Sunday, August 09, 2015

Church Record Sunday: Maurice Belair’s Baptism Record

Maurice Belair baptism record

My father Maurice was born on 2 August 1927. He was the first child of Fred and Julie (Vanasse) Belair, who married the previous October. One week later, Dad received the Sacrament of Baptism on 9 August at St-Jean-Baptiste Church on Empress Avenue, a little to the west of the Parliament Buildings, in Ottawa.

The baptism record, seen above, is from the “Drouin Collection” at [1] I usually crop what I don’t need from the digital image, but in this case, I kept the sidebar card to show the details that the Drouin team used to identify the particular sacramental register it microfilmed that day. For example, the register covers the year 1909 to 1968, the city is Ottawa, the county is Carleton, Ontario, and the parish is St-Jean-Baptiste. The lower portion of the card states that the parish register was microfilmed at the parish itself by Mr. Chs H. Poole on 13 July 1968.

The record also has two notations after the priest’s signature: first, that Maurice received the Sacrament of Confirmation on 8 September 1935 in Fauquier, Ontario, and second, that he married Jacqueline Desgroseilliers on 18 December 1955 in Weston, Ontario.

Maurice Belair baptism record cropped version

A close-up of the record reveals the following baptism details:

  • the date of baptism (9 August 1927),
  • the child’s name (Maurice-Melvin),
  • his date of birth (2 August 1927),
  • the parents’ names (J.-B. Bélair and Julie Venance), adding that they belong to this parish (“de cette paroisse”),
  • the godparents’ names (David Venance and Albertine Gagnon), and
  • the officiant (Jean Laramée, O.P. [Order of Preachers], a Dominican priest, who signed the record.

Dad's names are hyphenated in the text, but his first name was "Maurice", never "Maurice-Melvin". My grandfather, who appears as “J.-B.”, used three names in his lifetime. Depending on his age, he was Ménésippe, Jean-Baptiste, or Fred(erick). My grandmother’s maiden name is usually spelled Vanasse (at least in her family), but Venance is a familiar variation. The godparents are Julie’s youngest brother David and her cousin Albertine.


1. St-Jean-Baptiste (Ottawa, Ontario), parish register, 1909-1968, p. 802, entry no. 93 (1927), Maurice-Melvin Bélair baptism, 9 August 1927; St-Jean-Baptiste parish; digital image, “Ontario, Canada, Catholic Church Records (Drouin Collection), 1747-1967”, ( accessed 30 July 2007). I took the liberty of “erasing” the next record on the page of the sacramental register to protect the identity of the individual who might be living.

Copyright © 2015, Yvonne Demoskoff.

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