Saturday, December 31, 2016

Sibling Saturday: Juliette and Agathe Beauvais

Juliette and Agathe were my maternal grandmother and great-aunt, respectively. Their parents Joseph and Olivine (Hotte) Beauvais married in August 1897 in Hartwell (now Chénéville), Papineau County, Quebec.

Juliette, born on 30 June 1901 in Chénéville, was the third child and eldest daughter. Agathe, who was born on 3 March 1918 in nearby Montpellier, was the thirteenth child and second youngest daughter. They had twelve brothers and two sisters. Twenty-three years separated the oldest child Ovide from the youngest, fraternal twins Jean-Marie and Jean-Paul.

The Beauvais children were raised mostly in Montpellier, a village in the Laurentian Hills in Papineau County, in southwestern Quebec. Their father Joseph was a farmer and woodcutter. About 1922, the family moved to the quaintly named village of Moonbeam, in northern Ontario. Four years later, mother Olivine died in June 1926 of ‘cardiac asthenia’ (Da Costa’s syndrome).

A few months before her mother’s death, Juliette married Eugène Desgroseilliers on 18 August 1925 in Moonbeam. They were blessed with nine children: Noël (who died at birth), Mariette, Madeleine, Simone, Marianne (who died young), Jacqueline (my Mom), Gaston (he died when he was six years old), Normande, and Jeanne d’arc. After living in northern Ontario and northwestern Quebec for a few years, Eugène and Juliette settled in Blue Water, near Sarnia, Ontario in 1942.

Juliette Beauvais and her sister Agathe Beauvais

Juliette (left) and Agathe (right) pose on a staircase in the above photo. The handwriting on the back of the picture says “à Hearst vers 1930” [in Hearst about 1930]. I doubt that the year is correct, because Agathe would have been only 12 years old. If the location is correct, though, the photo dates more likely to the mid-1930s, because Juliette, her husband and their children lived in Hearst, west of Moonbeam, until about 1936, when they moved to Rouyn, Quebec.

On 25 March 1940, Agathe married Lucien Larouche in Val d’Or, Abitibi District, Quebec. Their marriage registration gives their occupation as bonne (maid) for Agathe and mineur (miner) for Lucien. The couple had eight children: Renée, Gaston, Blandine, Gérard, Laurier, a son (who died soon after birth), Elisabeth, and Christian.

In 1948, Juliette became ill. She had advanced cancer of the pancreas. Within a few months of the diagnosis, she died in hospital in Sarnia on 14 August 1948, four days before her 23rd wedding anniversary.

Agathe survived her sister by eight years. She died suddenly from a blood clot after giving birth to a son on 30 December 1956. My Mom and Dad were visiting her sister Madeleine in Kirkland Lake at the time. Mom recalls that she was sleeping in an upstairs bedroom at Aunt Madeleine’s house when Dad woke her to break the news. Mom cried because Agathe, her godmother, was her favorite aunt.

Copyright © 2016, Yvonne Demoskoff.

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Merry Christmas 2016

Christmas Tree 2016

From my family to yours:

A very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Copyright © 2016, Yvonne Demoskoff.

Friday, December 23, 2016

Friday’s Faces from the Past: Choosing a Christmas Tree

 Maurice and Raymond Belair in 1986

Most years, my family put up our trusty, old artificial Christmas tree. Every now and then, though, my sister, brother and I would convince our parents to trek out to the woods and get a real, honest-to-goodness tree. One year after we moved to British Columbia, we decided it was again time for a real tree. Dad got a permit to cut down a tree on Crown Land not far from town. We went up Highway 3, a few minutes east of Hope, and found the designated area with good trees.

Raymond Belair in 1986

Here is Raymond with the tree, all decorated in our living room, that we eventually took home for our Christmas in December 1986.

Copyright © 2016, Yvonne Demoskoff.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Treasure Chest Thursday: The Serving Bowl and Platter

Georgian China bowl and platter

This serving bowl and platter are the two remaining items in what was once a multi-piece set of china dinnerware that my Mom Jacqueline owned. When I recently talked to her about these dishes, she remembered that it was a service for eight. She didn’t recall when or where she bought the dishes, but said it was after I was born, when we lived in Timmins, Ontario. She also said there were other patterns and colours, but that she liked the yellow roses, so chose that one.

Yvonne Belair birthday July 1961

I checked our photo albums and found one picture where my cousins and I are having cake and ice cream on plates from that set on my birthday in July 1961. (See the small plate in the lower centre of the image.) I knew these beautiful dishes weren’t our everyday set, but I thought Mom reserved them for Easter, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. Now I know she also used them for birthdays.

The serving bowl measures about 22 cm (about 8½”) in diameter and is about 6 cm (about 2½”) deep. The oval platter is 34 x 26 cm (about 13½” x 10”).

Each piece has a 22 kt gold, filigree-patterned border (with some fading in places) at the rim. In the centre are yellow roses, buds and green leaves on a cream background.

The glaze shows some crazing, but both items are free from chips or cracks.

Serving bowl showing stamp

“Georgian China / USA Origin / 22 KT. GOLD” is stamped on the reverse side of the bowl and platter. According to Grey Roots Museum & Archives, Georgian China, a Canadian and US-based company, was established in 1948 and closed in the 1970s.

This Sunday, I will follow tradition and use Mom’s Georgian China at our dinner on Christmas Day.

Copyright © 2016, Yvonne Demoskoff.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Tombstone Tuesday: Murray Grozelle

Murray R Grozelle gravemarker

Murray Grozelle is my maternal fourth cousin two times removed. Our common ancestors are Joseph Prosper Desgroseilliers (1743-1795/1800) and his wife Charlotte Nunegand dite Beaurosier (1754-1835).

The sixth child of Gilbert and Mary (O’Connor) Grozelle, Murray was born on 20 April 1923 in Esther, Alberta. [1] He had five older siblings: Ruth, Carmen, Thelma, Sylvia and Melvin.

Murray died on 30 August 1981 in Cottonwoods Extended Care at Kelowna General Hospital in Kelowna, British Columbia. [2] He was buried on 1 September 1981 in Kelowna Memorial Park Cemetery in Kelowna. [3]

His gravemarker reads:

In Memory Of
Murray R.J. Grozelle
1923 – 1981

Murray’s father and mother predeceased him in 1953 and in 1971, respectively. Murray shares his mother Mary’s plot.

Gilbert Mary and Murray Grozelle gravemarkers
Graves of Gilbert (left), Mary (right), and Murray (lower right)

My husband and I took these photographs during our recent visit to Kelowna, when we attended the Kelowna & District Genealogical Society’s conference in September 2016.


1. “Genealogy – General Search”, digital images, BC Archives ( : accessed 6 July 2016), entry for Murray Randolph Joseph Grozelle (written as Murray Randolph Joseph Grozelle, indexed as Murray R J Grozelle), 30 August 1981, death registration no. 1981-09-014247.

2. “Genealogy – General Search”, digital images, BC Archives ( : accessed 6 July 2016), entry for Murray Randolph Joseph Grozelle, 30 August 1981.

3. “Genealogy – General Search”, digital images, BC Archives ( : accessed 6 July 2016), entry for Murray Randolph Joseph Grozelle, 30 August 1981. Also, Memorial Park Cemetery, City of Kelowna, database ( : accessed 21 September 2016), entry for Murray R.J. Grozelle, death 30 August 1981, plot B 6 62 81.

Copyright © 2016, Yvonne Demoskoff.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Darlene Belair (1935-2016)

Aunt Darlene – Dad’s sister – died early this morning in hospital in Peterborough, Ontario, surrounded by her loved ones. She had been unwell for the last few years with multiple health issues, including COPD, diabetes, and dementia.

Darlene was the youngest surviving child of Fred and Julie (Vanasse) Belair. Born “Marie Lilianne Darleen” on 18 October 1935, Darlene had three older siblings: Maurice (my father), Jeanne (Joan), and Raymond (Ray).

Darlene Belair with her parents and brothers and sister
Darlene (back, right) with her parents and brothers and sister, 1956

Although born in Cochrane in northern Ontario, the Belair family lived in nearby Fauquier, where my grandparents relocated from southern Ontario during the Depression. Later, they moved to Timmins, where Darlene and her brother Ray went to elementary school. Later still, Darlene was educated at Académie Sainte-Marie in Haileybury, Ontario, a boarding and day school for girls run by an order of nuns.

After she moved to Peterborough in the early 1960s, Darlene worked at various jobs, including managing a convenience store and owning and operating a taxi cab in the 1980s. She was also a factory worker at Western Clock Company (Westclox) and at Outboard Marine Corporation.

Darlene Belair with her great-nephew Nicholas
Darlene with her great-nephew Nicholas, 2014

I’m glad that I had a chance to see my Aunt a couple of years ago when my husband and our son visited my home province of Ontario. I was happy to be with Darlene once again, because I always felt that she and Dad were a lot alike – they resembled each other, were hard workers, loved animals, and both had a sense of humor and loved to laugh.

Rest in peace, tante Darlene.

Copyright © 2016, Yvonne Demoskoff.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Church Record Sunday: Angélique Desautels’ 1699 Baptism Record

With Christmas just one week away, I searched my ancestor database for an ancestor who was born on Christmas Day. The closest I got, though, were two ancestors who were baptised on December 25th: Angélique Desautels (1699-1780) and Augustin Rochon (1728-1805).

I wrote about Augustin, my paternal 6x great-grandfather, two years ago; see 52 Ancestors: #52 Augustin Rochon, born on Christmas Eve. Today, I’m featuring Angélique Desautels, ancestor no. 965, my maternal 7x great-grandmother.

Eldest child of Pierre Desautels dit Lapointe and his wife Thérèse-Angélique Thuillier, Angélique was born on 24 December 1699, eleven months after her parents’ marriage in Montreal. [1] She was likely a premature baby or appeared in danger of dying, because she was baptised without delay at home by her paternal grandfather Pierre Desautels. [2]

Newborn Angélique survived and was baptised the next day on Christmas in Notre-Dame church in Montreal. Father R.C. de Breslay, a French-born Sulpician and Notre-Dame’s parish priest, administered the Sacrament. [3] In attendance at the ceremony were Angélique’s father Pierre and her godparents Pierre Desautels (her paternal grandfather) and Jeanne Bernard [sic] (her maternal grandmother). [4] Of those three, only Pierre, grand-père, declared he could sign his name, which he did. (His signature appears just before that of the priest, in the second image below.)

Baptism record of Angelique Desautels

Angélique Desautels' 1699 baptism record (FamilySearch)

My transcription of Angélique’s baptism record, above (original lineation indicated by / ):

Le vinq cinquième Décembre mil six cent / quatre vinq dix neuf les ceremonies du baptême / ont étés supplies a Angelique fille de pierre / Desautels et d’Angelique Thuillier [sa femme] née / et ondoiée a la maison par pierre Desautels grand- / pere [du dit] enfant le vinq quatrieme des mois / et an [le dit] grand pere a servi de parein aux ceremonies / La mareine Jeanne Benard femme de Jacques Thuillier / le pere et la mareine ont declaré ne savoir signer / de ce interpollés suivant l’ordonnance / 
[signed] P desautels / R C De Breslay [prêtre] faisant / les fonctions curiales

My translation of the record (original lineation indicated by / ):

The twenty fifth December one thousand six hundred / ninety six the ceremonies of baptism /  were substituted to Angelique daughter of pierre / Desautels and of Angelique Thuillier [his wife] born / and [provisionally] baptised at home by pierre Desautels grand- / father [of said] child the twenty fourth of the month / and year [the said] grand father has served as godfather at the ceremonies / The godmother Jeanne Benard wife of Jacques Thuillier / the father and the godmother having declared they could not sign [their names] / added to [the text] following the regulation /  
[signed] P desautels / R C De Breslay [priest] performing / the parish functions

In January 1720, Angélique married Simon Sicard, a miller, by whom she had eleven children. Angélique died on 13 September 1780 in Sault-au-Récollet, in present-day Montreal. [5]


1. René Jetté, Dictionnaire généalogique des familles du Québec (Montréal: Les Presses de l’Université de Montréal, 1983), 338.

2. Notre-Dame-de-Montréal (Montreal, Quebec), parish register, 1642-1699, no page no., no entry no. (1699), Angelique Desautels baptism, 25 December 1699; Notre-Dame-de-Montréal parish; digital images, “Quebec, Catholic Parish Registers, 1621-1979”, FamilySearch ( : accessed 9 December 2016).

3. E. A. Chard, “Breslay, René-Charles de”, Dictionary of Canadian Biography, vol. 2, University of Toronto/Université Laval, 2003– ( : accessed 9 December 2016).

4. Notre-Dame-de-Montréal, parish register, 1642-1699, Angelique Desautels baptism, 25 December 1699.

5. “Dictionnaire”, database, Programme de recherche en démographie historique (PRDH) ( : accessed 9 December 2016), Marie Angelique Therese Desautels Lapointe, Individu no. 24106.

Copyright © 2016, Yvonne Demoskoff.

Friday, December 16, 2016

RootsTech 2017 – Here We Come!

In less than eight weeks’ time, my husband and I will attend our very first RootsTech genealogy conference. We registered for the 4-day event and reserved our hotel rooms back in September, and earlier this week, we booked our flights.

The “largest global genealogy conference” takes place February 8-11, 2017 at the Salt Palace Convention Center in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Salt Palace Convention Center
"The Salt Palace" (Wikipedia)

There are so many classes to choose from – over 200 sessions! I looked at the schedule and liked the sound of these topics: “Accessing your French ancestors records online”, “Using autosomal DNA to help extend a lineage”, “The Ethical Genealogist”, and much more! Since I probably won’t be able to make it in person to all of my favorites, I hope some of them will be live streamed so that I can listen to the recorded versions after I get back home.

I’m really looking forward to meeting other attendees and fellow bloggers, checking out the exhibitors and vendors, and being inspired by the keynote speakers, including Canadians Jonathan and Drew Scott, the Property Brothers.

If you’re going to RootsTech as a first-timer like me, I recommend you check out Dear Myrtle’s Wacky Wednesday – So You Want to Come to RootsTech? It's a video that Myrt made earlier this year for RootsTech 2016, but she and her cousin Russ give such great tips, that it's useful to watch for next year's conference. You'll hear Myrt and Russ talk about practical things like where the closest pharmacy and grocery store are to the Salt Palace; restaurant recommendations; and how to plan your time at the conference (“don’t overbook yourself”, says Russ).

Michael and I are arriving a few days in advance in order to do some research at the Family History Library. I’ve started a “to do” list of items for my Ontario and Quebec ancestors that I want to focus on while at the Library.

I’m so excited about this trip! Hope to see you at RootsTech in February 2017!

Copyright © 2016, Yvonne Demoskoff.

Friday’s Faces from the Past: Fred Belair’s 84th Birthday

The month of December was always a special time in my family when I was growing up. It wasn’t just because of Christmas (though that was pretty high on my list of specials as a child), it was also because of my sister and my grandfather’s birthdays and my parents’ wedding anniversary were all on the same day – December 18th!

In December 1973, my Aunt Joan (Dad’s sister) hosted an evening party for my Pépère Fred on his 84th birthday. She invited family, friends and relatives. Since Christmas was a week away, Aunt Joan’s house was decorated for the holidays. There was also plenty of good food and there was lots of great company.

My grandfather Fred poses with his daughter Joan (left) and his daughter-in-law (my Mom) Jackie (right).

Fred Belair with his daughter Joan and his daughter-in-law Jackie

Bonne fête, Pépère Fred!

Copyright © 2016, Yvonne Demoskoff.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Friday, December 09, 2016

Friday’s Faces from the Past: California Christmas 1980

In December 1980, my parents decided that since we now lived on the west coast (in British Columbia), we ought to go to Disneyland for Christmas. We – Dad, Mom, my younger brother and I – really looked forward to our first trip to California, with a side journey to Nevada. We borrowed my uncle’s motorhome and set off on our two-week vacation.

We travelled through Washington, Oregon and California, admired the giant redwoods at Myers Flat, spent a few hours in San Francisco, and then drove to Las Vegas. After a couple of days there, we headed west to California through the Mojave Desert. Once we settled our motorhome at the RV park in Anaheim, we took day trips to Tijuana (in Baja California), Knott’s Berry Farm, and Hollywood. Oh, and we spent time at Disneyland, including Christmas Day!

Maurice and Jacqueline Belair in 1980

At Universal Studios, I photographed Mom and Dad in front of a painted background snow scene.

What a great vacation that was!

Copyright © 2016, Yvonne Demoskoff.

Wednesday, December 07, 2016

Tuesday, December 06, 2016

Tombstone Tuesday: Mary (O’Connor) Grozelle

Mary OConnor Grozelle gravemarker

Mary Grozelle was the wife of Gilbert Grozelle, a distant maternal cousin of mine. Daughter of James and Catherine (McNearney) O’Connor, Mary was born on 17 October 1885 in Victoria Road, Victoria County, Ontario. [1]

Mary and Gilbert married in 1905 and had six children: Ruth, Carmen, Thelma, Sylvia, Melvin and Murray. Mary died on 15 November 1971 in Kelowna, British Columbia. [2]

Her gravemarker reads:

Mary R. Grozelle
In Loving Memory
1885 – 1971

Gilbert died in 1953. He and Mary are interred next to each other in Memorial Park Cemetery, Kelowna, while son Murray shares his mother’s plot. [3]

Gilbert, Mary and Murray Grozelle gravemarkers
Graves of Gilbert (left), Mary (right), and Murray (lower right)

My husband and I took these photographs during our visit to Kelowna, when we attended the Kelowna & District Genealogical Society’s conference in September 2016.


1. “Genealogy – General Search”, digital images, BC Archives ( : accessed 28 September 2016), entry for Thelma Mary Grittner [sic], 19 January 1959, death registration no. 1959-09-001632. Thelma’s mother Mary (O’Connor) Grozelle was the informant.

2. “Genealogy – General Search”, digital images, BC Archives ( : accessed 6 July 2016), entry for Mary Beatrice Grozelle, 15 November 1971, death registration no. 1971-09-016099.

3. Memorial Park Cemetery, City of Kelowna, database ( : accessed 21 September 2016), entry for Mary Beatrice Grozelle [sic], death 18 November 1971, plot B 6 62 81.

Copyright © 2016, Yvonne Demoskoff.

Sunday, December 04, 2016

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun – Who Is Your MRUA?

It’s Saturday (actually, Sunday – I’m a bit late with this post), and Randy over at Genea-Musings has issued his weekly challenge to his readers.

Tonight’s challenge is “Who Is Your MRUA?”.

Randy asks us to determine “Who is your MRUA - your Most Recent Unknown Ancestor?”, then to revisit our research if we haven’t done so recently, then see if there are online or offline resources that might help, and then finally to write about our answers in “a blog post, in a comment to this post, or in a comment on Facebook or Google Plus”.

Here are my answers:

1) Michel Frappier, no. 42 in my Ancestor List, is my Most Recent Unknown Ancestor (MRUA). The only thing I know for sure about him is that he married Louise Neveu, a Metis girl, on 31 January 1836 on Ile des Allumettes in Lower Canada, now the province of Quebec. I don’t know the identity of his parents (they aren’t mentioned in his marriage record) or of any family member (none is listed as witness or as present at the event).

2) I haven’t done any recent research on Michel. Based on past research, though, he might be the son of Michel Frappier and his wife Marie Anne Varry, who was born and baptized on 5 April 1797 in Boucherville, Chambly County, Quebec. Another possibility is that he is the son of Antoine Frappier dit St-Hilaire and his wife Marie Josephe Neveu dite Bagueville and that he was born and baptized on 7 June 1800 in St-Cuthbert, Berthier County, Quebec.

Michel likely died on 1 January 1860 and buried on 3 January 1860 in Chapeau, on Ile des Allumettes, Pontiac County, Quebec. His burial record doesn’t mention the name of his spouse (which would help to identify him), but does say that he was 66 years old (giving him an approximate year of birth of 1794). Additionally, “Olivier Venance”, who is presumably his son-in-law, is recorded as being present at the burial. Michel’s daughter Anne Isabelle (aka Elisabeth) Frappier (ca 1832-1909) married Olivier Vanasse on 20 April 1852 in Chapeau, so it appears that I have the correct burial record. (“Vanasse” is the original (Canadian) surname, while “Venance” is a variant.)

3) Since it’s been a couple of years that I’ve researched Michel, I looked at the Hudson’s Bay Company Archives in case it had updated its information, but I didn’t find Michel or any Frappier among the names in its employee biographical sheets. (I’ve lost my source, but I thought one of Michel’s aliases was “Michel Frappier dit le Voyageur”.)

One online source that might be of help in identifying Michel is another voyageur site: the Centre du Patrimoine of the Société historique de Saint-Boniface, the “largest centre for francophone archives west of Ottawa”. I searched its database for “Frappier” and got 43 results. Eight of those results are for a Michel Frappier, but they can’t all be for my ancestor. I know that Michel was born about 1796 (possibly 1797 or 1800), therefore, the early voyageur contracts of 1798, 1803, 1805, 1808, 1809, and 1811 are for another Michel Frappier, but the later contracts of 1814 and 1821 could be those of my ancestor or possibly those of another Michel Frappier.

4) I’ve written about my MRUA in my blog!

Copyright © 2016, Yvonne Demoskoff.

AncestryDNA discounted this Holiday Season

I received the following email from asking me to share the following news:

“With the holidays just around the corner, we wanted to let you and your readers know that Ancestry will be offering AncestryDNA at a reduced price from December 2 until December 24.

AncestryDNA is the perfect gift for anyone looking to find out more about their ethnic identity or hoping to discover and connect with new relatives.

AncestryDNA kits will be available to Canadians for $109 (regularly $129) at before December 24.

To ensure that your gift is under the tree, please order by December 12 to allow for shipping time.

Happy family tree hunting/holidays!”