These last few months, I've been heavily focused on researching my French-Canadian lines (of which I have many). Through the use of websites PRDH and GenealogieQuebec, I've been able to go as far back as my 12th-great-grandparents as well as being able to figure out who my ancestors that originally came from France were. In doing so, I've added dozen up dozens of names to my tree in recent weeks/months.
While doing my research, I've learned more about various topics related to French-Canadian genealogy. One of which is the Filles du Roi. The Filles du Roi translated into English means King's Daughters. But who exactly were the Filles du Roi?
|The Arrival of the French Girls at Quebec, 1667. Watercolour by Charles William Jefferys.|
A simple but efficient definition by The Canadian Encyclopedia gives provides a good understanding of the concept.
"The Filles du Roi (King’s Daughters) were unmarried women and sometimes widows who were sponsored by the king to immigrate to New France between 1663 and 1673. Because private interests gave priority to bringing over male workers, the French government and religious community attempted to correct the gender imbalance in the colonies. Even though the first women arrived in Canada in the 1630s, only the 800 or so who arrived during the first 11 years of royal government in New France were called Filles du Roi."
A further explanation is provided by La Société des Filles du roi et soldats du Carignan (SFRSC).
"The Filles du roi, or King's Daughters, were some 768 women who arrived in the colony of New France (Canada) between 1663 and 1673, under the financial sponsorship of King Louis XIV of France. Most were single French women and many were orphans. Their transportation to Canada and settlement in the colony were paid for by the King. Some were given a royal gift of a dowry of 50 livres for their marriage to one of the many unmarried male colonists in Canada. These gifts are reflected in some of the marriage contracts entered into by the filles du roi at the time of their first marriages.
The Filles du roi were part of King Louis XIV's program to promote the settlement of his colony in Canada. Some 737 of these women married and the resultant population explosion gave rise to the success of the colony. Most of the millions of people of French Canadian descent today, both in Quebec and the rest of Canada and the USA (and beyond!), are descendants of one or more of these courageous women of the 17th century."
Having added a lengthy amount of people to my tree, I reviewed a list of Filles du Roi by the American Canadian Genealogical Society to see if I had any in my own tree. Sure enough, I discovered that I had not only one, but five! Below are the names of my five ancestors who were Filles du Roi:
9th-great-grandmother Catherine Ducharme, wife of Pierre Roy
9th-great-grandmother Françoise Duval, wife of Pierre Coulon dit Courault
10th-great-grandmother Françoise Moisan, wife of Antoine Brunet dit Belhumeur
10th-great-grandmother Jeanne Petit, wife of François Séguin
10th-great-grandmother Françoise Piéton, wife of André Achin dit St. André
In addition to being the descendant of five Filles du Roi, it turns out I also descend from two Carignan-Salières Regiment soldiers. The Carignan-Salières Regiment arrived in New France in response to the colonists pleas for help in dealing with the Iroquois. Between June and September of 1665, an estimated 1200 soldiers arrived in New France, under the guidance of Lt. General Alexander de Prouville de Tracy. Of these twelve hundred some odd soldiers, I descend from two (that I know of as of writing this): François Séguin and André Achin dit St. André, both soldiers who went on to marry Filles du Roi.
Knowing what I know now about my ancestors while still learning more about who the Filles du Roi and Carignan-Salières Regiment soldiers has been great because it has given me amazing insight and perspective into who these specific ancestors were in life, the impact they made during their lifetime and the lasting legacy of it.
While doing this research, I also learned that there is a society dedicated to the descendants of Filles du Roi and Carignan-Salières Regiment Soldiers -- La Société des Filles du roi et soldats du Carignan (SFRSC). Similar to the General Society of Mayflower Descendants, those who want full membership to SFRSC have to prove descent to one of the Filles du Roi. Once proven, members are given a certificate of lineage. My goal now is to gather up all the documentation I have collected doing this research and join the society, hopefully being able to get a certificate of lineage for each ancestor down the road.
As I continue my research, it will be interesting to see if any further Filles du Roi or Carignan-Salières Regiment Soldiers turn up.
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Copyright © 2018 by David J. McRae