Friday, January 31, 2014

52 Ancestors: #5 Julie Belair – Things I’d Like to Know

Amy Johnson Crow at No Story Too Small has issued herself and her readers a challenge for 2014. It’s called “52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks”, and as Amy explains, the challenge is to “have one blog post each week devoted to a specific ancestor. It could be a story, a biography, a photograph, an outline of a research problem — anything that focuses on one ancestor”.

For the 5th week of this challenge (5 weeks already!), I chose my paternal grandmother Julie (Vanasse) Belair (1896-1967).

Julie Belair in 1948
Julie (Vanasse) Belair in Matheson, Ontario, 1948

I know a certain amount about my grandmother Julie, but there are gaps in my knowledge of her life I’d like to fill in. To help me keep track of these “unknowns”, I’ve put together a list of questions I’d like answered someday.

Things I’d like to Know about Julie Belair

• Julie worked as a domestic in Ottawa in the 1920s before she married, and later in Timmins in the 1950s. What was that like? For example, did she work in private homes or in homes of local notables?

• When and where did Julie meet my grandfather Fred? How long did they know each other before they married?

• Where did Julie buy her wedding dress and her children’s baptismal dress? (I suspect she shopped in Ottawa for those items, but it would be interesting to know the name of the actual store.)

• Why did Julie choose “Melvin” as my Dad’s middle name? Did she perhaps know someone called Melvin?

• Where specifically did Julie live before and after she married? I’m curious to know the addresses of her homes in Ottawa, Montreal, Timmins, and other localities.

• When did Julie move to all these towns? Why did she and my grandfather move so often? What made them choose these towns?

• Did Julie accompany my grandfather when he worked as a cook in lumber camps? If so, who took care of her younger children during these times?

• When did Julie settle permanently in Timmins? (Was it about 1952 to 1955?) Why did she return there? (I believe she was living in southwestern Ontario before she moved to the northeastern part of the province.)

• Julie suffered from asthma as an adult, and had to be hospitalized during some bad spells. When did this condition begin? Did other members of her family also have asthma?

• Was there an obituary for Julie? (I have one for my grandfather Fred, but I’ve never seen one for my grandmother.)

• I have Julie’s death certificate, but I’d like to see her death registration, because it potentially contains more useful information.

Copyright © 2014, Yvonne Demoskoff.

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