette paroisse le corps de / Pierre Bertrand laboureur de cette paroisse age de quatre / vingt quatre ans décédée avant hier munie du Sacrement de / l’Extreme onction. Etaient presents [Drule Surgon?] Joseph Za / [betier?] et Ange [Zabetier?] qui n’ont su signer. [signed Pigeon ptre]

My English translation:

The twenty fifth april one hundred Sixteen by us priest under / signed has been interred in the cemetery of this parish the body of / Pierre Bertrand laborer of this parish age of eighty / four years deceased before yesterday provided with the Sacrament of Extreme Unction. Were present [Drule Surgon?] Joseph Za / [betier?] and Ange [Zabetier?] who didn’t not how to sign [their names]. [signed Pigeon priest]

Although the name of Pierre’s wife’s is not mentioned in his burial record, I believe I have the right person. For example, he is 84 years old at his death (giving him a year of birth of about 1732) and his occupation is stated: “laboureur de cette paroisse” [labourer in this parish]. He is also described as “Pierre Bertrand laboureur en cette paroisse de son vivant” [Pierre Bertrand labourer in this parish in his lifetime] in his wife’s burial record in 1822. [2]


1. St-Jean-François-Régis (St-Philippe, Quebec), parish register, p. 52 verso, no entry no. (1816), Pierre Bertrand burial 25 April 1816; St-Jean-François-Régis parish; digital images, "Québec, registres paroissiaux catholiques, 1621-1979", FamilySearch ( : accessed 8 April 2016). 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-Philippe > Saint-Philippe > Baptêmes, mariages, sépultures 1809-1823 > image 250 of 578.

2. St-Jean-François-Régis (St-Philippe, Quebec), parish register, 1809-1823, p. 145 recto, entry no. S.35 (1822), Marie Joseph Gothier [sic] burial, 6 May 1822; St-Jean-François-Régis parish; digital images, "Québec, registres paroissiaux catholiques, 1621-1979", FamilySearch ( : accessed 8 April 2016). 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-Philippe > Saint-Philippe > Baptêmes, mariages, sépultures 1809-1823 > image 530 of 578.

Copyright © 2016, Yvonne Demoskoff.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Friday’s Faces from the Past: François and Julia Gagnon and Family

Francois Gagnon and Julia Vanasse with their children in 1902

Isn’t this a splendid family photograph? It features François and Julia (Vanasse) Gagnon and their young family in the summer of 1902. They lived in Chapeau, Pontiac County, Quebec. My grandmother Julie (Vanasse) Belair was named for her aunt Julia, who was 30 years old in this picture. [1]

The photo came in a letter that my Aunt Joan received from her cousin Gladys in the late 1990s. Joan then gave it to me when I visited her in May 2014. Gladys was the granddaughter of Julia (1872-1956), who married François (1859-1949) in Chapeau in June 1895.

Left to right: Julia holding Victor (b. 1901), Albertine (b. 1897), François holding Richard (b. 1900), and Mae (b. 1895).

Young Albertine (4½ years old in the picture) would later be my father Maurice’s godmother at his baptism in 1927. I’ve written about her and her sister Cora (not yet born when the photo was taken) in Sibling Saturday: Albertine and Cora Gagnon.


1. Gagnon family photograph, 1902; privately held by Yvonne (Belair) Demoskoff [ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE,] Hope, British Columbia, 2016. Gladys (Holden) Santry sent the photograph of her maternal grandmother and her family in a letter to her second cousin Joan (Belair) Laneville between 1996 and 2002. (Gladys dated and identified the individuals by name and age on the back of the photo.) Joan then gave the letter and photograph to her niece Yvonne when she visited her aunt’s home in May 2014.

Copyright © 2016, Yvonne Demoskoff.