thegenealogygirl


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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.

 

 


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My Maternal Ancestor Count

My Maternal Ancestor Count

Last week, my genealogy efforts felt aimless.

It’s understandable.  My Grandma just died.  She was a big part of my genealogy life.  She got me started.  She loved my updates.  She called me with questions.  I called her with discoveries and the resulting questions.  She was never far from my thoughts.

Last week I spent some time writing about her final two days of life.  I included every detail I could recall.  It is something that I hope will be important to my family now and in the future.

Pondering on those two days, on Grandma’s last 85 years, and on the questions I have asked her over the years, I was struck by one thought.

A good genealogist always runs out of time before they run out of questions.

Lest you worry, let me clarify.  I don’t have any genealogy regrets in regards to my Grandma.  I tested her DNA, she tested her DNA.  I interviewed her and recorded it.  I made lots of notes.  I asked her many, many questions over 20 years.  We hit the high points over and over again.  I even started keeping track of her verbiage on certain answers so that I could make a judgment call on how clear her memory of certain events was.  She was getting older after all.

Despite all of that time and all of that information, I still have questions.  Of course, I do.  Everything a genealogist does starts with a question.  If we run out of questions, we are doing it wrong.

So now that I can no longer ask my Grandma questions, a portion of my genealogy process is broken.

And that’s okay.

But I find myself feeling a bit aimless.

I need to get my feet solidly back under myself.

So in an effort to bring some more focus to my genealogy, I decided to create an ancestor count.  Except, I decided to leave my dad’s side of the tree out of it.  It’s not because I care about them less.  It’s simply because his side is a tangled mess of many LDS pioneers being worked on by many hundreds, dare I say thousands?, of descendants.  But on my mom’s side, that is all my Grandma, my sister, and me.  We did every bit of that work, the three of us, and only us.  There is still lots to do, and I will keep on doing it.  But looking at the numbers did something for my mental focus.

I think I am feeling my internal sense of direction coming back.

Here is my maternal ancestor count as of the 27th of September 2017:

Maternal Ancestor Count, 27 September 2017

 

If you’ve been reading my blog for long, you know that my great-grandfather John Costello is my biggest brick wall.  The missing 25% for my 2nd, 3rd, and 4th great grandparents is all because of that brick wall.  From there, I start to have missing pieces scattered throughout my tree.  To really help me track my progress, I added that last column so that I know which branches of my tree those ancestors come from.

Looking at the numbers this way has put an energy into my thoughts.  I know that goals will follow, but they aren’t solid yet.  For now, I’m just comforted by having a new yardstick to measure my progress.  My old yardstick was printing a new fanchart for Grandma every so often and seeing the differences.  And now?  Now, I will update my ancestor count every so often to measure my progress.  Maybe I can get my Mom excited about it.

Maybe.

 

Have you ever created an ancestor count?

 

 

 

I wish I could take credit for the idea of an ancestor count, but I can’t.  I have no idea who thought it up first.  But I first heard the idea from my friend Cathy at Opening Doors in Brick Walls, so I’ll send you her way.

 


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Photograph Showcase: Not yet a Grandma

 

DUVAL, Deane, July 1968 handcolored portrait

Deane Duval, July 1968

All week I have been thinking of this lovely portrait of my Grandma taken a few years before she was a Grandma.

Her parents were photographers.  Her mother handpainted this portrait with oil paints.  Wasn’t she so talented?  I love all of her handpainted portraits.

But this week, I am especially grateful for this particular portrait.

It’s such a beautiful photo of my Grandma in her prime.  A happy reminder of her life.

I scanned this a few years ago.  I need to scan it again as a .tiff file at a much higher resolution so that I and my family members can have a nice sized print made to frame.  I think I’ll be taking it with me to the Family History Center tonight.  And probably several others as well.

 

 

Do you have any special photos that need to be scanned or re-scanned?

 

 

 

 

 


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Photograph Showcase: A collection of moments from Grandma’s life

 

Deane Alice Duval

born – 27 June 1932, Montana

died – 17 September 2017, Washington

My heart is full.  There is so much to say, both here, and privately.  So many things that need to be recorded and preserved.  My Grandmas were both instrumental in helping me begin my genealogy journey.  Both are now gone.  Grandma Deane shared with me everything she could.  Photos, documents, stories, facts, family rumors and legends.  Everything.

I was able to be with her the last two days of her life.  What a tender, difficult, healing, heartbreaking, and precious time.  I wiped the last tears she ever shed.  I held her hands.  I swabbed her mouth with a wet sponge.  I rubbed her feet and legs.  I kissed her forehead.  I stroked her cheek.  I told her I loved her again and again.  But I will never be able to repay all that she did for me.

Farewell to my oldest and truest genealogy partner-in-crime, cheerleader, and occasional corrector.  When I called to share my discoveries, I was greeted with a “well hi, sweetheart”, with her unique Pacific Northwest accent flavored by her family’s recent English and French immigrants.  I will miss that.  I imagine the next few new discoveries will be bittersweet because I won’t be able to call and talk to her about them.

Thank you, Grandma, for everything.

❤️