Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas!

Santa in a sleigh

From my family to yours:

Wishing my blog readers a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!


Copyright © 2013, Yvonne Demoskoff.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Funeral Card Friday: Cecilia (Brazeau) Caron

Cecilia Brazeau Caron
Front of card

This funeral card is in memory of Cécilia Brazeau, épouse bien-aimée (beloved wife) of Michel Caron, who died on 25 December 1956. The card measures 10 cm x 5.5. cm (approximately 3¾” x 2¼”).

Back of card

I received this card with family memorabilia either from my Aunt Darlene or my Aunt Joan in the 1980s or 1990s.

I don’t know if or how Cécilia is related to my family, but from basic research I did, she might have been someone who knew my grandparents Fred and Julie (Vanasse) Belair when they lived in northeastern Ontario during the 1940s and 1950s.

Cécilia, born about 1881, was the daughter of Léon and Célina (Gauthier) Brazeau. She married on 22 June 1903 in Notre-Dame-du-Laüs, Labelle County, Quebec, Michel Caron, son of Paul and Zoe (Gauthier) Caron.

Cécilia and Michel had at least six children: three sons (Domina, Emilien and Gérard) and three daughters (Marie-Emilia, Sonia and Yvette). The family lived in the township of Montjoy and next door in Timmins, Ontario from about 1937 through the 1950s.

After Cécilia’s death, presumably in Timmins, Michel lived there with his daughter Yvette and her husband Aldéric Lafontaine.

Copyright © 2013, Yvonne Demoskoff.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Tombstone Tuesday: Philip Casacove

Gravemarker of Philip Casacove

Philip Casacove ( Cazakoff) was my husband’s maternal uncle. His obituary can be read here.

The third, but second surviving son of George and Polly (Poznekoff) Cazakoff, Philip was born in July 1911 in Simeonovka (aka Semenovo), a Doukhobor village near Arran, Saskatchewan, Canada.

Philip legally changed his name to ‘Philip Gordon Casacove’ in July 1948. A few weeks earlier in June, he married Mary Abrosimoff in Vancouver, British Columbia. The couple had two daughters, Donna and Elizabeth.

Philip died thirty-seven years ago on 16 December 1976. He was buried four days later at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Burnaby, British Columbia. His wife Mary, who died in 2002, is interred beside him.

His gravemarker reads:

1911 – 1976

Copyright © 2013, Yvonne Demoskoff.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Sunday’s Obituary: Philip Casacove

Obituary of Philip Casacove
Obituary of Philip Casacove, 1976

Philip is my husband’s maternal uncle, being an elder brother of his mother Ann. He passed away thirty-seven years ago tomorrow (December 16).

Philip was the third child of George and Polly (Poznekoff) Cazakoff, Doukhobor immigrants who left Russia in 1899. He changed his surname from Cazakoff to Casacove in the summer of 1948.

Philip married twice and had children by both unions. He was survived by his (second) wife Mary and their daughters Donna and Elizabeth.

“Casacove”, obituary, undated clipping, from unidentified newspaper; Demoskoff Family Papers, privately held by Yvonne (Belair) Demoskoff, British Columbia, 2013. Yvonne received an assortment of family memorabilia (including Philip’s obituary) in January 2012 from her father-in-law William (Bill) Demoskoff.

Copyright © 2013, Yvonne Demoskoff.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun - Pauleen's Christmas Meme

Randy at Genea-Musings invites his readers to participate in “THE 2012 CHRISTMAS GENEAMEME (IN 2013)” for his weekly Saturday Night Genealogy Fun. It’s easy to do, especially if you follow his three steps:

1) Copy and paste the meme questions into your blog or word processor, and then answer the questions. You could use short statements, long paragraphs or provide a link to one of your earlier posts.
2) Tell us about your meme answers in a blog post of your own, in a comment to this post, or on Facebook, Google+ or Twitter.
3) Be sure to leave a comment on Pauleen's blog post about your entry in this Christmas 2013 Geneameme. She'll be surprised!

1. Do you have any special Xmas traditions in your family?
– Being gathered together as a family is the most special tradition we have in my family.

2. Is church attendance an important part of your Christmas celebrations and do you go the evening before or on Xmas Day?
– Attending Mass at Christmas was a very important part of my family’s life when my brother, sister and I were children and teenagers. As children, we went to morning Mass on Christmas Day, but as we got older, we went to Midnight Mass. When my son was younger, my husband and I would take him to the early Mass on Christmas Eve.

3. Did/do you or your children/grandchildren believe in Santa?
– I certainly believed in Santa as a little girl. Mom made sure to leave cookies and milk for him before we went to bed. I continued that tradition with my son when he was young.

4. Do you go carolling in your neighbourhood?
– I never carolled in my neighborhood, too shy, but loved it when people came to our front door.

5. What’s your favourite Christmas music?
– I love French traditional hymns like “Minuit, Chrétiens” and “Les anges dans nos campagnes”, and English songs like “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” and “Deck the Halls”.

6. What’s your favourite Christmas carol?
– I don’t think I have an all-time favorite carol, but I used to love singing Christmas hymns in Latin at Mass during the holidays.

7. Do you have a special Xmas movie/book you like to watch/read?
– My sister and I loved it when Mom read us ’Twas the Night Before Christmas at bedtime on Christmas Eve. We had a children’s copy that she used for years. When my son was born, I bought a new copy of that classic to read to him.

8. Does your family do individual gifts, gifts for littlies only, Secret Santa (aka Kris Kringle)?
– I guess it depends on the year, but mostly we exchange gifts. Some years, we pick names and give a person a gift (all the children, though, get gifts from everyone). One year, my husband and I gave to the Red Cross the equivalent of what we would spend on Boxing Day sales. We should do that more often, even though we rarely now go out to the sales on Boxing Day.

9. Is your main Christmas meal indoors or outdoors, at home or away?
– Growing up in northeastern Ontario, Christmas supper was always indoors. Now that we live in the milder climate of the Lower Mainland of British Columbia, it’s still indoors, although there’s rarely snow outside, but often rain.

10. What do you eat as your main course for the Christmas meal?
– It’s always the same and we love it!: roast turkey, Mom’s plain bread stuffing, mashed potatoes, carrots and Brussels sprouts or broccoli. For dessert, we have our favorite homemade Christmas cookies and fruitcake.

11. Do you have a special recipe you use for Xmas?
– We sure do! Mom makes all her cookies from an old, dog-eared Five Roses cookbook she’s had for years.

12. Does Christmas pudding feature on the Xmas menu? Is it your recipe or one you inherited?
– Nope, never; it’s not a French-Canadian tradition.

13. Do you have any other special Christmas foods? What are they?
– Mom makes deep-fried doughnuts with cinnamon and sugar and butter tarts once a year, only at Christmas.

14. Do you give home-made food/craft for gifts at Christmas?
– For the past few years, Mom makes a tourtière (meatpie) as a gift to Uncle Ray, my Dad’s brother who lives near us.

15. Do you return to your family for Xmas or vice versa?
– Christmas Day was spent at my parents’, but after Dad has passed away, it’s always celebrated at my home. My brother and sister and their families come here, since I have the biggest house. We might go to my sister’s place for Boxing Day, though.

16. Is your Christmas celebrated differently from your childhood ones? If yes, how does it differ?
– It’s different now that we live in B.C., because there’s only a handful of relatives here and most live some distance from us. In the past, Mom would almost always host the Réveillon at our home after Midnight Mass. We’d then go to which ever relatives hadn’t come to our house for Christmas supper for Boxing Day supper. We also visited friends and family for the next few days, going from house to house, enjoying some Christmas cheer and company. It was a French-Canadian Catholic thing.

17. How do you celebrate Xmas with your friends? Lunch? Pre-Xmas outings? Drop-ins?
– We don’t have pre-Christmas traditions in my family; we’re too busy getting all the baking, cleaning and other preparations done for the big day.

18. Do you decorate your house with lights? A little or a lot?
– Lots of lights take up lots of time, but I’m happy a multi-coloured string of lights at our house’s roofline. Our Christmas tree is always centered in front of the living room picture window, so that adds more decorative lighting to our house.

19. Is your neighbourhood a “Xmas lights” tour venue?
– Not that many families have Christmas lights on their houses in our neighborhood, but we like to drive around our small town to see all the decorated houses.

20. Does your family attend Carols by Candlelight singalongs/concerts? Where?
– The lights are dimmed at the evening or midnight Christmas Mass, and we sing traditional hymns; does that count?

21. Have any of your Christmases been spent camping (unlikely for our northern-hemisphere friends)?
– Camping in winter? I don’t think so :-)

22. Is Christmas spent at your home, with family or at a holiday venue?
– Always at home, but I dream of the day when I can go to a fancy out-of-town hotel for Christmas, just to get away from the hustle and bustle of preparing it at home.

23. Do you have snow for Christmas where you live?
 – Unfortunately, no. In BC where I live, there might be snow once about 5-6 years. But during my childhood Christmases, there was snow, snow and more snow!

24. Do you have a Christmas tree every year?
– Gotta have a tree; it’s not Christmas without one! I can remember only two years that we didn’t have a tree: the year we went to Disneyland and the year we visited my sister and her family after she recently moved out-of-province.

25. Is your Christmas tree a live tree (potted/harvested) or an imitation?
– Most years it’s an artificial tree, but now and then we either go in the woods and get a real tree or buy one from a tree farm.

26. Do you have special Xmas tree decorations?
– The most special tree decorations I have are my Mom’s glass ball ornaments, the kind that were popular in the 1950s and 1960s. Plus, I still have the crêche (manger) that’s been in my family since I was a baby.

27. Which is more important to your family, Christmas or Thanksgiving? Noël, of course!

I’ve done my post, left a comment on Randy’s blog, and one at Pauleen (Cassmob)’s blog!

Copyright © 2013, Yvonne Demoskoff.

Friday, December 06, 2013

Friday Photo: Winter Buddies

On the first two Fridays of each month, I showcase a family photo and answer the “who, what, when, where and why” of that picture. The first week’s Friday photo is taken from my side of the family and the second week’s Friday photo is chosen from my husband’s side of the family. (I got the idea for this column from Amy Coffin’s ebook The Big Genealogy Blog Book advertised on her The We Tree Genealogy Blog.)

Robert and his brother Raymond in the winter of 1959
Robert and Raymond, 1959

Robert (left) and his elder brother Raymond.

My maternal cousins Robert and Raymond stop playing in the snow long enough to have their photograph taken.

The photo is date stamped “FEB 1959”, but it could be anytime from December 1958 to February 1959.

On the street in front of my cousins' home in Kirkland Lake, Ontario, Canada.

This photo is part of a group of outdoor snapshots taken at my Aunt Madeleine and Uncle René’s home. Based on those images, it must have been a nice, clear, but cold winter day. My Mom and I (and presumably my Dad) were visiting for a few days, and since the weather was good, someone suggested taking pictures.

I just love this wonderful photo, because it shows my cousins when they were young, fun and full of mischief. My family lived about 1½ - 2 hours from Kirkland Lake, so it wasn’t too difficult for Mom and Dad to pack me (and later my sister and brother) into our car and make the journey to see our out-of-town relatives. We always had a good time with my Aunt and Uncle and their brood of eight children: Richard, Michel, Raymond, Robert, Jean-Paul, Lise, Patrick and Gérard.

Copyright © 2013, Yvonne Demoskoff.

Monday, December 02, 2013

Ancestral Anniversaries for December 2013

From October to December last year, I posted articles about some of my ancestors’ life events that marked an anniversary in 2012. I’m continuing this series by presenting a selection of ancestral events for 2013.

I didn’t get around to posting my usual Ancestral Anniversaries for November 2013, but I’m able to do so for this month. The December 2013 installment of Ancestral Anniversaries, though, brings to a close this 15-month long series. I’ve really enjoyed searching my family database for the various vital events that took place each month. It also gave me a chance to see where I could improve or correct my notes.

3 December 1653:
Baptism of Barbe Neveu in Quebec City. The elder daughter of Jean Neveu and his wife Anne Ledet, Barbe married at the tender age of 13½ years old. Her husband, French immigrant Nicolas Sylvestre dit Champagne, was about 25 years old. Barbe and Nicolas had sixteen children and were married for almost 62 years. They are my maternal ancestors.

8 December 1703:
Baptism of Deborah Cole (Coal) in Montreal, Quebec. Formerly a Protestant, Deborah was named “Marie Madeleine” when she became a Roman Catholic. Her English surname is usually rendered in French as “Colle”. Deborah, who was born in 1698 in Beverly, north of Salem, Massachusetts, was brought to Canada in 1703 after being taken captive with her mother and sister in Saco, now in York County, Maine. She married widower Simon Séguin dit Ladéroute in Boucherville, Chambly County, Quebec in November 1715. Deborah and Simon are my maternal ancestors.

11 December 1653:
Marriage contract of Jacques Beauvais dit St-Gemme and Jeanne Soldé witnessed by French-born notary Raphaël-Lambert Closse in Ville-Marie (Montreal). The marriage ceremony took place there three weeks later in January 1654. Jacques and Jeanne were immigrants from the Perche and Anjou regions, respectively, of France. The couple was married for 37 years. I have three lines of descent from Jacques and Jeanne, which makes them my paternal and maternal ancestors.

20 December 1923:
Death of Louis Hotte in Chénéville, Papineau County, Quebec. Louis, a farmer, was the widower of Marguerite Lacasse, who predeceased him in 1907. The couple, who lived most of their lives in Papineau County, had eleven children, including Olivine, my great-grandmother. Louis and Marguerite are my maternal ancestors.

30 December 1893:
Death of Marie Josephte Messier in Yamaska, Yamaska County, Quebec. She was buried there on New Year’s Day 1894. Marie Josephte, also known as Josette, married Jean François Régis Vanasse in 1829 in the town of Yamaska. Most of their twelve children left the family home and settled in the U.S.A. I am descended from two of their sons, Olivier and Joseph, who remained in Canada, but moved to Pontiac County in Quebec. Régis and Josette are my paternal ancestors.

Copyright © 2013, Yvonne Demoskoff.

Sunday, December 01, 2013

Church Record Sunday: Fred Belair’s Baptism Record

Fred Belair baptism record
Fred Belair's baptism record*

My paternal grandfather Fred Belair always maintained that he was born on 18 December 1889. I had no reason to doubt him; after all, he should know, shouldn’t he?

One summer in the 1980s, I visited my Pépère Fred’s hometown of Ste-Cécile-de-Masham in Gatineau County, Quebec. While there, I took the opportunity to do some research in the local Roman Catholic church’s sacramental registers. I looked for my Pépère’s baptism record on or about December 18th, but didn’t locate it. I searched a few pages before and after that date, but only found the record when I went as far back as December 1st. That’s when I found entry no. B.81 for Jean-Baptiste-Ménésippe Bélair. I knew I had the right person, because my grandfather’s real name was Ménésippe. But I couldn’t believe my eyes when I read the date of birth – 26 Novembre dernier (26 November last). My goodness! My grandfather was, according to this document, born in late November, not in mid-December.

My grandfather Fred once told me that his baptism record was incorrect, because a fire had destroyed the church’s records. But, during my visit, I asked the secretary if there ever was a fire at Ste-Cécile’s. She told me, yes, there had been a fire a long time ago, but that the records were saved.

I wasn’t about to argue this point with my beloved Pépère. He was in his 90s, by then, and had celebrated his birthday on December 18th for as long as my family could remember, that it didn’t matter too much on what day he was born.

* Source: Ste-Cécile-de-Masham (Ste-Cécile-de-Masham, Quebec), parish register, 1887-1898, p. 42 recto, entry no. B.81 (1889), Jean-Baptiste-Ménésippe Bélair baptism, 1 December 1889; Ste-Cécile-de-Masham parish; digital image, “Quebec Vital and Church Records (Drouin Collection), 1621-1967, ( : accessed 30 July 2007).

Copyright © 2013, Yvonne Demoskoff.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Surname Saturday: Prosper (formerly Desgroseilliers)

My mother's maiden name is Desgroseilliers. She’s a 9th generation descendant of Médard Chouart, sieur des Groseilliers. (See my post Médard Chouart, sieur des Groseilliers.) I've been researching my Mom’s paternal ancestors for as long as I can remember, and always assumed that many of sieur des Groseilliers’ descendants through his only surviving (legitimate) daughter Marie-Antoinette Chouart were surnamed Desgroseilliers or a spelling variation of that name.

However, genealogy research throws curve balls at you every so often. A few years ago, I found out that some of sieur des Groseilliers’ descendants took the Christian name ‘Prosper’ and turned it into their surname. As curve balls go, this one was relatively minor, but definitely interesting.

As far as I can tell, ‘Prosper’ was a first name in the Desgroseilliers family as early as 1743, when Marie-Antoinette's grandson was christened with the compound first name ‘Joseph Prosper’. [1] His surname was Dorval at birth, but he later used Bouchard and Desgroseliers.

‘Prosper’ seems to be used as a dit name for the first time when Joseph Prosper Dorval’s sons François (born in 1783) and Joseph (born in 1791) appear as ‘Desgroseilliers dit Prosper’ in some of their children’s baptism and marriage records in the mid-1830s in Châteauguay County, Quebec. For example, when François’ daughter Marie married Antoine Roy in 1834, and Joseph’s son Michel was baptised that same year, their surname was ‘Desgroseilliers dit Prosper’. [2] On other occasions during this time frame, the surname was ‘Prosper dit Desgroseilliers’. [3]

The earliest use of ‘Prosper’ as a stand-alone surname might be when Amable Desgroseilliers (son of Joseph born in 1791) married (as ‘Aimable Prospert’) Caroline Archambault in 1845 in Cooperville (now Coopersville), Clinton County, New York. [4]

Chart showing the progression of Desgroseilliers surname to Prosper

It’s a mystery to me why some of sieur des Groseilliers’ descendants in Canada and the USA chose ‘Prosper’ as a surname. The only thing I can think of is that they are from the line of Joseph Prosper Dorval. Or, could it be that ‘Prosper’ is easier to pronounce and write than ‘Desgroseilliers’?


1. St-Joseph (Deschambault, Quebec), parish register, 1713-1791, p. 10 verso, no entry no. (1743), Joseph Prosper Dorval baptism, 19 May 1743; St-Joseph parish; digital image, “Quebec, Vital and Church Records (Drouin Collection), 1621-1967”, ( : accessed 24 November 2013).

2. Ste-Martine (Ste-Martine, Quebec), parish register, 1834, p. 7 verso, entry no. M.8, Roy – Desgroseilliers marriage, 10 February 1834; Ste-Martine parish; digital image, “Quebec, Vital and Church Records (Drouin Collection), 1621-1967”, ( : accessed 24 November 2013). Also, Ste-Martine (Ste-Martine, Quebec), parish register, 1834, p. 9 recto, entry no. B.27, Michel Desgroseilliers dit Prosper baptism, 15 February 1834; Ste-Martine parish; digital image, “Quebec, Vital and Church Records (Drouin Collection), 1621-1967”, ( : accessed 24 November 2013).

3. Ste-Martine (Ste-Martine, Quebec), parish register, 1835, p. 9 verso, no entry no., Dumas – Prosper marriage, 16 February 1835; Ste-Martine parish; digital image, “Quebec, Vital and Church Records (Drouin Collection), 1621-1967”, ( : accessed 24 November 2013).

4. St-Joseph du Corbeau (Cooperville [Coopersville], New York), parish register, 1843-1846, p. 82, no entry no. (1845), Prospert – Archambeault [sic] marriage, 10 June 1845; St-Joseph du Corbeau parish; digital image, "Early U.S. French Catholic Church Records (Drouin Collection), 1695-1954”, ( : accessed 24 November 2013).

Copyright © 2013, Yvonne Demoskoff.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Treasure Chest Thursday: The Sale Contract

A couple of months ago, John at Filiopietism Prism had a thought-provoking article about genealogists and hoarding. It reminded me that I have something that wasn’t meant to last, but I’m glad it did because it offers a glimpse of a particular time and place in my parents’ life.

Sale contract
Sale contract between Maurice Belair and Vanity Fair Furniture, 1958 

It’s a conditional sale contract for household furniture and appliances that my Dad signed in late 1958 a few months after he and Mom moved to Timmins, Ontario. Mom kept this contract in her bedroom dresser, along with other odds and ends like photos and souvenirs. In time, though, some of those items were lost or thrown out, but the sale contract survived.

It was only a few years ago, though, that I realized just how special the contract was. One day, I was looking at it again for the umpteenth time when something clicked in my mind. I paused, and then I did something I don’t think I ever did with that contract. I read it, properly read it – line by line, word by word. Not only that, but I also checked the ink, the style of writing, the crossed-out words, and other details.

When I realized that I was holding a treasure, the personal, financial and business facts emerged from it with ease. Here are some of those details:

• Personal:

- My Dad’s name and age.
- His mail and residence address.
- His length of time at present address.
- His residence telephone number.
- His marital status and number of dependents.
- His type of accommodation and name of landlord.
- His previous home address and length of time at that residence.
- The names and addresses of two relatives.
- His signature.

• Business:

- His present employer.
- His length of time and occupation with present employer.
- His previous employment and length of time there.

• Financial:

- His approximate monthly income.
- His bank.
- His references.
- Goods purchased and the cost.
- Cash selling price for purchased goods, cash payment, finance charge and length of term, recording charge, and total deferred payments.
- Payments payable to whom and when monthly installments commence.
- The date of transaction.
- The vendor and salesman.

And something else: my Dad’s signature (Maurice M. Belair) located in the bottom right portion of the image. His style of handwriting stayed essentially the same throughout his adult life.

Imagine how much information about my Dad I’d never know about if he or Mom had thrown away this simple piece of paper after they finished making those payments.

Pretty cool stuff, eh?

Copyright © 2013, Yvonne Demoskoff.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Sympathy Saturday: Deaths of 12 Children in One Family

Reading an article last week at Olive Tree Genealogy Blog reminded me of a similar situation in my paternal family tree in which a family lost 12 of their 16 newborn or young children.

Burial record of Adèle Belair (1869-1871)

In the late autumn of 1861, Moïse Belair married Martine Guestier in the picturesque village of Ste-Adèle, north of Montreal, Quebec. [1] The Belair and Guestier families’ relationship went back to 1850, when Martine’s uncle Jérémie Guestier married Moïse’s sister Virginie. [2] The family links were strengthened when newly married Moïse and Martine became godparents to Damase, younger son of Jérémie and Virginie, in March 1862. [3]

Martine gave birth to 16 children between 1863 and 1885, but only the first four children survived to adulthood. Something changed after the birth of her daughter Adèle in December 1869. Martine’s next pregnancy in 1871 (her sixth in eight years) and her subsequent ones all ended in the death of her babies at birth or when very young.

First Children

Moïse and Martine’s first child was a daughter, baptised Martine on the day she was born in April 1863. [4] The next child was daughter Malvina, born in June 1864. [5] Two years later, the couple’s first son, Moïse, was born in March 1866. [6] Another son, Israël, followed in October 1867. [7] He became the inspiration for the French-Canadian fictional literary character “Séraphin Poudrier” in Un homme et son péché, by Claude-Henri Grignon. (See my post Black Sheep Sunday: Séraphin Poudrier, Fact or Fiction?

A Family’s Sorrows

Martine’s fifth child was another daughter, Adèle, born and baptised on Christmas Day 1869. [8] In the summer of 1871, Martine was expecting her sixth child. She was 25 years old, according to that year’s census, when the family was enumerated in May. [9]

On July 23, Martine was delivered of a child of unspecified gender. The infant didn’t live long enough to be ondoyé* and died within moments of its birth. [10] Father Louis-Alfred Dequoy officiated at the funeral two days later. [11]

* The word ondoyé (or ondoyée for a female child) appears in an infant’s burial record. If the child survives and is subsequently baptised, the priest records the event in the baptism register.

Within days of the family’s sorrow, daughter Adèle died on August 1. Her death was ruled an accidental drowning, according to a coroner’s jury; she was only 19 months old. Moïse was present at his little girl’s funeral. [12]

A Pattern of Births and Deaths

The birth and death of this 1871 anonymous child set a pattern (with one exception) that lasted until late 1885.

In October 1872, Martine’s newborn child died within moments of its birth. [13] One year later, her eighth child died soon after birth in October 1873. [14] A little girl was baptised Marie Louise in February 1876, but she died when 15 days old. [15] The next child was born and died in August 1878. [16] With this latest death, Father Dequoy had buried six Belair infants.

In April 1879, Martine’s 11th child died soon after birth. [17] This time, Father F.-X. Sauriol, Ste-Adèle’s new parish priest, buried the infant. He would also bury those who were born and died in August 1880, August 1881, May 1882, March 1883, and November 1885. [18]

Two months earlier in September 1885, while Martine was expecting her 16th child, she and Moïse were present at the baptism of their first grandchild, Marie Rose. [19] The newborn was the daughter of Martine and her husband Calixte Desjardins, who had married the previous year.

Four Surviving Children

I can’t imagine what it must have been like for Moïse and Martine to go through these losses year after year. I don’t know how Martine coped and carried on, but perhaps she received comfort from her faith and gained a certain amount of happiness when her surviving children Martine, Malvina, Moïse and Israël married in her lifetime.

Martine died in the spring of 1912 in Ste-Adèle, 27 years after the death of her last child. [20]


1. Ste-Adèle (Ste-Adèle, Quebec), parish register, 1861, p. 23 verso, entry no. M.22, Jeanvry – Guétier [sic] marriage, 26 November 1861; Ste-Adèle parish; digital image, “Quebec, Vital and Church Records (Drouin Collection), 1621-1967”, ( : accessed 16 November 2013).

2. St-Jérôme (St-Jérôme, Quebec), parish register, 1850, p. 21 recto, entry no. M.28, Guétier – Janvry [sic] marriage, 30 April 1850; St-Jérôme parish; digital image, “Quebec, Vital and Church Records (Drouin Collection), 1621-1967”, ( : accessed 16 November 2013).

3. Ste-Adèle (Ste-Adèle, Quebec), parish register, 1863, p. 10 recto, entry no. B.33, Martine Bélair baptism, 3 April 1863; Ste-Adèle parish; digital image, “Quebec, Vital and Church Records (Drouin Collection), 1621-1967”, ( : accessed 20 November 2013).

4. Ste-Adèle (Ste-Adèle, Quebec), parish register, 1864, p. 14 verso, entry no. B.63, Marie Malvina Bélair baptism, 28 June 1864; Ste-Adèle parish; digital image, “Quebec, Vital and Church Records (Drouin Collection), 1621-1967”, ( : accessed 20 November 2013).

5. Ste-Adèle (Ste-Adèle, Quebec), parish register, 1866, p. 6 verso, entry no. B.21, Moïse Bélair baptism, 15 Mar 1866; Ste-Adèle parish; digital image, “Quebec, Vital and Church Records (Drouin Collection), 1621-1967”, ( : accessed 20 November 2013).

6. Ste-Adèle (Ste-Adèle, Quebec), parish register, 1867, p. 14 recto, entry no. B.63, Israël Bélair baptism, 7 October 1867; Ste-Adèle parish; digital image, “Quebec, Vital and Church Records (Drouin Collection), 1621-1967”, ( : accessed 20 November 2013).

7. Ste-Adèle (Ste-Adèle, Quebec), parish register, 1862, p. 8 verso, entry no. B.27, Damase Guéthier baptism, 16 March 1862; Ste-Adèle parish; digital image, “Quebec, Vital and Church Records (Drouin Collection), 1621-1967”, ( : accessed 15 November 2013).

8. Ste-Adèle (Ste-Adèle, Quebec), parish register, 1869, p. 21 recto, entry no. B.79, Adèle Bélaire [sic] baptism, 25 December 1869; Ste-Adèle parish; digital image, “Quebec, Vital and Church Records (Drouin Collection), 1621-1967”, ( : accessed 15 November 2013).

9. 1871 census of Canada, Ste-Adèle, Terrebonne, Quebec, population schedule, district 99, subdistrict m, p. 61, dwelling 208, family 208, line 15, Martine Janvril [sic]; digital image, ( : accessed 16 November 2013); citing Library and Archives Canada microfilm C-10033.

10. When a newborn is in danger of death, he or she can be “baptised without any delay” [Can. 867] by someone present at its birth. The sacrament of baptism is usually conferred by a Roman Catholic priest in the “proper parish church of the parents” [Can. 857], but if a priest isn’t present, “[...] in a case of necessity, any person who has the requisite intention may do so.” [Can. 861] (The Code of Canon Law In English translation, The Canon Law Society Trust, London: Collins Liturgical Publications, 1983, 159-160)

11. Ste-Adèle (Ste-Adèle, Quebec), parish register, 1871, p. 12 verso, entry no. S.17, Anonyme de Moise Belair burial, 25 July 1871; Ste-Adèle parish; digital image, “Quebec, Vital and Church Records (Drouin Collection), 1621-1967”, ( : accessed 16 November 2013).

12. Ste-Adèle (Ste-Adèle, Quebec), parish register, 1871-1880, p. 13 recto, entry no. S.18 (1871), Adèle Bélaire [sic] burial, 1 August 1871; Ste-Adèle parish; digital image, “Quebec, Catholic Parish Records, 1621-1979”, ( : accessed 15 November 2013).

13. Ste-Adèle (Ste-Adèle, Quebec), parish register, 1872, p. 17 verso, entry no. S.25, Anonyme de Moïse Bélaire burial, 16 October 1872; Ste-Adèle parish; digital image, “Quebec, Vital and Church Records (Drouin Collection), 1621-1967”, ( : accessed 16 November 2013).

14. Ste-Adèle (Ste-Adèle, Quebec), parish register, 1873, p. 22 verso, entry no. S.43, Anonyme de Moïse Bélaire burial, 17 October 1873; Ste-Adèle parish; digital image, “Quebec, Vital and Church Records (Drouin Collection), 1621-1967”, ( : accessed 16 November 2013).

15. Ste-Adèle (Ste-Adèle, Quebec), parish register, 1876, p. 3 recto, entry no. B.6, Marie Louise Bélaire baptism, 11 February 1876; Ste-Adèle parish; digital image, “Quebec, Vital and Church Records (Drouin Collection), 1621-1967”, ( : accessed 16 November 2013). Also, Ste-Adèle (Ste-Adèle, Quebec), parish register, 1876, p. 5 recto, entry no. S.8, Marie Louise Bélaire burial, 28 February 1876; Ste-Adèle parish; digital image, “Quebec, Vital and Church Records (Drouin Collection), 1621-1967”, ( : accessed 16 November 2013).

16. Ste-Adèle (Ste-Adèle, Quebec), parish register, 1878, p. 19 recto, entry no. S.27, Anonyme de Moïse Bélaire burial, 12 August 1878; Ste-Adèle parish; digital image, “Quebec, Vital and Church Records (Drouin Collection), 1621-1967”, ( : accessed 16 November 2013).

17. Ste-Adèle (Ste-Adèle, Quebec), parish register, 1879, p. 11 verso, entry no. S.19, Anonyme de Moïse Bélair burial, 28 April 1879; Ste-Adèle parish; digital image, “Quebec, Vital and Church Records (Drouin Collection), 1621-1967”, ( : accessed 16 November 2013).

18. Ste-Adèle (Ste-Adèle, Quebec), parish register, 1880, p. 16 recto, entry no. S.16, Anonyme de Moïse Bélair burial, 16 August 1880; Ste-Adèle parish; digital image, “Quebec, Vital and Church Records (Drouin Collection), 1621-1967”, ( : accessed 16 November 2013). Also, Ste-Adèle (Ste-Adèle, Quebec), parish register, 1881, p. 14 recto, entry no. S.30, Anonyme de Moise Bélair burial, 7 August 1881; Ste-Adèle parish; digital image, “Quebec, Vital and Church Records (Drouin Collection), 1621-1967”, ( : accessed 16 November 2013). Also, Ste-Adèle (Ste-Adèle, Quebec), parish register, 1882, p. 12 verso, entry no. S.28, Anonyme de Moise Bélair burial, 29 May 1882; Ste-Adèle parish; digital image, “Quebec, Vital and Church Records (Drouin Collection), 1621-1967”, ( : accessed 16 November 2013). Also, Ste-Adèle (Ste-Adèle, Quebec), parish register, 1883, p. 5 recto, entry no. S.3, Anonyme de Moïse Bélair burial, 3 March 1883; Ste-Adèle parish; digital image, “Quebec, Vital and Church Records (Drouin Collection), 1621-1967”, ( : accessed 16 November 2013). Also, Ste-Adèle (Ste-Adèle, Quebec), parish register, 1885, p. 21 recto, entry no. S.56, Anonyme de Moïse Bélair burial, 3 November 1885; Ste-Adèle parish; digital image, “Quebec, Vital and Church Records (Drouin Collection), 1621-1967”, ( : accessed 16 November 2013).

19. Ste-Adèle (Ste-Adèle, Quebec), parish register, 1885, p. 17 verso, entry no. B.51, Marie Rose Desjardins baptism, 14 September 1885; Ste-Adèle parish; digital image, “Quebec, Vital and Church Records (Drouin Collection), 1621-1967”, ( : accessed 20 November 2013).

20. Ste-Adèle (Ste-Adèle, Quebec), parish register, 1912, p. 4 verso, entry no. S.10, Martine Guesthier [sic] burial, 13 April 1912; Ste-Adèle parish; digital image, “Quebec, Vital and Church Records (Drouin Collection), 1621-1967”, ( : accessed 16 November 2013).

Copyright © 2013, Yvonne Demoskoff.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun – Show Us Your Visited States and Provinces Map

It’s Saturday, so time for another “Saturday Night Genealogy Fun” at Genea-Musings!

Tonight's challenge is mapping the places we’ve visited in Canada and the USA. Randy asks the following questions:

1) What states in the USA and what provinces in Canada have you visited or lived in?

2) Either list, or make a map of them (at the website) and indicate the following:

* red for states/provinces where you've not spent much time or seen very much.
* amber for states/provinces where you've at least slept and seen some sights.
* blue for states/provinces you've spent a lot of time in or seen a fair amount of.
* green for states/provinces you've spent a great deal of time in on multiple visits.

3) For extra credit, you could make a map to show where your ancestors resided at any time (e.g., in 1900), or perhaps where your 16 great-great-grandparents or 32 3rd-great-grandparents married, or where your ancestors were born, all with an appropriate legend.

4) Tell us, or show us, your "Where I've been" map, and any other map that you created having fun tonight. Put them in your own blog post, on Facebook or Google+, and leave a comment on this blog post so that we all see them.

Here are my maps:

I was born in Ontario, but lived most of my adult life in British Columbia. I’ve travelled to all the Canadian provinces, except the Maritimes, Yukon, Northwest Territories, and Nunavut.

I’ve been a fair amount to Washington State, because it’s only an hour or so by car from where I live. I travelled through (and slept in) Oregon on the way to California for Christmas vacation in the early 1980s, and have been to Idaho, Montana and Texas with my husband. (I’d go with him for short stays for his work or training courses in those states.) I’ve also been to Nevada a couple of times (earlier this year, I attended the 2013 NGS conference in Las Vegas) and I travelled through Maryland on my way to visit a childhood friend who lived in Pennsylvania. I spent a couple of weeks in Washington, DC, where I did genealogy research at the Library of Congress back in the 1990s. Last but not least, I’ve been to New York once, where relatives and I spent a few hours doing cross-border shopping one year. (I’ve forgotten the name of the town that had a great mall, but it was close to Cornwall, Ontario.)

Map of Canada and USA where I've lived and visited

Getting extra credit sounds great, so I also did a map to show where my great-great-grandparents lived when they married. (The time frame is 1845 to 1874.) One couple lived and married in Russell County, Ontario (shown in red), while the rest (seven couples) lived and married in Quebec (shown in green).

Map of Canada where my great-great-grandparents lived and married in the mid-1800s

Done in my own blog post and I’ve left a comment at Genea-Musings!

Copyright © 2013, Yvonne Demoskoff.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Wednesday’s Child: Baby Boy Desgroseilliers

Maurice and Jacqueline Belair with their godson
Maurice and Jacqueline Belair with their godson

I don’t know the name of this child, and I don't know if a photo of his gravestone exists.

Baby boy Desgroseilliers was born in the late 1950s or early 1960s, and died when very young.

His parents Jean-Paul and Fleur-Ange (Dupuis) Desgroseilliers lived in Timmins, where my parents lived.

Jean-Paul asked my mom Jacqueline, his cousin, and my dad Maurice to be his son’s godparents.

The baptism took place at St-Antoine cathedral in Timmins, and afterwards, Mom and Dad were photographed with their godson.

Copyright © 2013, Yvonne Demoskoff.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Sad, Stressful Times

It’s been a sad, stressful and anxious three weeks here at home. My mother Jacqueline was taken suddenly ill with pulmonary embolism and has been in hospitals (here and out-of-town) for over two weeks. During this time, our cat Patches became very ill. Coping with both of these events has left me with little time or energy for my blog.

While Mom was recovering (she hasn’t yet returned home), my family had to make a very difficult decision about our beautiful cat Patches, who’s been ill for a few months.

Our vet suspected cancer. Patches, who was about 15 years old, had multiple health issues for which she was being treated – hypothyroidism, arthritis, vestibular disease, low body temperature, kidney problems and bladder infections. The last couple of weeks before she died, Patches was even more unwell, and vomited blood. Dr. Madsen was very supportive, answered any questions we had about Patches’ health, explained that our beloved kitty would progressively get worse, and suggested some options.

We knew we had to make a decision. Since it was the weekend, our son Nicholas asked to have a few more days with Patches. None of us wanted to let her go; after 12 years of living with us, we were afraid of what life would be like without our Patches. Monday morning, I called the vet’s office and made the arrangements to have her put to sleep the next day. Nicholas and I didn’t feel we could be there, but my husband Michael said he could, so he brought Patches to the appointment.

It was the hardest, saddest decision we had to make. The vet reassured Michael that it was the best thing to do, because Patches would only get sicker. During those last few days, we gave Patches extra love, attention, cuddles and kisses. We took photos of her with us and in her favorite spots around the house. We said “I love you Patches … what a good girl …” one last time. In the afternoon of Tuesday, 22 October, 2013, Patches gently fell asleep and passed away in Michael’s arms.

We love you and miss you, Patches.

Patches the cat

Copyright © 2013, Yvonne Demoskoff.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Happy Canadian Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving Greeting poster

“Happy Thanksgiving!” to my family and friends, and to my Canadian readers and fellow bloggers!

Copyright © 2013, Yvonne Demoskoff.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun - What is Your Birth Surname Henry Number?

It’s Saturday, so it's another Saturday Night Genealogy Fun at Genea-Musings!

Randy explains what the Henry [descendant numbering] System is all about, shows how he applied it to his ancestral surname, and then asks his readers to calculate the Henry number in their own ancestral family.

My results:

2) My first known ancestor with my birth surname of BELAIR who immigrated to Canada from France is François Janvry dit Belair (ca 1731-1817).

Here is my line with their Henry numbers*:

1 François Janvry dit Belair (ca 1731-1817)
1 6 Pierre Janvry dit Belair (1772-1848)
1 6 17 Paul Janvry dit Belair (1822-1902)
1 6 17 4 Pierre Janvry dit Belair (1851-1941)
1 6 17 4 7 Fred Belair (1889-1991)
1 6 17 4 7 1 Maurice Belair (1927-1996)
1 6 17 4 7 1 1 Yvonne Belair (me)

* I've inserted a space between the Henry numbers in order to see clearly a child's number position within his generation. 

3) I took my “Descendants of François Janvry dit Belair” 3-ring binder that contains my homemade family group sheets of all the Belair descendants I’ve found since I began researching my family tree in the 1970s. I kept track of everyone by numbering each descendant within each generation, but never really knew that this method had its own name (the Henry System) until I came across it some years ago.

Since I’m a sixth generation descendant of François, and my (Henry) numbers are already done in my binder, it was very easy to trace my line.

Two things stand out in this list of numbers and names. First, my grandfather’s grandfather was the 17th child of his father Pierre (1772-1848). His father married twice and had 14 children by his first wife and at least 10 children by his second wife. (That’s a lot of children!) Second, my father and I are the only eldest children of our parents in this list, the others being 6th, 17th, 4th and 7th children.

4) I’m done in my own blog post and I’ve left a comment at Genea-Musings!

Copyright © 2013, Yvonne Demoskoff.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Friday Photo: Visitors from BC

On the first two Fridays of each month, I showcase a family photo and answer the “who, what, when, where and why” of that picture. The first week’s Friday photo is taken from my side of the family and the second week’s Friday photo is chosen from my husband’s side of the family. (I got the idea for this column from Amy Coffin’s ebook The Big Genealogy Blog Book advertised on her The We Tree Genealogy Blog.)

Demoskoff and Cazakoff families gathered for a photo
Demoskoff and Cazakoff families, 1961

Front: Michael (left) and his sister Margaret. Back (left to right): Michael’s father Bill, his mother Ann, her mother Mrs. George Cazakoff, his aunt and uncle Edna and Nick Cazakoff.

My husband Michael poses with his parents, his sister, his maternal grandmother Polly, and his uncle Nick and wife Edna.

July 1961, according to the caption on the back of the photo.

Kamsack, Saskatchewan, Canada.

Michael and his family lived on a farm about 50 kilometres (30 miles) north of Kamsack. They came to his grandmother’s house in town to see his maternal uncle Nick and his new wife Edna. The couple, who had married the previous year in British Columbia, were in Saskatchewan on a visit to Nick’s mother and his brothers and sister. Nick’s brother Larry probably took the picture, as he lived at home with his widowed mother.

Michael loves this photo, because it was the first time he met his aunt Edna, who had recently married his uncle Nick. Edna was (and still is) a welcoming, caring and generous person.

Copyright © 2013, Yvonne Demoskoff.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Famous Relatives: Queen Elizabeth II

Last year, I prepared a chart for my family that showed how Queen Elizabeth II and I were distantly related. Our closest common ancestor is Robert Gaillard, who lived in Picardy, France in the 15th century. Through him, I am the 16th cousin twice removed of Queen Elizabeth II. With Her Majesty celebrating the 60th anniversary of her coronation as sovereign this year, I thought I’d show my readers how we are related.

Common Ancestor of Queen Elizabeth II and Yvonne Belair
Closest Common Ancestor of HM The Queen and Yvonne (Belair) Demoskoff

Copyright © 2013, Yvonne Demoskoff.

Tuesday, October 08, 2013

The Book of Me – Prompt 6 – Journals and Diaries

The Book of Me, Written By You is a project by Julie Goucher at Anglers Rest. As Julie says, “It is about a personal journey; a journey of rediscovery of yourself and perhaps your loved ones through your eyes”. You can participate through her blog or through GeneaBloggers. For more information, see here.

Prompt 6: Journals and Diaries

• Do you keep a journal or diary?

Currently, I don’t keep a diary, but I did when I was a young teenager, being influenced to start one after reading a public library copy of Anne Frank’s diary. I wrote in my diary for a few years, but then gave it up. During high school, I bought pocket calendars to keep track of school events. After I married, I recorded my family's daily life on a kitchen wall calendar. Those pocket and wall calendars became a sort of substitute diary.

• How far back do they go? What do you record?

My teenage diaries are long gone, but I still have most of my pocket appointment calendars (the earliest one I have is from 1979) and my family calendars (those go back to 1991). I record the usual things (birthdays and anniversaries, appointments, meetings, outings and such), plus anything I want to remember that happened on a given day.

• Where do you keep them?

I don’t keep my past pocket or wall calendars in a special place; just wherever I can access them easily and quickly if I want to look up something. The information in them came in handy last year when I made personalized calendars as Christmas gifts for my brother and sister.

• Do you always buy the same one or vary them?

I used to buy the small, inexpensive ones with locks and keys. The pocket calendars were printed by Cardinal, a Canadian brand, or those Carlton Cards. The wall calendars were always those lovely ones by UNICEF that were illustrated with art work by children from around the world. When they stopped making them a couple years ago, I switched to themed calendars (like cityscapes) from Coles, the Canadian bookstore.

• Have you inherited any?

My brother gave me his travel diary from the time he went to England and France during high school and later his trip to Costa Rica. I also have one or two of my parents’ family calendars.

• Do you intend to pass along your journals or destroy them?

I destroyed my diaries years ago, but before I did, I extracted bits of interesting details onto 8 x 10 loose sheets of paper that I still have today. I’m glad I decided to save my calendars (both types), because I think they make a wonderful condensed record of my life and that of my family. I intend to pass them along and want to store them in some kind of archival quality box, but haven’t yet got around to buying one.

• Pictures - Do you have a favourite?

I remember putting a snapshot of myself in my very first diary, but generally I didn’t add much in the way of memorabilia or souvenirs.

• What do you use to write with – biro, pencil, ink or fountain pen?

I used a fountain pen a few times in the early years (I learned I to write with one in Grade 5 of elementary school), but most of the time I wrote with a ballpoint pen, like those fine point BIC pens with the blue caps and yellow barrels.

Copyright © 2013, Yvonne Demoskoff.

Monday, October 07, 2013

Mappy Monday: Royal Proclamation of 1763

Map of Quebec in 1776
“A new map of the Province of Quebec according to the Royal Proclamation of the 7th October 1763 from the French surveys connected with those made after the war by Captain Carver and other officers in His Majesty's Services.”

7 October 2013 marks the 250th anniversary of the Royal Proclamation by King George III, which established “a new administrative structure for the recently acquired territories in North America [and] established new rules and protocols for future relations with First Nations people”. [1]

History was my favorite subject in school and at university. It was exciting and fun to learn about people and events; how and why things happened; to travel the world and time. I don’t seem to remember learning about the Royal Proclamation of 1763, but I’m sure that a few of my History teachers like Madame Bergeron in Grade 8 or Monsieur Paradis in Grade 10 spent some class time explaining this consequence of the Seven Years’ War and its aftermath, including how the colony of New France in North America was transferred to Great Britain from France.

The map above, published in 1776, shows the changes in boundaries of the government of Quebec as a result of the Proclamation. [2]

Image Credit: Library and Archives Canada. Cartographer: Jonathan Carver (1710-1780).


1. “250th Anniversary of the Royal Proclamation of 1763”, Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada ( : accessed 3 October 2013).

2. “Archives Search”, Library and Archives Canada ( : accessed 3 October 2013), “royal proclamation”.

Copyright © 2013, Yvonne Demoskoff.