Monday, 22 October 2018

I Descend From 5 Filles du Roi!

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

Sunday, 30 September 2018

Francoise Moisan: "the ruin and the cause of debaucher of the youth of the entire Cote Saint-Francois"

As a genealogist, I like to go beyond just names and dates. I want to know the story behind the name; who that person was in life, what they experienced during their lifetime. Good or bad, I want to know. And tonight, I found out quite a bit about my 10th-great-grandmother Françoise Moisan. Françoise is one of my French ancestors, having been born in France and immigrating to Nouvelle-France during the mid-17th century.

Below is an account of my 10th-great-grandmother, taken from "King's Daughters and Founding Mothers: The Filles du Roi, 1663-1673" by Peter J. Gagne. As you will see when you read the passage below, Françoise Moisan was not a simple housewife and mother as many expect their ancestors to have been in those days. Despite the dangers of punishment looming over her, Françoise daringly carried on with life as she pleased. 


Francoise Moisan was born about 1645 in the parish of Saint-Barthelemi in La Rochelle, Aunis, the daughter of plowman and gardener Abel Moisan and Marie Simiot, who were married 23 January 1642 at Saint-Barthelemi de La Rochelle. Her father is the son of Mathurin Moisan and Jeanne Coustu and her mother is the daughter of miller Charles Simiot and Marie Cholet from La Jarrie. After losing both parents, Francoise left for Canada in 1663, at about age 18.

On 28 November 1663, Francoise married Antoine Brunet dit Belhumeur in Montreal. Neither spouse could sign the marriage contract drawn up 19 October by notary Gloria. Antoine was born about 1644 in the parish of Saint-Nicolas in La Rochelle, the son of Mathurin Brunet and Marie Brunet. He came to Canada in 1662. Antoine and Francoise settled at Montreal, where son Francois was baptized 17 March 1665, followed by Marie-Francoise (26 April 1667), Catherine (25 August 1669) and Antoine (06 July, buried 10 July 1672). Twins Elisabeth and Genevieve were baptized 23 July 1674, followed by Marguerite (16 April 1679) and Barbe-Angelique (19 June 1682).

In 1688, Francoise was accused of living a scandalous life, charged with inciting her son-in-law's second wife to prostitution. Jean Patenaude had married Marie Brunet in 1683, but Marie died in 1686, giving birth to their second child. That November, Jean married Marie Robidou. Francoise maintained contact with her former son-in-law, becoming friendly with Marie Robidou, who frequented her house. These relations began to worry the local cure, who voiced his concerns to Jean. When Jean went to speak with Francoise, however, both she and her son Francois mistreated him.

Unable to resolve the situation himself, Jean went to the authorities in an attempt to force his wife to return home. He alleged that "for quite some time, several people have engaged in a sinister commerce with the said Bellehumeur woman, who has always been the ruin and the cause of debaucher of the youth of the entire Cote Saint-Francois and who continues to live in such infamy". (16)

It was stated that soldiers constantly visited Francoise's home despite warning, threats and beatings by their officers and that some of the lovers got into fights with each other and one even mistreated Francoise when he found her sleeping with other men.

During the inquiry, it came out that Francoise had a lover named Andre Huneau for over two years. Huneau testified that not only did Francoise live a "dissolute and infamous life," but that the two of them lived together for two years as husband and wife. The most damaging testimony was that "she was even so brazen that to satisfy her brutality she had no concern if her daughters who were twelve or thirteen years old were prostitutes. (17)

Pierre Delorme dit Sans-Crainte, another lover, testified that he would sleep with Francoise when her husband was away (which was often) and that when Antoine returned, he would stay in the barn. It seems that the only outcome of all of this testimony was to publicly denounce Francoise's conduct and to ban her from contact with her former son-in-law's second wife.

Antoine Brunet died at Montreal between 15 November 1688 and 04 June 1695. On 13 February 1707, Francoise married Pierre Perhuis dit Lalime at Montreal. Notary Adhemar drew up the marriage contract that same day. Pierre was previoulsy married (1668) to Fille du Roi Claude Damise, with whom he had 12 children. Pierre and Francoise had no children together. Pierre Perthuis was buried at Montreal 16 April 1708. Francoise Moisan died 02 November 1718 and was buried the same day at Contrecoeur, probably a victim of a malignant fever epidemic."


(16) Sequin, Vie Libertine pp. 80-81, (Archives Judiciare de Montreal 19 September 1688)
(17) same p. 81
* * *
Direct Relationship Between Myself & Françoise Moisan

Francoise Moisan
...Catherine Brunet
......Joseph Patenaude 
.........Angelique Patenaude 
............Marie Angelique Gervais
...............Marie Angelique Magny
..................Albert Benoit
.....................Albert Benoit
........................George N. Benoit
...........................Edna Agnes Benoit
..............................Helen Patricia Meagher
.................................Cheryl Lynne Anderson
....................................David J. McRae
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Copyright © 2018 by David J. McRae

Monday, 1 January 2018

On This Day In Family History (January 1):

1773: 5th-great-grandfather Börje Andersson was born in Sweden.

1788: 6th-great-grandaunt Lisbet Andersdotter married Halfvard Bengtsson in Järn församling, Älvsborgs län, Dalsland, Sweden. 

Marriage Record for Lisbet Andersdotter & Halfvard Bengtsson.

1805: 5th-great-grandaunt Britta Jonsdotter married 1st cousin 7x removed (Britta’s 1st cousin) Anders Börjesson in Östad församling, Älvsborgs län, Västergötland, Sweden. 

Marriage Record for Britta Jonsdotter & Anders Börjesson.

1822: 5th-great-grandfather Petter Eriksson married Kjerstin Larsdotter in Grinstad församling, Älvsborgs län, Dalsland, Sweden. 

Marriage Record for Petter Eriksson & Kjerstin Larsdotter.

1825: 1st cousin 6x removed Sven Pettersson was baptized in Järn församling, Älvsborgs län, Dalsland, Sweden.

Birth & Baptismal Record for Sven Pettersson.

1826: 1st cousin 7x removed Märta Lisa Ingevaldsdotter married Johannes Pärsson in Järn församling, Älvsborgs län, Dalsland, Sweden. 

Marriage Record for Märta Lisa Ingevaldsdotter & Johannes Pärsson.

1848: 3rd cousin 5x removed Lars Magnus Svensson was born in Sävarebol, Grinstad församling, Älvsborgs län, Dalsland, Sweden.

Birth & Baptismal Record for Lars Magnus Svensson.

1865: 3rd cousin 5x removed Wilhelmina Johansson was born in Gullesbyn, Ör församling, Älvsborgs län, Dalsland, Sweden. 

Birth & Baptismal Record for Wilhelmina Johansson.

1875: 4th cousin 4x removed Sven August Jonasson was baptized in Hede, Grinstad församling, Älvsborgs län, Dalsland, Sweden. 

1897: 3rd cousin 3x removed Zenas Henry Kelley married Selina St. Pierre in Gloucester, Essex County, Massachusetts, USA.

1909: 5th cousin 3x removed John Lars Magnus Waller was born in Önum församling, Skaraborgs län, Västergötland, Sweden.

Birth & Baptismal Record for John Lars Magnus Waller.

2013: 6th cousin 2x removed Lars Erik Verner Eriksson passed away in Flo församling, Västra Götalands län, Västergötland, Sweden, aged 82. 

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Copyright © 2018 David J. McRae

Thursday, 2 February 2017

Two French Marriage Records for 5th-Great-Grandparents' Nicholas & Angelique: What Do They Say?

Over the course of the past few months, I decided to put my Swedish research on hold and spend more time focusing on my other lines. One line in specific is my Benoit line, which hails from Quebec in Canada. The Benoits are of French-Canadian descent. As I continue my research with this line, one problem I have is that a large majority of documents I find are in French, which I know very little of. 

Recently, I have found two separate marriage records for my 5th-great-grandparents Nicholas Magny and Angelique Gervais. Both are in French. The marriage took place in 1785. I am hoping to take away as much information as I can from both of them, on the chance that one contains information that the other doesn't, and was hoping to find someone who would be able to translate both of these.

Below are the two marriage records, divided into two images each. Any help in translating both of these would be greatly appreciated.


1st Marriage Record




2nd Marriage Record



Copyright © 2017, David J. McRae

Monday, 2 January 2017

On This Day In Family History (January 2):

1843: 1st cousin 5x removed Katrina Andersdotter was born in Löfås, Östad församling, Älvsborgs län, Västergötland, Sweden.


1848:  4th-great-granduncle Olaus Olsson was buried. 

1848: 1st cousin 5x removed Aron Ryberg passed away by cause of kikhosta in Angered Storegården, Angered församling, Älvsborgs län, Västergötland, Sweden, aged 2.


1885: 4th cousin 4x removed Anna Larsdotter was baptized in Söbyn, Grinstad församling, Älvsborgs län, Dalsland, Sweden.

1935: 5th cousin 3x removed Ingrid Ulrika Hede was Nor församling, Värmlands län, Värmland, Sweden.

1981: 3rd cousin David George DeRoche was born in Lowell, Middlesex County, Massachusetts, USA.

1987: 5th cousin 3x removed Bengt Anders Ingemar Malmsköld passed away in Sweden.

Copyright © 2016, David J. McRae

Sunday, 1 January 2017

On This Day In Family History (January 1):

1773: 5th-great-grandfather Börje Andersson was born in Sweden.


1788: 6th-great-grandaunt Lisbet Andersdotter married Halfvard Bengtsson in Järn församling, Älvsborgs län, Dalsland, Sweden. 


1805: 5th-great-grandaunt Britta Jonsdotter married 1st cousin 7x removed (Britta’s 1st cousin) Anders Börjesson in Östad församling, Älvsborgs län, Västergötland, Sweden.


1822: 5th-great-grandfather Petter Eriksson married Kjerstin Larsdotter in Grinstad församling, Älvsborgs län, Dalsland, Sweden.


1825: 1st cousin 6x removed Sven Pettersson was baptized in Järn församling, Älvsborgs län, Dalsland, Sweden.


1826: 1st cousin 7x removed Märta Lisa Ingevaldsdotter married Johannes Pärsson in Järn församling, Älvsborgs län, Dalsland, Sweden.


1848: 3rd cousin 5x removed Lars Magnus Svensson was born in Sävarebol, Grinstad församling, Älvsborgs län, Dalsland, Sweden.


1865: 3rd cousin 5x removed Wilhelmina Johansson was born in Gullesbyn, Ör församling, Älvsborgs län, Dalsland, Sweden. 


1875: 4th cousin 4x removed Sven August Jonasson was baptized in Hede, Grinstad församling, Älvsborgs län, Dalsland, Sweden.

1909: 5th cousin 3x removed John Lars Magnus Waller was born in Önum församling, Skaraborgs län, Västergötland, Sweden.


2013: 6th cousin 2x removed Lars Erik Verner Eriksson passed away in Flo församling, Västra Götalands län, Västergötland, Sweden, aged 82.

Copyright © 2016, David J. McRae 

Sunday, 18 September 2016

Ancestors In Living Color! (#3): Sarah Jane McGinn's Wedding Day

Yesterday, I asked the people over at the Random Acts of Kindness Photo Restoration Facebook group to add some color to my great-great-grandmother Sarah Jane McGinn's wedding photo from February 25, 1897. The photo is a "tintype." Seated in the middle is Sarah with her parents, James F. McGinn and Rachel (Ellsworth) McGinn, beside her. Below is the original:


Now here it is in color:


Whether those were the actual colors or not that day I'll never know but seeing these old photographs with color added to them sure does bring greater life to moments like these.

Special thanks again to the folks over at Random Acts of Kindness Photo Restoration Facebook group for doing this!

Copyright © 2016, David J. McRae