Thursday, March 19, 2009

King's Daughters - Settler's of New France

One of our ancestors, our lovely Catherine, was a "fille du roi". These young women, the King's Daughters, known in French as the "fille du roi", agreed to travel to the new settlements in North America (Nouvelle-France) and marry a settler there in exchange for a dowry of 50 livres from the French King, Louis XIV. The program was instituted because there was a severe imbalance between single men and women at the new French outpost. Most female immigrants had to pay their own passage, and there were few single women who voluntarily came to settle in the harsh climate and conditions of New France.
The title "King's Daughters" was meant to imply state patronage (not royal or noble birth). Most of these women were commoners of humble birth. In addition to the monetary support from the King they also had the costs of their transportation covered. Many Daughters were poor and were considered "orphans" by virtue of having lost at least one parent, though not necessarily both. Some still had both parents living. In the new settlement the girls were expected to marry and start families in an attempt to further populate New France.

Our ancestor, Catherine Ducharme of Ile-de-France, arrived in New France in 1671 and married Pierre Roy dit St-Lambert, who had arrived in Quebec in 1666 with the Regiment du Carignan.
Married on 12 JAN 1672 in Montreal, Ile-De-Montreal, Quebec, they raised their family at Laprairie on the south shore of Montreal.

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