My parents visited over New Year’s and while here, my mom invited me to some of her very thoroughly researched family trees on ancestry.com. Since then, I’ve been completely hooked on this genealogy research tool. I have found out some interesting information about my husband’s ancestors, including his being a direct descendant of a King’s Daughter or Filles du roi. Royalty? No. Though Miss Euna is most certainly a princess. Because, actually, there were some 770 King’s Daughters, as they were called, all sponsored by King Louis XIV to move across the Atlantic to marry colonists and help populate Nouvelle France (Canada).
At around 20 years of age, Nicole Legrand left Paris, the largest city in Europe, to start a new life in a very different world—the wilderness of Canada. She arrived to Quebec with a hundred or so other women, their travel and dowries all taken care of by the king, and then married Francois Noël in 1669 on l’île d’Orléans, Quebec. She had 10 children (I’m guessing she had 10 because the king offered financial incentives to families who had 10 or more children. Can you imagine?) and she is my children’s 10th great-grandmother.
This couple is one of the three lines I’ve traced back to this island on the St. Lawrence River in Quebec; a place I would now love to visit. While I’ve been studying marriage and baptism records, all beautifully hand-penned in French, I keep thinking about what daily life for these first families must have been like some 350 years ago. This past week I’ve been spending hours studying architecture, furnishings, art, fashion, and even child-rearing practices from this period in history. Life was not glamorous for these farmers and fur traders, and their families, but man, what I wouldn’t give to live in one of their country houses. While researching, I stumbled upon this 300-year old home on the island that thousands of French-Canadians can now trace their roots back to. My 91 year-old grandmother-in-law was thrilled to learn of her lineage connection to a Filles du roi last week, and now I find myself completely inspired by French history and architecture.
Source: Maison & Demeure
Photography: Louise Bilodeau