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 29th week of this challenge, I chose Joseph Vanasse (1838-1897).
Joseph is my paternal great-great-grandfather and is number 22 in my ancestor list.
He is the younger brother of Olivier Vanasse (1832-1914), whose story I wrote for 52 Ancestors two weeks ago; you can read it here.
Joseph was born possibly in the parish of St-Michel in the town of Yamaska on 17 October 1838. I say possibly because his parents were residents of that parish when he was baptized in the parish of St-David in the nearby town of St-David. 
I don’t know when the Vanasse brothers left their home county of Yamaska or what motivated them to seek their fortune elsewhere in the province. Olivier was presumably the first to arrive in Pontiac County, because he married there in April 1852; he was 20 years old. I wonder if Joseph, who was only 13 years old, was with him. The earliest I can place Joseph in Pontiac is on 31 October 1857. That’s when he was present at the baptism of his godchild and nephew John Vanasse in Chapeau. 
When I record information about Joseph in Word documents or in my genealogy software program or in my family trees at Ancestry.ca, I standardize his surname as Vanasse. I rarely find his name spelled that way, though, so I add a note to explain the variant. For example, his surname was Vanasse in his baptism and his burial records, Venance in his marriage record and on the 1861 and 1871 censuses of Canada, Venasse in the baptism record of his godson in 1857, on the 1881 census of Canada and on his tombstone, and Venace on the 1891 census of Canada.
On 10 January 1859, Joseph married Marie Guérard in the little parish church of St-Alphonsus of Liguori in Chapeau. 
Joseph and Marie were blessed with thirteen children between 1859 and 1883: Dalmatius (aka Delmar, Delmond), Regis (aka Richard), Elizabeth (my ancestor, who married her first cousin Olivier Vanasse), Lucy, Pierre, Isidore, Alexander, Mary Julia, Josephine, Maria Jane, Delina (aka Delia), David, and Joseph.
The family lived in a one-story log house on a property that Joseph farmed in Chapeau on Ile des Allumettes. This island is situated in the Ottawa River on the Quebec side, across from the town of Pembroke in Renfrew County, Ontario.
Joseph died on 29 September 1897 in Chapeau.  He was survived by his wife Marie and all their children. Sons Isidore and Alexander were present at his funeral the next day at St-Alphonsus church, although they declared they could not sign their names in the sacramental register.
1. St-David (St-David, Quebec), parish register, 1838, p. 17 verso, entry no. B63, Joseph Vanasse baptism, 18 October 1838; St-David parish; digital image, “Quebec, Vital and Church Records (Drouin Collection), 1621-1967”, Ancestry.ca (http://www.ancestry.ca : accessed 15 June 2010).
2. St-Alphonse (Chapeau, Quebec), parish register, 1846-1856, p. 232 verso, entry no. B59, John Venasse baptism, 31 October 1857; St-Alphonse parish; digital image, “Quebec, Vital and Church Records (Drouin Collection), 1621-1967”, Ancestry.ca (http://www.ancestry.ca : accessed 17 July 2010).
3. St-Alphonse (Chapeau, Quebec), parish register, 1857-1876, p. 3 recto, entry no. M2, Joseph Venance – Mary Siard [Guerard] marriage, 10 January 1859; St-Alphonse parish; digital image, “Quebec, Vital and Church Records (Drouin Collection), 1621-1967”, Ancestry.ca (http://www.ancestry.ca : accessed 30 July 2007).
4. St-Alphonse (Chapeau, Quebec), parish register, 1895, p. 22 recto, entry no. S32, Joseph Vanasse burial, 30 September 1897; St-Alphonse parish; digital image, “Quebec, Vital and Church Records (Drouin Collection), 1621-1967”, Ancestry.ca (http://www.ancestry.ca : accessed 30 July 2007).
Copyright © 2014, Yvonne Demoskoff.