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.