Filles à Marier

In some previous posts I have mentioned female ancestors whom I have described as being “filles à marier”.  This translates into “marriageable girls”, a rather vague term, but one which has a very specific meaning in the history of New France.  It refers to those women between the ages of 12 and 45 who immigrated to New France between 1634 and 1662. The majority of course were single, but a few were widows.

During this time period the population of the colony was very small and consisted of mostly single men.  There was a need for more women if the colony was to flourish.  262 “filles à marier” have been documented, and 25 of these were Hogue or Girardin ancestors.

Unlike the better-known King’s Daughters or “Filles du Roi”, these immigrants did not come with a dowry but were simply taking a chance on a better life. They were recruited and chaperoned by religious groups such as the Société Notre-Dame de Montréal, or individuals such as Jeanne Mance and Monsieur de La Dauversière, who had to assure and account for their good conduct.

Peter J. Gagné  has done extensive research on these female immigrants and published his findings in Before the King’s Daughters: The Filles à Marier, 1634-1662 (Quintin Publications, c2002).

I have already written about Jeanne Auneau who arrived in 1645, the first of our filles à marier to come here, and also Catherine Delavaux and Marguerite Maclin.

Other Girardin ancestors who were filles à marier are:

Anne Achon

Marie Marthe Arnu

Marie Gillette Banne

Marie Elisabeth Camus

Marguerite Charlot

Marie Madeleine Cousteau

Marie Nicole Duchesne

Marie Ferra

Marie Francoise Jobin dit Lajeunesse

Jeanne Lerouge

Genevieve Longchamp

Susanne Migaud

Marie Pacrau

Marie Francoise Pomponnelle

Marie Pontonnier

Suzanne Rocheteau

Jeanne St. Pair

Marie Valade

Hogue ancestors in this group are:

Marie Chefdeville

Catherine Crampon

Jacqueline Lagrange

Marie Lorgueil

They all have stories to tell, but I will share just one right now.

Gillette Banne immigrated around 1649 and married Marin Chauvin.  They had one child, but Gillette was widowed before the child was one! In 1653 she married again to Jacques Bertault.  The couple settled in Trois Rivières and had six children.  They ended up being hung for the murder of their son-in-law!  What happened is this:  their daughter Elisabeth Isabelle (not our ancestor) was married at the age of 12 or 13 (not uncommon) to a soldier aged 30, who turned out to be a drunk, and an abusive man.  Jacques and Gillette were trying to look out for her, provide food, etc. They plotted to poison him, but that didn’t work.  They ended up beating him to death.  They were tried and hung on June 9th, 1672 in Quebec City. But not just hung!  They were stripped to the waist, and led, with cords around their necks, to the church to kneel and ask forgiveness.  Here’s what Peter J. Gagné  writes about the punishment:

“In addition, Jacques was to have his arms and legs broken with a rod, which Gillette and Elisabeth were forced to witness before Gillette’s execution.  After his execution, Jacques’ body was to be displayed on a wheel at the Cap-aux-Diamants to serve as an example.”

Although Elisabeth was also found guilty of assisting in the crime, the Sovereign Council took pity on her because of her young age.

Here’s our descent from Gillette Banne to Mémère:

1-Marie Gillette BANNE (abt 1636-1672)
+Jacques BERTAULT (abt 1626-1672)
2-Suzanne BERTAULT (1657-1739)
+Jacques BRUNEL (abt 1645-?)
3-Jacques BRUNEL (1680- 1723)
+Marie Jeanne BERNARD (1685-1752)
4-Joseph BRUNEL (1708- 1750)
+Marie Josephe SENECAL dit LAFRAMBOISE (1712-1776)
5-Jacques BRUNEL (1739-?)
+Marie Louise FUGERE dit CHAMPAGNE 1742-1798)
6-Marie Charlotte BRUNEL (1774-1806)
+Christophe LUSSIER (1773-?)
7-Magdeleine LUSSIER (1795-1832)
+Charles ALLARD (1787-1862)
8-Joseph Pierre ALLARD (1826-1875)
+Marie BONIN (1827-?)
9-Onesime ALLARD (1852-1896)
+Napoleon GIRARDIN (1851-1929)
10-Marie Emma GIRARDIN (1878-1979)



One thought on “Filles à Marier

  1. Oh la la! Quelle histoire!

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