Friday, June 24, 2016

Funeral Card Friday: Agnes Burchill

Front of In Memory card for Agnes Burchill

Agnes Burchill was the youngest sister of my paternal grandmother Julie (Vanasse) Belair.

“Aunt Aggie”, as my late father knew her, lived in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada since the late-1930s. I think the only time I met her was when my family and I were there on vacation, probably in the 1980s. We visited her and her husband “Uncle Freddie” at their apartment in a multi-storied building one afternoon. It was a real pleasure to meet my great-aunt because she was a connection to my beloved Mémère Julie. I was researching my family tree at this time, so I came prepared with questions for Aggie and Freddie. Unfortunately, I don’t know what happened to those notes and now remember very little about that visit.

Youngest child and youngest daughter of Olivier and Elizabeth (Vanasse) Vanasse, Agnes was born on 12 September 1905 in Chapeau, Pontiac County, Quebec. She had eight older siblings: Mary, George, William, Cecilia, Julie (my grandmother), Joseph, Corine and David.

Back of In Memory card for Agnes Burchill

Agnes died on 28 June 2000, Freddie having predeceased her in November 1989. They were both laid to rest at Capital Funeral Home & Cemetery in Ottawa.

Copyright © 2016, Yvonne Demoskoff.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Friday’s Faces from the Past: Jacqueline and her godchild

Jacqueline Belair with her sister Jeanne d'arc and her niece Kathy

Aunt Joan stands next to my Mom Jacqueline, who is holding her well-wrapped three-week-old niece and godchild Kathy. The photo was taken outside of Joan’s home on 9 June 1968. That’s the day when Katherine Anne, first child of Lino and Jeanne d’arc (Joan), was baptised at Sacred Heart RC Church in Timmins. Kathy’s godparents were her maternal aunt Jackie and her paternal uncle Rino.

I love the 1960s fashion. Mom and Aunt Joan wear a single-strand pearl necklace, Mom has gloves and I’m sure Joan did too, although we can’t see them in this picture.

My sister Marianne and I probably attended our new cousin’s baptism ceremony and the small family get-together afterwards, but I don’t have any memories of the day.

The photo was in Kathy’s family album and she let me scan it when I visited her in May 2014. It’s a touching memento of her with my Mom as her godmother.

Copyright © 2016, Yvonne Demoskoff.

Wednesday, June 01, 2016

The 1921 Census of Canada and My Ancestors

A few weeks ago, I wrote an article about my ancestors who appeared on the 1901 census of Canada. Today – 1 June 2016 – is the 95th anniversary of the 1921 Census of Canada. I decided to see which ancestors appear on that census, the most recent one publicly available. Here is what I found.


My grandmother Juliette Beauvais was 19 years old (she turned 20 at the end of the month) on the census. [1] She is on line no. 34 in the image below. Juliette and her parents Joseph, a farmer, and Olivine lived in Hartwell (now Chénéville), Quebec. All the family members were born in Quebec according to the census, including elder son Oscar, although he was born in Tupper Lake, New York, USA. The family was French, Canadian, and Roman Catholic. Juliette and some of her brothers could read and write, but their parents could not. They all spoke French; no one could speak English.
Juliette Beauvais on 1921 census of Canada
Juliette Beauvais with her family on the 1921 census of Canada (Ancestry)

Joseph owned his home (it was not rented). He, his wife and their fourteen children lived in a four-room single-family house of wood. The enumerator visited and counted the family on 24 June 1921, although the official enumeration date was 1 June 1921.


My great-great-grandfather Joseph Léveillé was 81 years old on the census. [2] He and his wife Cordélia lived with their younger daughter Adélaïde in South Indian (now Limoges), Ontario. Joseph and Cordélia were born in the province of Quebec, while Adélaïde was born in the province of Ontario. They were French, Canadian, and Roman Catholic. Joseph was a farmer on his own farm and Adélaïde was the family’s housekeeper. Joseph spoke English and French, but he couldn’t read or write.
Joseph Leveille on 1921 census of Canada
Joseph Léveillé with his family on the 1921 census of Canada (Ancestry)

Joseph owned his four-room single-family house constructed of wood. The enumerator seems to have neglected to date the form, but the official census day was 1 June 1921.

Other Ancestors

• Grandparents: Julie Vanasse and Eugène Desgroseilliers; both lived in the province of Quebec.

• Great-grandparents: Pierre Belair, Olivier and Elisabeth (Vanasse) Vanasse, Albert and Clémentine (Léveillé) Desgroseilliers, and Joseph and Olivine (Hotte) Beauvais. Albert and Clémentine lived in the province of Ontario, while the others lived in the province of Quebec.

• Great-great-grandparents: Cordélia (Racette) Léveillé, widow Arline (Deschatelets) Beauvais, and widower Louis Hotte. Cordélia lived in Ontario, while Arline and Louis lived in Quebec.

Ancestor Not Found

Living, but missing from the census is my grandfather Fred Belair.

Some Census Statistics

• 13,000 enumerators were required, including war veterans and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP).
• The information on the forms “were transferred to punch cards and tabulated by machines”.
• There were five schedules (population, agriculture, animals […] not on farms, manufacturing and trade, and a supplemental schedule for the blind and deaf-mutes) and 565 questions. [3]


1. 1921 census of Canada, Hartwell and Preston (Township), Labelle, Quebec, population schedule, subdistrict 2, p. 23, dwelling 195, household 195, Joseph Beauvais family (written as Joseph Beauvais, indexed as Joseph Beavens); digital image, ( : accessed 25 May 2016); citing Sixth Census of Canada, 1921, Library and Archives Canada, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, Series RG31, Statistics Canada Fonds.

2. 1921 census of Canada, Cambridge (Township), Russell, Ontario, population schedule, subdistrict 3, p. 9, dwelling 70, household 70, Joseph Leveille [sic] family; digital image, ( : accessed 25 May 2016); citing Sixth Census of Canada, 1921, Library and Archives Canada, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, Series RG31, Statistics Canada Fonds.

3. Dave Obee, Counting Canada: A Genealogical Guide to the Canadian Census, by Dave Obee (Victoria, BC: Dave Obee, 2012), 163.

Copyright © 2016, Yvonne Demoskoff.