Sunday, July 07, 2013

Proof Summary: Pierre Desgroseilliers’ Death Date

I recently came across an online article about organizing “your findings in a way so that readers can understand how you came to a logical conclusion”.1 I’ve been working on trying to prove that an ancestor (my maternal great-great-grandfather) didn’t die on the date seen in a local history book. After reading Susan Jackman’s article, I decided to write my own proof summary about my findings and use her summary as a model.

Proof statements, proof summaries, and proof arguments are the "three options for presenting a conclusion as proved".2 I'm still learning about all these new terms and how they are part of the GPS – the Genealogical Proof Standard.

Here’s how I did.

Proof Summary: Pierre Desgroseilliers’ Death Date

Date: 22 June 2013

Compiler: Yvonne Demoskoff

Subject: Pierre Desgroseilliers, born 1841, son of François and Elisabeth (Lemieux) Desgroseilliers

Project Definition: Prove that Pierre Desgroseilliers did not die on 28 March 1901.

Background: Two sources give three dates of death for Pierre Desgroseilliers. The first source, a local history book (Historique de la paroisse Saint-Charles) was published in 1945, some forty years after Pierre’s demise. It contains two different dates of death: 28 March 1901 and 1904 (day and month unspecified).3 The second source is Pierre’s tombstone. The tombstone says 20 March 19[??], but the online image is not quite clear enough to distinguish the year of death.4

Proof Argument: Pierre did not die on 28 March 1901, as stated in the local history book, because at least three records show him as alive after this date.

Analysis of Findings:

- 1901: Pierre, his wife Flavie and their younger children are enumerated on the 1901 census of Canada in Casimir Township in the district of Nipissing in Ontario.5 The official census date was 31 March 1901; therefore, as long as Pierre was correctly reported as being alive on this date, he could not have died on 28 March 1901.

- 1903: Pierre was present as a witness at the funeral of a widow on 18 May 1903.6 Pierre, whose name is rendered as “Pierre Desgroseilier” in the burial record, was one of the two recorded witnesses at the burial of [–?–] Lauzon, whose age is not stated and whose deceased husband’s name is not stated.

- 1903: Pierre and his wife Flavie are named as godparents at the baptism of an infant child, Ernest Xavier Gagnon, on 6 December 1903.7

Conclusion: Pierre did not die on 28 March 1901 as reported in the local history book, because at least three records put him in a given place at a given time after this date.


1. Susan Jackman, “Where Is Your Proof?”, Archives, 27 September 2011 ( : accessed 22 June 2013).

2. Thomas W. Jones, Mastering Genealogical Proof (Arlington, Virginia: National Genealogical Society, 2013), 84.

3. Lionel Séguin, Historique de la paroisse Saint-Charles (Saint-Charles, Ont., 1945: 232 and 233); digital images, Our Roots ( : accessed 18 June 2013). The author, Father Séguin, explains in the book’s foreword, that he visited each family and gathered all the details and information, which he adds was often contradictory, to compile his history of St-Charles.

4. “St Charles (Dunnet Township) Gravemarker Cemetery Gallery”, digital images, Northern Ontario Canada Gravemarker Gallery ( : accessed 17 June 2013), photograph, grave marker of Pierre Desgrosseilliers [sic], St. Charles, Ontario.

5. 1901 Census of Canada, Casimir Township, Nipissing, Ontario, population schedule, subdistrict F1-2, p. 2, dwelling 15, family 15, Piere Desgrossillier [sic]; digital image, ( : accessed 24 August 2007); citing Library and Archives Canada microfilm T-6428 to T-6556 [T-6483]. The official enumeration date for this census was 31 March 1901.

6. St Thomas the Apostle (Warren, Ontario), parish register, 1901-1910, no page number (but digital image 4 of 25), entry no. 3 (left hand side of booklet) (1903), [–?–] Lauzon burial, 18 May 1903; St Thomas the Apostle parish; digital image, “Ontario, Roman Catholic Church Records, 1760-1923”, FamilySearch ( : 15 May 2013).

7. St-Thomas Apôtre (Warren, Ontario), parish register, 1901-1967, p. 13, entry no. 88 (1903), Ernest Xavier Gagnon baptism, 6 December 1903; St-Thomas Apôtre parish; digital image, “Ontario, Canada, Catholic Church Records (Drouin Collection), 1747-1967”, ( : accessed 18 June 2013). Ernest Xavier Gagnon was the infant son of Augustin and Marie (Couvrette) Gagnon.

Copyright © 2013, Yvonne Demoskoff.


  1. I was under the impression that Pierre des Groseilliers, my great-grandfather, had died on April 20, 1904 in St. Charles, Quebec? Perhaps you can search that date and location. Thanks, Dominique

    1. Hi, Dominique. Do know which St. Charles? (There are about 11 different ones in the province of Quebec.) Also, do you have a source for that date? His tombstone says he died on 20 March 19?? (the last two digits are a bit difficult to read).


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