Back in early 2019, I sent an email to the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation.
I was looking for any morsel of information that would show that my grandmother, Margret Anderson as I knew her, had in fact gone to Holy Angels residential school in Fort Chipewyan.
When I examined my father for Federal Court in 2013 he stated that his mother had gone to Holy Angels in Fort Chipewyan, Alberta.
When grandma was raising my brother and I her surname was Anderson. She had been married three times in her life that I am aware of.
She was first married to a man whom I’ve yet to find out the name of. This man was either Cree or Blackfoot.
This marriage produced my Uncle Norman. Norman died around 1985.
This marriage was over by at least 1944 / 1945
Her second marriage was to Arthur Herman Gill. Arthur was Irish.
This marriage produced my father Richard, as well as Doug, my uncle.
This marriage did not last very long.
Her third marriage was to Andy Anderson.
I don’t believe this marriage produced any children.
After sending in the information, I didn’t hear back from the NCTR and just assumed that maybe the school records at these schools weren’t easily searchable or just couldn’t be located.
Last week I received an email message from the NCTR asking if my mailing address was correct.
On Tuesday September 1st, I received my grandmother’s admission record for Holy Angels Indian Residential School in Fort Chipewyan, AB.
Even though I knew this information was coming to me, it was still shocking to see this information in black and white.
Contained in the record was her father’s name, her mother’s name, and her date of birth.
My paternal great grandfather was Modeste Waniandy.
Modeste as I’ve learnt elsewhere was born in 1884 in Lac St. Anne, Alberta. He was a hard rock miner and he died in 1969 in Uranium City, Saskatchewan.
My paternal great grandmother was Caroline Waniandy nee Courtrelle.
My grandmother was born in 1923.
With a quick check of the Library and Archives I was able to find the 1926 Census for the Prairie region.
In 1926 Modeste and Caroline were living in the settlement of Fort McMurray.
Modeste Waniandy was 31 in 1926
Caroline Waniandy was 24 in 1926.
The census indicates that Modeste and Caroline had 3 children.
George Waniandy was the eldest at 9 at the time of the census in 1926
Marguerite Waniandy was the middle child at 4 in 1926
Johnnie Waniandy was the youngest child at 13 months in 1926.
George Waniandy died in WWII on August 31st 1944
My grandmother was 12 years old when she started school. She was enrolled on Oct 3rd, 1935. She was also going by the name Margaret at this time.
It doesn’t say what grade she was placed into, but from what I’ve been told grades didn’t matter much in the Residential Schools. The kids weren’t going to these schools for an education. The kids were going to these school to get the Indian beat out of them. She was apparently student #867.
Whatever education she received couldn’t have been much as she left school in March of 1938 at 14 years of age.
In 1985, my brother and I had been sent up to Edmonton to spend the summer with our grandmother. I remember watching her write a letter, and she would effortlessly switch back and forth between using her left hand and her right hand.
Year previous, when we lived up on Canadian Forces Base Namao, I begged my grandmother to teach me how to write cursive. I was 8 years old and I could handwrite far better than I could print.
In 1985, I pestered my grandmother to teach me how to switch hands so that I could write with my left hand too.
After much pestering she asked me if I wanted her to beat me like the nuns had beat her to make her stop writing with her left hand.
I didn’t understand what she meant, and she never explained it any further.
But nowadays we all know the hell on Earth that those residential school could be.
Both Richard and Grandma rarely spoke about our extended family.
So, it will be interesting seeing what else I can dig up.
And I know ever less about the maternal side of my family.
All I know about the maternal side of my family is that my mother is Quebecois and was from Hull in Quebec.
I don’t even know the names of my maternal grandparents.
6 thoughts on “Marguerite Waniandy”
Interesting read, John was my dad, the last time I seen auntie Margret was 40 years ago when we went to visit Dad at the veterans home in Edmonton, if I recall she was living in military housing in Edmonton.
Grandma lived with us on CFB Summerside in PEI, then she lived with us on CFB Namao ( now Edmonton Garrison) and then she lived with us for a short bit on CFB Griesbach (now gone).
If I remember correctly, it was grand-uncle Johnny that gave us Lady, the Samoyed.
We had driven up to Fort McMurray to see grand-uncle Johhny. We ended up coming back with Lady.
This would have been after October of 1980 but before the summer of 1981.
My father was a very reserved man, it’s only within the last couple of months that I’ve actually discovered most on my relatives on the paternal side of my family.
Been interesting, to say the least.
Hi! I have been reading your blog and noticed an excerpt that you wrote quoted as below….
And I know ever less about the maternal side of my family.
“All I know about the maternal side of my family is that my mother is Quebecois and was from Hull in Quebec.
I don’t even know the names of my maternal grandparents.”
I can tell you the names of your maternal grandparents…they passed away before your birth.
Your grandmother’s name was Viola Alma Dagenais and she passed away in 1961 and your grandfather’s name was Joseph Albert Guillaume Dagenais. My stepfather was a sibling of your Mother if I am correct. Please forgive me if I am off base but I do believe that you are the child of Annette….please let me know if I am correct?
Yes, Marie Annette is my mother.
Her full name is Marie Annette Jacqueline Dagenais.
I know she had two brothers. One was Al Dagenais. Uncle Al as I knew him. He joined the Royal Canadian Navy at the same time as my father did, and that’s how my father met Marie.
I can’t remember the name of Marie’s other brother.
I was told that Uncle Al had a son that was about my age and that we used to play together back on CFB Shearwater. Lawrence was his name.
I am working on a Genealogy on the Waniandy family….who were the other siblings of George and Johnny and Margaret/Marguerite? I have Modeste’s dad as Ignace Adam Waniandy and Martine Gladu. Modeste was born around 1895 St Albert, Alberta….but of course census records change ages as a lot of times the records were not always correct or accurate…
Grandma’s siblings were:
Grandma had three children:
Norman was her first child. I don’t know his exact age.
Richard was my father. He was born in 1946 and died in 2017.
I don’t know when Douglas was born, but he died around 2010.
Norman had a different father from Richard and Doug, and as it turns out, there is a question as to whether or not Richard and Doug had the same father.
I don’t know the relationship between Grandma and Norman’s father, I don’t know if they were married or not.
Arthur Herman Gill was my father’s father, he was Grandma’s second husband.
Roy William (Andy) Anderson was Grandma’s third husband.