photograph showcase

Photograph Showcase: In Uniform


DUVAL, Francis Cyprien on boat
Francis Cyprien Duval, on far right

Francis Cyprien Duval is my 2nd great grandfather.  He was born 3 October 1863 in Rimouski, Québec, Canada.  He was the first in our direct line to leave Québec after settlement from France.

Francis was an adventurer.  He was in Dawson, Alaska before the Gold Rush began.  He stayed throughout and did well.  He tried his hand at homesteading in Fairbanks.  He moved his wife and children back and forth between Alaska and California for many years.

Sometime after the death of his father-in-law, Henry Hyde, in Fairbanks in 1907, Francis and his family moved to Vancouver, BC and then finally settled in Lynn Valley, BC.

He lied about his age and joined the Canadian Expeditionary Forces during WWI.  That didn’t last long before he was sent back home.

He went on to work as a Forest Ranger.  He continued in that work until the time of his death at age 55 on 31 May 1919 in Vancouver, BC.

This photo is one of very few photos of Francis.  There are no notations on the back.  Based on what I know of Francis’ life, I would guess that this was taken during his service in WWI.  I did some google searching and his hat and collar seem to match the images of the uniforms during this time.

Francis died before he was a grandfather.  I descend from his son Francis Henry Duval.  Francis Henry was the father of two children – my Grandma Deane, who recently died, and my Grand Uncle Frank.

During the last two days of my Grandma’s life, the family gathered at her side.  In my conversations with Uncle Frank, he expressed disappointment that he hadn’t thought to ask his Dad about his Grandpa.

So, Uncle Frank, this one’s for you.



20 thoughts on “Photograph Showcase: In Uniform”

  1. I hope that answers some of your great-uncle’s questions. (I say great instead of grand.) Francis sounds like quite an adventurous man. What a shame that he died so young and before your grandmother knew him. Isn’t it always so hard when you realize too late the questions you should have asked your elders?

    1. Yes! I just hope I can help my own family members learn why asking questions before it’s too late is so important.

      I always use great in conversation also. But when I am wearing my genealogist’s hat, I use the term grand with aunts and uncles because then I don’t get confused about who their siblings are or which generation they belong to. So Uncle Frank is my Grandma’s brother. If I call him a grand uncle, his family title matches his sister – grand. Their dad is my great grandpa, so his sister Vera I would call my great-grandaunt. This is especially helpful when you get back a few generations. But like I said, in conversation I’m just like you, I would call him my great uncle Frank.

      1. The great- v grand- debate is always interesting. Grand DOES make more sense, but if no one uses it, it ends up being more confusing, IMHO. So I stick with great and try to remember that there is an extra great appended to the siblings of my direct ancestors. But either way—there’s confusion!

        1. I agree with you that most people don’t know what is meant when grand is applied to aunts and uncles. When I teach, I typically use grand but explain what is meant by that. I have a feeling I will eventually switch back. Even Ancestry gave up on using grand for aunts and uncles. 😉

    1. Thank you, Su. I can’t imagine it either! He was 54 when he was discharged and sent home. He was such an adventurer and outdoorsman, I imagine he didn’t think it would be too hard. Poor guy, I wonder if it hurt his ego a bit to have to be sent home?

      1. I wonder too. I must admit, I find the whole idea of enlisting to fight a war hard to imagine. I’ve been researching a great grandfather’s experiences of WWI, and was a bit surprised to discover he enlisted in the first few weeks. He was 29, married with two little kids and I can’t imagine my great grandmother would have been thrilled! This is the same guy who enlisted years earlier when he was underage. He got sprung after a couple of weeks and sent home, so maybe he had a hankering for adventure too. The Big T has (rather reasonably) suggested that perhaps, as great grandad was a coal miner, he joined up because going to war seemed better than spending his days underground. 🙂

        1. Oh wow! Did he enlist in the Boer Wars first? I can’t remember dates well enough to know it that works. I bet the Big T is correct. My Scottish coal miners certainly worked hard to break the cycle of coal mining in their family.

          1. 🙂 It was after the Boer War, so he was trying to join the regular army. He was 15 I think, so old enough to be working in the mine at the time and wanted to get out. After WWI he had a series of businesses, including a pub and a fish and chip shop.

            1. I really should brush up on the dates of conflicts that my UK people were involved in. I have the US conflicts down, but the UK ones – not so much. 😉

              I’m glad he got himself out of the mines even if he couldn’t get himself into the army. 🙂

  2. Amberly, which one is he? Sorry, I couldn’t see where you wrote that. I love those long coats. I imagine they were warm, but super heavy with all that old-fashioned wool! That made me a little teary about this one’s for Uncle Frank. Great photo!

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