Friday, February 21, 2014

52 Ancestors: #8 Olivier Vanasse – Husband, Father, Farmer

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 8th week of this challenge, I chose my paternal great-grandfather Olivier Vanasse (1863-1944).

Olivier Vanasse
Olivier Vanasse

I never knew this great-grandfather (he died quite a few years before I was born), but my father Maurice and his sister Joan knew him. I remember just a couple of things of what they told me about Olivier. For example, when they were very young (less than 5 years old), they visited his property, a farm, at Chapeau. Then, a few years later, Dad and Aunt Joan and their parents Fred and Julie (one of Olivier’s daughters) lived at Chapeau, when Fred ran a gas station there. One day, I'd like to take a trip to eastern Canada and visit Chapeau in Pontiac County, Quebec and see the Vanasse farm for myself. I'll have to first contact a cousin, though, to get its exact location and find out if it's still in the family.

My great-grandfather Olivier was born on 4 February 1863 in Chapeau, Pontiac County, Quebec. He was the youngest child of his parents Olivier and Elisabeth (Frappier) Vanasse. Olivier’s older siblings were Michael (1853-1933), Julia (1854-1895), Henriette (1856-1883), John (1858-1931) and Elizabeth (1860-1953).

Olivier didn’t look too far to find a bride when he married in July 1889. He chose his first cousin, Elisabeth Vanasse (1862-1947), who like him, was born and raised in Chapeau.

The couple’s first child, Mary, was born the following spring in April 1890. A son, George, soon followed in October 1891, and then seven more children between 1893 and 1905: William, Cecilia (Celia), Julia (Julie), Joseph, Corinne (Cora), David and Agnes (Aggie). My grandmother Julie was their fifth child.

According to his obituary, Olivier retired from farming in 1919. He and his family continued to live on their property, where he died on 7 December 1944; he had been ill for two years.

Copyright © 2014, Yvonne Demoskoff.

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