La Société des Filles du roi et soldats du Carignan, Inc.

The King's Daughters

The Filles du roi, or King's Daughters, were some 768 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.

Click here for a listing of the filles du roi

Click here for a listing of soldiers marrying filles du roi.

The list of King’s Daughters featured on this website is primarily the work of Peter Gagné, historian, author, and honorary member of the Society. In his book King’s Daughters and Founding Mothers: The Filles du Roi, 1663-1673, Peter Gagné writes, “Despite the fact that the sending of Filles du Roi to New France was a state-sponsored program, it seems that no official “master list” or yearly passenger listing for the vessels that carried these women were kept. If they were, they have not survived to our day or have never been found. Occasionally, a reference was made in the official correspondence regarding the number of Filles du Roi, as in 1668 when Talon referred to the 84 girls sent from Dieppe and 25 from La Rochelle the previous year. Incredibly, for the duration of this program (between 1663 and 1673) the exact arrival date is known for only 23 out of 770 Filles du Roi- a mere 3%” (p 39).
He goes on to say: “For the most part, historians and genealogists have had to rely on the first appearance of these women in the official records of the colony. For nine out of ten women in this time frame, this means a marriage or marriage contract. But is this an accurate means of determining when they arrived in New France? “It seems to be so in the case of solitary female immigrants, because they were generally quick to get married, given the ‘marriage market’ prevalent at that time in Canada."" (Charbonneau et al, as quoted in King’s Daughters, p. 39)
Who qualifies as a Fille du roi? As Peter Gagné tells us, Gustave Lanctôt reported that he defined the Filles du roi as the "female emigrants - girls, women or widows - who went to Canada on the expenses of the King in convoys recruited and conducted by the French authorities, who were established in Canada by the Intendant and who received at marriage the King’s Gift of 50 livres for commoners and 100 livres for demoiselles and sometimes (but rarely) even more." (Charbonneau et al, as quoted in King’s Daughters, p. 39). Peter Gagné includes biographies of all the known Filles du roi, whether they found husbands or not and whether or not they returned to France – 768 women in all.
In the Spring of 2013, an article by Peter Gagné listing the girls who immigrated in 1663 was published in Sent by the King, the Society’s journal. Peter’s sources for the list is reproduced below and indicates the variety of resources he has used in compiling his lists:
Campeau, Charles Vianney (webmaster). “Navires venus en Nouvelle-France.” Website.
Gagné, Peter. Before the King’s Daughters: The Filles à Marier, 1634-1662. Pawtucket, RI: Quintin Publications, 2002. (Quintin Publications is now out of business; the book has been reprinted by the AFGS.)
Gagné, Peter. King’s Daughters and Founding Mothers: The Filles du Roi, 1663-1673. 2 volumes. Pawtucket, RI: Quintin Publications, 2001. (Quintin Publications is now out of business; the book has been reprinted by the AFGS.)
Landry, Yves. Orphelines en France, Pionnières au Canada. Ottawa: Leméac, 1992.
Jetté, René. Dictionnaire généalogique des familes du Québec. Montréal: Les Presses de l’Université de Montréal, 1983.
Jugements et délibérations du Conseil Souverain de la Nouvelle-France. Volume 1. Québec: Gouvernement du Québec, 1932.
Trudel, Marcel. La population du Canada en 1666. Recensement reconstitué. Québec: Septentrion, 1995.