Thursday, December 24, 2015

Merry Christmas 2015

Christmas tree


From my family to yours:

a
 very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!


Copyright © 2015, Yvonne Demoskoff.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Wordless Wednesday: Christmas 1994

Nicholas Demoskoff on Christmas 1994

My son Nicholas at Mémère and Pépère’s house, Christmas 1994.

Copyright © 2015, Yvonne Demoskoff.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Treasure Chest Thursday: The Papal Benediction

In early 1980, I heard (probably from our parish priest or one of the teaching nuns) that Roman Catholics could request a papal benediction for events like wedding anniversaries. I decided to submit a letter asking for this privilege, with the idea that I would give the document to my parents Maurice and Jacqueline for their 25th wedding anniversary later that year.

Thirty-five years have gone by, and I’ve pretty much forgotten most of the details about that time. For example, did I write a free-form letter or did I have to fill out a special form; did I sent it through the diocese or directly to the Vatican; was there a cost or was it free?

A few months later, I received an envelope from Rome. If I remember correctly, the colourful document came rolled. The text, done in calligraphy, is written with red and black inks. It features the Papal seal (in the lower left centre). The parchment measures about 25.5 cm x 33 cm (about 10” x 13”).


As I read the text, I was surprised to see that the author gave an incorrect last name for my parents (“Melvin” instead of “Belair”). I couldn’t give the certificate to Mom and Dad the way it was, so I approached one of our church’s nuns to see if she had any suggestions. She knew a local artist who might be able to make the necessary correction. I gave her the certificate and kept my fingers crossed.

After the document was altered, I took it to an art and framing store in a nearby town. All that was left now was to gift wrap the newly-framed blessing and present it to my parents, which I did on their anniversary on December 18, 1980. They were very surprised, but also very happy, to receive such a special and unexpected gift.


If you’d like information about papal benedictions, visit Office of Papal Charities – Vatican City.

Copyright © 2015, Yvonne Demoskoff.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Wednesday, December 09, 2015

Monday, December 07, 2015

52 Ancestors 2015: #49 – Fred and Marianne’s December birthdays

I’m participating in “52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks: 2015 Edition” by Amy Johnson Crow of No Story too Small

For the 49th week of this challenge, I used the optional weekly theme (Holidays) to write about my paternal grandfather Fred and my sister Marianne.


Fred Belair and Marianne Belair on their birthday in December 1975

I’ve already written about my Pépère Fred in last year’s edition of 52 Ancestors (52 Ancestors: #2 Fred Belair), but since Amy’s theme this week consists of “what ancestor do the holidays put you in mind of?”, well, that has to be my grandfather and my sister, whose birthdays were celebrated the week before Christmas.

Fred was born on November 26, 1889, but maintained that his date of birth was December 18, 1889. Many years ago, he explained to me that the December date was his real birthday, because his parish church’s sacramental registers burned and when they were restored, an incorrect date of birth was entered into his baptism record.

December 18 was not only important because of my grandfather, but for three other family members: my mother’s eldest sister Mariette was born on that date in 1927, my parents married on that date in 1954, and my sister Marianne was born on that date in 1960.

We didn’t have the opportunity to celebrate my aunt Mariette’s birthday (she lived 960 km (about 597 miles) away in southwestern Ontario), but Mom would send her a birthday card and we would definitely think of her on her day.

On the other hand, we celebrated my grandfather Fred’s birthday every year, because he lived only a couple of houses from us on Commercial Avenue in Timmins. After we moved a few blocks away and then later to another part of town, we still got together for his birthday either at our house or at the house of his daughter Joan, my aunt and godmother.

When Marianne was young, she’d usually have a party at home with her little friends and our cousins, complete with her own cake. If it was a double birthday, Mom or Aunt Joan would host the party, bake a cake for Pépère and Marianne, and invite a few friends and neighbors.


Fred Belair and Marianne Belair on their birthday in December 1975

These two photos were taken on Pépère's 86th birthday and Marianne’s 15th birthday in December 1975. We were at my Aunt Joan’s house that year.

Copyright © 2015, Yvonne Demoskoff.

Sunday, December 06, 2015

Sunday’s Obituary: Olivier Vanasse (1863-1944)

Olivier Vanasse 1944 obituary
Olivier Vanasse obituary (The Evening Citizen)

My paternal great-grandfather Olivier Vanasse passed away seventy-one years ago on 7 December 1944. That’s the date according to his death registration and The Evening Citizen of 8 December 1944. [1] However, The Ottawa Journal of 9 December 1944 gives a different date: “yesterday”, that is, 8 December 1944. [2]

Both newspapers, though, agree that he died at home after an illness of two years.

Olivier was survived by his wife Elizabeth and their children, Mary, George, William, Cecilia (Celia), Julie (my grandmother), Joseph, Corinne (Cora), David, and Agnes (Aggie).

Sources:

1. “Mariages et décès 1926-1997”, database, Généalogie Québec.com (https://www.genealogiequebec.com : accessed 3 September 2009), death entry for Olivier Vanasse, 7 December 1944. Also, “Olivier Vanasse”, obituary, The (Ottawa, Ontario, Canada) Evening Citizen, 8 December 1944, p. 14, col. 3; digital images, Google News (http://news.google.com/newspapers : accessed 18 February 2014), News Archive Search.

2. “Ontario, Canada, The Ottawa Journal (Birth, Marriage and Death Notices), 1885-1980”, digital images, Ancestry.ca (http://www.ancestry.ca : accessed 2 July 2013), Olivier Vanasse obituary; citing The Ottawa Journal, 9 December 1944, p. 17, col. 4; City of Ottawa Archive, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada; database created from microfilm copies of the newspaper.

Copyright © 2015, Yvonne Demoskoff.

Wednesday, December 02, 2015

Tuesday, December 01, 2015

Imelda Desgroseilliers (1917-1935), A Young Death

Born on 14 September 1917 in St. Charles, south of Sudbury, Ontario, Imelda was the 14th of 16 children of Prospère and Emma (Beaulne) Desgroseilliers. [1] She was my maternal grandfather Eugène Desgroseilliers’ first cousin. 

Imelda Desgroseilliers (1917-1935) baptism record
Imelda Desgroseilliers baptism record (Ancestry.ca)

Eighty years ago today, on 1 December 1935, Imelda died in St. Paul’s Hospital in Hearst, in northeastern Ontario. [2]

Earlier that year in February, 17-year-old Imelda married Armand Lachance. [3] Almost immediately, she became pregnant.

Nine months later, Imelda gave birth to a son on 24 November 1935 in St. Paul’s Hospital; it was a “prolonged and difficult” delivery. [4] This serious situation led to “asphyxia neonatorum” for her child. [5] Newborn Joseph Armand did not get enough oxygen during the birth process; he lived only ten hours. [6]

Six days later, Imelda was dead; she was just 18 years old. The cause: pulmonary embolism due to puerperal infection. [7] One or more blood clots, presumably originating in her leg, dislodged and travelled up to Imelda’s lung(s). [8] The contributory cause, puerperal infection, is a “bacterial infection of the female reproductive tract following childbirth or miscarriage”. [9] Some symptoms are fever, chills, and lower abdominal pain. Puerperal infection “usually occurs after the first 24 hours and within the first ten days following delivery”. [10] Modern medical treatment and antibiotics might have saved Imelda’s life. [11]

Imelda Desgroseilliers (1917-1935) death registration
Imelda Desgroseilliers death registration (Ancestry.ca)

Imelda was buried on 3 December 1935 in Hallewood (now Hallebourg), near Hearst. [12] Her memory lived on in her family when her brother Armand named his eldest daughter ‘Imelda’ when she was born in June 1939. [13]

Sources:

1. St-Charles (St. Charles, Ontario), parish register, 1902-1925, p. 321 stamped, entry no. 27 (1917), Marie Imelda Adrienne Désgroseillier (written as Marie Imelda Adrienne Désgroseillier, indexed as Marie Imelda Adrienne Desgroseillier) baptism, 16 September 1917; St-Charles parish; digital images, “Ontario, Canada, Catholic Church Records (Drouin Collection), 1747-1967”, Ancestry.ca (http://www.ancestry.ca : accessed 23 May 2013). Imelda’s baptism record gives her date of birth.

2. “Ontario, Canada, Deaths, 1869-1938 and Deaths Overseas, 1939-1947”, digital images, Ancestry.ca (http://www.ancestry.ca : accessed 22 May 2013), entry for Emelda Lachance [sic], 1 December 1935; citing Archives of Ontario, Registrations of Deaths, 1869-1938; Toronto, Ontario, Canada: Archives of Ontario; microfilm series MS935, reel 508.

3. St-Charles, parish register, 1902-1925, p. 321 stamped, Marie Imelda Adrienne Désgroseillier baptism, 16 September 1917. Imelda’s date and place of marriage appear as a notation in her baptism record.

4. “Ontario, Canada, Deaths, 1869-1938 and Deaths Overseas, 1939-1947”, digital images, Ancestry.ca (http://www.ancestry.ca : accessed 22 November 2015), entry for Joseph Armand Lachance, 25 November 1935; citing Archives of Ontario, Registrations of Deaths, 1869-1938; Toronto, Ontario, Canada: Archives of Ontario; microfilm series MS935, reel 507.

5. “Ontario, Canada, Deaths, 1869-1938 and Deaths Overseas, 1939-1947”, digital images, Ancestry.ca, entry for Joseph Armand Lachance, 25 November 1935.

6. “Ontario, Canada, Deaths, 1869-1938 and Deaths Overseas, 1939-1947”, digital images, Ancestry.ca, entry for Joseph Armand Lachance, 25 November 1935.

7. “Ontario, Canada, Deaths, 1869-1938 and Deaths Overseas, 1939-1947”, digital images, Ancestry.ca, entry for Emelda Lachance, 1 December 1935.

8. “Diseases and Conditions”, database, Mayo Clinic (http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/pulmonary-embolism/multimedia/pulmonary-embolism/img-20006463 : accessed 30 November 2015), “pulmonary embolism”.

9. Wikipedia contributors, "Puerperal infections", Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Puerperal_infections&oldid=681922803 : accessed 30 November 2015).

10. Wikipedia contributors, "Puerperal infections", Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia.

11. Wikipedia contributors, "Puerperal infections", Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia.

12. “Ontario, Canada, Deaths, 1869-1938 and Deaths Overseas, 1939-1947”, digital images, Ancestry.ca, entry for Emelda Lachance, 1 December 1935.

13. St-Michel-Archange (Rouyn, Quebec), parish register, 1939, p. 41 verso, entry no. B.121, Imelda Anna Maria Desgroseillers [sic] baptism, 3 July 1939; St-Michel-Archange parish; digital images, “Quebec Vital and Church Records (Drouin Collection), 1621-1967”, Ancestry.ca (http://www.ancestry.ca : accessed 30 November 2015).

Copyright © 2015, Yvonne Demoskoff.