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Québec Ancêtre - Did you know?

Throughout the 17th century, France tamed and populated its new colonies across the ocean with the firm hand of seigneurs, aristocrats to whom the king distributed land. In turn, the seigneuers swore loyalty to the king, served in the military, maintained manor houses, ceded land to tenant farmers, and established courts to settle local grievances. Seigneuries were close knit, with sons and fathers able to establish farms within the same territory. In addition, the Roman Catholic Church"s influence was strong in these communities. Priests and nuns acted as doctors, educators, and overseers of business arrangements among the farmers and between French-speaking traders and English-speaking merchants. An important doctrine of the church in Quebec was survivance, the survival of the French people and their culture. Couples were told to have large families, and they did. Ten to twelve children in a family was the norm, not the exception.
The seigneurial system was ideal for settlement during the pioneer period. The seigneuries were subdivided into narrow lots extending back from the banks of the river; the river frontage afforded each lot access to transportational facilities. The tenant, or censitaire, paid taxes to the seigneur in the form of farm products, and the seigneur in turn provided such facilities as mills.


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