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.