Thursday, March 31, 2016

The 1901 Census of Canada and My Ancestors

Today is the 115th anniversary of the 1901 Census of Canada. The official enumeration date was 31 March 1901, the day on which Canadians were counted from coast-to-coast (except for Newfoundland and Labrador). [1]

I thought it would be an interesting activity for me to see how many of my ancestors appear on that year’s nominal census. Here’s what I found. A numbers in parentheses following an ancestor’s name indicates his or her number in my ancestor list.


My grandfather Eugène Desgroseilliers (no.6) was almost eight months old when he was enumerated on the 1901 census. [2] His age is not indicated on the image below, but his date of birth of “30 août 1900” [30 August 1900] is correct. He and his parents Albert, a farmer, and Clémentine resided in the Township of Appleby, which is south of Sudbury, Ontario. All three were born in rural Ontario, were of French origin, held Canadian nationality, and belonged to the Roman Catholic faith. Albert and Clémentine could read and write and speak French, but only Albert could speak English.

Eugene Desgroseilliers on the 1901 census of Canada
Eugène Desgroseilliers with his parents on the 1901 census of Canada (

The three-member Desgroseilliers family lived on concession 2, lot 1 in Appleby. There was one dwelling house and one barn/stable/other outbuildings on the property of 160 acres. The enumerator, Joseph Levert, visited and counted the family on 25 April 1901. [3]


My great-great-great-grandfather Charles Beauvais (no. 56) was 89½ years old when he was enumerated on the 1901 census. [4] His age (92) and his date of birth of “22 Oct 1818” on the image below are incorrect. He was born on 19 October 1811, according to his baptism record. He and his second wife Magdeleine (aka Marie Madeleine Miron dite Migneron) lived with their elder son Felix, his second wife and their four children in Hartwell, now Chénéville, Quebec. All the family members were born in rural Quebec, were of French origin, held Canadian nationality, and belonged to the Roman Catholic faith. Charles’ occupation was “Rentier Cult[ivateur]” [pensioner farmer]. He spoke French, but not English, and couldn’t read or write.

Charles Beauvais on the 1901 census of Canada
Charles Beauvais in his son's household on the 1901 census of Canada (

The eight-member Beauvais family lived on [concession? 21A], “rang 4” in Hartwell. There was one dwelling house and four barn/stable/other outbuildings on the property of 260 acres. The enumerator, Wilfrid Parisien, visited and counted the family on 26 April 1901. [5]

Other Ancestors

• Grandparents: Fred Belair (no. 4) and Julie Vanasse (no. 5), both lived in the province of Quebec.

• Great-grandparents: Pierre Belair (no. 8), Olivier and Elisabeth (Vanasse) Vanasse (nos. 10 and 11), Albert and Clémentine (Léveillé) Desgroseilliers (nos. 12 and 13), and Joseph and Olivine (Hotte) Beauvais (nos. 14 and 15). All lived in the province of Quebec except for Albert and Clémentine, who lived in the province of Ontario.

• Great-great-grandparents: Olivier and Elisabeth (Frappier) Vanasse (nos. 20), widow Marie (Guérard) Vanasse (no. 23), Pierre and Flavie (Lepage) Desgroseilliers (nos. 24 and 25), Joseph and Cordélia (Racette) Léveillé (nos. 26 and 27), widow Arline (Deschatelets) Beauvais (no. 29), and Louis and Marguerite (Lacasse) Hotte (nos. 30 and 31). All lived in Quebec except Pierre and Flavie, and Joseph and Cordélia, who lived in Ontario.

• Great-great-great-grandparents: widow Marcelline (Gagnon) Racette (no. 55) and widow Angélique (Caillé) Deschatelets (no. 59). Marcelline lived in Ontario, while Angélique lived in Quebec.

Ancestors Not Found

Living, but missing from the census returns are my great-great-grandparents Paul and Angélique (Lalonde) Belair (no. 16 and 17).

Some Census Statistics

• 206 census districts divided into 3,204 sub-districts.
• 8,800 enumerators collected information from 2,182,947 individuals in Ontario and 1,648,898 in Quebec.
• The original paper records were microfilmed and then destroyed by the Dominion Bureau of Statistics.
• There were eleven schedules, with a total of 561 questions.
• Schedules 1 and 2 (“Population” and “Buildings and lands, churches and schools”) survived, unlike the other schedules. [6]


1. Dave Obee, Counting Canada: A Genealogical Guide to the Canadian Census, by Dave Obee (Victoria, BC: Dave Obee, 2012), 140.

2. 1901 census of Canada, Jennings, Casimir and Appleby, Nipissing, Ontario, population schedule, subdistrict F1-1, p. 2, dwelling 14, family 16, Eugène Desgros[ellier?] (written as Eugène Desgros[ellier?], indexed as Eugine Desgrosillier); digital image, ( : accessed 28 March 2016); citing Census of Canada, 1901, microfilm T-6428 to T-6556; Library and Archives Canada, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.

3. “Ontario, Schedule 2, 1901”, digital images, Library and Archives Canada ( : accessed 28 March 2016). To view the unindexed images of Schedule 2 of the 1901 census, follow this path from the above URL: page 185 of 381; District Name: Nipissing; District Number: 92; Subdistrict Name: Jennings, Casimir and Appleby; Subdistrict Number: F1; Division: 1; Page Number: pg. 1; Image:; p. 1, line 17.

4. 1901 census of Canada, Hartwell and Preston, Labelle, Quebec, population schedule, subdistrict F1, p. 18, dwelling 145, family 152, Charles Bauvais (written as Charles Bauvais, indexed as Charles Banvais); digital image, ( : accessed 28 March 2016); citing Census of Canada, 1901, microfilm T-6428 to T-6556; Library and Archives Canada, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.

5. “Quebec, Schedule 2, 1901”, digital images, Library and Archives Canada ( : accessed 28 March 2016). To view the unindexed images of Schedule 2 of the 1901 census, follow this path from the above URL: page 87 of 246; District Name: Labelle; District Number: 160; Subdistrict Name: Hartwell and Preston; Subdistrict Number: F; Division: 1; Page Number: pg. 4; Image:; p. 4, line 3.

6. “1901 Census”, database, Library and Archives Canada ( : accessed 28 March 2016).

Copyright © 2016, Yvonne Demoskoff.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Workday Wednesday: Michael, the Radio Tech

My husband Michael was employed for over thirty-eight years as a radio technician. He retired on 28 March 2013, three years ago this week.

Michael Demoskoff with his CN work truck in 1981
Michael with his CN work truck in Hope, BC (1981)

I interviewed him about his varied and fulfilling career in which he witnessed technological changes from vacuum tubes to high-density fibre electronics.

For whom did you work?
I was a communications technician for Allstream, an international communications provider.

What were your duties?
I installed, repaired and maintained microwave and fibre optic equipment. I also operated and maintained the Mount Jarvis aerial tramway.

Why did you choose this line of work?
Ever since I was six years old I was interested in electronics. I took apart my Dad’s AM radios and test equipment (like a vacuum tube volt meter and signal generator). Throughout high school, my friends would come to me with their broken record players, radios and TV sets to repair. I enjoyed making things work.

How did this hobby become a vocation?
It was my cousin Allan’s idea for me to sign up for a Canada Manpower Centre-sponsored electronics training course (a federal government program) and then work for him repairing televisions.

What kind of training did you get?
It was a basic electronics course in Terrace, BC. The course started in January 1974 and lasted ten months. Everything from theory, to practical in AM/FM, and some radar and microwave technology.

Did you eventually work for your cousin?
No. There was an opportunity for full-time employment that came up and I took it. During the last month of technical school, both CNT (Canadian National Telecommunications) and BCTel (BC Telephone Company) came to our class and signed up students for employment. Twenty-nine of us, including me, went to CNT and one of us went to BCTel.

CN installation department in Prince George BC in 1974
CN installation department (blue arrow) in Prince George, BC (1974)

Did you always work for the same company?
Yes and no. I was first hired by CNT in November 1974 as an installer in Prince George, BC. I later transferred to Vancouver and then to Hope. Over the years, the company changed hands and changed names (like CNCP Telecommunications in 1980, then Unitel in 1989, then AT&T Canada in 1993, then Allstream in 2003, then MTS Allstream in 2004, then back to Allstream in 2012), but the work I did was still electronics installation, repair and maintenance.

Did you work by yourself or with others?
Mostly by myself, but occasionally with other technicians like on installation jobs or if we went to mountain tops in winter.

Snow-covered microwave tower at top of Mount Jarvis near Hope, BC (1982)

What was your favorite part of your job?
I liked the satisfaction I got from restoring a failed piece of equipment.

What did you dislike about your work?
Sometimes I was called at night for emergency equipment repairs and it usually involved travelling to remote locations.

Did your work keep you in one place or did you get to travel?
I went on training courses in places like Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary, and Montreal, as well as Dallas, Texas and San Francisco, California. I also worked in Washington, Idaho and Montana states in the summer of 2003.

Copyright © 2016, Yvonne Demoskoff.

Monday, March 28, 2016

Kelowna & District Genealogical Society

The good folks at KDGS have asked me to post the following information about their upcoming Conference.

image003The Kelowna & District Genealogical Society’s

Harvest Your Family Tree
Conference 2016, September 23-25

Prepare to be inspired!
One of Western Canada’s largest conferences, this year promises to be Bigger, Better and More Exciting than ever!  Featuring 10 acclaimed speakers from the UK, US and Canada with 33 topics to choose from.  Whether you are just beginning your family history journey or you are a seasoned researcher, you will not be disappointed.  Our Marketplace will be buzzing with information and the products you need to take your genealogical pursuits to the next level.  Add to this, the KDGS Family & Local History Resource Centre’s Open House, Meet the Speakers Reception, Guided Historic Walking Tour, bushels of fabulous Door Prizes and Raffles all set in Kelowna during Apple & Grape Harvest Season… making THIS an event not to be missed!


See the Attached Registration Brochure for Workshops, Schedules and Events and to Register…
Online Registration and Much More Information coming soon to:

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Happy Easter!

Easter greetings

A blessed and happy Easter, everyone!

Joyeuses Pâques, tout le monde!

Image credit: “An angel holding lilies – a circa 1910 Easter greeting card illustration”, Royce Bair, The Stock Solution.

Copyright © 2016, Yvonne Demoskoff.

Friday, March 25, 2016

Five Generations of Birth Locations

It seems like everybody’s doin’ it on their blogs or on Facebook – creating a five generation chart showing our ancestors’ birthplace locations, that is. Some examples include A Shiny Thing to Distract Genealogists at Olive Tree Genealogy Blog and Five Generation Chart at Passage to the Past's Blog.

It’s cool to see in an image where my ancestors were born, so I decided to follow suit.

My parents, grandparents, great-grandparents and great-great-grandparents were all born in Canada. I therefore decided to show just the provinces (in block letters) and the counties or districts (in parentheses). Ontario birthplaces are in yellow and Quebec birthplaces are in blue.

Five Generation Birth Location Chart

I don’t remember where I first saw the chart I downloaded, even though it was only this morning. The original is a Microsoft Excel document and the file name is “Blank Five Generation Custom Chart JPH v2 Birth Places.xlsx”.

Copyright © 2016, Yvonne Demoskoff.

Friday’s Faces from the Past: My Easter Outfit

Yvonne Belair

I’m standing in the front yard of my home on Commercial Avenue in Timmins, Ontario. When I was a little girl, Mom made sure that my sister and I were always dressed in new clothes to celebrate Easter.

This black-and-white photo is dated “JUL 61” [July 1961]. When Mom put together an album for me some years later, she wrote “My Easter Outfit” 2 yrs.” as the caption. When I re-discovered this album as a teenager, I corrected my age to “3”.

As I prepared this article for my blog, it occurred to me there was something not quite right with the picture. Was it really taken at Easter (there should have been snow on the ground at this time of the year in Timmins) or on another occasion?

I checked online at “Historical Climate Data” to find out what the weather was like on Easter Sunday, which fell on April 2nd. I learned Timmins had blowing snow that day and the temperature at noon was -7.2 Celsius, with a wind chill factor of -16 Celsius.

So, the above photo couldn’t have been taken on Easter. It’s looking more likely that Mom dressed me in my Easter finery on another occasion, possibly for my third birthday that July.

This picture might not have been taken on Easter Sunday, because of the weather, but I love that I’m wearing “My Easter Outfit” and that Mom splashed out on a new outfit for me.

Copyright © 2016, Yvonne Demoskoff.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Treasure Chest Thursday: The Easter Hat

Straw hat

When my sister and I were little girls, our Mom maintained the tradition of buying new clothes for us to wear on Easter Sunday. Based on photographic evidence, not only did we wear a newly-bought dress, but new shoes, purse, gloves and hat.

I have only one of those hats from my childhood, the one in the above photo. I’m not sure why that particular hat made it to the present time while others didn’t, but I’m glad it did, because it’s such a pretty item from my childhood.

I assume that I was about 5 to 8 years old (in the mid-1960s) when I wore it, so the hat is about 50 – 53 years old.

It measures about 8.5 cm (3½”) tall by 21 cm (8¼ “) wide.

The round-shaped hat is made of woven straw, my favorite material for hats and purses. I’m not sure if the hat was originally cream colour or if it mellowed to that shade over the years.

A wide ivory grosgrain ribbon encircles the crown of the hat, while a bow of the same material with a metal buckle accent the upturned brim.

Mom probably bought my hat at one of the two places she usually shopped for my sister and I: at Bucovetsky’s department store in our hometown of Timmins, Ontario, or through the Sears or Eaton’s catalogue.

There’s no manufacturer tag on the inside.

The hat is in really good shape, although the crown is indented, the brim is slightly dented on the side, and there are a couple of tiny spots on the hatband ribbon.

I’m so happy that I still have my Easter hat.

Copyright © 2016, Yvonne Demoskoff.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Wordless Wednesday: Easter Sunday 1995

Maurice Belair with his son-in-law Michael and his grandson Nicholas at Easter 1995

Nicholas (2½ years old) with his Pépère Maurice (left) and his father Michael (right)
By the creek near our home in British Columbia
Easter Sunday 1995

Copyright © 2016, Yvonne Demoskoff.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Old Family Letters – Keep, Publish, or Destroy

I don’t often give my opinion about controversial subjects that make the rounds on genealogy blogs or related forums, but I thought I would today.

Every now and then, I think about whether I should publish on my blog the family correspondence that’s come into my possession, like family letters (from Dad to Mom) and correspondence from relatives (from my grandmother’s nieces to her). So far, I haven’t done so, because of the amount of time it takes to read and transcribe the letters and to choose which portions would be interesting for the public.

I’m also mindful of the ethics and etiquette involved in making my decision. Denise Levenick makes good points about this very subject in her article Ethics, Etiquette and Old Family Letters. Her thoughts on the matter reminded me of two famous authors whose letters and written material were edited before they were published: Queen Victoria and Anne Frank.

Queen Victoria (1819-1901) was a prolific writer. She wrote daily in her private journal, in letters to her far-flung family across Europe, and in messages and communications to her household staff, like her Private Secretary. According to one estimate, Queen Victoria wrote “an average of two and a half thousand words each day of her adult life [… and possibly] written sixty million words in the course of her reign”. [1]

Queen Victoria

With the help of an editor, Victoria published Leaves from the Journal of Our Life in the Highlands in 1868. These “homely accounts of excursions near home” shared with the public were a rare occurrence. [2] The Queen was determined, however, to ensure that written material that was truly private would remain unseen by others. Accordingly, she instructed her daughter Princess Beatrice, her literary executor, to “destroy anything liable to ‘affect any of the family painfully’”. [3] The monumental task took thirty years, but Beatrice followed her mother’s wishes explicitly: she recopied her mother’s journal (122 volumes), censored and altered passages, and burned the originals. [4]

Anne Frank (1929-1945) kept a diary from June 1942, a few weeks before her family went into hiding, until three days before her and her family and their hiding companions were discovered and arrested in August 1944. Her diary was left behind in the ‘secret annexe’, unnoticed, until one of the family’s helpers discovered it and held on to it for safekeeping. Later, the diary was given to Anne’s father, Otto, who survived the war.

Anne Frank

Anne first wrote in a diary-type book, and later re-wrote her diary on loose paper. [5] She intended for this second version to be the basis for a book about her experiences of the war. [6] After the war, Otto Frank published a transcribed version of his daughter’s diary for a limited group of people, but eventually edited versions appeared for the general public. Those early editions were excerpts, because Otto felt that “Anne's candor about her emerging sexuality might offend certain conservative quarters”. [7]

I recognize that we must all decide how to approach what we do with old family letters and similar correspondence. If I ever publish selections from letters in my possession, I know that I don’t see myself rephrasing or modifying parts of them. Instead, I would just omit those parts. On the other hand, I’m not sure what I would do about passages that illustrates someone’s openness and truthfulness about a sensitive, personal topic. Again, I would probably omit than share.


1. Yvonne M. Ward, Censoring Queen Victoria: How Two Gentleman Edited a Queen and Created an Icon 
(London: Oneworld Publications, 2014), 9.

2. Arthur Helps, editor, Leaves from the Journal of Our Life in the Highlands (New York: Harper & Brothers, Publishers, 1868), vii.

3. Ward, Censoring Queen Victoria, 10.

4. Ward, Censoring Queen Victoria, 10-11.

5. Wikipedia contributors, "The Diary of a Young Girl", Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia ( : accessed 22 March 2016).

6. “Anne Frank’s diary is published”, The Diary of Anne Frank ( : accessed 22 March 2016).

7. Wikipedia contributors, "The Diary of a Young Girl", Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia ( : accessed 22 March 2016). 

Copyright © 2016, Yvonne Demoskoff.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Sunday’s Obituary: George Vanasse

Obituary of George Vanasse

George’s obituary is the second one that appears on my blog today. Earlier, I posted the obit of my paternal grandmother Julie (Vanasse) Belair.

George and Julie were the younger children of Olivier Vanasse and his wife (and first cousin) Elisabeth Vanasse. George, the eldest son, was born on 13 October 1891. He and his siblings – Mary, William, Cecilia, Joseph, Corinne, David and Agnes – grew up on their parents’ farm on Ile des Allumettes, Pontiac County, Quebec.

In June 1920, George married (Marie) Louise Potvin in her hometown of Bourget, Russell County, Ontario. They and their seven children (three sons and four daughters) lived most of their lives in Canada’s capital city, Ottawa.

George died on 22 March 1976 – forty years ago this Tuesday. His funeral was held two days later in St. Sebastian (Roman Catholic) church, with interment in Notre-Dame cemetery in Ottawa. [1]

I don’t believe I ever met my great-uncle George, but I had the opportunity to visit his eldest child Jeanne (Jean) at her home in the 1980s, while on vacation in Ottawa.


1. “Ontario, Canada, The Ottawa Journal (Birth, Marriage and Death Notices), 1885-1980”, digital images, ( : accessed 2 July 2013), Georges Vanasse [sic] death notice; citing The Ottawa Journal, 23 March 1976, p. 36, col. 7; City of Ottawa Archive, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada; database created from microfilm copies of the newspaper.

Copyright © 2016, Yvonne Demoskoff.

Sunday’s Obituary: Julie Belair

Julie Belair obituary

My dear grandmother Julie died on Sunday 19 March 1967. [1]

My sister and I were only 6½ and 8½ years old, respectively. We were told of Mémère’s death the next morning, while getting ready for school. Marianne and I were in the small living room of our apartment and could see Dad a few feet away in the kitchen. He looked so sad standing by the counter.

Mémère Julie suffered from asthma and sometimes needed an oxygen tent at home. I don’t remember the days leading up to her death, and don’t know if she had been poorly before going to the hospital one last time.

I have only a vague memory of being at the funeral home. I think it was evening, and I was there with my parents. I watched people come and go in the sombre and dimly lit room.

I don’t remember the funeral, which took place at our parish church, half a block away from our home, three days later. It was at 9 a.m., according to the obituary, so Mom must have arranged for my sister and I to miss school that morning. It was a cold, snowy day and we needed to wear our winter coats, hats and mitts. I remember being at the cemetery, though, because I can still see myself and others standing in a small building for the committal service. (It was winter time in Timmins, so the interment was postponed until better weather.)

Forty-nine years have passed since that day, but I still miss my grandmother Julie and keep her close to me in my heart.


1. “Belair”, obituary, The Daily Press (Timmins, Ontario), 21 March 1967, p. 9, col. 5.

Copyright © 2016, Yvonne Demoskoff.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun – What Were You Doing in 1995?

It’s Saturday, and Randy over at Genea-Musings has issued his weekly challenge to his readers.

Tonight’s challenge is: “What were you doing in 1995?”

It’s been awhile since I participated in SNGF, so it’s time to remedy that situation.

Randy asks:
“1) Do you recall what you were doing in 1995? Family, school, work, hobbies, technology, genealogy, vacations, etc?” and 
“2) Tell us in a blog post of your own, in a comment on this blog, or in a Facebook or Google+ post.”

Here’s what I did in 1995.


My sister Marianne stayed with us for three weeks in July. I don’t remember much about what we did, but I know we went to Vancouver one day to see the Andy Wharhol exhibit at the Vancouver Art Gallery and had lunch at the nearby Hard Rock Café.

The next month, my aunts Madeleine and Simone came on their (nearly) yearly vacation to see Mom. On August 30th, I hosted supper at home for Mom and Aunt Simone since it was their birthday. (They were born on the same day three years apart.) It was rare for them to be together on their birthday as adults, so I wanted to make sure this one was special.


Our three-year-old son Nicholas was a big fan of everything “Thomas the Tank Engine” (TTTE). He used to play on the floor with his little character engines on wooden tracks until I asked my husband to make a play table for him. The table was finished at the end of March. It was at the right height for Nicholas and gave him many hours of fun.


One afternoon in April while playing at my parents’ home in town, Nicholas ran into a wall while running between the dining room and kitchen. He cut his forehead, so we took him to the hospital’s emergency department. It took both the doctor and a nurse to hold Nicholas firmly in place since he was crying loudly in protest. The stitches came out a few days later and Nicholas was left with a scar. It isn’t visible today unless he parts his hair just right.


In early November, a major rock and mud slide came down at 3:00 a.m. on the Trans-Canada Highway #1, not far from home. The extensive slide covered a large portion of the highway west to our suburb and north down the road towards town. It also destroyed Ryan’s Restaurant located at the base of the mountain. Michael, Nicholas and I drove to see the damage that morning, but couldn’t get far, because of how much mud blocked the road. Nicholas wore his little rain boots, but I wasn’t as sensible and ruined my suede lace-up shoes.

Also in November, Michael and I went to the Silent Auction, our hospital’s fundraiser. We bid successfully on a two-wheel child’s bicycle for Nicholas. It didn’t occur to us that he was still too young (at three years old) to ride it and would have to wait at least a couple of years.


Michael travelled to Vancouver three times during the year for work-related training courses – three days each in June, October, and November. I accompanied him once (in June), while Nicholas was cared for by my Mom and Dad.

In late July, Michael’s work truck that was parked on the street in front of our house was broken into by two local youths. A neighbor’s son and his friend saw it happen (it was about midnight) and rushed over to our house to raise the alarm. The young boys stole Michael’s work laptop and some tools. They were caught that same night and everything was recovered.

Short Vacations:

In late May, Michael, our son and I spent a weekend in Bellingham, Washington. It’s an easy drive there, about 1½ hours. We shopped at the large mall (Bellis Fair) and bought some TTTE accessories for Nicholas at a hobby store.

We also spent time in Vancouver on four occasions: in June, we attended the annual Children’s Festival at Vanier Park, toured the new Vancouver Public Library, and enjoyed an afternoon at Burnaby Central Railway where we rode on the miniature train. That August, we celebrated our sixth wedding anniversary and saw Portugal’s entry in the Symphony of Fire celebration. In October, we attended the Parents & Kids’ Show held at the Pan Pacific Hotel.

How did you spend your 1995?

Copyright © 2016, Yvonne Demoskoff.

FINALLY Get Organized! 13th-19th Mar Checklist

FINALLY Get Organized graphic

Blogger DearMYRTLE wants to help genealogists get organized for 2016. She proposes a weekly set of tasks to help us achieve our goal. Ol’ Myrt explains that “Each week's post will feature options for paper and digitally-oriented genealogists, with an eye to the beginner and intermediate researcher.” If you want to participate in this year-long activity, read more about it at FINALLY Get Organized!  

Here’s how I’ve completed this week’s tasks.

Task 1. “Consider the differences between sources, information and evidence.”

What a timely task. I recently ordered my birth registration even though I have my baptism certificate and my short-form birth certificate. I blogged about the useful and interesting information contained in that document yesterday.

So, to answer Dear Myrtle’s question, “Are you drawing on the most original form of first-hand information?”, I can say “Yes”, because I now have the most original form of first-hand information – my birth registration. As a source, my birth registration is original, because it’s a “true photostatic print of a record”. The information it contains is primary, because my parents were the informants. Its evidence is direct, because it answers the questions of when and where I was born.

Task 2. “Organize your thoughts, "current thinking" as Cousin Russ calls it.”

A few years ago, I created a document titled “Ascendance en ligne agnatique d’Yvonne Belair (7 générations)” [Ancestry in agnatic line of Yvonne Belair (7 generations)]. I followed the process outlined on pages 374-384 of Traité de généalogie [Genealogy treatise], by René Jetté (Montréal: Les Presses de l’Université de Montréal, 1991) and compiled a “dossier d’enquête”. This inquiry file explained the steps I took to determine my agnatic lineage – in other words, how I proved my patrilineal ancestry. For someone with Quebec ancestors, the way to go about compiling one’s ancestry is by locating the marriage record – the “document de preuve” [the proof document] – of each successive generation. (Jetté, Traité de généalogie, 35)

Task 3. “Start planning your summer vacation.”

My roots are in eastern Canada (the provinces of Ontario and Quebec), and so far, my husband and I aren’t planning a summer vacation to that part of the country. Instead, I’m thinking of taking photographs of various places around our town to show the schools our son attended, our church, the places where we shop, our parks and other attractions, and more. It’s something I’ve always wanted to do, but never did, so now might be the right time for such a project.

Task 4. “Paper-oriented genealogists need not be confused when filing papers.”

I file the way Dear Myrtle suggests: a woman’s photos and documents pre marriage are filed with her parents, while post marriage documents are files with her husband.

Copyright © 2016, Yvonne Demoskoff.

Friday, March 18, 2016

My Birth Registration Has Arrived

Last month, while working on the February 7 to 13th week of FINALLY Get Organized!, I mentioned that I didn’t have a copy of my birth registration. I already have my birth certificate (short form) and my baptism record, but I was curious to see what my birth registration looked like.

I ordered it online (at a cost of $35 CDN) on February 23rd from Service Ontario, a Government of Ontario website. The expected delivery date was 15 business days, but I received the paperwork 6 business days later on March 2nd.

After opening the envelope, I quickly examined the document. I then took my time to read each item to make sure I wouldn’t miss anything. I noticed my birth was registered when I was eight days old, both my parents were present at the registration, but Mom signed the form, and there’s at least three styles of handwriting (Mom’s, Dad’s, and presumably a municipal clerk). Other details included my parents’ address, their respective occupations (Dad was a welder and Mom was a housewife), and the name of the doctor in attendance. [1]

To see what information is potentially available in a “statement of birth” from the Province of Ontario, here’s a chart comparing the various fields in my birth registration record (in 1958) to those in my birth certificate (issued in 1979).

Thanks to my birth registration record, I now know a lot more about my birth. Another bonus – this time genealogical – is I feel I’ve met the first GPS (Genealogical Proof Standard) component of having done “reasonably exhaustive research”, because I’ve examined “all potentially relevant sources” concerning my birth. [2]

Ordering my birth registration record was money well spent!


1. Province of Ontario, statement of birth 088158 (1958), Yvonne Joan Belair; Office of the Registrar General, Ontario, Canada.

2. Board for Certification of Genealogists, Genealogy Standards, 50th anniversary edition (Nashville, Tennessee:, 2014), 2.

Copyright © 2016, Yvonne Demoskoff.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Travel Tuesday: Queen Elizabeth II’s Visit to Vancouver

Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh visited Vancouver, British Columbia in March 1983. Being a fan of royalty, I asked my boyfriend (now husband) Michael if we could drive into the city, about two hours west of here, to see the royal couple. It was a work day for him, but he agreed.

We left early, probably before 8 a.m., on a cool, cloudy morning. Once in Vancouver, we parked near Granville Square, one of the city’s tallest buildings, and met up with Michael’s co-worker, Evan. We mingled with the crowd at the site of the future Canada Place (back then it was still CP Railway's Pier B-C), while we waited for Her Majesty’s Yacht Britannia to arrive.

A vendor handed red balloons and Union Jack flags to the public. Although there was a fair amount of people, we had a good view of The Queen.

After the ceremony concluded, we drove to nearby Stanley Park, where HM The Queen was scheduled to officially open the Graham Amazon Gallery at the Vancouver Aquarium.

It was an exciting day for us, especially since it was the first time we saw Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip in person.

Copyright © 2016, Yvonne Demoskoff.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Remembering Aunt Marie

Marie Jmieff Demoskoff
Marie on her 85th birthday (2009)

My husband’s aunt, Marie Demoskoff, passed away one month ago today. She had been ill for a few months, but “passed peacefully with loved ones by her side” on 14 February 2016.

Marie, one of seven children of William and Polly (Wishlow) Jmieff, was born on 18 March 1924 in the village of Veregin, Saskatchewan. In 1942, she married George Demoskoff, an elder brother of Michael’s father, William The couple had three daughters, Diane, Kathy, and (the late) Clara.

It was with some sadness that Michael and I travelled to Grand Forks, British Columbia, where his aunt had lived for over seventy years, to attend her funeral.

Traditional bread salt and water
Bread, salt and water are always present

Marie had a traditional Doukhobor funeral. On Friday evening, the family, relatives and friends gathered at the funeral home. Russian prayers were said, followed by recollections of past times.

Guest book and display
Guest book and display at U.S.C.C. Centre

The next morning, Michael and I drove to the nearby Union of Spiritual Communities of Christ (U.S.C.C.) Community Centre, where he and the other pallbearers met. The first part of the funeral, lasting a little over an hour, was for the family, a sort of last private viewing. At 10 a.m., the bilingual (Russian and English) ceremony began. Jerry Seminoff, friend of the family, officiated. Formal greetings, prayers, psalms, and eulogies, marked the two-hour service. I found it all very moving, especially when the congregation sang traditional hymns and prayers. (All Doukhobor singing is done a cappella.) John J. Verigin, Jr., Head (Executive Director) of the U.S.C.C., spoke well of Marie’s contributions to her faith, her family, her community, and her years of volunteer work.

Afterwards, we left for the cemetery, where a brief interment service took place. We returned to the U.S.C.C. Centre for luncheon – borscht (Doukhobor-style), lapsha (egg noodles), and homemade bread.

The family after luncheon
Family (left) and ladies (right) who prepared the luncheon

In the evening, Michael and I visited his cousins Diane and Kathy and other relatives at Marie’s old home. Diane’s husband, Fred, gave me a copy of the eulogy and I quoted from it earlier in this article.

On Sunday morning, we returned home. My husband Michael has fond memories of his Aunt, especially of the time when he lived with Marie and George after he first moved to BC in the early 1970s.

Vechnaya Pamyat, Aunt Marie.

Copyright © 2016, Yvonne Demoskoff.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

FINALLY Get Organized! 6th-12th Mar Checklist

FINALLY Get Organized graphic

Blogger DearMYRTLE wants to help genealogists get organized for 2016. She proposes a weekly set of tasks to help us achieve our goal. Ol’ Myrt explains that “Each week's post will feature options for paper and digitally-oriented genealogists, with an eye to the beginner and intermediate researcher.” If you want to participate in this year-long activity, read more about it at FINALLY Get Organized!

I'm a bit late posting this past week's tasks, and I haven't completed the previous (Feb. 28-5 Mar.) tasks due to some distractions. Hopefully the rest of this month will be quieter.

Here’s how I’ve completed this week’s tasks.

Task 1. “Enter the names as you know them for the wives of the first four generations in your family tree.”

Task done with the help of birth/baptism and/or marriage records for my mother, my grandmother (Julie Vanasse), my great-grandmother (Angélina Meunier), and my great-great-grandmother (Angélique Lalonde) in my patrilineal line.

Task 2. “If you have the names for the spouses of your ancestor's brothers and sisters, go ahead and enter their names as you understand them.”

Task also done.

Task 3. “Gather with other local genealogists.”

Hope used to have a genealogy club that I attended from its inception until it folded a few years ago. It was ably run and there were 20+ names on the attendance list. We met once a month, invited speakers, and went on field trips. Although I don’t currently belong to a local society or even one in a nearby community (the closest one is an hour west of where I live), I meet with a couple of women from town three or four times a year in an informal setting to talk about genealogy.

Task 4. “Join an interactive DearMYRTLE hangout.”

Easy task and one that I look forward to weekly with “Mondays with Myrt”!

Copyright © 2016, Yvonne Demoskoff.

Friday, March 11, 2016

Funeral Card Friday: Annie Philippe

Ann Philippe funeral card

Ann (also known as Annie) was a younger daughter of Joseph and Martha (Bloski) Prince, a Polish couple. She was born in 1916 in Barry’s Bay, Renfrew County, Ontario. When she was twenty years old, Ann married Joseph Philippe, a nephew of my grandfather Fred Belair. Joe and Ann had six children – one son and five daughters.

I don’t recall if I ever met Ann, but I visited her daughter Joan at her home in Timmins on one or two occasions to talk about our Belair relatives. After my family and I moved to British Columbia, I corresponded with Joan’s sister and brother.

Ann Philippe funeral card

Ann died on 13 March 1976; her husband Joe passed away two years later.

Copyright © 2016, Yvonne Demoskoff.