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Somerset, Wisconsin: 125 pioneer families and Canadian connection: 125th year
(1990?)

The king's daughters,   pp. 93-98 PDF (2.9 MB)


Page 97

of their first offspring. Sometimes a few drabs of other
information  comes to light  from  other  legal  documents,
property transfers, confirmation records, etc.
It is extremely dificult to ferret out much    information
about most individuals   among our early  French-Canadian
ancestors, but considered as a group, there is a wealth of
material.   The same is true of the filles de roi, the
daughters of the king.
Most of the history books devoted only a few short paragraphs
to the king's daughters, mentioning  the need for wives and
mothers in New France, and the plan of obtaining    them  by
having the king offer a dowry.   One of the major   truisms
mentioned in all these accounts is the speed with which the
women arriving from France found husbands among the colonists
and were married.
Typical is the account in Eccles's "The Canadian Frontier
1534-1760" (Holt, Renehart and Winston, New York, 1969)."Each
year," writes Eccles, "the ships carried hundreds of the fil-
les du Roi to Quebec, where they were cared for by the Ursu-
lines and Hospital sisters until they found husbands. This
rarely took more than a fortnight." Eccles, in turn, is citing
Lanctot's "Filles de joie ou Filles du Roi"(Montreal, 1952).
It is true that our ancestresses among the filles du Roi were
speedily wed once they arrived in New France. But   just how
fast is more difficult to ascertain. There are very     few
ancestors among the French-Canadians whose  arrival  can  be
pinpointed.   And this is true for the filles du Roi. What
is known is that the bachelors in New France wanted wives
and the women arriving had agreed in advance to marry. Love,
in that day and age, was always  something  our  ancestors
expected would come after marriage, if it was to be.
Still, our ancestors weren't about to leave   everthing  to
chance. It is amazing to note the large number who    appar-
ently sought and obtained wedding partners   from  their  own
native section of France. What is more amazing is the large
number of formal agreements to marry made before a notary
that were annulled. There were even a number of civil mar-
riages contracted, annulled, new partners obtained, another
annullment, and the earlier partner back.againthis time for
the all-important church ceremony.   These civil  agreements
on the terms of the marriage were not lighly  arrived  at.
The decision to seek an annulment had to be studied and
couldn't have been made quickly. The annulments were always
possible, of course, because it was the church ceremony that
made the marriage official, and it was a real  rarity when
the civil  agreement was drawn up following    the  church
ceremony although it was not unknown.
Typical of these annulments is one recorded   in J. and V.
Durand's "Jean Durand et Sa Posterite"(Saint-Viateur, Out-


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