Tuesday, December 06, 2016

Tombstone Tuesday: Mary (O’Connor) Grozelle

Mary OConnor Grozelle gravemarker

Mary Grozelle was the wife of Gilbert Grozelle, a distant maternal cousin of mine. Daughter of James and Catherine (McNearney) O’Connor, Mary was born on 17 October 1885 in Victoria Road, Victoria County, Ontario. [1]

Mary and Gilbert married in 1905 and had six children: Ruth, Carmen, Thelma, Sylvia, Melvin and Murray. Mary died on 15 November 1971 in Kelowna, British Columbia. [2]

Her gravemarker reads:

Mary R. Grozelle
In Loving Memory
1885 – 1971

Gilbert died in 1953. He and Mary are interred next to each other in Memorial Park Cemetery, Kelowna, while son Murray shares his mother’s plot. [3]

Gilbert, Mary and Murray Grozelle gravemarkers
Graves of Gilbert (left), Mary (right), and Murray (lower right)

My husband and I took these photographs during our visit to Kelowna, when we attended the Kelowna & District Genealogical Society’s conference in September 2016.


1. “Genealogy – General Search”, digital images, BC Archives (http://search-collections.royalbcmuseum.bc.ca/Genealogy : accessed 28 September 2016), entry for Thelma Mary Grittner [sic], 19 January 1959, death registration no. 1959-09-001632. Thelma’s mother Mary (O’Connor) Grozelle was the informant.

2. “Genealogy – General Search”, digital images, BC Archives (http://search-collections.royalbcmuseum.bc.ca/Genealogy : accessed 6 July 2016), entry for Mary Beatrice Grozelle, 15 November 1971, death registration no. 1971-09-016099.

3. Memorial Park Cemetery, City of Kelowna, database (http://www.kelowna.ca/CM/Page270.aspx : accessed 21 September 2016), entry for Mary Beatrice Grozelle [sic], death 18 November 1971, plot B 6 62 81.

Copyright © 2016, Yvonne Demoskoff.

Sunday, December 04, 2016

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun – Who Is Your MRUA?

It’s Saturday (actually, Sunday – I’m a bit late with this post), and Randy over at Genea-Musings has issued his weekly challenge to his readers.

Tonight’s challenge is “Who Is Your MRUA?”.

Randy asks us to determine “Who is your MRUA - your Most Recent Unknown Ancestor?”, then to revisit our research if we haven’t done so recently, then see if there are online or offline resources that might help, and then finally to write about our answers in “a blog post, in a comment to this post, or in a comment on Facebook or Google Plus”.

Here are my answers:

1) Michel Frappier, no. 42 in my Ancestor List, is my Most Recent Unknown Ancestor (MRUA). The only thing I know for sure about him is that he married Louise Neveu, a Metis girl, on 31 January 1836 on Ile des Allumettes in Lower Canada, now the province of Quebec. I don’t know the identity of his parents (they aren’t mentioned in his marriage record) or of any family member (none is listed as witness or as present at the event).

2) I haven’t done any recent research on Michel. Based on past research, though, he might be the son of Michel Frappier and his wife Marie Anne Varry, who was born and baptized on 5 April 1797 in Boucherville, Chambly County, Quebec. Another possibility is that he is the son of Antoine Frappier dit St-Hilaire and his wife Marie Josephe Neveu dite Bagueville and that he was born and baptized on 7 June 1800 in St-Cuthbert, Berthier County, Quebec.

Michel likely died on 1 January 1860 and buried on 3 January 1860 in Chapeau, on Ile des Allumettes, Pontiac County, Quebec. His burial record doesn’t mention the name of his spouse (which would help to identify him), but does say that he was 66 years old (giving him an approximate year of birth of 1794). Additionally, “Olivier Venance”, who is presumably his son-in-law, is recorded as being present at the burial. Michel’s daughter Anne Isabelle (aka Elisabeth) Frappier (ca 1832-1909) married Olivier Vanasse on 20 April 1852 in Chapeau, so it appears that I have the correct burial record. (“Vanasse” is the original (Canadian) surname, while “Venance” is a variant.)

3) Since it’s been a couple of years that I’ve researched Michel, I looked at the Hudson’s Bay Company Archives in case it had updated its information, but I didn’t find Michel or any Frappier among the names in its employee biographical sheets. (I’ve lost my source, but I thought one of Michel’s aliases was “Michel Frappier dit le Voyageur”.)

One online source that might be of help in identifying Michel is another voyageur site: the Centre du Patrimoine of the Société historique de Saint-Boniface, the “largest centre for francophone archives west of Ottawa”. I searched its database for “Frappier” and got 43 results. Eight of those results are for a Michel Frappier, but they can’t all be for my ancestor. I know that Michel was born about 1796 (possibly 1797 or 1800), therefore, the early voyageur contracts of 1798, 1803, 1805, 1808, 1809, and 1811 are for another Michel Frappier, but the later contracts of 1814 and 1821 could be those of my ancestor or possibly those of another Michel Frappier.

4) I’ve written about my MRUA in my blog!

Copyright © 2016, Yvonne Demoskoff.

AncestryDNA discounted this Holiday Season

I received the following email from Ancestry.ca asking me to share the following news:

“With the holidays just around the corner, we wanted to let you and your readers know that Ancestry will be offering AncestryDNA at a reduced price from December 2 until December 24.

AncestryDNA is the perfect gift for anyone looking to find out more about their ethnic identity or hoping to discover and connect with new relatives.

AncestryDNA kits will be available to Canadians for $109 (regularly $129) at www.ancestrydna.ca before December 24.

To ensure that your gift is under the tree, please order by December 12 to allow for shipping time.

Happy family tree hunting/holidays!”

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Sunday’s Obituary: Lucille Saucier

Lucille (Potvin) Saucier obituary

Lucille (Potvin) Saucier passed away ten years ago on 15 November 2006. [1]

Born Doris Lucille Potvin, she was “Lou” to her family and “Cousin Lou” to my Dad and I. Actually, I was first cousin once removed to her, while she and Dad were first cousins.

Lou was the only daughter of Clement and Cecilia (Vanasse) Potvin. She was four years older than her cousin Maurice, but they were rather close as young children and spent vacations on their grandparents’ farm on Ile des Allumettes in the late 1920s and early 1930s. In later years, Dad always spoke fondly of Lou, probably because he knew her best of his Vanasse cousins.

When I was a student at the University of Ottawa, Lou would invite me to her home for meals (and much appreciated they were) or to just hang out when I got lonely living in my dorm. Lou and I corresponded fairly regularly after my family moved to British Columbia. She was a wonderful source of information about our relatives and ancestors.

Cousin Lou is still missed and remembered to this day.


1. “Doris “Lou” Saucier”, obituary, undated clipping, 2006, from unidentified newspaper; privately held by Joan (Belair) Laneville, Timmins, Ontario, 2016. Yvonne scanned family memorabilia, including this obituary, when she visited her aunt Joan (Belair) Laneville in May 2014. Joan and Lou were first cousins.

Copyright © 2016, Yvonne Demoskoff.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

October Weekend Conference Report

Last weekend was good, genealogically speaking, for me, but not so good physically. My right elbow was sore for a couple of days before I left for greater Vancouver, but it wasn’t until the Friday evening that I realized the pain was due to tendinitis. I’m still not fully recovered, but at least the swelling has come down. For this reason, my conference report will be brief.

On Friday evening, the BC Genealogical Society featured Lesley Anderson from Ancestry.ca. She spoke for a little over an hour about “Ain’t I a Woman” – how to find our female ancestors in Ancestry’s many and varied databases. Lesley also gave examples of famous Canadian women in those records, like author Lucy Maud Montgomery.

It was one of the windiest and rainiest weekends we’ve had in British Columbia, but that didn’t stop a good-sized crowd of people from attending the “Finding Your Roots” seminar hosted by the Surrey, BC Family History Centre on Saturday. I registered for three sessions, but ducked out on the afternoon one because of my sore arm. My husband and I attended the first two classes, and then joined the other attendees for our pre-ordered lunch.

Award recipients

During the noon hour, four guest speakers, David Jackson, Dave Obee, Eunice Robinson, and Brenda Smith (above), received “Longstanding Service Awards” for their contributions as instructors to “Finding Your Roots”.

BCGS vendor booth

After the award ceremony, Michael and I browsed the vendor booths and displays. I bought a couple of discounted publications and then we headed home.

Copyright (c) 2016, Yvonne Demoskoff.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Amanuensis Monday: Last Will and Testament of Alphonse Grozelle

An amanuensis is a person employed to write what another dictates or to copy what has been written by another.

I recently wrote about my distant cousin Alphonse Grozelle (aka Alphonso Grozell); see Alphonse Grozelle (1854-1921).

Today, I look at his last will and testament. It is rare that I find wills for my ancestors or relatives, so I was pleased to come across Alphonse’s will at FamilySearch.org last week. The digitised probate packet wasn’t large (it consisted of 40 images) and the documents weren’t complicated.

In the spring of 1912, Alphonse made a will in which he named his younger son Joseph as executor. The total value of Alphonse’s property was not more than $3225.00. [1] He bequeathed all his real and personal estate (two ¼ sections of land) and “all the horses, machinery, and in fact all that is pertaining to the said land” to his son Joseph. He added that he owed $100.00 to his son Peter Richard Grozell. Last, he specified, “to the rest of my children they are not to receive any of Estate what so ever”. [2]
Alphonse Grozelle will part one
Last Will and Testament of Alphonso Grozell, part one (FamilySearch.org)

Alphonse’s will, dated 12 May 1919, was proved and registered in Surrogate Court of Judicial District of Estevan, Saskatchewan on 30 December 1921. Its administration (letters probate) was granted to Joseph. [3]
Alphonse Grozelle will part two
Last Will and Testament of Alphonso Grozell, part two (FamilySearch.org)

Here is my transcription of Alphonse’s will. (Note: Portions of text that are filled-in by hand or typewriter are shown underlined.)

[image 7 of 40]


1. "Saskatchewan Probate Estate Files, 1887-1931," digital images, FamilySearch.org (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:VNTN-FJT : accessed 3 October 2016), Alphonso Grozell [sic], 1921, probate file, no. 0648, “Petition For Probate” (image 3 of 40); citing Saskatchewan Estevan, Queen's Bench Provincial Court, Regina; GS film no. 1,220,692.

2. "Saskatchewan Probate Estate Files, 1887-1931," digital images, FamilySearch.org (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:VNTN-FJT : accessed 3 October 2016), Alphonso Grozell [sic], 1921, probate file, no. 0648, “Last Will and Testament of Alphonso Grozell” (images 7-8 of 40); citing Saskatchewan Estevan, Queen's Bench Provincial Court, Regina; GS film no. 1,220,692.

3. "Saskatchewan Probate Estate Files, 1887-1931," digital images, FamilySearch.org (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:VNTN-FJT : accessed 3 October 2016), Alphonso Grozell [sic], 1921, probate file, no. 0648, “In The Surrogate Court of […]” (image 33 of 40); citing Saskatchewan Estevan, Queen's Bench Provincial Court, Regina; GS film no. 1,220,692.

Copyright © 2016, Yvonne Demoskoff.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Friday’s Faces from the Past: Richard, the fisherman

Richard Legault

This clipping from an unidentified newspaper shows my late cousin Richard Legault.

His mother, my Aunt Madeleine, gave me this item when I visited her in the spring of 2014.

Richard looks about 14 or 15 years old, so the photo dates to 1965 or 1966.

Hills Lake, where Richard and the other cadets fished, is near Englehart, south of Kirkland Lake, Ontario, where Aunt Madeleine and her family lived.

Tragically, Richard died after a car accident in October 1969.

Copyright © 2016, Yvonne Demoskoff.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

A Two-Part Genealogy Weekend

This weekend is going to be a two-part genealogy weekend for my husband and me. On Friday (October 14), we are driving into Burnaby, BC (in greater Vancouver) to hear Lesley Anderson of Ancestry.ca. She’s giving a talk on “Ain’t I a Woman?” Finding women on Ancestry

This free evening event is put on by the BCGS (British Columbia Genealogical Society) at their monthly meeting location, Danish Lutheran Church in Burnaby. For more information about the time and location, see the BCGS website.

The next day, Saturday (October 15), we’re attending “Finding Your Roots”, the 21st annual seminar hosted by the Surrey Family History Center in Surrey, BC (a short distance east of Burnaby).

Aerial view of Surrey British Columbia
Surrey [B.C.] aerial view*

This Tri-Stake event is free and open to the public. There are classes for beginners and advanced researchers, like “Getting Started with Family History” with Eunice Robinson and “The Search for Frank Liddell: A Case Study” with Dave Obee. A good variety of subjects is planned for the morning and afternoon sessions: everything from copyright issues, Eastern European research, marriage customs, social media, source citations, United Empire Loyalists, and wills. Speakers include Andrea Lister, Paul McDonnell, and Brenda Smith.

Lesley Anderson will also be there. She’s giving three talks: “Ancestry.ca: Searching Canadian Records”, “Ancestry’s Online Family Trees”, and “What Will You Discover with AncestryDNA?”. For more information, see “Finding Your Roots”.

* Image credit: Wikipedia contributors, "Surrey, British Columbia", Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Surrey,_British_Columbia&oldid=743192244 : accessed 8 October 2016).

Copyright © 2016, Yvonne Demoskoff.