Saturday, December 31, 2011

Funeral Card Friday & Great Grandpa Ouellette

      This is the funeral Card for Great Grandpa Ouellette, that I have posted about before. Although I didn't get to go to the funeral, I was given the card by my mother. It is in french (obviously). It also list his predeceased wife (my Great Grandmother) Aldea (nee Gervais). He died at the age of 86 having been born on Dec. 25, 1900.  I am glad I knew him, and wish I could have known him better. Really wish I would have had the insight to ask about and record the family history he could have told me about.  Unfortunately I was still young and not into genealogical research yet.  I will always fondly think of him and 'Remember When....'

Friday, December 30, 2011

Treasure Chest Thursday - A Pocket Survey Devise of Grandpa Lafleur

    As the families genealogist and keeper of the family history, my mother handed down to me a few things from my grand parents.  I have family photo's that I have scanned and some even repaired (and redistributed to extended family). I also have documents, such as birth certificates and death certificates. I also have a pocket survey devise known as a Brunton's Pocket Transit. It was made by Wm. Ainsworth & Son's of Denver, Colorado. He was a painter by trade and also did other work in construction. Hence the Pocket Transit. I researched it a little on line and it is an interesting little devise. Wish I had my grand father here to explain how it worked. It does bring back thought's of him and the past family functions  though. I always Remember When...

Monday, December 26, 2011

Military Monday - GGrandpa Dennie's Recruitment Paper and Where it Lead Me *Updated Dec 12, 2016*

    This Discharge Certificate was in my grandmother's papers when she died. I found them with the family photo's she had. It is of her father William George Dennie. From this form however I was able to in later years go on line and find that his Particulars of Recruit, draft paper was available on the National Archives web site along with this page. Which I down loaded to round out my files more. As I have said earlier, family history tells us that he lied about his age to join and I have found him in the 1901 Canadian Census only months old at the time, which would confirm that the June 1899 birthday listed on this form is false.     *As I have already noted on these previous blogs I have since found proof that he was born in 1899 and that his mother was Maria Chappell and not Sarah Walker as I previously believed. Updated Dec 12, 2016 by the author of the blog - John Goodwin*

    While on line at the Archives I learned that you could also order the complete military record for the Soldiers listed. So within the year I had gotten a credit card and ordered the package. It arrived and in a large manila envelope and I was eager to open it. Inside was a number of documents; all about my Great Grandfather and his service. It contains records of service, pay and health. It is all very interesting, I even found info. on the ship he returned to Canada on and looked it up on line, finding a picture of it. Below is the copy of the record. I would encourage anyone who had a relative that served to look into obtaining a copy of the record for themselves.

The proceedings of discharge paper. It list the reason for discharge as "demobilization", the war was over. Confirmation stamped Nov. 5, 1919. at the top right it reads that he embarked at South Hampton on Nov. 8, 1919 aboard the R.M.S. Royal George. 

The picture reads at the bottom 'Conard "R.M.S. Royal George" at Avonmouth, Bristol.'

Form R122 above.

Casualty Form list him as Rank - 'Dapper' and qualified as a driver & Electrical Engineer.

Back portion of the Casualty Form above.

The Medical history Form of Great Grandpa Dennie. A physical description to round out the black & white photo's I have.

Dental form for Demobilization.

The Dental History Sheet.

    This is more then half the paperwork from the file. I will upload the rest of the file on another Military Monday coming soon. For now though this should be enough to help start the juices flowing and to 'Remember When...'

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Remember When ... Christmas Morning...

    Well it is a 'Wonderful Christmas Morning' and I am writing this morning's blog from the sound booth of my Church (Banwell Community Church in Windsor, Ontario). I am here bright and early as I am every Sunday morning preparing the sanctuary and booth for the morning service. Friends of my Daughter and son have arrived to begin music practice for service. He on drums and she is fiddling with the piano, though her instrument of choice is her Violin. Kelsey is a gifted artist with the Violin and I love to hear her play.
    Anyway it is Christmas and I await the arrival of my 2 youngest children for the service. They spent the night at their grandparents in Essex with their mother. They are coming in for service and then I will drive them back out to spend the day with her. I will have them tomorrow for Boxing Day, as we go to my mother's place to celebrate our Christmas together, and my mother's birthday.
     I 'Remember When' I was a kid and morning's just always seemed a little bit magical. Waking up to a new day and the fresh wonders of it all. Weekends were even more so as you got up to watch cartoons on Saturday morning and old movie's on Sundays. They use to cycle through the old 'Abbot & Costello, Dagwood & Blondie, Shirely Temple, and other old cereal shows. But the most magical was Christmas morning. Waking up to presents under the tree and waiting, not knowing if it was to early to wake mom and dad or not. Then the excitement of them coming out and the mad dash to open gifts. Only to repeat the scene many times over the rest of the day or two at grandparents and other relatives homes. Of course the feast of food and many other goodies cannot be forgotten. Now the shoe is on the other foot more or less, and I enjoy the giving more so then the receiving. I love to see the faces of my children as they open and receive that certain something I know they will love to have.
    I imagine that is something of what the Lord feels about us. Waiting to see the expression on our faces as we come to the realization of who he is and our need for him. That first prayer or cry out to him, for that prayer of salvation. The budding new member to the eternal life in Christ. I don't know your life situation, but if you don't know God (and I hope you do); take a look into the truth of who he is. Open the Bible and let it speak to you through the Holy Spirit of God and or talk to someone you trust who is a Christian today. God would Love to meet with you anytime you are available.
     Whatever your situation, I pray you have a great Christmas day with family and friends. May the peace of God be with you and yours today. Love always in Christ my Lord.

Saturday, December 24, 2011


    My fathers' mother was Elva Irene Dennie. She was born the eldest child (to Survive) to William George Dennie and Gladys Irene Forwell on August 27, 1923 in Dundas (Hamilton), Ontario.  The first child was a son William, who they conceived out of wedlock and then eloped to have. However he died at 3 days of age. they later remarried at St. James Anglican Church in Dundas. They had 5 daughters total and one son (Ordell - who's long form birth certificate I have posted earlier).  Great Grandpa Dennie I have also posted about previously. He enlisted at the age of 16 (although he said he was 18) in the Canadian Expeditionary Forces of WWI. Great Grandpa Dennie after the war got involved in promoting (Matchmaking) boxing in the Dundas area and kept a scrap book of newspaper clippings (15 pages) about them from 1930 - 32 roughly. My Great Aunt Gladys (Elva's sister) had possession of it and she made a copy of it for me. Since I never got to meet or know Great Grandpa personally, it was nice to have this to fill out the character of the man. The First page of the Scrapbook was an article by James Rice the coach of Columbia University Rowing crews. It is about the virtues of Boxing and the importance of them to the developing of young men, and his believe that boxing should be a compulsory course in Schools. I believe it must have struck a cord with my Great Grandpa since it is on the first page (I have included it here for you to read).  The articles progress through as Great Grandpa who is listed as a member of the Executive Council for the Hamilton Amateur Boxing Association in one article and then as the matchmaker for proceeding ones. As it progresses he gains respect as a matchmaker and is referred to with comments such as "Will Dennie, of the Pastime club, has promoted a joint show with the Wentworth regiment, and if his card is as good as the last one he put on there, the customers will not have any room to grumble.". The scrapbook has clippings about local boxers and some of the greats of his time ending with the announcement of Joe Louis resignation as the world's heavyweight boxing champion.
     All the pieces of information as I have gathered them, help fill out the picture of the man 'William George Dennie", and to help us all in the family to "Remember When..."

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories

    Christmas is a time to be with family. In my house it is also a time to remember the true reason for the season. Christ. As christian's we are thankful for the gift of Christ and the work he did for the Father. 
     As for family, since the divorce the kids spend Christmas day with their mother and then we get together for our Christmas with my mother on Boxing day. Boxing day is my mother's birthday. Her name is Noella Aldea Lafleur. She was named after her mothers parents (my great grand parents) Isreal Noel Ouellette and his wife Aldea Gervais. Isreal Noel was born on December 25, 1900 and Aldea on December 27, 1900.  They were great people. French Canadian's born and raised in the Nipissing region of Ontario. Not only did they live in the area all their lives but I found them in the Canadian Census of 1901 on the same page of the census. Aldea and one older sister were on the top of the page (the rest of the family on the previous page, the enumerator ran out of room and continued on the next page) and then two families down from  Aldea was the Ouellette family with Isreal as the youngest member. Born 2 days apart, they grew up, married and had numerous children together. I remember them fondly at Christmas and think of the good times I had as a kid visiting them at their home in Warren, Ontario. I suppose I am really lucky to have known so many of my great grand parents as I did, I know a lot of people don't get to know theirs. Including my brother who is nearly 10 years younger then I am and never got to meet them.  The first picture is of them taken on their property in the early 1970's and the one next to it is of me with them and their dog Lassie in the summer of 1970.  The next is of their tombstone in the Warren Cemetery. Lastly the Birth index with Isreal on line three.  
      In the winter/spring of 1986 I got to visit with Great Grandpa Noel at his new home (his son had a new house build on the land behind the original house/shack) in Warren. I got to sit and visit and play Cribbage with him. It one of the best memories I have. Just me and him and a crib board. I will always 'Remember When...'


Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Tuesdays Tip - Grads and Dads

    It was that time of year again. Graduations and Fathers Day all mixed together. My father had come down from North Bay where he retired to live with his wife Ivy. They came down for the week to attend my middle child (Miranda)'s Grade 8 Graduation ceremony. It was at the Fogular Furlan Club with a family dinner, then ceremony and then the kids stayed to have a dance afterward. It was a great evening for her. Her mother and her mothers mom & common-law husband where there. My Mother came and my Father with his wife, and my youngest Liam. The oldest Victoria couldn't make it as she was home studying for her exam the next morning. She  was Graduating High School the next Week. Grandpa and Grandma also came down to give her, her gift for graduating; however they couldn't stay for it, as they also had Grandma Ivy's grand daughter graduating the day after Victoria's Graduation, back up in North Bay. My Father had a stroke just over a year before, and while he was doing really good with the driving and recovery in general; it was a long drive for him. While he was here visiting with all of us, we went through some of the old photo's. I had photo's from when he was in school and newspaper clippings that my grandmother (his mother had kept). There were pictures of old freinds of his that he hasn't seen since the 1960's and so we didn't need to keep those and the clippings it turns out where friends of his mothers and nothing to do with our family. However it turned out that one picture was a freind of his that also stood in his original wedding to my mother and was paired in the wedding party with my mothers sister Florence. He was Walter W. and he and Florence it turns out became an item for a while. An item that produced my cousin Sherri. I hadn't known that. So I put together these photos and copied them to give to her. She is in contact with him having never known him until about the time she graduated High school I think.  I gave them to her this past summer when we where at our cousin Rob's wedding, as well as other pictures I had copied from distant cousins I re-met on Facebook. Her father was really happy to see the pictures too. It was his class picture and I had the names of most of the kids on the back of it. So three graduations in our family that month, a visit from my father (who I haven't seen since last fathers day) and finding my cousins father in my photo collection. It was quite the June. The Tip is, don't dismiss old photo's that you are sure are just old friends of the parents or grandparents. At least until you go through them with someone who knows the history of them first. In this case I would have thrown them out as not related or of consequence; when in fact this one was a branch that lead to my cousin. Checked and re-checked; saved!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Remember When People Where Scared to Enter a Grave Yard?


    I see this happening to often lately; in my home town of Windsor, Ontario, Canada; there was an article about another graveyard being vandalized in March of 2009. While as a family genealogist and just a person of some conscience, I have never been all to happy to hear about these sorts of things; this one struck home for me. My paternal Grand-father (well step grand-father as I learned later in life) is buried in this Cemetery. I was upset when I saw the story in the paper that someone had brought into work that day. However as I read the story I became increasingly upset. This Cemetery is one of the older ones in our city and the biggest in the city center. It includes three separate sites split by two major roads. After work and before heading to my small group bible study that night, I had to go and check it out for myself and find out if grand-pa was still resting peacefully. I drove in the one end and parked, I could see about 10 toppled or damaged grave stones. I walked over and located my grand-fathers grave stone and was relieved to find it still standing and undamaged.
    I see the degradation of society continues. I think that those that are caught in such an act of vandalism should suffer a like punishment. Namely no name to identify their final resting place. Just a stone that reads something like “Here lies a vandal, who had no thought for grave markers, don’t know who he was, and guess we never will”. Unfortunately this only punishes those left behind, who may actually miss and want to visit them. The main point is there needs to be a real punishment for these individuals. More times then not it involves youth that are run through the legal system and shot out the other side with a slap on the wrist that allows them to go back and repeat the crime again. The old joke about a grave yard being locked because people were dying to get in, takes on a sick meaning when they are dying to get in to cause damage. Do we have to lock them; and then what? How do we, that have the proper reason to be there; go about gaining access? It becomes a long drawn out solution. Best solution caring involved people. Your neighborhood, watch out for it.
    Just my rant on the subject. What’s your thought?

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Tombstone Tuesday & Great Grandpa Dennie *Updated Dec 12, 2016*

   Well I figured that since I have just started trying to blog regularly that I would concentrate on a theme for the most part. With remembrance day having just past and having looked at Great Grandpa Dennie, I figure lets continue with some other info.  His tombstone was purchased and placed on his grave sometime within the last 15 yrs or so. My Great Aunt Pinkie (Glady) one of his last surviving children and sister to my deceased Grandmother Elva, still lived in the Hamilton Ontario area, and so her children bought the tombstone as a gift for her. She wanted to see to it that he had a stone at some point; but was never able to afford one. She was laid to rest next to him June 1, 2007.  As I said in the blog on his enlistment into the Canadian Expeditionary Force of WWI he lied about his age to enter service, listing a date of birth in 1899.  He later continued the lie, as can be noted in the post with his son Ordell's birth certificate. He stated on that form that he was born in 1899 also. I have the 1901 census with him and his family and it was dated April 8th of 1901 and at the time William George was 2 months old. I  think the parents and census taker would be able to clearly tell the difference of a 2 month old and a 2 year old.  This would seem to be the most accurate and reliable record. So even here because of all the lies and mystery surrounding his age in life, the family still recorded the year of his birth incorrectly on his Tombstone.  Just one example of a complete record to determine the truth.  

     **So Ignore all this section in yellow. A bit of family lore that was handed down and the facts I found earlier seemed to prove them out. However I have since found the marriage record for William George Dennie and my great grandmother Gladys Forwell and on it, it gives his mothers name as Maria Chappell. I always believed that where I was seeing Mary for his mothers name that it was her Catholic Baptized name of Mary and her given name was the one I had as Sarah (Walker). Now we know it was Maria Chappell and so I have expunged the records of the Walker lineage and added the Chappell lineage to the official record.  He was born in 1899 and entered the service at the age of 18. His mother was probably reluctant to see him go and so the lore that she signed him in falsely as being born in 1899 grew.  Well we can now 'Remember When....' with some accuracy.  Updated Dec 12, 2016 by author of blog John Goodwin**

Monday, November 14, 2011

The Time Has Past

As the saying goes, “The time has past”. A few years back my father had made contact once again with his aunt Yvonne and her daughter. His mother’s last surviving sibling. He found out that we hadn’t heard from his uncle Ordell in California because he and his wife had died about a year before. No one let us know. He told her about my work on the family history and he sent me her address etc. So I had been meaning to send off a letter to her along with a family sheet for her and each of her kids, a small questionnaire and some photos I have restored. Unfortunately life happens and I got been busy with my own kids (4 trips to the emergency in the one month between the 2 kids). Then; ‘the time has past’ and I got the call from my father the one day soon after things had returned to a relatively normal state (no more hospital trips, namely) that my great aunt Yvonne had past away from the cancer she was dealing with. I was saddened further to realize that she was the last of that generation; of that group of siblings. I missed the opportunity to hear her family wisdom and record it for posterity. I pray she found rest and peace, as well as Great Uncle Ordell & Aunt Connie. Ordell was the only brother of my Grandmother Elva Dennie, they where the children of William George Dennie and Gladys Forwell. William Dennie I spoke of in the previous blog; he served in the Canadian Expeditionary Forces in WWI.  I remember Uncle Ordell well as we use to see him and his family regularly when I was a kid. That is until they moved down to California. Uncle Ordell even gave me a copy of his long form Birth Certificate to help with my research (seen above). It was one of my first major records for my collection and research into the family history.  While it certainly helped spark my interest, here again is a lost opportunity. The time has past to speak with him some more, and gain insight from a truly wonderful man. He will be missed. Don't let the time pass on you and the opportunity to get to know your relatives, that you are researching, from other older relatives that knew them personally.  This is probably one of the biggest research blunders we make as "The Family Genealogist". Just my opinion of course, but I don't think I'm far from the truth on this one.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

A New 40 yr old Cousin I've Known for 20 yrs

Well on Christmas eve 2009 I had my middle child (Miranda) with me and my ex had our youngest (Liam) with her. We had just arrived at my long time friend (Liana's ) home and my ex (Wendy) called me. She said that they had gotten home early and Liam wanted to join me, could I pick him up. I said sure and then she said that she had something else to tell me and that she should probably tell me face to face but couldn't wait. She asked if I was seated and told me that Pam, her step sister (her mother is living in common law marriage with Ray N. and they have been together since before Wendy and I even started to date) has been looking for her birth mother now for 2-3 years (she and her brother were adopted as Ray and his first wife couldn't have kids). Anyway, Wendy said that on that very day when Pam arrived home to grab everything that she and the family needed to head out to her mother-in-laws for Christmas eve (Ray, Carol, Wendy, the kids all go each year), she found a letter from the Canadian Govt. She took it with her and they headed out to the family get together. On the way she opened the letter and the last name of her birth mother was familiar, so when she arrived at the party, she immediately found Wendy and asked her to look at the name. Wendy looked at it and at the address of the birth mother when she gave up her daughter. She did a double take she tells me and then told Pam that she knew this woman. She had met her. Pam’s birth mother it turns out was Orleen Adell Goodwin, my aunt, my father’s sister. My ex wife’s step sister it turns out was my first cousin. I had known my first cousin for nearly 20 years and we didn't know we were related. What’s more my father worked with Ray (her adoptive father) and before that Ray’s brother at Chrysler’s and had been that close to his niece for about 25 or more years. Ray and Carol have been friends with my father and his wife Ivy even after our divorce. How crazy is all this? What a small world, as they say. Well I got to tell my aunt Orleen on Christmas day that I knew her daughter, and gave her the details as here in written. I passed on her telephone numbers and Pam and aunt Orleen talked on Dec 27, 2009 for 2 hours. The best Christmas gift ever. 

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Canadian Remembrance Day & Great Granpa Dennie

    With remembrance Day here, I am thankful that in time of need ordinary men step forward to serve their countries. Some go to war and never return home. Others return changed by the experience. We in Canada and the other Allied countries enjoy a freedom that is taken for granted all to often. At this time it is important to say to those that served; "Thank you". It is so little a thing to say and yet means so much. So tell a veteran today, "Thank you; for all you did". It so happens My great grandpa Dennie (pictured above with his wife Gladys nee-Forwell), was a member of the Canadian Expeditionary Forces during WWI as an engineer. He joined late in the war and so by the time he got over seas, I believe he was just helping with the consolidation and clean up. However late in the war he joined up however; was early for him. You see Great Grandpa Dennie was only 18 at the time he enlisted. He was determined to do his part. I searched out the date he enlisted and fighting was still intense and the Germans where making a hard stand of it. I believe Great Grandpa fully expected to see combat. I have a copy of his full service record, that I ordered from Archives Canada. While it gives me more insight into the man; I still wish I had gotten to meet him and further to say thank you to him personally. Don't miss the opportunity to tell a Vet you know how much you appreciate what they did.  God Bless all those that serve. Let us all "Remember When...." "Lest We Forget".

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Who Are We?

Who Are We?

 So who are we? We are a conglomeration of all who came before us. We are the product of our parents, our 4 grand-parents before them, our 8 great-grand-parents before them, 16 great-great-grand-parents before them, and so on. All coming into the gene pool that makes for each of us as individuals. My ‘Gene pool’ is as follows. I am the Product of the Goodwin’s (Paternal / Father’s side) and the Lafleur’s (Maternal / Mothers side).   

        On the Paternal side my grand-father was obviously a Goodwin and my grand-mother was a DennieNow with out going into family history itself anything past my grand-father is one of my ‘Genealogical Brick Wall’s’. My grand-mother was the product of Dennie (Father) and Forwell (Mother).  Great-grand-pa Dennie was the product of the Dennie’s and the Walker’s.  Great-grand-ma Forwell was the product of the Forwell’s and the Brown’s. Now I do know the first names for all 4 parents of the Chappell and Dennie line;  obviously only know the paternal lines back that next generation with the full names. 

        On the Maternal side my grand-fathe
r was obviously again a Lafleur and my grand-mother was a Ouellette.  Grand-paLafleur was the product of the Lafleur’s and the Trudelle’sOnce again in the next generation of the Lafleur and Trudelle lines I know all 4 of the parents first names but only the Paternal family names, and so that is as far as I go with that line.With theOuellette line Grand-ma was the product of the Ouellette’s and the Gervais’s. Great-grand-pa Ouellette was the product of the Ouellette’s and the Archambault’s; and that is as far back as I go with that line.  His wife, my great-grand-mother Gervais was the product of the Gervais’s and the Cousineau’s.  Great-great-grand-pa Gervais was a product of the Gervais’s and theLongpre’s; and that is as far as this line goes.  His wife, my great-great-grand-ma Cousineau was a product of theCousineau’s and the Beauchamp’s.  Now great-great-great-grand-pa Cousineau was the product of the Cousineau’s and theGascon’s.  His wife, my great-great-great-grand-ma Beauchampwas the product of the Beauchamp’s and the Laronde’s.  Now this line is the one I have traced back the furthermost so far; however from this point back I don’t trust the info completely as I haven’t been able as of yet to verify it myself.  As of yet the other names I have are Legault, Beautron,  and Kekjicakoe andWonsneswesquigigo and go back to the 1750’s. 

Remember When?

Remember When?

 How many of your family gatherings end up with everyone reflecting on the past?  In one way or another we all seem to ask this question of others in our family (or group of long term friends).  And then everyone is entangled in a conversation about when “such and such happened” or was “said” or “so and so did this/said that …etc.”.  Everyone is sharing their memories of the time when, and just what the details where.  As time goes by these details are lost or forgotten or the people involved as it happens, pass on. Well isn’t that why we are interested in genealogy?  To help preserve not only our family line but those stories and the character of the people that were there?  In the picture above, why do all the kids appear to be laughing except me? Was I the butt of a joke that I don’t remember now? Time is running out to find out. My Grand-father who was in the photo holding me and my cousin Susie, died when I was about 10 yrs old and long before I was into family history. His wife, my grand-mother died less then 2 years later, I assume she was there when the photo was taken; it was my grand-parents home where this was taken. My Uncle Bernie (in the Montreal Canadians top) died in 2006. Now someone in the photo may remember; but most are young here and may not. So then we make some more assumptions. The parents where probably present. So my parents, Aunts & Uncles. You get the point. 

      We need to make sure that we take the opportunities as they are available to get these first hand accounts. That goes for preserving our family pictures. There is a very important piece of the story. That individuals appearance, the family resemblance. But who are these people in the old photo’s? Here again we need to take the time to sit down with the older generation and go through them with them, having them identify everyone in the photo.   Again we need to remember to ask more then who is in the photo; we need to ask when was this (year or full date if possible), what was the occasion or event (Christmas, birthday and which one if so), did anything special, unusual or memorable happen at this time?  Take notes and mark the photo with pencils or markers made to do so. Ones that won’t damage the photo.  Once again look at the photo above. In it we find my aunt Denise (Kneeling down next to her father and me in the bottom right of the picture), My cousin Susie ( in the pink night gown next to me, being held by Grand-pa Wilfrid), and my other cousin Sheri (in the light Green night gown front bottom left of photo). That ‘anything special’ to note, that I mentioned earlier. The night gowns the three are wearing in this photo were all hand made and stitched by my grand-mother as part of their Christmas gifts that year.  This gives us insight into her abilities, filling out the family history a little more. 

       Lastly let’s remember we are doing this because we have an interest in our family history and in preserving it.  So share it, and then everyone in the family will “Remember When”.