Sunday, February 05, 2017

Off to RootsTech 2017!


By the time you read this article, I will either be in the air flying to Salt Lake City or already be there. My husband and I are joining thousands of genealogists and other enthusiasts at RootsTech 2017. We are very excited about this trip! It’s going to be three times the fun for us: our first time at RT, our first time in SLC, and our first time at the Family History Library – woohoo!

A trip to the Family History Library has been on my genealogical bucket list for years. I'm finally going to be able to cross item no. 3 off that list!

Michael and I arrive a few days early (today) so that we can spend Monday through part of Wednesday at FHL. On Wednesday afternoon, we walk over to the nearby Salt Palace to attend a couple of RT sessions, including one by Angela McGhie on “Using identity characteristics to locate ancestors”. The rest of the sessions, including the general ones where keynote speakers like LeVar Burton, Drew and Jonathan Scott, CeCe Moore, and Buddy Valastro, take place Thursday through Saturday.

In between the sessions on DNA, French records, photos, evidence, and more, there will also be time to let our hair down. There’s the informal Commonwealth gathering at a local restaurant, an evening performance of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, a RootsTech-sponsored 80s-themed party, and two after-parties!
amazed cat

As a first-timer to RootsTech, I’m sure that I’ll be amazed, astounded, and overwhelmed (too many superlatives?!) with the event. I might not post articles to my blog during the coming week, but I’ll try to submit photos. However, there are plenty of official bloggers (Ambassadors) that will cover in real time the conference, so be sure to keep a lookout for their posts.

Here’s hoping for a great week and for meeting up with lots of other genealogists!

Copyright © 2017, Yvonne Demoskoff.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Jersey Parish Registers Collections Come to Ancestry

I received an emal from Ancestry asking me to share the following message with my readers.

“Fishing for new family history content? Ancestry has unveiled four new collections of Jersey Parish Registers. Jersey, the largest Channel Island and a territory of the United Kingdom, has extensive ties with Eastern Canada and it is widely believed that fishing merchants from this region were among the first to settle Canada’s eastern coast. The new collections offer 986,000 records and over 68,000 images, prominently featuring birth and burial records from as far back as 1541.

Collections include:
Jersey, Church of England Baptisms, Marriages and Burials, 1541-1812 
Jersey, Church of England Births and Baptisms, 1813-1915 
Jersey, Church of England Marriages, 1754-1940 
Jersey, Church of England Deaths and Burials, 1813-1940

The Canadian Connection:
The Jersey parish records contain many of the same surnames that remain prominent in modern day Newfoundland, including Renouf, St. Croix and Cabot. The new collections provide additional content for Canadians, particularly Newfoundlanders, looking for their historic ties to the Channel Islands and offer a rich portrait of an island community that helped influence a way of life to the “New World.””

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.