Late one night, I typed 6223 Molson Street, Montreal into Google Maps to see their home.
No, I’m not a creeper. This is where my Grandma Beatrice’s adoptive parents once lived. 6223 Molson Street was the address listed on her adoption paper.
We have very little information to go from. We have a baptism certificate and one piece of paper about her adoption.
Hazel Pearl Bean was born January 1st, 1926. She was adopted June 17th, 1926 at the Montreal Foundling and Baby Hospital. Her adopted parents were William Oliver Blakemore and his wife, Elizabeth Blakemore of 6223 Molson Street in Rosemount, Montreal. At the time of her adoption, she was 5 1/2 months old.
In 2009, I sent a letter to the Montreal Children’s Hospital. Dad had always wanted to know more about his Mom’s past and I wanted to help him.
This was their reply…
YOUR REQUEST WAS DECLINED DUE TO THE FOLLOWING REASONS:
MISSING or OTHER REASONS
As per our telephone conversations, we are unable to locate any information concerning Social or Adoption concerning the above mentioned person. All information concerning this must be handled through Montreal Social Services. The English Sector is now known as Batshaw Youth and Family Services. I hope they can help you.
I took it as a no. I didn’t even read the rest because I was so disappointed.
I can’t believe that I missed the piece that said, try here instead. So now, almost 10 years later, I’m trying again. I’m going to call Batshaw Youth and Family Services today to see what I can find out.
I also reached out to another friend who grew up in Montreal. I wanted to know more about the neighbourhood of Rosemount (where Great Grandpa and Grandma Blakemore first lived). What was it like in the 1920s?
It ends up that her husband grew up two streets over from Molson. Small world.
It was a blue collar neighbourhood with very few detached homes. There were mostly 3 story walk-up row houses. It was a predominantly French-Canadian neighbourhood with some English Italians and rarely any anglophones. It makes me wonder if they spoke French.
I also called my parents to say that I was going to search for more information about Grandma Beatrice. Dad started sharing amazing stories about Grandpa Blakemore and his adventures. He was in the war. He contracted TB when he was in a prison camp (they had them work in a mine). He worked on steamships and in big hotels as an elevator man. He was a baker and a night watchman at Studebaker (a car factory).
Once they moved to Emo, Ontario, he delivered mail. He would meet the train at night to pick up the mail. Whatever job he had, Great Grandpa Blakemore always asked employers for a reference letter. Dad has the whole collection up in the attic of the garage. He’s going to look for them and scan them for me.
I also had a friend from university reach out to see if I would like to do some research on ancestry.com. I had written a blog post earlier about Dad’s grandpa, Johannes Juhala. I was trying to learn more about him and while researching online, I had stumbled across a partial family tree on ancestry.com. But without a membership, I couldn’t view the whole tree.
Her aunt had a membership and was coming home for Thanksgiving. If there was anything I’d like to look up, she could do it for me. I haven’t seen her since we were in the same program over 20 years ago. And here she was offering to help. It was such an act of kindness that it still surprises me (she is so thoughtful; I was just surprised by a person’s willingness to reach out and offer help). I found out some really cool stuff and have a collection of old documents – like the registry forms from when they first entered Canada. I’ll have to post them.
It feels like different people from my past are coming together to try and help me figure out pieces of our family’s story. I hope we can learn more. I’ll keep you posted.