Filles Marier
Before the Filles du Roi, the Filles Marier were women that came to Canada, or New France, in the years 1634-1662. The first few years, girls arrived in numbers fewer than 3. They were sponsored by individuals that had to account for their morality and honesty. In later years, they began to come in groups, or greater numbers per year, with 37 being the most in one year - 1662. Few of the women who came to New France had relatives living there. Most came with to escape life in France - poverty, arranged marriages. Unlike the Filles du Roi, they were not recruited, were not given a dowry. However, they had the freedom to marry whom they chose, make a life of their own. In the nearly 30 year period that an effort was made to send marriageable girls to New France, 262 are considered to be Fille Marier.

Filles du Roi

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.