Let’s Talk About…Filles du Roi

Was your ancestral mother a filles du roi? If so, be proud. These women are known as the founding mothers of Canada.

Here’s the history:

To secure his colonial claims in North America, King Louis XIV of France had to strengthen his settlements in New France (Nova Scotia). French officials recruited girls and women to migrate to New France to increase the population. They became known as the filles du roi, or King’s Daughters.

From 1663 to 1673, nearly 1000 women came to New France. In exchange, the women received money, clothes and household items. Almost all of these women married and had children, doubling the population. 

From the perspective of the French Crown, the program was a success. However, little has been recorded of how these women viewed their experiences. 

The women were to be of child-bearing age and especially so, in good health. The women picked for this “adventure” were chosen by their age, health and physical strength, not necessarily for their looks. They had to be “in good health and strong enough for field work and have strong skills when it comes to domestic tasks…”

There are many Canada-based societies dedicated to preserving the memory, experiences and descendancy of these so-called King’s Daughter. Also, YouTube offers several video-stories. 

So be proud if your great-x-time-grandmother was a Kings’ Daughter!