Thursday, October 18, 2012

"Filles du Roi" - King Louis XIV's "Binders Full of Women"

The Interwebs have been having a bit of fun at Gov. Mitt Romney's expense over his comment in the second debate with President Barack Obama where he said that in recruiting women to cabinet posts he reviewed "Binders Full of Women."* Albeit inartfully, he was referring to an effort to recruit women to work in his administration -- a fairly admirable affirmative-action goal.

King Louis XIV of France had his own recruitment effort in the Seventeenth Century. With a shortage of women in "New France" during early colonization, the King decided to recruit women to travel to what is now Quebec under "contract" to marry pioneers and soldiers.  As summarized by the Filles du Roi society:

The filles du roi, or King's Daughters, were some 770 women who arrived in the colony of New France (Canada) between 1663 and 1673, under the financial sponsorship of King Louis XIV of France. Most were single French women and many were orphans. Their transportation to Canada and settlement in the colony were paid for by the King. Some were given a royal gift of a dowry of 50 livres for their marriage to one of the many unmarried male colonists in Canada. These gifts are reflected in some of the marriage contracts entered into by the filles du roi at the time of their first marriages.
The filles du roi were part of King Louis XIV's program to promote the settlement of his colony in Canada. Some 737 of these women married and the resultant population explosion gave rise to the success of the colony. Most of the millions of people of French Canadian descent today, both in Quebec and the rest of Canada and the USA (and beyond!), are descendants of one or more of these courageous women of the 17th century.

I've just started looking into this, so I don't have much to add except that after an initial perusal, I've found seven or more women who are ancestors of mine who were filles du roi, including:

Marguerite Ardion
Francoise Baiselat
Jeanne Gueneville
Suzanne Lacroix
Louise Lecoutre
Antoinette Lefebver
Anne Lemaitre and
Louise Menacier

There was one "LaPorte"in the list of roughly 1000 women, but she obviously was not an ancestor.  Marie-Anne de LaPorte married Francois Genaple sieur de Bellefonds. So, she was ancestor to Genaples of North America.

I've not poked around in this area much yet, but can share some resources that I'll be looking at, including one at "we relate."

* The  binder owners dispute the details of Romney's claim).

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