Friday, February 28, 2014

52 Ancestors: #9 Elisabeth Vanasse – One of thirteen children

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 9th week of this challenge, I chose my paternal great-grandmother Elisabeth Vanasse (1862-1947).

Last week, I wrote about Elisabeth’s husband Olivier Vanasse; you can read about him here.

My great-grandmother Elisabeth was born on 11 September 1862 in Chapeau, Pontiac County, Quebec.
Elisabeth Vanasse in Chapeau Quebec
Elisabeth Vanasse (in the 1930s or 1940s)

She was the third child and first daughter of Joseph Vanasse and his wife Marie Guérard, who married in January 1859 in Chapeau.

Elisabeth had two elder brothers, Dalmatius (Delmond) and Regis (Richard) and ten younger brothers and sisters, Lucy, Pierre, Isidore, Alexander, Mary Julia, Josephine, Maria Jane, Delina (Delia), David and Joseph.

With so many people in the household, I imagine that Elisabeth’s mother Marie must have relied on her daughter from an early age. In fact, Elisabeth had just turned 21 when her youngest sibling, Joseph, was born in 1883. I wonder if being part of a large family had anything to do with her marrying at the rather advanced age of nearly 27?

Elisabeth married Olivier Vanasse on 16 July 1889. Their marriage record states that “a dispensation […] of the second degree of consanguinity had been granted by [… the] Vicar Apostolic of Pontiac, on the eighth instant […]”.

The couple were first cousins and had known each other from childhood, because they were born and raised in Chapeau. Her father Joseph was the younger brother of Olivier’s father, also named Olivier.

Elisabeth was the mother of nine children: Mary, George, William, Cecilia (Celia), Julia (my paternal grandmother), Joseph, Corinne (Cora), David and Agnes (Aggie).

In about 1946, Elisabeth moved to Ottawa, where some of her children lived. She died there in hospital after a short illness on 1 September 1947. She is buried in the parish cemetery in Chapeau, where she lived most of her life.

Copyright © 2014, Yvonne Demoskoff.


  1. It just amazes me how many children that women had back in the day. Thanks for keeping our interesting posts going. I need to get back on track here too, as I have a few started, as it seems when I research one relative, it leads to another closely related, making it easier to just put another in focus too. Although, it seems lately, folks are visiting less, which makes my posting appeal less as well?

    1. It's truly amazing when women had 13+ children, and having more children just as their own eldest ones were starting their families. I don't know how they coped; perhaps their faith sustained them.