Saturday, April 30, 2016

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun – Lifespans of Your 2nd Great Grandparents

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

Tonight’s challenge is “Lifespans of Your 2nd Great Grandparents”. How it works:

1) We each have 16 great-great grandparents. How did their birth and death years vary? How long were their lifespans?

2) For this week, please list your 16 great-great grandparents, their birth year, their death year, and their lifespan in years. You can do it in plain text, in a table or spreadsheet, or in a graph of some sort.

3) Share your information about your 16 great-great grandparents with us in a blog post of your own, in a comment to this blog post, or on Facebook or Google+. If you write your own blog post, please leave a link as a comment to this post.

Here are my answers (I’ve followed Randy’s format).

My 16 great-great-grandparents (shown with their ahnentafel number) are as follows:

16. Paul Janvry dit Belair (1822-1902), 80 years
17. Angélique Lalonde (1818-1900), 82 years
18. Ménésippe Meunier (1829-1883), 54 years
19. Louise Drouin (1835-1890), 55 years
20. Olivier Vanasse (1832-1914), 82 years
21. Elizabeth Frappier (ca 1832-1909), about 77 years
22. Joseph Vanasse (1838-1897), 59 years
23. Marie Guérard (1840-1917), 77 years

24. Pierre Desgroseilliers (1841-1904), 63 years
25. Flavie Lepage (1847-1906), 59 years
26. Joseph Léveillé (1839-1922), 83 years
27. Cordélia Racette (1849-1928), 79 years
28. Pierre Beauvais (1838-ca 1896), about 58 years
29. Arline Deschatelets (1846-1923), 77 years
30. Louis Hotte (1844-1923), 79 years
31. Marguerite Lacasse (1839-1907), 68 years

The average birth year for my 16 great-great grandparents is 1833, with a range from 1818 to 1849.

The average death year for them is 1905, with a range from 1883 to 1928.

So the average lifespan is about 71 years for my 16 great-great-grandparents, with a range of 54 to 83 years. Males average a lifespan of 70 years and females average a lifespan of 72 years.

I’ve shared my information in a blog post here and I’ve left a comment (with a link) at Genea-Musings!

Copyright © 2016, Yvonne Demoskoff.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Lucy Demosky’s Death Registration

Earlier this year, Caroline Pointer at asked her readers “What's your 2016 Blogging Genealogy goal?”. Was it to “to blog more in general? More consistently? Concentrate more on just a handful ancestors?”

Since I just discovered Caroline’s article, I picked a prompt at random – the January 3 one titled “Memento Mori "Remember You Die" Day”.

Once we get past the ‘morbid’ aspect, Caroline encourages us to write about an ancestor’s death certificate or record. The goal is to take the details apart and see what we can learn (or not) from the person’s life from the document. Alternatively, we can transcribe the details as a blog post.

Lucy Demosky death registration
Lucy Demosky's registration of death

I chose to write about my husband’s paternal grandmother Lucy (aka Luchenia, Lukeria) (Tomelin) Demosky’s death registration (above). [1] I’ve abstracted the following details:

1. Place of death
- rural: Edmonton […] Rge: 021-11
- city: Edmonton Alberta
- hospital: General Hospital

2. Date of death: May 1 1960

3. Length deceased resided
- where death occurred: 2 yrs
- in Alberta: 2 years
- in Canada, if immigrant: 61 yrs

4. Name of deceased: Lucy Demosky

5. Permanent residence of deceased
- rural: Rge 032-11
- city: Jasper Place
- street address: 8902 – 15 st.
- province: Alberta
- country: Canada

6. Sex: F / 7. Citizenship: Canadian / 8. Racial origin: Russian / 9. Province, state or country of birth: Russia

10. Date of birth: October 18 1885 / 11. Age: 74 years 6 months 13 days

12. Kind of work: House – wife / 13. Last worked at his occupation: April 7 1960 / total number of years engaged in this occupation: life

14. Single, married, widowed or divorced: widowed / Name of Husband: William Demosky

15. Name of father: Nick Tomelin / 16. Maiden name of mother: [unknown] Terichow / 17. Birthplace of father: Russia / 18. Birthplace of mother: Russia

19. Proposed date of burial: May 4 1960 / proposed place of burial: Kamsack Sask. / Tolstoi Cementery [sic]

Informant: Fred Demosky / relationship: Son / date: May 1st 1960

Now that I’ve taken apart the details about Lucy’s death, one item stands out – her date of death. Lucy’s son, my late father-in-law William (Bill) Demoskoff, believed that his mother died on 28 April 1960. [2] Yet, I see that her death was registered as “May 1 1960”. Could her son Fred, the informant, have made a mistake and put an incorrect date of death?

As I pondered this dilemma, it occurred to me that neither my husband nor his father possessed a newspaper obituary for Lucy. After a quick search on the internet, I saw that the Edmonton (Alberta) Public Library has an online searchable birth, marriage, death index. I looked for Lucy’s obituary in “Edmonton Obituaries” and found it in the 3 May 1960 edition of the Edmonton Journal. [3] The newspaper wasn’t online, so my husband Michael sent an email to EPL’s “Ask Us” service. A librarian replied the very next day with a scan of the obituary. (Thank you, EPL!) Lucy’s obit stated that “On May 1st Mrs Lucy Demosky […] passed away […]”. [4] It looks like Bill's memory wasn't accurate on this point, after all.

My husband then called his cousin Harvey to see if he knew when their grandmother died, but he didn’t remember. He explained that she was living with him and his parents when she suffered a stroke at home. Lucy was taken to the hospital and died there a few days later. Harvey added that he didn’t have any paperwork (like her obituary) or photos of his grandmother that he could share with us.

What else did I learn about Lucy? She was born in Russia on 18 October 1885 to Nick Tomelin and his wife (first name unknown) Terichow. In my opinion, her date of birth might only be a guess, though, because at this time in their history, Doukhobors did not believe in state interference in their lives and did not register vital events. Later, after immigrating to Canada, some, but not all, Doukhobors followed the government requirements and registered their children’s births.

According to the document, Lucy arrived in Canada “61 yrs” ago, that is, in 1899. That year is consistent with family tradition, according to my father-in-law, Bill (Lucy’s youngest child). [5]

The “proposed place” of burial – Tolstoi Cemetery in Kamsack, Saskatchewan – is not quite correct. Lucy was indeed interred at Tolstoy Cemetery, but it’s located a little to the north of Veregin, which is about 10 km west of Kamsack. [6]

Unfortunately, I didn’t learn Lucy’s mother’s given name. (Bill believed that his grandmother’s name was Maria or Anna.) I also didn’t learn precisely where Lucy and her parents were born in Russia.

Writing about Lucy’s death registration has been a worthwhile activity. I noticed details that I didn't the first time I looked at it and that led me to question certain points, which in turn led me to search out (and get) Lucy's obituary. 


1. Province of Alberta Department of Public Health, registration of death, no. 08-009495, Lucy Demosky (1960); Division of Vital Statistics, Edmonton.

2. William (Bill) Demoskoff, “Descendents of Mikhail (Konkin) Demofski) Demoskoff” [sic]; supplied by Bill Demoskoff, Grand Forks, BC. This unpublished and undated typescript consisting of six pages was researched by Bill Demoskoff probably in the 1980s or 1990s. The original typescript containing no supporting documentation for its data was given by the compiler to his daughter-in-law Yvonne (Belair) Demoskoff in the 1980s or 1990s.

3. “Edmonton Obituaries”, ( : accessed 12 April 2016), entry for Lucy Demosky, 3 May 1960. The Edmonton Public Library has a searchable index for the Edmonton Journal, with index coverage from January 1950 to December 1982.

4. Mona Bacon, Librarian, EPL (Stanley Al. Milner Library), Edmonton, Alberta to Michael Demoskoff, email, 13 April 2016, “Demosky Obituary”; privately held by Michael Demoskoff, Hope, British Columbia, 2016. Mona attached a scan of Lucy Demosky’s obituary from the Edmonton Journal of May 3, 1960 in her email to Michael. The scanned image does not show the newspaper’s edition date or the page number on which the obituary appears.

5. William (Bill) Demoskoff, “Descendents of Mikhail (Konkin) Demofski) Demoskoff” [sic]; supplied by Bill Demoskoff, Grand Forks, BC.

6. “Tolstoy Cemetery - Veregin District, Saskatchewan”, Doukhobor Genealogy Website ( : accessed 12 April 2016), entry for Lukeria N. Demoskoff [sic].

Copyright © 2016, Yvonne Demoskoff.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Workday Wednesday: Eugene Desgroseilliers, Chief of Police

Eugene Desgroseilliers as chief of police

My maternal grandfather Eugène Desgroseilliers (1900-1960) was Chief of Police in Hearst, a small northern Ontario community. I’ve always wondered how he got this position. He was a farmer when he married in August 1925 [1], but soon changed occupations and moved to law enforcement. I asked my mother if she knew how this happened (what qualifications did he have, what training did he receive), but she could only speculate that he was hired because he was so tall – Eugène was 6’ 7”.

Eugene Desgroseilliers as chief of police
Eugène Desgroseilliers, centre, with unidentified men (ca 1927)

Based on photographic evidence, Eugène probably became chief of police around the time his daughter Mariette was born in December 1927.

Eugene Desgroseilliers with his daughter Mariette in 1928
Eugène Desgroseilliers and his daughter Mariette (1928)

Eugène served as chief of police in Hearst from about 1927 to about 1936. He appears on a voters list for that community in 1935; his occupation is “town police”. [2]
Eugene Desgroseilliers on the 1935 list of electors for Hearst Ontario
Eugène Desgroseilliers (entry no. 102) on the 1935 list of electors for Hearst, Ontario (

In 1936, Eugène and his family moved to Rouyn, in northwestern Quebec. He continued with his police duties there and later in the nearby villages of Duparquet and Cadillac. In about 1940, Eugène became ill with double pneumonia and lost his job as police chief.

I’ve tried to find more details about my grandfather’s time as police chief in Hearst, but I’ve not been successful. For example, I corresponded with the Town of Hearst, who transferred my request to the local police force. In turn, the Hearst police department forwarded my request to the OPP (Ontario Provincial Police). Unfortunately, my grandfather was not in their “various OPP alpha-listings which go back to the 1920s”. [3]

I also hoped to find what happened to the medal Eugène was awarded for being “the youngest chief of police”, according to his daughters. They remember this medal, but they can’t recall what it looked like, when their father received it, or what became of it.

For now, the only sources I have about my grandfather Eugène’s years as chief of police are the above photos, an entry in a 1935 “list of electors”, and the memories of my Mom and her sisters. I’m not giving up hope, though, that one day I’ll find documentary evidence of his work and of his having received a medal for it.


1. “Ontario, Canada Marriages, 1801-1930”, digital images, ( : accessed 16 March 2010), entry for Eugene Desgroseilliers – Juliette Beauvais (written as Eugene Desgroseilliers – Juliette Beauvais, indexed as Eugene Desg Desgroseillien – Juliette Beauvais), 18 August 1925; citing Archives of Ontario, Registrations of Marriages, 1869-1928; Toronto, Ontario Canada: Archives of Ontario; microfilm series MS932, reel 740.

2. “Canada, Voters Lists, 1935-1980”, digital images, ( : accessed 30 March 2016), entry for Eugene Desgroseillier (written as Eugene Desgroseillier, indexed as Kugene Desgroseillier), page 817 (stamped), entry no. 102; citing Voters Lists, Federal Elections, 1935–1980; R1003-6-3-E (RG113-B); Library and Archives Canada, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.

3. Claudine Locqueville, Adjointe Administrative Assistant, Ville de/Town of Hearst to Yvonne Demoskoff, email, 24 March 2010, “FW: Police force of Hearst”; privately held by Yvonne (Belair) Demoskoff, Hope, British Columbia, 2016. Claudine forwarded the exchange of emails between the James Bay Detachments of the OPP and the OPP Museum in Orillia, Ontario to Yvonne regarding the possibility that her grandfather Eugene served with that police force.

Copyright © 2016, Yvonne Demoskoff.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Church Record Sunday: Desgroseilliers – Léveillé 1899 Marriage Record

My maternal great-grandparents Albert Desgroseilliers and Clémentine Léveillé married 117 years ago today.

Albert Desgroseilliers and Clementine Leveille marriage record 1899
Desgroseilliers - Léveillé marriage record (Généalogie Québec)

Albert, a younger son of Pierre and Flavie (Lepage) Desgroseilliers, was born in February 1879. His bride Clémentine, a younger daughter of Joseph and Cordélia (Racette) Léveillé, was slightly older: she was born in November 1878. The young couple were distantly related: Albert was Clémentine’s fifth cousin three times removed.

Albert, a farmer, and Clémentine married on 24 April 1899 in Limoges (known as South Indian, at this time) in Russell County, Ontario. [1] Father Joseph-Hercule Touchette celebrated the nuptial mass.

The marriage record (above) reads in French:

Le vingt quatre Avril, mil huit-cent quatre-vingt / dix neuf, vu la dispense de deux bans de mariage, ac- / cordée par nous, en vertu d’un pouvoir, à nous accor- / dé par Sa Grandeur Monseigneur J.T. Duhamel / Archevêque d’Ottawa, après la publication d’un / ban de mariage, faite au prône de nos messes parois- / siales entre Albert Desgroseilliers, fils majeur de Pierre / Desgroseilliers, cultivateur, et de Philenis Lepage / de cette mission, d’une part, et Clémentine / Léveillé, fille mineure de Joseph Léveillé / journalier et de Cordélia Racette de cette mission / d’autre part; ne s’etant découvert aucun empêchement / nous soussigné, curé de cette mission avons reçu leur mutu- / el consentement de mariage, et leur avons donné la bénédic- / tion nuptiale en presence de: [Rodrigue?] Laframboise et / Viateur Godard. [signed J.H. Touchette Ptre]

My English translation:

The twenty fourth April, one thousand eighty / nine, considering the dispensation of two banns of marriage, ac- / corded to us, in virtue of the power, to us accor- / ded by His Most Reverend J.T. Duhamel / Archbishop of Ottawa, after the publication of one / bann of marriage, stated at the sermons of mass of our parish / between Albert Desgroseilliers, son of age of Pierre / Desgroseilliers, farmer, and of Philenis Lepage / of this mission, on the one part, and Clémentine / Léveillé, minor daughter of Joseph Léveillé / day labourer and of Cordélia Racette of this mission / on the other part; not having found any impediment / we undersigned, curate of this mission have received their mutu- / al consent of marriage, and have given the nuptial blessing / in presence of: [Rodrigue?] Laframboise and / Viateur Godard. [signed J.H. Touchette Priest]


1. St-Viateur (Limoges, Ontario), parish register, 1897-1910, p. 18 (stamped), entry no. M.1 (1899), Albert Desgroseilliers – Clémentine Léveillé marriage, 24 April 1899; St-Viateur parish; digital images, “Registres du Fonds Drouin”, Généalogie Québec ( : accessed 4 July 2014).

Copyright © 2016, Yvonne Demoskoff.

Church Record Sunday: Pierre Bertrand’s 1816 Burial Record

Two hundred years ago this month, my maternal 6x great-grandfather Pierre Bertrand dit Aulas died.

Pierre Bertrand's 1816 Burial Record
Pierre Bertrand burial record (FamilySearch)

Originally from Aulas, Languedoc, France, Pierre came to New France (Canada) in 1756 as a soldier in the Seven Years War. Four years after his arrival, he married Marie Josephe Gauthier dite St-Germain on 4 November 1760 in her hometown of Boucherville, located across from Montreal on the south shore of the St. Lawrence River. Pierre and Marie Josephe had four sons and ten daughters, including my ancestor Marie Marguerite (1771-1846).

Pierre died on 23 April 1816. The parish priest was by his bedside and administered Extreme Unction (Annointing of the Sick). Pierre was buried two days later in the cemetery of St-Jean-François-Régis of St-Philippe, south of Boucherville, in Laprairie County. [1]

The burial record (above) reads in French:

Le vingt cinq avril mil huit cent Seize par nous pretre sous / signé a été inhumé dans le cimetiere de cette paroisse le corps de / Pierre Bertrand laboureur de cette paroisse age de quatre / vingt quatre ans décédée avant hier munie du Sacrement de / l’Extreme onction. Etaient presents [Drule Surgon?] Joseph Za / [betier?] et Ange [Zabetier?] qui n’ont su signer. [signed Pigeon ptre]

My English translation:

The twenty fifth april one hundred Sixteen by us priest under / signed has been interred in the cemetery of this parish the body of / Pierre Bertrand laborer of this parish age of eighty / four years deceased before yesterday provided with the Sacrament of Extreme Unction. Were present [Drule Surgon?] Joseph Za / [betier?] and Ange [Zabetier?] who didn’t not how to sign [their names]. [signed Pigeon priest]

Although the name of Pierre’s wife’s is not mentioned in his burial record, I believe I have the right person. For example, he is 84 years old at his death (giving him a year of birth of about 1732) and his occupation is stated: “laboureur de cette paroisse” [labourer in this parish]. He is also described as “Pierre Bertrand laboureur en cette paroisse de son vivant” [Pierre Bertrand labourer in this parish in his lifetime] in his wife’s burial record in 1822. [2]


1. St-Jean-François-Régis (St-Philippe, Quebec), parish register, p. 52 verso, no entry no. (1816), Pierre Bertrand burial 25 April 1816; St-Jean-François-Régis parish; digital images, "Québec, registres paroissiaux catholiques, 1621-1979", FamilySearch ( : accessed 8 April 2016). Note: To access this browsable-only image, follow this path from the FamilySearch homepage: Search > Records > Canada > Quebec, Catholic Parish Registers, 1621-1979 > [Browse] > Saint-Philippe > Saint-Philippe > Baptêmes, mariages, sépultures 1809-1823 > image 250 of 578.

2. St-Jean-François-Régis (St-Philippe, Quebec), parish register, 1809-1823, p. 145 recto, entry no. S.35 (1822), Marie Joseph Gothier [sic] burial, 6 May 1822; St-Jean-François-Régis parish; digital images, "Québec, registres paroissiaux catholiques, 1621-1979", FamilySearch ( : accessed 8 April 2016). Note: To access this browsable-only image, follow this path from the FamilySearch homepage: Search > Records > Canada > Quebec, Catholic Parish Registers, 1621-1979 > [Browse] > Saint-Philippe > Saint-Philippe > Baptêmes, mariages, sépultures 1809-1823 > image 530 of 578.

Copyright © 2016, Yvonne Demoskoff.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Friday’s Faces from the Past: François and Julia Gagnon and Family

Francois Gagnon and Julia Vanasse with their children in 1902

Isn’t this a splendid family photograph? It features François and Julia (Vanasse) Gagnon and their young family in the summer of 1902. They lived in Chapeau, Pontiac County, Quebec. My grandmother Julie (Vanasse) Belair was named for her aunt Julia, who was 30 years old in this picture. [1]

The photo came in a letter that my Aunt Joan received from her cousin Gladys in the late 1990s. Joan then gave it to me when I visited her in May 2014. Gladys was the granddaughter of Julia (1872-1956), who married François (1859-1949) in Chapeau in June 1895.

Left to right: Julia holding Victor (b. 1901), Albertine (b. 1897), François holding Richard (b. 1900), and Mae (b. 1895).

Young Albertine (4½ years old in the picture) would later be my father Maurice’s godmother at his baptism in 1927. I’ve written about her and her sister Cora (not yet born when the photo was taken) in Sibling Saturday: Albertine and Cora Gagnon.


1. Gagnon family photograph, 1902; privately held by Yvonne (Belair) Demoskoff [ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE,] Hope, British Columbia, 2016. Gladys (Holden) Santry sent the photograph of her maternal grandmother and her family in a letter to her second cousin Joan (Belair) Laneville between 1996 and 2002. (Gladys dated and identified the individuals by name and age on the back of the photo.) Joan then gave the letter and photograph to her niece Yvonne when she visited her aunt’s home in May 2014.

Copyright © 2016, Yvonne Demoskoff.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Four Generations x 2

Yesterday’s release of the four-generations photo of Queen Elizabeth II with her son, grandson and great-grandson to mark the Queen’s 90th birthday reminded me of when there were four generations in my family.

Fred Belair in a four generation photo

The above photo was taken in July 1981. My sister Marianne was here in British Columbia with her three-month-old son Jason and our 91½ year old grandfather Fred. A visit like this one didn’t happen too often, since the three of them lived in Ontario, so we made sure to record the occasion. Dad (centre) is dressed in his work clothes, so he must have been trucking that day.

Jacqueline Belair in a four generation photo

The second photo was taken twenty-five years later in February 2006. My nephew was now the proud father of a son, Jonathan, who was baptised when he was three-month-old. After the ceremony, we gathered at my sister’s place for a family luncheon. Jonathan is in the arms of his great-grandmother (my Mom Jacqueline), while his father Jason and his grandmother (my sister Marianne) are beside them.

Copyright © 2016, Yvonne Demoskoff.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Wedding Wednesday: Vanasse – Frappier

Today is the 164th anniversary of the marriage of Olivier Vanasse and Elizabeth Frappier, my paternal great-great-grandparents.

Olivier Vanasse and Elizabeth Frappier 1852 marriage record
Vanasse - Frappier marriage record (Ancestry)

Olivier, second son of Régis and Josephte (Messier) Vanasse, was born in 1832 in Yamaska, Yamaska County, Quebec. His wife Elizabeth is one of three children I’ve identified of Michel and Louise (Neveu) Frappier. She was born about 1832, based on her age at her baptism in 1836, probably on Ile des Allumettes in Pontiac County, Quebec.

Olivier and Elizabeth married on 20 April 1852 in St. Alphonsus church in Chapeau, Pontiac County, Quebec. [1] Irish-born Reverend James Christopher Lynch blessed their union. [2] The couple had six children: Michael (1853-1933), Julia (1854-1895), Henriette (1856-1883), John (1858-1931), Elizabeth (aka Elmire) (1860-1953), and Olivier (1863-1944), my great-grandfather.

Here’s my transcription of the marriage record (above):

April 20th 1852 after the banns of Marriage / having been twice published at the / prone of Mass in this mission Between / Oliver Venace son of age of Regis Venace / and of [Joseth] Mar[i iere?] on the one part / and Anne Isabelle Frappier minor / daughter of Michael Frappier and of / Louissa Nevaux on the other part and / where as a dispensation of one of the banns / of Marriage have been given by us in vir- / tue of a power accorded to us by his lord- / ship the Right Rev. F. Guigues Bishop of / Bytown no impediment having been / discovered we the undersigned priest / of this mission have Received their mutual / Consent to mariage and have given / them the nuptial benediction at St / Liguoris Allumette Island in the presence / of Joseph [Laganef?] & [La reau?] [La Viven?] who have not signed[Signed Jas C Lynch Priest]

Olivier passed away in November 1914, having survived Elizabeth, who died in July 1909.


1. St-Alphonse (Chapeau, Quebec), parish register, 1846-1856, p. 152 verso, entry no. M.8 (1852), Oliver Venace – Anne Isabelle Frappier (written as Olivier Venace – Anne Isabelle Frappier, indexed as Olivin Verran – Anne Isabelle Frappier) marriage, 20 April 1852; St-Alphonse parish; digital images, “Quebec, Vital and Church Records (Drouin Collection), 1621-1967”, ( : accessed 1 March 2011).

2. Alexis de Barbezieux, Histoire de la province ecclésiastique d'Ottawa et de la colonisation dans la vallée de l'Ottawa (Ottawa, 1897: I: 253 and 399); digital images, Our Roots ( : accessed 13 March 2014). Father Lynch was appointed curate (assistant priest) of St. Alphonsus in 1845 and then its parish priest in 1846. He spent his entire priestly career there, and died in 1885.

Copyright © 2016, Yvonne Demoskoff.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Church Record Sunday: Raymond’s 1982 Sacrament of Confirmation

My brother Raymond received the Holy Sacrament of Confirmation on 18 April 1982.

Raymond Belair with his uncle Ray Belair

My boyfriend (now husband) Michael and I were present, as well as my uncle Ray Belair. Ray, Dad’s brother, was honorary godfather, because Raymond’s baptism godfather couldn’t attend. My parents also couldn’t be with us, because they had left two days earlier for southern Ontario to be with Mom’s sister Simone, whose son Bobby died recently in a vehicle accident.

For his Confirmation, Raymond took the additional saint’s name Gabriel as a tribute to his brother-in-law Gabriel, our sister’s husband.

Bishop Sabatini administered the Sacrament during Sunday Mass in our local parish church of Our Lady of Good Hope.

Raymond Belair's Confirmation certificate

This lovely Confirmation certificate (above) marked the special day. (The original measures 27 cm x 18 cm or about 10.5" x 7".)

Copyright © 2016, Yvonne Demoskoff.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Sympathy Saturday: Cousin Bobby

Robert Burdan (1962-1982) with his cousins Marianne and Kathy

Thirty-four years ago this week – on 14 April 1982 – my cousin Robert (Bobby) Burdan, died in a vehicle accident near Belleville, Ontario. He was 19 years old, and the youngest of five children of my aunt Simone (Mom’s sister) and her husband Robert (Bob) Burdan.

My parents attended Bobby’s funeral, and made the journey by car from our home in British Columbia to Sarnia, Ontario. I remember how they both wanted to be with Aunt Simone at this heart-breaking time.

That’s Bobby in the centre of the picture sitting with my sister Marianne (right) and our cousin Kathy (left). The picture was taken on the back steps of our house on Maple Street in Timmins in the summer of 1972 or 1973. It’s the only photo I could find of Bobby in my family’s albums. I wasn’t sure if I should use it, because it seems a rather frivolous image (Bobby appears to wear a wig that belonged to my Mom), but then I thought it wasn’t disrespectful to remember the good times we had when he and his Mom used to visit our home.

Rest in peace, Cousin.

Copyright © 2016, Yvonne Demoskoff.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Langlois – Grenier 1634 Marriage Record

Recently, there’s been some interest in the Noël Langlois – Françoise Grenier couple, who married in 1634 in Quebec, in “Ancestry Hook Ups”, a public group in Facebook. I decided to transcribe and translate their marriage record for those individuals who might descend from or who might be interested in Noël and Françoise, one of the most prolific ancestral couples of New France. [1]
Noel Langlois 1634 marriage record
Langlois - Grenier marriage record (

Their marriage record (above), in French, in the rather stylish handwriting of the 1600s is a copy. [2] The original was lost when the chapel of Notre-Dame-de-Recouvrance’s sacramental registers were destroyed in a fire on 15 June 1640. [3] Shortly after this disaster, the early records were recreated from memory by Jesuit priests. [4]
Noel Langlois 1634 marriage record
Langlois - Grenier marriage record (Généalogie Qué

This version of Noël and Françoise’s marriage record is another copy, but I don’t know when it was produced. [5] It is much more legible than the first one and can be read easily, assuming one knows French. Here is my transcription:

Le 25. Juillet 1634 Les bans ordinaires / estant faits, et ne S’estant trouvé / aucun légitime empeschement, / Le P. Charles Lallemant Jesuite faisant / fonction de Curé a Quebec, apres avoir / Interrogé ouy et receu le mutuel / consentement A Solemnellement marié et conioint en le lieu du St Mariage / Noel Langlois et françoise Grenier. / Presens M. Robert Giffart Chirurgien / et M. Noel Juchereau.

My English translation:

The 25. July 1634 The ordinary banns / having been done, and not finding / any legitimate [objection?] / the P. Charles Lallement Jesuit having / the role of [parish priest] at Quebec, after having / Interrogated [yes?] and received the mutual / consent Has Solemnly married / and [united?] in the location of the Holy Marriage / Noel Langlois and françoise Grenier. / Present Mr. Robert Giffart Surgeon / and Mr. Noel Juchereau.

The couple had ten children, four sons and six daughters. [6] I have three lines of descent (paternal and maternal) from Noël and Françoise: two from their elder daughter Marguerite (1639-1697), who married notary Paul Vachon, and one from younger daughter Jeanne (1643-?), who married René Chevalier, a master mason.

Françoise died on 1 November 1665 at Quebec. Noël, who remarried in 1666, died on 14 July 1684 at Beauport. [7]


1. Michel Langlois, “Noël Langlois (1606-1684) et ses enfants”, Mémoires de la Société généalogique canadienne-française 26 (avril-mai-juin 1975): 83-102, specifically 87; DVD edition (Montreal, QC: SGCF, 2013).

2. Notre-Dame (Quebec, Quebec), parish register, Marriages 1621-1671, p. 101 (stamped), entry no. 1634 [year of marriage], Noel Langlois – françoise Grenier (written as Noel Langlois – françoise Grenier, indexed as Noel Langlois – Francoise Grenier) marriage, 25 July 1634; Notre-Dame parish; digital images, “Quebec Vital and Church Records (Drouin Collection), 1621-1967”, ( : accessed 14 April 2016). A transcription of the record created in 1640 can be seen in Michel Langlois, “Noël Langlois (1606-1684) et ses enfants”, Mémoires de la Société généalogique canadienne-française 26 (avril-mai-juin 1975): 83-102, specifically 86-87; DVD edition (Montreal, QC: SGCF, 2013).

3. Georges Gauthier Larouche, L’église pionnière de Québec: origines et fondateurs (1615-1664) (Québec: Les éditions de Septentrion, 2014), 70 and 72.

4. Hubert Charbonneau et Raymond Roy, “Généalogie, démographie et registres paroissiaux”, Mémoires de la Société généalogique canadienne-française 27 (jan.-fév.-mars 1976): 23-36, specifically 31; DVD edition (Montreal, QC: SGCF, 2013).

5. Notre-Dame (Quebec, Quebec), parish register, Marriages 1621-1671, no page no., entry no. M.3 (1634), Noel Langlois – Francoise Grenier marriage, 25 July 1634; Notre-Dame parish; digital images, “Registres du Fonds Drouin”, Généalogie Qué ( : accessed 14 April 2016).

6. René Jetté, Dictionnaire généalogique des familles du Québec (Montréal: Les Presses de l’Université de Montréal, 1983), 645.

7. Langlois, “Noël Langlois (1606-1684) et ses enfants”, 95 and 102.

Copyright © 2016, Yvonne Demoskoff.

Those Places Thursday: Evadale School in Saskatchewan

I’ve long wanted to write an article about my husband’s elementary school days, especially because he had such a different experience than I did. For instance, he went to a one-room rural school on the Prairies, while I went to an urban school in northeastern Ontario. He received a public education, while I was taught by nuns and secular teachers.

Evadale School near Arran Saskatchewan

Michael attended Evadale School, located about seven miles northwest of Arran, Saskatchewan. He was there for Grades 1 through 5, from September 1959 until June 1964. Later, when his sister was old enough, she too went to Evadale, but only for Grades 1 through 3, because the family moved into the nearby town of Kamsack. Michael took these photos on a trip to his home province in the summer of 1973.

I've gathered his reminiscences in point form.

• My Dad told me that we lived exactly the same distance from three schools, but he chose to send us to Evadale.

• The school was three miles east from our farm. For the first couple of grades, my Dad drove me until I was old enough to walk by myself or with friends.

• My Mom used to tell me the story about my very first day at school (Grade 1) and how I couldn’t wait to get there, but when I arrived, I started to cry and refused to go inside. It took a lot of coaxing and I finally went inside.

• The school was on two acres. There were swings and teeter-totters, a teacher’s residence, and off in the distance, a barn and an outhouse.

• It was one large building: 2/3 of it was one room for the classroom with a wood-burning stove, then the other 1/3 was divided into the entrance (we’d hang our coats and leave our boots here; firewood was also kept here) and a storage room for supplies.

• Just about every year we had a different teacher. There were about 28-32 kids in all per year. Sometimes there’d be only one student in a grade. Our teacher taught one grade at a time.

• I think I started walking to school in Grade 3. I remember meeting up with my friends Dmitro, Doris, and Lawrence on the way.

Evadale School near Arran Saskatchewan

• I’d leave about 45 minutes before class started. Some days I’d take my time and explore the bushes on the side of the road. One day I was late and was scared to go inside, so I stayed outside and sat by myself. A student going to the outhouse saw me near the school door and he told the teacher. She came out and asked me why I didn’t go inside. After talking to me for a bit, she told me to not worry and just go to my seat and that no one would notice.

• In good weather, my sister and I would walk or take a two-seat horse buggy that we’d park at the school’s large barn. There was room for about a dozen horses.

• I don’t remember which horse it was, maybe Fly or Prince, but after it was trained, it knew the route to take, enter the school grounds and pull up to the barn. I’d unhitch him, take him inside to his stall and then give him some hay.

• In winter, we’d get into an old car that my Dad had removed the roof and dashboard, and added runners. Our horse would pull the car to school. When it was very cold, my sister and I wrapped ourselves in blankets and duck under where the dashboard used to be to keep warm.

• I remember we had sports days before the end of the school year. I usually would enter track-and-field events like broad jump, high jump and 100-yard dash. Sometimes, I’d get ribbons for broad jump.

• I did well at school and almost always got straight As. It was hard to leave all the friends I made there when we moved into town in July 1964.

Copyright © 2016, Yvonne Demoskoff.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Tombstone Tuesday: Fred Demosky

Tombstone of Fred Demosky

Fred was my husband’s paternal uncle; his obituary can be read here.

Michael photographed his uncle’s tombstone during our visit to Grand Forks in June 2015.

Born on 16 September 1909 in the Canadian prairie province of Saskatchewan, Fred died on 14 April 1988 at home in Oliver, British Columbia. He was laid to rest in Evergreen Cemetery in Grand Forks, British Columbia.

Fred’s gravemarker reads:

In Loving Memory
Fredrick W.
1909 – 1988

Copyright © 2016, Yvonne Demoskoff.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Maritime Monday: 227 Doukhobors Arrive in Canada in 1912

SS Californian on the morning after Titanic sank
SS Californian on the morning after Titanic sank

In the spring of 1912, four separate ships brought more exiled Russian Doukhobors to a new life in Canada.

Doukhobor Canada Arrivals in 1912

These journeys might have been unremarkable except for the following events:

• The Ultonia lost one life when a male infant child (Ivan Rybalkin) died at sea. [5]

• The Canada had to quarantine two Doukhobor families (Esaulov and Kolesnikov) on its arrival. [6]

• The Californian “observed distress signals sent up by the nearby sinking Titanic but ignored them”. [7]


Image credit: Wikimedia Commons, the free media repository, Californian.jpg

1. Steve Lapshinoff & Jonathan Kalmakoff, Doukhobor Ship Passenger Lists 1898-1928 (Crescent Valley: self-published, 2001), 138; citing National Archives of Canada, Microfilm Reel # T-4692. Note: There is some controversy whether or not there were passengers aboard the Californian during this April voyage. For anecdotal evidence that a six-member family travelled on that ship, see “Polly (Harelkin) Verigin: Recalling the Titanic”, Doukhobor Genealogy Website ( : accessed 10 April 2016).

2. Lapshinoff, Doukhobor Ship Passenger Lists 1898-1928, 139; citing National Archives of Canada, Microfilm Reel # C-4784.

3. Lapshinoff, Doukhobor Ship Passenger Lists 1898-1928, 140-143; citing National Archives of Canada, Microfilm Reel # T-4744.

4. Lapshinoff, Doukhobor Ship Passenger Lists 1898-1928, 144-146; citing National Archives of Canada, Microfilm Reel # T-4787.

5. Lapshinoff, Doukhobor Ship Passenger Lists 1898-1928, 143.

6. Lapshinoff, Doukhobor Ship Passenger Lists 1898-1928, 144-145.

7. Lapshinoff, Doukhobor Ship Passenger Lists 1898-1928, 138.

Copyright © 2016, Yvonne Demoskoff.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Sunday’s Obituary: Fred Demosky

Obituary of Fred Demosky

Twenty-eight years ago this month, my husband’s uncle Fred Demosky passed away. He was a younger son of Russian immigrants Wasyl and Luchenia (Tomelin) Demosky. Fred was born on 16 September 1909 at his parents’ farm near Buchanan, Saskatchewan.

When he was twenty-nine years old, Fred married Mary Popoff in November 1938 in Arran, Saskatchewan. The couple, who had two daughters, lived in the provinces of Saskatchewan and Alberta, before settling in Oliver, British Columbia.

Fred died at home on 14 April 1988 in Oliver. A prayer service was held there two days later, and his interment took place on April 19 in Evergreen Cemetery in Grand Forks, British Columbia.

The handwriting at the bottom of the obituary (on April 19) belongs to Fred’s youngest brother William (Bill).


“Demosky”, obituary, undated clipping, from unidentified newspaper; Demoskoff Family Papers, privately held by Yvonne (Belair) Demoskoff, British Columbia, 2016. Yvonne received an assortment of family memorabilia (including Fred’s obituary) in January 2012 from her father-in-law William (Bill) Demoskoff.

Copyright © 2016, Yvonne Demoskoff.

Saturday, April 09, 2016

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun – Three More Ancestry Questions

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

Tonight’s challenge is “Three More Ancestry Questions”.

The first part of the assignment:

* Name four places on my ancestral home bucket list I’d like to visit:

* What are the four most unusual surnames in your family tree?

* Which four brick walls would you most like to smash through?

We “answer each of the questions based on your own ancestors, not the collateral lines” [and then] “share your answers with us in a blog post of your own, in a comment to this post, in a Facebook post or a Google+ post. Please provide a link to your response if you can.”

Here are my answers:

1. Name four places on my ancestral home bucket list I’d like to visit:

• Chapeau, Pontiac County, Quebec (where my grandmother Julie (Vanasse) Belair was born in 1896).

• Dives, Picardie, France (where my Belair ancestor was born about 1731-1736).

• Charly-sur-Marne, Champagne, France (where my mother’s Desgroseilliers ancestor was 
born in 1618).

• Deerfield, Franklin, Massachusetts (where my ancestors Sarah Allen and Elizabeth Price were captured in 1704 and brought to Canada).

2. What are the four most unusual surnames in your family tree?

• Durgey (François, from New Hampshire)

• Kekijicakoe (Marie, Native American, possibly Algonquin)

• Poisson (Barbe, a fille à marier, from Perche, France)

• Raza (Pierre, an immigrant from Guyenne, France)

3. Which four brick walls would you most like to smash through?

• François Janvry dit Belair (ca 1736-1817), my patrilineal ancestor. From Dives, Picardie, France, François came to Canada in the mid-1750s as a Seven Years War soldier. His surname is “Zénéry dit Beller” in a 1759 Quebec hospital register, but it might have been “Dufay” in France. I’d really like to locate his baptism record to see just how his father’s name is written.

• François Durgey (ca 1769-between 1851-1861), originally from New Hampshire, USA. His surname is rendered as Dogie, Doggie, Dogy, Doyer, and Durgey in Canadian records. I’ve done some research on him and once found an online article (for which I didn’t record the URL) that suggests his surname might be Durkee.

• Toussaint Laronde (ca 1783-between 1846-1870), described sometimes as “sauvage”, he is more likely Metis. According to certain online trees, Toussaint is the son of Louis Denis de LaRonde and his Native American common-law wife Marie Madeleine Wosneswesquigigo, but there doesn’t seem to be documentary evidence for this parentage.

• Michel Frappier (ca 1794-1860), whose parents I haven’t been able to identify, but who might be Michel and Marie Anne (Varry) Frappier of Chambly County, Quebec or Antoine and Josephte (Neveu) Frappier of Berthier County, Quebec.

Copyright © 2016, Yvonne Demoskoff.

Friday, April 08, 2016

Friday’s Faces from the Past: Vancouver’s Stanley Park in 1981

Recently, Vancouver, British Columbia marked its 130th anniversary. From its humble beginnings as the settlement known as Gastown, Vancouver was incorporated as a city on 6 March 1886.

First Vancouver Council Meeting after fire

Image credit: “First Vancouver Council Meeting after fire.jpg”, by H.T. Devine, via Wikimedia Commons.

My family and I visited Vancouver for the first time in 1966. That summer, we made a nearly month-long trip to BC, and although we have lots of photos of our journey, there aren’t any of us visiting the city.

The earliest photos we have of us in Vancouver are of our visit in the summer of 1981, not long after we moved to BC. My sister and her 3-month old son, who were here on vacation, came with us – Mom, Dad, my brother Raymond and my boyfriend (now husband) Michael. We took a day-trip into the city on 2 August 1981 to celebrate Dad’s 54th birthday. We spent most of our time at Vancouver’s Stanley Park where we toured the Park by car, stopped at interesting viewpoints and landmarks, and rode rented tandem bicycles.

Here are some photos of us in Stanley Park that day.

Belair family in Vancouver's Stanley Park in 1981
Maurice, Yvonne, Raymond, Jacqueline (behind), and Marianne at Prospect Point
Belair family in Vancouver's Stanley Park in 1981
Michael, Marianne, Raymond, Jacqueline (holding Jason), and Maurice
with North Shore Mountains in background
Belair family in Vancouver's Stanley Park in 1981
Raymond, Marianne, Michael, and Yvonne near Lost Lagoon

Copyright © 2016, Yvonne Demoskoff.

Tuesday, April 05, 2016

Tuesday’s Tip: Upcoming Genealogy Conferences in British Columbia, Canada

Want to increase your genealogy and family history knowledge and meet with other like-minded people in beautiful British Columbia, Canada?
Map of British Columbia within Canada

Here’s a round-up of genealogy conferences and seminars for 2016.

April 23, 2016:

International Genealogy Conference: Unlocking the Past
Qualicum Beach Family History Society
Parksville, BC

April 27, 2016:

Scottish & Irish Research Seminar
Vernon & District Family History Society
Vernon, BC

April 30, 2016:

BCGS 2016 Seminar
British Columbia Genealogical Society
Richmond, BC

May 14, 2016:

Abbotsford Stake Family History Day
Abbotsford, BC

September 23-25, 2016:

Harvest Your Family Tree Conference 2016
Kelowna & District Genealogical Society
Kelowna, BC

October 15, 2016:

Finding Your Roots Seminar
Surrey Family History Center
Surrey, BC

Image credit:
Wikimedia Commons, the free media repository, British Columbia in Canada.svg

Copyright © 2016, Yvonne Demoskoff.