Friday, 22 July 2011

Family Tree

I know that these posts will be, in all likelihood, read by many people. While my kid brother and I have no direct descendants, my two sisters do. Therefore I want those nieces and nephews - and their descendants - to know more about where we (the Brown and Lacasse families) came from. Thus this post - and if any readers should know more about our history, please feel free to share!

Our Dad, Daniel Charles Lacasse,  was born in the village of Billings Bridge which is now a part of the City of Ottawa. He was the youngest child of Charles Lacasse and Alda Martin. I know little about those grandparents - they both died while Dad was still a boy. However, I do know that Grandmere Alda was of Acadian descent and from New Brunswick. She had been married before and the surname of my aunt and uncle from that union was Cadieux.

Dad had three siblings - an older brother Lionel and twin sisters Mouisa and Cecile. Upon the death of Grand-pere Charles, Grand-mere moved the family to Montreal. Grand-mere found a position as housekeeper in the boys' orphanage which was run by the Roman Catholic Church. The boys remained with her while the twins were placed with the Grey Nuns. When they reached maturity they professed their vows and never left the convent. Sister Cecile remained in Montreal for the rest of her life while Mouisa (known in the convent as Sister Marie-Anne) was sent to the Mackenzie River in the Northwest Territories where she was a housekeeper for a series of priests.

  Myself, a friend and the Twins at the 50th Anniversary Celebration of the Profession of Their Vows

Mom was an only child. Her maternal grandparents were sur-named DeLacey/Hollis Her grandfather was from Ireland and an officer in the British army. Her grandmother's first name was Leah and she was of French and Jewish descent and was a concert pianist. Grandma remembered traveling with her mother to European cities on tour. Grandma herself was born in Bombay (now Mumbai), India where her father's regiment was posted - she was the eldest of a large family. I was told that it was a difficult birth and great grandmother was in danger of dieing so the nurses named the baby "Queechee" which Grandma always hated. She went by the name of 'Queenie'

Grandma was both a very beautiful woman and a very strong willed one. She scandalized the family by meeting and eloping with a Cockney soldier by the name of John Poulter. He took her with him when his regiment was posted to Hong Kong. Grandma was carrying Mom when her husband was killed while playing in a game of cricket - he was accidentally hit on the head by a bat.

Grandma made her way back to London and went to her parents' home only to have the door slammed in her face because of "the disgrace that she had brought upon the family"! She had no option but to go to the home of her sister-in-law in the Bow E3 district of the city (the Cockney area). Mom was born in St Bartholomew's Hospital so Dad teased her that she was a 'Cockney' too which Mom always denied hotly!

Grandma had to work to support herself and the baby so she became a dancer on the London stage. Ernie Brown - whom I knew as Granddad - was raised in Saskatchewan and, when World War I began, he enlisted in the Canadian army and was sent to Belgium where his unit was gassed while in a church. Granddad was sent to London to recuperate and, while there, he took in the hit show "Chou Chin Chow", was smitten by a gorgeous chorus girl, met her and married her - Queenie Poulter! He arranged for Mom and Grandma to sail ahead of him from England to Halifax where they boarded a train and rode to the village of Theodore, Saskatchewan. Great Grandma Brown, a good Methodist lady, was horrified that her only surviving son had married a CHORUS GIRL!
My grandfather (Ernie Brown) on the left, his mother in the middle (floral dress). Mom to her left and Grandma at the end of the line. The others are some of Granddad's relatives who were visiting circa 1939/40.

A short time later Granddad's regiment returned to Canada. Granddad de-listed, went to Theodore, packed up Mom and Grandma and moved to B.C. He was able to purchase an abandoned homestead in Ruskin where his family lived until the fire.

Dad is the man standing to the left, next to him is Mom, her cousin (Clare Robinson), Great Aunt Emma Mc Ilwaine,  Granddad's nephew (Bobby) and his Mom - Great Aunt Alma (the surname has been lost to me - all I know is that they were visiting from Chicago). Standing in front of Dad is Alda, next is Great Aunt Edith Robinson with daughters Lois on her lap and Gladys to her left. That is me leaning on Grandma's lap.

My maternal grandfather, Ernest Clarence Brown, dressed in his regimental uniform.

Granddad was gassed while serving in Belgium during world War I and was hospitalized. I presume that this photo is of the nursing staff among the soldiers. That is Granddad in the middle of the front row and reclining on the floor.

I have returned to this blog to add one more photo. This is a photo of my Dad with a calf (presumably my Granddad's) and that is me at about 1 1/2 or 2 years of age.


  1. I hope you noticed that I'm your first follower!

  2. Queechee? what were they thinking?

    1. I have no idea as to the meaning of Queechee - it is of east Indian derivation.