|Date of Birth||April 14, 1890|
|Place of Birth||Keewatin, Ontario|
|Next of Kin||Mary Jane Godin (wife)|
|Service Record||See image below|
|Force||Non-Permanent Active Militia|
|Enlisted / Conscripted||Enlisted|
|Date of Enlistment||December 4, 1915|
|Age at Enlistment||25|
|Theatre of Service||Canada|
|Prisoner of War||No|
|Date of Death||April 2, 1967|
|Age at Death||76|
Birth and childhood years: George Joseph Godin was born April 14, 1890 in Keewatin, Ontario, son of Joseph Norbert Godin and Mary Morrisseau. He was baptized in Notre Dame Parish, June 2, 1890, in Kenora, Ontario. George’s father, Joseph, was baptized November,1850, in Trois Rivieres, Quebec; and, his mother, Mary, was born April,1860, in Keewatin, Ontario.
The Godin family is recorded in the 1891 census as being Roman Catholic and living in Keewatin (Township of Algoma, District of Rainy River, Province of Ontario). Joseph, aged 40, is a Pilot of a steamboat. His and Mary’s children are Thomas (11); Margaret (8); Josephine (6); Alphonse [Philip] (4); and, Joseph [George] (11 months). By the 1901 census, Joseph is now Captain of the Steamboat. He and Mary are living with their children Philip, George, Michel (6), and, Norbert (a few months old).
Sometime before the 1911 census, some family members, including George, moved to the town of Rainy River, in the District of Rainy River, Ontario. Joseph is now a Master Mariner. Living with him and Mary are sons, George, Michel, and, Norbert; daughter Mary, aged 6 years; and their eldest daughter Josephine, her husband, James McLeod and their two children.
On September 16, 1912, in the town of Rainy River, George married Mary Jane Morrison (born 1892 in Rainy River). They had a daughter, Matilda born about 1914. Then, in June and July of 1915, George crossed the border into the United States, destination Baudette, Minnesota. Mary and Matilda are with him on the first crossing. In July, he crossed alone, stating he is of French ancestry, married and can read and write. On April 30, 1917, George again crossed the border (at International Falls, USA) but with several other family members. The destination was Baudette. George and Mary Jane had a son, Philip by this time, who travelled with them.
Great War Activity: Private George Godin is recorded in the Canadian Personnel records of the First World War as being in the Non-Permanent Active Militia. The Militia performed a variety of military tasks in Canada, such as guarding armouries, bridges and canals. George’s file indicates he was Taken on Strength with the 98th Regiment on December 4, 1915 and is recorded as being on the Paylist of the International Bridge Guard throughout December of that same year. George was with the Guard until it disbanded July 31, 1916. There is no further information on his file.
The family photograph, taken of three brothers, in uniform – George, Norbert and Philip – with their father, would have been taken early to mid 1916 based on the 1916 enlistment and medical discharge dates, of brother Norbert.
It appears George had been working in the United States (U.S.), at times, during the war, while still living in Canada. On July 12, 1918, he received a U.S. Draft Registration Card, in which we get a brief description of him: George signed the card stating he was a Canadian Citizen and worked as a fisherman. He said he was white, married, 38 years of age – although he was actually 28 – and that his permanent residence was Rainy River, Ontario. George was described as being of slender build, of medium height at 69 inches (5 feet 9 inches), and, with gray eyes and black hair.
Family Members Who Also Served: George’s brothers, Phillip and Norbert, also enlisted to serve in the Great War. Their stories are recorded in the Kenora Great War Project.
After the War: At the time of the 1921 census, George and Mary Jane are living in Atwood Township, District of Fort William and Rainy River, with their children Matilda (8); Felix (6); Eveon [Yvonne] (3); and, Mary J (1). George was working on the river. In the 1938 Canadian Voters’ List, George, a labourer, and ‘Mrs. George’ Godin are living in Rainy River. No address was given. According to a search of the Godin family on ancestry.ca, George and Mary had 11 children: George Felix (nickname, Sonny), Mathilda, Yvonne, Wilfred, Almer, Merle, Emil, Irene, Pearl, Eleanor (nickname Tiny), and Louis (pronounced Louie).
Death: Mary Jane died November 14, 1965 in Fort Frances, Ontario. George died less than a year and a half later, on April 2, 1967, also in Fort Frances. Interestingly, there is a United States Social Security Death Record for George, indicating his birth date and an American Social Security Number that was obtained prior to 1951.
Prepared by Susan [Hillman] Brazeau for the Kenora Great War Project
Ancestry.ca: Several resources were accessed through this system including –
1850 Baptism Record for Joseph Godin
1890 Birth Registration, Keewatin, Ontario
1890 Baptism, Notre Dame Parish, Kenora, Ontario
1891, 1891, 1901 1911, 1921 Canadian Census
1912 Marriage Registration
1915 and 1917 United States Border Crossings
1918 United States Draft Card Registration
1938 Voters’ List
1965 Death of Mary Jane
1967 Death of George
1967 U.S. Social Security Death Index
Godin Family trees and Message Boards
Library and Archives Canada: Personnel records First World War, Reference: RG9-II-B-7, Finding Aid 9-60, Volume 30, Item Number: 626197