Sunday, December 24, 2017

Merry Christmas 2017

Decorated Christmas Tree

From my family to yours: 

A very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! 

Copyright © 2017, Yvonne Demoskoff.

Monday, November 27, 2017

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun – Drive Down Memory Lane: Family Cars

Randy at Genea-Musings issued his weekly Saturday challenge to his readers two days ago. I’m late with my response, but I still want to participate, so here I am.

The challenge was to answer the following question: "Drive down Memory Lane - what were your family cars - from childhood to now, year, model, color, features. Can you remember?”

At first, I didn’t think I’d remember much about our family cars, but after looking at family photos and talking with Mom, my brother, and my husband, I decided to “drive down Memory Lane”.

The earliest memory I have of a family vehicle is of my Dad’s pickup truck. I was young, maybe 7 years old, so it must have been about 1966. I don’t remember any details about it, like the make and model. My only memory is of us four (my parents, my younger sister and I) trying to fit comfortably on the bench seat. I think it was Mom who complained that a truck wasn’t suited to a family.

Yvonne Belair with family members 1967
Summer, ca 1967

The above photo shows my Mom, my grandfather Fred, and my sister and I. Our cousin Pauline is also with us; she’s scrunched in between Marianne and our Pépère. Marianne and I are in dresses and wear light coloured socks and shoes, while Pauline is in a sleeveless dress. The day we took this picture was probably a Sunday, summer of 1966 or 1967. I don’t have a clue where we are, though, or why we stopped to take pictures, but I doubt it was very far from home. (Dad loved home best and didn’t like travelling too far, if he didn’t have to.) We see just a bit of the front of our car in the lower right of the picture, but it appears to be a Ford – maybe a 1965 Ford Galaxie. I don’t remember this car, but Dad liked to change cars every few years, usually getting a lightly used one, so we likely didn’t have this Ford for too long.

Maurice Belair and his father Fred Belair in 1969
Dad and Pépère (1969)

The next car I remember was the one in this photo, taken in the summer of 1969. We had recently moved to Main (now Belanger) Street. I compared our car with ads for the 1970 Ford Maverick released in the spring of 1969 and I think it’s the same vehicle. It was one of the few occasions Dad bought a new car. We still had the Maverick two years later, because Dad and my brother Raymond posed with the car in the summer of 1971.

Maurice Belair and his son Raymond in 1969
Dad and Raymond (1971)

Dad soon changed cars and this time it was a Volkswagen Beetle. (Why get an even smaller vehicle when you have three children, I don’t know.) That car was the first of only two foreign vehicles Dad owned. I can still hear the distinctive sound of that VW when Dad pulled into the driveway all those years ago.

In the winter of 1972, we moved to another part of town, to Maple Street North. I don’t think the Beetle came with us, but I know Dad acquired a Dodge pickup in 1973 or 1974. That’s me holding my little brother on the hood of that truck.

Yvonne Belair with her brother Raymond in 1974
Yvonne and Raymond (1974)

In August 1975, we went to Sturgeon Falls, near North Bay, for the wedding of one of Mom’s Desgroseilliers cousins. We travelled in a roomy car, possibly a 1973 Chrysler Newport. We took photos of ourselves just before leaving for church. Mom told me that she remembers that spacious car, saying how much she thought it was nice.

Jacqueline Belair in 1975
Jacqueline (1975)

The last two vehicles we owned before we moved to British Columbia were Mom’s Duster and Dad’s Sierra. Mom learned to drive when she was a young adult, but didn’t have a licence by the time she was in her 40s. After she got her driver’s licence, Dad bought Mom a Plymouth Duster, 1974-1976 vintage. He was often out of town for work, so that car came in handy. Soon after, Marianne also got her licence and began to drive the car, usually to school.

Plymouth Duster in 1978
Mom's Plymouth Duster (1978)

In the winter of 1977, Marianne drove us to our high school for band practice one evening. Our little brother Raymond sat between us. We entered the school grounds and as we approached a parking space, the car suddenly hit a patch of ice. Marianne stepped on the brakes and I quickly put my arms against Raymond to hold him back. I’m not sure how well I could have held on to my brother (the car didn’t have seatbelts), but the car stopped safely and no one was hurt. That’s the Duster sitting in our driveway in 1978; lots of snow, eh?

While Mom (and Marianne) had a car, Dad had his truck – a GMC Sierra, a 1977 or 1978 model. That pickup was a darn efficient vehicle, because it ran on diesel and had dual fuel tanks. Dad had that truck in late 1978 when he worked in Bracebridge, Ontario. Dad had a serious accident on the job site and was hospitalized for a few weeks. When it was time to come home, he wasn’t strong enough to drive, so Mom drove them back to Timmins in the GMC. She found the eight-hour drive on winter roads nerve-wracking, since she was used to her small car. They stopped overnight in Kirkland Lake at Aunt Madeleine’s house, so that helped her to regain her confidence for the remainder of the drive home. Here’s a photo of Dad with that pickup in Hope, British Columbia.

Maurice Belair with his GMC in 1980
Dad tinkering with his GMC (1980)

After we moved to BC, Dad continued his pattern of getting a used (or occasionally new) car every two or three years. He would drop in at the local dealership, look around, pick a vehicle, arrange the financing, and then come home. It was usually a spur of the moment decision and Mom often didn’t know that he had traded their car. Once home, he’d either walk in the house or call to Mom from the front door, saying something along the lines of “Jackie – come see the nice new car I bought you”. One day I was in the kitchen with Mom when Dad came home with another car. I still remember the eye roll she did and that “he did it again” look on her face. One time Dad brought home a blue-coloured car, because he knew she liked that colour. Mom liked blue for clothes, but not necessarily for cars. I don’t think she ever put Dad in the picture, though.

In the last two decades of his life, Dad bought more vehicles. I remember the 1977 Ford Thunderbird, another Chrysler Newport (1979 model), and a white station wagon (maybe a Plymouth Aries) that didn’t last long, because we couldn’t get used to the red interior. Trucks included a 1981 Dodge Ram Power Wagon (it caught fire and burned about five years later at work up in the bush near Boston Bar) and a Ford XLT (it replaced the Ram). The second and last time Dad bought a foreign vehicle was the silver Hyundai Sonata he got in the mid-1980s. They were very popular at the time and Dad didn’t want to be left behind.

The last car Dad owned was a ’92 Buick Regal in a deep blue colour. Mom and Dad loved that 4-door sedan. They often drove it to Bellingham, Washington (about two hours from Hope) where they liked to play bingo. They usually came back from there with a new batch of stuffed toys they won in those claw grabber machines. Our son Nicholas ended up with quite a collection when he was a toddler.

I’m really glad I decided to go on this memory lane trip. It brought back such wonderful memories of my family, particularly of my late father Maurice, which I’ll always cherish. Thanks for the challenge, Randy!

Copyright © 2017, Yvonne Demoskoff.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Clémentine Desgroseilliers’ Death Registration (1969)

Today – 18 October 2017 – is the 48th anniversary of the death of my maternal great-grandmother, Clémentine (Léveillé) Desgroseilliers.

Clémentine Desgroseilliers about 1948
Clémentine Desgroseilliers (ca 1948)

Clémentine was almost 91 years old when she passed away on 18 October 1969. [1] Although she lived about 4 hours south of Timmins where my family lived, I never met her. My Mom knew her, though, and visited her small farm in Sturgeon Falls, Ontario, when she was a child.

I have vague memories of that October. Mom had just found out she was expecting my brother Raymond. A few days later, my cousin Richard died in a car accident and Mom rushed to Kirkland Lake to be with her older sister Madeleine. Two weeks later, Mom got the news that their grandmother Clémentine died. Mom didn’t go to Sturgeon Falls for the funeral. The last memory I have is of me telling my friends at school (I was in Grade 6) that my great-grandmother had passed away.

Clémentine Desgroseilliers death registration 1969
Clémentine Desgroseilliers’ death registration, 1969 (cropped)


1. Province of Ontario, Statement of Death, no. 1969-045667, Clementine Desgroseilliers (1969); Office of the Registrar General, Thunder Bay.

Copyright © 2017, Yvonne Demoskoff.

Saturday, October 07, 2017

Sympathy Saturday: Joseph Grozell (1909-1917)

Joseph Grozell was just eight years old when he died on 4 July 1917, 100 years ago this year.

He was my maternal fourth cousin twice removed. We descend from Joseph Prosper and Charlotte (Lunegand) Desgroseilliers through their sons Ambroise (b. 1774) and François (b. 1783).

The eldest child of Charles, a laborer, later a tanner, and his wife Katherine, née O’Connor, Joseph had three younger brothers and two younger sisters. (A third sister was born a few years after he died.)

Bexley Township Map
“Map of Bexley Township”, ca 1880 (red arrow indicates Coboconk) [1]

Joseph’s birth registration states that he was born at home on 15 March 1909 in Coboconk, Bexley Township, Victoria County, Ontario, Canada. Other registration details include when and where his parents married, that a physician was present at his birth, and that his father registered his birth a little over a month after the event. [2]

Birth registration of Joseph Grozelle 1909
Joseph’s birth registration (

By 1911, the Grozell family lived in Bracebridge, just north of Coboconk, when it appeared on that year’s federal census. The household consisted of Charles, his wife Kate, their sons Joseph (2 years old) and Lawrence (1 year old), and Charles’ brother and sister-in-law, newlyweds William and Sarah (O’Connor) Grozell. Charles worked as a labourer in a tannery, while William was a labourer at a sawmill. [3]

In the spring of 1916, Charles enlisted with the Canadian Expeditionary Forces (C.E.F.) during World War I. A private in an infantry battalion, Charles back home that December. He never saw overseas service due to rheumatism. [4]

Sick Children's Hospital Toronto
“Sick Children's Hospital, Toronto, Ont.”*
* Photo credit: Canada. Dept. of Interior / Library and Archives Canada / PA-043827.

The Grozell family unit remained intact for only a few more months. In the early summer of 1917, Joseph died suddenly on July 4th at “Hosp Sick Children” (now The Hospital for Sick Children) in Toronto, Ontario. [5]

Joseph Grozell death registration 1917
Joseph's death registration (

The attending physician Dr. Strachan wrote “Pul: Embolus” as the cause of death. According to MedlinePlus, a pulmonary embolus is “a blockage of an artery in the lungs. The most common cause of the blockage is a blood clot”. [6] Childhood embolism or pediatric thrombosis (when a blood clot forms inside a blood vessel) is a rare condition. [7]

Unfortunately, the death registration does not provide enough information to give us a better understanding of the circumstances of Joseph’s death. For example, there are no sections on the DR form as to whether an autopsy was performed or if surgery preceded death. Did Joseph have an underlying condition, illness or disorder (genetic or acquired) that might have contributed to his death?

I noticed that a certain “A W Miles” was the informant on the death registration. Curious about his identity, I did a Google search for Miles’ address, “396 College Street”. One of the results featured an image of an old three-storied building (dated circa 1913) with a caption that read: “Front elevation. Arthur W. Miles’ new undertaking parlors, Toronto”. [8] I now knew that the informant was the undertaker.

Gravemarker of Joseph Grozell died 1917
Joseph's gravemarker [9]

Joseph was laid to rest in St. Joseph’s Roman Catholic cemetery in Bracebridge. [10]

I searched online for a possible obituary for young Joseph, but didn’t find one. However, I came across a small article in The Muskoka Herald, a Bracebridge newspaper. [11]

The Muskoka Herald July 5 1917
“The Muskoka Herald” (July 5, 1917)

Did this devastating fire have anything to do with Joseph’s death? The report doesn’t mention how the fire affected the Grozell family and so far, I haven’t found other articles about it.


1. “Search: Maps”, database and digital images, In Search of Your Canadian Past: The Canadian County Atlas Digital Project ( : accessed 14 May 2017), “Township of Bexley”.

2. “Ontario, Canada Births, 1869-1913”, digital images, ( : accessed 8 September 2016), entry for Joseph Alphonse Grozell (written as Joseph Alphons[e] Grozell, indexed as Joseph Alphons Grozell), 15 March 1909; citing Archives of Ontario, Registrations of Births and Stillbirths – 1869-1913; Toronto, Ontario, Canada: Archives of Ontario; microfilm series MS929, reel 23.

3. 1911 census of Canada, Muskoka, Muskoka, Ontario, population schedule, no enumeration district (ED), subdistrict 12, pages 12-13, dwelling 119, family 119, Charles Grozell household; digital image, ( : accessed 9 May 2017); citing Census of Canada, 1911; Ottawa, Ontario, Canada: Library and Archives Canada, 2007; Series RG31-C-1; Statistics Canada Fonds; Microfilm reels T-20326 to T-20460.

4. “Soldiers of the First World War: 1914-1918”, digital images, Library and Archives Canada ( : accessed 13 January 2016), Charles Alphonso Grozell, regimental no. 763431, digitized service file.

5. “Ontario, Canada, Deaths, 1869-1938, 1943, and Deaths Overseas, 1939-1947”, digital images, ( : accessed 9 September 2016), entry for Joseph Grozell, 4 July 1917; citing Archives of Ontario, Registrations of Deaths, 1869-1938; Toronto, Ontario, Canada: Archives of Ontario; microfilm series MS935, reel 228.

6. MedlinePlus, database ( : accessed 10 May 2017), “Pulmonary embolus”.

7. Thrombosis Canada / Thrombose Canada, database ( : accessed 12 May 2017), “Pediatric Thrombosis”. For more information about pulmonary embolism in children, see AJR – American Journal of Roentgenology (June 2015, Volume 204, Number 6).

8., digital images ( : accessed 10 May 2017), “Then and Now: 396 College”.

9. Northern Ontario Gravemarker Gallery, digital images ( : accessed 12 May 2017), photograph, gravestone for Joe Grozell, Bracebridge, Ontario. Used with permission.

10. “Ontario, Canada, Deaths, 1869-1938, 1943, and Deaths Overseas, 1939-1947”, digital images,, entry for Joseph Grozell, 4 July 1917.

11. “Dwelling Burned”, The Muskoka Herald (Bracebridge, Ontario, Canada), 5 July 1917, p. 4; digital images, Canadian Community Digital Archives ( : accessed 10 May 2017).

Copyright © 2017, Yvonne Demoskoff.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun -- How Did Your Parents Meet?

It’s Saturday (well, now it’s Sunday – I’m a day late) and Randy at Genea-Musings has issued his weekly challenge to his readers.

Tonight’s challenge is to answer the following question: "How Did Your Parents Meet?”

My parents Maurice Belair and Jacqueline Desgroseilliers and their families lived in Blue Water, a village that no longer exists next to Sarnia, Ontario.

They first met in about 1951. Mom was about 17 years old and Dad was about 23.

Dad was unemployed, but Mom worked at Scripnick Deluxe Confectionery in Blue Water. He used to drop in there, but didn’t notice Mom. One day, though, he did and after that, he regularly visited the store. Dad would chat with Mom while she worked at the lunch counter.

Eventually he asked her out on a date. I don’t know how their courtship progressed, but I remember Mom telling me that Dad got along well with her family, especially with her father, Eugène.

After dating for a few years, Mom gave Dad an ultimatum. They married soon after on December 18, 1954 in a civil ceremony in Sarnia. They didn’t have much money, so didn’t really have a honeymoon. Instead, they drove to northeastern Ontario to tell her father (he lived with his elder daughter Madeleine in Kirkland Lake) and his parents (Dad’s family lived in Timmins).

Maurice Belair and Jacqueline Desgroseilliers wedding photo

Mom and Dad celebrated their 41st wedding anniversary in 1995. Dad passed away five months later, but Mom is still with us.

Copyright © 2017, Yvonne Demoskoff.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Family Health Concerns

I’m taking a break from blogging for the next few weeks.

My mother Jacqueline needed emergency surgery yesterday for a small-bowel obstruction.

Mom was taken to a hospital 1½ hours from home, because it’s a major facility that can provide the care she needs due to her complex health issues.

The surgery went well and Mom is now in recovery.

You never know when the "good old summertime" will take an unexpected turn.

Copyright © 2017, Yvonne Demoskoff.

Saturday, July 01, 2017

Happy Canada Day!

Happy Birthday, Canada!

Flag of Canada banner

It’s Canada’s 150th birthday!

Have a safe and happy July 1st holiday, everyone!

Joyeuse fête du Canada, tout le monde!

Copyright © 2017, Yvonne Demoskoff.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Nikifor Kazakoff or Nick Kazakoff – Who’s Who?

Nikifor Kazakoff versus Nick Kazakoff text box

While researching my husband’s paternal relatives recently, I found information that said his great-great-uncle Mikit Denis Tomelin (ca 1878-1944) married Anna Perepolkin after his first wife Anastasia (Nastia) Chiveldaeff (aka Mabel Cheveldave) passed away. The info added that Anna was the widow of Nikifor Kazakoff, by whom she had two children, John and Mary.

I didn’t know that Mikit married twice, so I went in search of Anna's first husband Nikifor. I found conflicting information about him in trees. I also found a Find A Grave memorial that merged him with a Nick Kazakoff. The confusion is understandable. Both men were born in Russia, both had fathers named Mike, and both were married to an Anna/Annie.

Differences between the men helped to untangle them. For example, Nikifor was known mostly as Nikifor, while Nick was known as Nikolai, Nicholas or Nick. Nikifor was a laborer and later a farmer, while Nick was a farmer and later a mechanic, who enlisted in World War I. Nikifor had one wife and two children, while Nick had two wives and six children. Nikifor’s wife was Doukhobor, while Nick’s second wife was Roman Catholic. Nikifor’s mother was living, but Nick’s mother was deceased.

After I made tables and charts to distinguish the men and their families, I determined that Mikit’s second wife Anna was the widow of Nikifor (“Nikifor Kazakoff, Farmer” in this document) and not the widow of Nick (“Nick Kazakoff, WWI Veteran” in this document). Here is a summary of my findings.

Nikifor Kazakoff, Farmer

Nikifor was born in 1890 or 1891 in Russia. Alternatively, he was born on 9 February 1888. [1] Nikifor left Russia with his younger brother Dmitry, their parents Mikhail and Maria, his uncles Petro, Ivan and Grigory, his grandparents Ivan and Ekaterina, and his great-grandmother Maria. They and nearly 2,000 other persecuted Doukhobors boarded the S/S Lake Superior for Canada in January 1899. [2]

The Kazakoff family lived communally in Saskatchewan with other Doukhobors for a few years. About 1911, Mikhail and Maria moved to British Columbia. [3] I suspect that Nikifor also went to B.C., because I did not locate him in Saskatchewan on the 1916 census. Mikhail and Maria returned to Saskatchewan in 1919 and settled near Veregin. Nikifor was definitely back in that province by 1921, because he appears on that year’s census.

About 1914, Nikifor married Annie (Anna) Perepolkin, daughter of Alex and Dora (Daykoff) Perepolkin. The couple had two children, John and Mary. [4]

Nikifor Kazakoff Family Tree

Nikifor is presumably the same person as the “Nikifor M. Kazakoff” who died on 28 March 1923 and is buried in Blahodarovka Cemetery, near Veregin, Saskatchewan. [5] After his death, Annie moved to British Columbia and married Mikit Tomelin. She died on 28 February 1954 in Pass Creek, BC. [6] Annie’s daughter Mary married Mikit’s son Alex in 1932. [7]


1. “Blahodarovka Cemetery – Veregin District, Saskatchewan”, database, Doukhobor Genealogy Website ( : 22 June 2017), entry for Nikifor M. Kazakoff (1888-1923).

2. Steve Lapshinoff and Jonathan Kalmakoff, Doukhobor Ship Passenger Lists 1898-1928, Crescent Valley, BC: self-published, 2001), 5.

3. St. Philips / Pelly History Book Committee, History Coming Alive: R.M. of St. Philips, Pelly and District, 2 vols. (Pelly, Saskatchewan: 1958, I: 511); digital images, Our Roots ( : accessed 19 June 2017).

4. History Coming Alive, I: 511. 5. “Blahodarovka Cemetery”, database entry for Nikifor M. Kazakoff (1888-1923). History Coming Alive, I: 511 states that “Mikifor” died in 1924.

6. “Genealogy – General Search”, digital images, BC Archives ( : accessed 21 June 2017), entry for Anna Tamelin, 28 February 1954, death registration no. 1954-09-004500.

7. History Coming Alive, I: 511 and “Genealogy – General Search”, digital images, BC Archives ( : accessed 26 June 2017), entry for Alex Tamelin – Mary Kazakoff, 29 December 1932, marriage registration no. 1932-09-900680.

Nikifor Kazakoff Farmer

Table 1 Notes:

1. Four Kazakoff households reported only heads of families on the 1906 census. These were Nick’s grandfather (Mikhail), his uncles (Petro, Ivan, and Grigory), and his father (Mikhail).

2. I didn’t find Nick‘s household in Saskatchewan on the 1916 census. He was possibly living in British Columbia at this time, because his son John was born there in Winlaw on Feb. 18, 1915 (according to his social security application) and his daughter Mary was born there in the province on Oct. 18, 1917 (according to her Find A Grave memorial).

3. The Nikifor M. Kazakoff buried in Blahodarovka Doukhobor Cemetery is possibly the same person as the above Nikifor. I searched but did not find a 1923 probate file for him. (“Saskatchewan Probate Estate Files, 1887-1931", digital images, ( : accessed 21 June 2017), Yorkton District, 1923, probate files). I also searched 1924, but did not file a probate file for him.

Nick Kazakoff, WWI Veteran

Nikolai (Nicholas, Nick) was born between 1885 and 1891 in Russia. His parents were Mikhail (Mike) Kazakoff and an unknown mother, possibly Dora Tarasoff. [1]

I didn’t find Nick on passenger lists for the S/S Lake Huron that departed in December 1898 for Canada or for the S/S Lake Superior that left in January 1899. [2]

The first time Nick appears in a family unit is on the 1905 Doukhobor village census. The household consists of father Michaylo, son Michaylo (with his wife and daughter), sons Nicholai and Ivan, and daughter Fedosia (Fanny). [3]

Nick appears to have married twice: first to possibly Nastanka (her name is difficult to decipher on the 1911 census image), by whom he had a daughter, and second to Anna, by whom he had two sons (Mike and Nick).

Although Nick was Doukhobor, Anna was Roman Catholic. [4] Daughter of Mike Bazelowski (var. Basalowski, Basiloski) and Evdokia Chopek, Anna was born on 15 August 1895. [5] Her birthplace was either Austria, according to the 1916 and 1921 censuses, or more likely Poland, according to her son Walter’s death registration.

Nick Kazakoff Family Tree

On 28 December 1915, Nick enlisted with the Canadian Expeditionary Forces (CEF) during World War I. [6] He was the only Doukhobor surnamed Kazakoff (or variation) to do so. [7]

Nick and Anna’s last child, Dora, was born about 1924. Nick died presumably in the 1920s, possibly in 1929. [8] Anna remained a widow and died on 13 December 1982 in Trail, British Columbia. [9]


1. Gwen Gamberutti, “Re: Tarasoff Line”, Doukhobor – Family History & Genealogy Message Board, 5 July 2002 ( : accessed 21 June 2017).

2. Steve Lapshinoff and Jonathan Kalmakoff, Doukhobor Ship Passenger Lists 1898-1928, Crescent Valley, BC: self-published, 2001). A search of the Lake Huron and Lake Superior’s manifests for Nikolai, his father, or his siblings proved negative.

3. Steve Lapshinoff, List of Doukhobors Living In Saskatchewan In 1905, Crescent Valley, B.C.: self-published, 1996, 146.

4. “1916 Canada Census of Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Alberta”, digital images, ( : accessed 22 June 2017), population schedule, enumeration district (ED) 10, sub-district 10, p. 14, dwelling 145, family 152, entry for Annie Kazikoff [sic], line 45, p. 14, Kamsack, Mackenzie, Saskatchewan; citing Canada, "Census returns for 1916 Census of Prairie Provinces"; Statistics of Canada Fonds, Record Group 31-C-1, LAC microfilm T-21925 to T-21956 [T-21938]; Library and Archives Canada, Ottawa. Also, “1921 Census of Canada”, digital images, ( : accessed 22 June 2017), population schedule, district 219, enumeration sub-district 61, dwelling 403, family 409, entry for Annie Kazakoff (written as Annie Kazakoff, indexed as Annie Razalaff), line 22, p. 38, Kamsack, Mackenzie, Saskatchewan; citing Library and Archives Canada, Sixth Census of Canada, 1921; Ottawa, Ontario, Canada: Library and Archives Canada, 2013; Series RG31, Statistics Canada Fonds.

5. “Genealogy – General Search”, digital images, BC Archives ( : accessed 21 June 2017), entry for Annie Kazakoff, 28 February 1954, death registration no. 1982-09-020807.

6. “Soldiers of the First World War, 1914-1918”, digital images, ( : accessed 22 June 2017), Nick Kazakoff, regimental number 888039; citing "Soldiers of the First World War (1914-1918)"; Record Group 150, Accession 1992-93/166, Box 4930 – 35; Library and Archives Canada, Ottawa.

7. “Doukhobors in the WWI Canadian Expeditionary Forces, 1914-1918”, database, Doukhobor Genealogy Website ( : accessed 21 June 2017), entry for Nick Kazakoff, regiment no. 888039. An Arhip Kazakoff (var. Kozokow), son of Petro Kazakoff, enlisted in the CEF in Montreal, Quebec in August 1915, but he was Russian Orthodox. (“Soldiers of the First World War: 1914-1918”, digital images, Library and Archives Canada ( : accessed 27 June 2017), Arhip Kazakoff, regimental no. 50370, digitized service file).

8. Find A Grave, database ( : accessed 21 June 2017), record for Nick Kazakoff (?-1929), Find A Grave Memorial no. 74373983, Riverview Cemetery, Kamsack, Saskatchewan, Canada, no photograph; citing burial on 25 Aug 1929; Sec: Old RV; Block:4; Plot:1; Lot: NE.

9. “Genealogy – General Search”, BC Archives, entry for Annie Kazakoff, 28 February 1954.

Nick Kazakoff WWI Veteran

Table 2 Notes:

1. Early Doukhobor ship passenger lists are incomplete and/or the originals are missing. For example, only 899 names of 1,997 passengers were recorded on the manifest of the S/S Lake Superior that departed for Canada in January 1899.

2. Portions of the 1901 census are incomplete, because 2,811 Doukhobors in 23 villages (located in the present-day province of Saskatchewan) refused to be enumerated.

3. The 1905 Doukhobor village census has only one Nicholas in which a Nick is the son of a father Mike who does not have a wife, which is how Nick described his family situation in his World War I service file.

4. Nick is possibly the same person as “Nick Kazakoff” who is buried in Riverview Cemetery, but I do not know if he is the same one who served in WWI. I searched but did not find a 1929 probate file for him. (“Saskatchewan Probate Estate Files, 1887-1931", digital images, ( : accessed 21 June 2017), Yorkton District, 1929, probate files) I also didn’t find a WWI veterans’ death card for him. (“Veterans Death Cards: First World War (Archived)”, digital images, Library and Archives Canada ( : accessed 20 June 2017).)

Copyright © 2017, Yvonne Demoskoff.

Tuesday, June 06, 2017

Maintaining a Find A Grave Memorial Page

After I fulfilled two requests for gravemarker photos at Find A Grave today, I wondered if my late father had a memorial and photo. I was surprised to find that he did. I decided to email the original contributor to see if Dad’s memorial could be transferred to me. Within minutes, I got a positive reply. I now maintain Find A Grave Memorial #170621093.

I made sure the info on his page was correct and then added a transcription of his gravemarker. 

Next, I decided to sponsor Dad’s memorial page by paying the small fee ($5 U.S.) to have ads permanently removed from his page. Here’s a screenshot of it: 

By maintaining Dad’s Find A Grave page, I feel like I’m honoring his memory. 

Copyright © 2017, Yvonne Demoskoff.

Saturday, June 03, 2017

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun -- Which Ancestor Moved the Furthest?

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

Tonight’s challenge is to answer the following question: "Which ancestor moved the farthest from their home?"

My ancestors

Most of my ancestors who immigrated to New France in the 1600s and 1700s were from France, but a few came from England, Jersey, Spain, Switzerland, and Italy. A handful of others were brought to Canada as captives from New England.

I think the ancestor who moved the farthest from his home was Jean-Bernardin Lesage dit Le Piedmontois, no. 1862 in my ancestor list.

Jean-Bernardin, my maternal ancestor, hails from Racconigi, Piedmont, Italy. Born about 1657, he married Marie-Barbe Sylvestre on 8 January 1686 in Neuville, east of present-day Quebec City. Jean-Bernardin died on 13 April 1748 and was buried two days later in L’Assomption, a little to the northeast of Montreal.

My husband’s ancestors

My husband is a second-generation Canadian. His grandparents and some of his great-grandparents came to Canada seeking religious freedom from imperial Russia in 1899. They left their homes in Tiflis (now Tbilisi, Georgia), travelled to the port of Batum on the Black Sea, and then sailed for Canada.

My ancestor travelled a distance of 5,847 km (3,633 miles), while my husband’s ancestor travelled 8,320 km (5,169 miles). What journeys those must have been!

Copyright © 2017, Yvonne Demoskoff.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Church Record Sunday: Marie-Antoinette Chouart and Her Godchildren

Marie-Antoinette Chouart (1661-1731) was the daughter of the famous explorer and coureur de bois Médard Chouart, sieur des Groseilliers. She acted as godmother on several occasions to local French and Aboriginal children.

Stained glass window baptism

The first time was on 1 May 1674 in Trois-Rivières, when Marie-Antoinette was only 12 years old. (She turned 13 three weeks later.) She was godmother nine other times, from 1674 to 1717, when she was 56 years old.

Marie-Antoinette had five godsons and five goddaughters.

All were French, except Louis Ouramanampek, an Aboriginal.

Four of five of Marie-Antoinette’s goddaughters were named after her.

All the godchildren were infants at their baptism. The two exceptions are Marie Antoinette Barabbé in 1674, whose baptism record doesn’t mention her age, although she was likely a newborn or only a few days old. The second exception is Louis Ourmanampek, who was an adult when he received the Sacrament of Baptism in 1674.

Here is the list of Marie-Antoinette’s godchildren:

Godchildren of Marie-Antoinette Chouart

Marie-Antoinette could write her name. She signed seven of the ten baptism records. In the example below from 1697, we can see her beautiful, easy-to-read, balanced signature (indicated by the red arrow): “Marie antoinette choüard”.

Baptism record of Marie Catherine Jolive 1697
Baptism record of Marie Catherine Jolive [11]


Image credit: CCO Public Domain, Pixabay.

1. “Actes”, database, Programme de recherche en démographie historique (PRDH), ( : accessed 14 August 2009), Adrien Senegal, Baptême no. 87758.

2. “Actes”, database, Programme de recherche en démographie historique (PRDH), ( : accessed 14 August 2009), Marie Antoinette Barabbe, Baptême no. 87762.

3. “Actes”, database, Programme de recherche en démographie historique (PRDH), ( : accessed 14 August 2009), Louis Ouramanampek, Baptême no. 87764.

4. “Actes”, database, Programme de recherche en démographie historique (PRDH), ( : accessed 14 August 2009), Marie Antoinette Verger, Baptême no. 19435.

5. “Actes”, database, Programme de recherche en démographie historique (PRDH), ( : accessed 14 August 2009), Marie Antoinette Lorry, Baptême no. 19451.

6. “Actes”, database, Programme de recherche en démographie historique (PRDH), ( : accessed 14 August 2009), Jean Baptiste Delpesche Belair, Baptême no. 19508.

7. “Actes”, database, Programme de recherche en démographie historique (PRDH), ( : accessed 14 August 2009), Marie Antoinette Desoye, Baptême no. 19512.

8. “Actes”, database, Programme de recherche en démographie historique (PRDH), ( : accessed 14 August 2009), Marie Catherine Jolive, Baptême no. 41812.

9. “Actes”, database, Programme de recherche en démographie historique (PRDH), ( : accessed 14 August 2009), Pierre Bouchard, Baptême no. 43009.

10. “Actes”, database, Programme de recherche en démographie historique (PRDH), ( : accessed 14 August 2009), Charles Reaume, Baptême no. 13993.

11. Notre-Dame (Montréal, Quebec), parish register, 1695-1699, no page no., no entry no. (1697), Marie Jolive baptism, 25 September 1697; Notre-Dame parish; digital image, “Le LAFRANCE”, Généalogie Québec ( : accessed 17 May 2017).

Copyright © 2017, Yvonne Demoskoff.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Friday’s Faces from the Past: Maurice and Raymond

Maurice and Raymond Belair 1971

Here’s a wonderful photo of my late father Maurice with my brother Raymond.

Raymond looks about 14 months old, so it’s probably July or August 1971.

I think I took the picture (or maybe Mom did).

I have a few vague memories of that day: the weather was good and we obviously decided to take snapshots of ourselves. (There are other similar photos in the series.) Could it have been Dad’s birthday, August 2nd?

He and Raymond posed in the driveway of our rented duplex on the corner of Main (now Belanger Avenue) and Wilcox in Timmins, Ontario.

Whatever the occasion was, I love this picture. Dad is happy, Raymond is so cute, and it’s one of the few examples of them together in a photograph.

Copyright © 2017, Yvonne Demoskoff.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Treasure Chest Thursday: The Religious Certificate

My late father Maurice received this document, a Certificat d’Instruction Religieuse (Certificate of Religious Instruction) 78 years ago today, on 18 May 1939.

Religious Instruction Certificate of Maurice Belair

As a Roman Catholic, Dad learned his Catechism at school. (His first teacher was his mother, Julie, who taught him his prayers as a young child.) When it was time for his Profession of Faith, he and the other prepared students went to their parish church, Ste-Agnès (in Fauquier, Ontario), where family, friends and possibly members of the congregation gathered. After Father Arthur Doyon asked the children questions about their faith, they recited the Nicene Creed, a prayer symbolizing our Christian Catholic faith.

The Profession de Foi (Profession of Faith) is “a public act by which personal belief is outwardly manifested in the form of a recital of a creed giving witness to the community of the authentic belief by the person in the teachings of the Church.” [1]

In the early 1970s, the typical age for this Catholic rite of passage was 13-14 years old. I was 13½ when I made my profession of faith in June 1972, but Dad was only 11½ years old when he made his.

The certificate measures approximately 22 cm x 30 cm (9” x 12”). Years of folding has left it wrinkled. Cellophane tape residue remains on a tear (8 cm/3”) in the top right-hand corner. The writing is readable, but faded. I think the certificate was kept rolled up in Dad’s dresser when I was growing up, and at some point, it was put in a frame. Mom gave it to me after he passed away.

In the lower left-hand corner are fields for entering dates of one’s Baptism, First Communion, Confirmation, and Scapular. Only the last one, Scapular, is filed out. [2] I know Dad was baptised (1927) and confirmed (1935), but I don’t know when he did his First Communion. Dad and the teacher who prepared the Certificat probably didn’t know the dates, so left those spaces blank.

I have transcribed the text; bold italic passages indicate hand-written portions:

Paroisse de Ste Agnès
Fauquier, Ont.

d’Instruction Religieuse

Nous, soussigné, certifions que Maurice Bélaire [sic]
a subi avec Satisfaction l’examen final sur le catéchisme,
et a fait sa profession de foi et ses promesses de vie chrétienne.
En foi de quoi, nous lui avons décerné ce certificat.
Ce dix-huitième jour du mois de mai de l’an
mil neuf cent trente-neuf.

Baptême le … 19 … 
Première communion le … 19 … 
Confirmation le … 19… 
Scapulaire le 18 mai 1939

(Signed) Arthur Doyon ptre curé

My translation:

Parish of St Agnes
Fauquier, Ont.

of Religious Instruction

We, undersigned, certify that Maurice Bélaire [sic]
has undergone with Satisfaction the final Catechism exam
and has made his profession of faith and of promises of Christian life.
In witness whereof, we have awarded this certificate.
This eighteenth day of the month of May of the year
one thousand thirty-nine.

Baptism on … 19 … 
First Communion on … 19 … 
Confirmation on … 19 … 
Scapular on 18 May 1939

(Signed) Arthur Doyon [parish priest]


1. Reverend Peter M. J. Stravinskas, editor, Our Sunday Visitor’s Catholic Encyclopedia (Huntingdon, Indiana: Our Sunday Visitor Publishing Division, Our Sunday Visitor, Inc., 1991), 787, “Profession of Faith”.

2. A scapular consists of “two small pieces of cloth, about two and a half by two inches, connected by two long cords and worn over the head and resting on the shoulders”. Stravinskas, Our Sunday Visitor’s Catholic Encyclopedia, 868, “Scapular”. The Scapular that Dad received would have been a devotional one for lay people, not the kind worn by those in religious orders.

Copyright © 2017, Yvonne Demoskoff.