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List of Filles du Roi (King's Daughters) 1600s Quebec New France


Between 1663 and 1673, 768 Filles du Roi or "King’s Daughters" emigrated to New France under the sponsorship of the French government as part of the overall strategy of strengthening the colony until it could stand on its own without economic and military dependence on France.

In 1663, the King took over direct control of the government of New France and initiated an organized system of recruiting and transporting marriageable women to the colony. On September 22, 1663, thirty-six girls –the first group of Filles du Roi– arrived in Québec.

The recruiting of Filles du Roi took place largely in Paris, Rouen and other northern cities by merchants and ship outfitters. A screening process required each girl to present her birth certificate and a recommendation from her parish priest or local magistrate stating that she was free to marry. It was necessary that the girls be of appropriate age for giving birth and that "they be healthy and strong for country work, or that they at least have some aptitude for household chores."

The cost of sending each Fille du Roi to New France was 100 livres: 10 for the recruitment, 30 for clothing and 60 for the crossing itself. Upon arrival, the Filles received suitable clothing and some provisions.

All of the Filles du Roi first landed at Québec City where 560 remained, with 133 being sent to Montréal and 75 to Trois-Rivières.

When selecting a Fille du Roi, the suitor looked beyond outward appearances and considered the practical attributes of a bride that would be adapted or disposed to the rigors of the colony. The preference seems to have been for peasant girls because they were healthy and industrious, as opposed to city girls who were often considered lightheaded and lazy.

Every Fille du Roi had the right to refuse any marriage offer that was presented. In order to make an informed decision to accept a would-be husband, the girls asked questions about the suitor’s home, finances, land and profession. Having a home of one’s own was one of the most important considerations for a Fille du Roi.

In addition to any dowry of goods that the bride may have brought with her from France, each couple was given an assortment of livestock and goods to start them off in married life: a pair of chickens and pigs, an ox, a cow and two barrels of salted meat. The King’s Gift of 50 livres is believed to have been a customary addition to the dowry, but only 250 out of 606 known marriage contracts make reference to an additional dowry given by the King. Once married, there was an incentive to have large families. A yearly pension of 300 livres was granted to families with ten children, rising to 400 livres for 12 children and more for larger families.

In September 1673 the last shipment of Filles du Roi arrived from France, and the program ended. The population of New France had risen to 6,700 people, an increase of 168% in the eleven years since the program had begun.

Source: Peter J. Gagné, King’s Daughters and Founding Mothers: The Filles du Roi, 1663-1673, (Pawtucket, RI: Quinton Publications, 2001)


Histoire du Québec 6 - Les Filles du Roi (in French) (www.youtube.com)
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  Jeanne VILAIN (abt. 1655, Paris, France - 18 December 1711, Montréal, Québec, Canada )
  Louise VITARD (abt. 1646, , France - 15 June 1715, Lotbinière, Québec, Canada (Saint-Louis))
  Marguerite VITRY (24 February 1647, Rouen, France - 14 February 1724, Neuville, Portneuf, Québec, Canada (Saint-François-de-Sales))
  Marie VOGUER (17 August 1647, , France - 26 April 1712, Neuville, Portneuf, Québec, Canada (Saint-François-de-Sales))
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