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13 January 2017 @ 09:39 am
History! And Fashion!  
I was playing around with putting my Ancestry family tree info into FamilySearch (which is a free website, the one I was doing transcription work for in the summer), for fun, still trying to solve a few family mysteries. And I still haven't solved those mysteries, but I did discover new information about one branch of my family. Namely that we have at least two filles du roi in that branch!

Filles du roi ('The King's Daughters') are my favourite part of Canadian history. They were a group of women who came over to marry colonists in Canada, recruited by the French government due to a dearth of women to make babies and build the colony up with. Apparently, the men who settled in New France at the time were getting too friendly with the natives, which was not an 'acceptable' way to procreate. So, the government in France offered women a trousseau if they would go to New France and marry a colonist and be good daughters of France. Why would they want to do that? You know, go to the ungodly, far away lands full of scary things and people? Well, first of all, they gave you shit. You had a trunk full of so many petticoats and dresses and, I don't know, probably dinner plates and silverware. Which is more than poor women could bring to a marriage at home. And also, you can total freedom about who you could marry and the men were so desperate for wives that they were literally proposing to women before they got off the boats when they arrived. And you didn't have to accept a proposal. As long as you eventually married, you could decide which guy you wanted. Which was a HUGE thing, then, too. So, these badass women were like 'fuck France and my lot in life, I'm going to Canada to be sought after and have nice clothing'. And the circumstances were harsh there, so they had to be pretty hardy to survive. It was like, 'yay, I'm married! Oh, you're going to leave me alone in a cabin for the whole freezing winter while you go off and hunt fur? Where I'll be literally snowed in and won't be able to go outside until the thaw? And may have a baby with me? Groovy.'

I really like that period of history.

Also, in more modern news, I made Ascii a winter coat and she looks adorable in it:

IMG_0056.JPG IMG_0057.JPG
Current Mood: accomplishedaccomplished
donutsweeperdonutsweeper on January 13th, 2017 05:33 pm (UTC)
Awww, Ascii is truly adorable in that coat!! And it looks like she loves it!

Hubby has some Filles du roi in his tree too; it's a fascinating idea and solution to the problem of not having enough people emigrating to build up your colonies- pay them to go and encourage marriages and children! It was interesting, if I remember correctly, that not just any woman could become a Filles du roi. They could be poor, but still had to be of an acceptable social standing, etc.
The Writer They Call Tayawanderingbard on January 13th, 2017 05:45 pm (UTC)
I don't think social standing was so important as soundness of mind and body. A lot of them came from the 'General Hospital of Paris' which was a place where they confined the poor (I read a novel about that a little while ago). But you had to be of good 'moral calibre' and in good physical condition. Apparently, you needed a letter from your parish priest attesting to your fitness for the job.

donutsweeperdonutsweeper on January 13th, 2017 05:52 pm (UTC)
If I remember correctly, poor was okay, but you had to know your parentage (something the priest would check) so they weeded out 'unacceptable' women that way.
The Writer They Call Tayawanderingbard on January 13th, 2017 11:52 pm (UTC)
Ah, that makes sense. Otherwise, how would you be listed in all those church records as a child of the legitimate marriage of so and so? :-P

When I was a little girl, I read an English translation of this novel and I fell in love with the idea of the filles du roi from that. There was also a Dear Canada book I read when I was little that was good. And the one I read recently was...this one, which is a 'grown-up' book that's very good. If you're interested in reading more.

I remember reading a novel many years ago about Virginia Tobacco Brides which was a similar concept in America, but they didn't fare as well. I think all but a few of them died within the first six years there (according to Wiki). They were NOT reputable, though. They were often sent against their wills and recruited out of jails. That's this one.

Edited at 2017-01-13 11:54 pm (UTC)
donutsweeperdonutsweeper on January 14th, 2017 12:32 am (UTC)
Ooh, I'll have to see if my library has any of those.

The whole church record keeping thing is great from genealogy standpoint, but it must have been awful for the women and their children who didn't have the ability to have those nice little additions next to their names. From my searches Quebec and Sweden were both VERY much into making sure the parentage was properly recorded and kept track of as one moved through life.
aelfgyfu_mead: self-portraitaelfgyfu_mead on January 14th, 2017 01:39 am (UTC)
I did not know about the Filles du roi! Fascinating!

formerly lifeinsomniacjoonscribble on January 14th, 2017 04:13 am (UTC)
Aww! Ascii looks adorable in her new coat!