French-Canadian Heritage Society of Michigan
P.O. Box 1900, Royal Oak, 48068-1900
Filles à Marier
 
The Filles à Marier – 1634 – 1663:
The Filles à Marier refer to the marriageable girls who immigrated to New France between 1634 and September 1663 seeking a better life.  Although less well known than the Filles du Roi, most people with French-Canadian ancestry have at least one of these brave women as their ancestors. 
 
Book Recommendation:  Peter J. Gagné, Before the King’s Daughters: The Filles à Marier, 1634-1662 (Pawtucket, Rhode Island: Quintin Publications, 2002).  Gagné used five criteria to determine which women who immigrated to New France could be considered a filles à marier: 1. They must have arrived in New France before September 1663 and not be considered one of the filles du Roi; 2. They must have arrived in New France at a marriageable age; 3. They must have married or signed a marriage contract in New France or have agreed to an enlistment contract; 4. They must not have been accompanied by both parents; and 5. They must not have been accompanied by a husband or have joined their husband in New France.  In addition to an introductory chapter, Gagné’s book contains brief biographies of 262 women.  The second edition of the book can be purchased from the American-French Genealogical Society for $50.  See: http://afgs.org/site/shop-online/
 
Podcast:  Sandra Goodwin, of Maple Stars and Stripes, interviewed Peter J. Gagne about the filles à marier.  You can read the show notes and listen to the podcast at this link: https://maplestarsandstripes.com/shownotes/mss-069-filles-marier/
 
Online Lists and Resources: The following links are limited to those sites that list all or a substantial number of filles à marier.
 
FichierOrigine: This website should be your starting point for researching your immigrant ancestors’ origins in France because for the individuals covered, the profiles of the individuals often contain birth or baptismal information, a link to their baptism, as well as information on their spouse(s), parents and siblings.  The search screen and results are in French.  See: http://www.fichierorigine.com/ Type the surname in the box labeled “nom de famille” and click on “rechercher” at the bottom of the main menu.  If the family has been researched you will be linked to a list of immigrants with that surname.  Click on the individual you are researching to view the profile of that individual.
 
The Migrations Website: although this website is in French, it is an excellent resource for immigrant ancestors.  For the filles à marier, they provide a list of the filles, the names of her parents, the names of her spouse(s), and the names of her children with their birth/baptism and death/burial information.  The chart includes links to birth/baptism, marriage, and death/burial information for the immigrant if available.  See: http://www.migrations.fr/FILLE_A_MARIER/FILLEAMARIER.htm
 
Genealogy of the French in North America – Denis Beauregard’s list of 199 filles à marier from his website.  The list includes the name of the fille and her spouse(s).  Clicking on the name of the fille will link you to a page which discusses her origin in France and links to her spouse(s).  When you click on the name of the spouse you will be directed to a summary of her children with birth/baptismal, marriage, and death/burial information.  In addition, if mtDNA results from her female descendants are known, the mtDNA results are posted.  See: http://www.francogene.com/gfna/gfna/998/fmr.htm
 
Article in Michigan’s Habitant Heritage: Judith Rigaud: Has This Interesting New France Woman Been Treated Fairly in Published Articles? by Suzanne Boivin Sommerville.  This article originally appeared in Michigan Habitant Heritage in October 2013.  FCHSM Members, please log in under the Members section to read this article.
 
Two Women in a Garden - Maison St-Gabriel
Two Women in a Garden, courtesy of Maison Saint Gabriel
these women are dressed in the clothing worn by most women in New France