Friday, March 07, 2014

52 Ancestors: #10 Albert Desgroseilliers – A tall and bespectacled man

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 10th week of this challenge, I chose my maternal great-grandfather Albert Desgroseilliers (1879-1957).

During the first week of this challenge, I wrote about Albert’s wife Clémentine Léveillé; you can read about her here.

My great-grandfather Albert was born on 12 February 1879 in Embrun, Russell County, Ontario. He was the eighth child and fifth son of Pierre Desgroseilliers and his wife Flavie Lepage. (Five other children were born after Albert.) He received the name Norbert at his baptism the day after he was born, but was known as Albert. He was not the first son named Albert in his family, though. An earlier Albert was born in July 1873, but lived only 12 days.

Albert grew to be a tall man, about 6’5”. I don’t know when he started needing eyeglasses, but he appears to be wearing a pair in the earliest photo I have of him taken at his son Eugène’s wedding in August 1925.

In the spring of 1899, Albert married Embrun-born Clémentine Léveillé in St-Viateur church of Limoges, near Embrun, on April 24. Clémentine was a few months older than her husband, as she was born on 12 November 1878. Within a few months, the couple moved north to Nipissing (now Sudbury) District and made their home in the village of St. Charles, where Albert’s parents and other paternal relatives were now living.

Albert and Clémentine’s first child, Eugène, was born in August 1900. Thirteen more children followed between 1901 and 1923: Arthur, Alma, Ovila, Hormidas, Roméo, Anna, Léonidas, Flavie, Léandre, Donat, Ovide, Ovila, and Joseph. Two daughters and a son (Alma, Ovila and Anna) died when very young, between 1905 and 1910.

Albert Desgroseilliers
Albert (sitting, left) with his wife and six of their children, 1950s

After living in St-Charles for about 17 years, Albert moved his family further north to the quaintly named village of Moonbeam, in Cochrane District. There, his three youngest children were born. The family sustained two loses when sons Arthur (21) and Hormidas (27) died in 1923 and 1934, respectively.

The first child to marry was my grandfather Eugène, when he wed Juliette Beauvais in the summer of 1925 in Moonbeam. Albert and Clémentine became grandparents the next year when Juliette gave birth to a son in December 1926, but sadly, the child did not survive. More grandchildren, though, came at a regular pace over the years, with the last one born five years after Albert's death.

In the mid-1940s, Albert gave up farming, and moved to Sturgeon Falls, not far from St. Charles. Here, he and Clémentine lived out their remaining years.

In the fall of 1957, Albert travelled to Ottawa, presumably to visit his younger brother Célestin, who was ill. Célestin died that November in hospital. Albert must have been taken ill, as well, because he died while still in Ottawa less than a month after his brother, on 16 December 1957. His nephew Laurent (Célestin’s son) registered Albert’s death. (I’ve written here about how I learned that Albert died in Ottawa, instead of Sturgeon Falls where I had always been told he died.)

Albert’s funeral was held in Sturgeon Falls on 19 December 1957. He is buried there in St. Mary’s (Old) Cemetery.

Copyright © 2014, Yvonne Demoskoff.

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