Friday, April 11, 2014

52 Ancestors: #15 Ann Cazakoff – How Doris became Ann

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 15th week of this challenge, I chose Ann Cazakoff (1926-1980).
Ann Cazakoff Demoskoff
Ann Cazakoff, about 1942

Ann is the late mother of my husband, Michael. She was born on 11 March 1926 at her parents’ homestead property in St. Philips RM near Kamsack, Saskatchewan. [1] Ann was the ninth child and only daughter of George Cazakoff and his wife Polly Poznekoff, Russian Doukhobor immigrants. I recently wrote about George and Polly for 52 Ancestors; their stories can be read here and here, respectively.

Interestingly, Ann’s name at birth was not Ann. It was Avdoty, a “popular form of Evdokiya”, which means ‘benevolence’ or ‘kindness’. [2]

Ann was known as Avdoty in Russian and as Doris in English. (For a list of Russian to English names among Doukhobor immigrants, see Russian-English Names Cross-Index at the Doukhobor Genealogy Website.)

When she was very young, Ann was sick for “almost a whole year” and “could not sit up in the bed”’. A relative told her mother “why don’t you change her name [… because] Doris isn’t her name”. After her name was changed to “Annie” she got better and started walking. [3]

My father-in-law Bill told this story to his son Michael and I a few years ago. Bill didn't remember too many details, since many years had passed when Ann had originally told him the circumstances of how her name was changed.


1. Province of Saskatchewan, birth registration no. 3076 (1926), Avdoty Kozokoff [sic]; Vital Statistics.

2. “Russian Female Names Among the Doukhobors”, Doukhobor Genealogy Website ( : accessed 10 April 2014), entries for “Avdot’ya” and “Evdokiya”.

3. Bill Demoskoff (Grand Forks, British Columbia), telephone interview by Yvonne Demoskoff, 25 January 2011; transcript privately held by Yvonne Demoskoff, [address for private use,] Hope, British Columbia, 2011. Bill spoke from personal knowledge of the time his wife Ann told him why her name was changed.

Copyright © 2014, Yvonne Demoskoff.

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