Leroux-O'Connor Family site

Filles du Roi






Les Filles du Roi

“Prostitutes, Orphans, Thieves and Undesirables”

The idea that the Filles du Roi were prostitutes has been around since the inception of the program in the 17th century. Or that they were orphans or other “undesirables”, sent the penal colony of Canada.
Nothing is further from the truth.
In 1665 there were less than 75 houses in Quebec. The British colonies had started to grow, and there was concern about the population in Quebec might affect the ability of France to maintain their claim on Canada. As an incentive to grow the population, Jean Talon, Intendant of New France, proposed that the King sponsor the passage of at least 500 women to Canada. There are no accurate counts of the number that did immigrate, but the total is likely between 800 and 850, in a program that lasted from 1663 to 1673. Each woman had her passage paid (100 livres), a dowry (less than 400 livres), a small gift that was typically 50 livres, a trousseau and clothing. In return, they would spend 6 weeks on a small ship and move from a civilized lifestyle in a moderate environment, to a country where land had to be cleared before crops could be planted, that had harsh winters, mosquitos and black flies. Many companies today would love to hire the marketing executives responsible for the program!
All the women that came to Canada under the Filles du Roi program had to be of very high moral character. Most needed a letter from their Parish Priest recommending them for the program. Of the approximately 850 women who immigrated under the program, only one was ever charged, convicted or sentenced on any crime related to morals, and this occurred in Canada. This equates to 0.12% of the total women. And, of course, this is one that we are directly related to! Anne-Marie Phanseque was charged with prostitution and arrested for selling liquor to the Indians, after her first husband, Hubert Leroux, died and her second husband abandoned her.

While everyone that has roots in Quebec is likely related to a Filles du Roi, we have (at least) 15 in our family, 13 that we have direct lineage to.:

Last Name First Name DOB Immigration Marriage Married to Age at Marriage Date of Death Age at Death Direct Ancestor Link
Barbant Marie abt 1639 likely 30 Jun. 1669 14 Nov. 1669 Jean de Lalonde 30 aft 1 Jan 1689 50 Y Link
D'Amours Helene abt 1646 3 Jul. 1668 6 Aug. 1668 Louis Foucher 22 24 Jul. 1699 53 Y Link
Goubilleau Francoise abt 1631 31 Jul. 1670 15 Apr. 1671 Paul Daze 40 10 Nov. 1721 90 Y Link
Grandin Marie abt 1648 3 Jul. 1668 1672 Claude Robillard 24 31 Oct. 1708 60 Y Link
Guillaume Anne abt 1650 15 Aug. 1671 19 Oct. 1671 Francois Dubois 21 29 Jan 1716 66 Y Link
LaHogue Marie-Claire abt 1651 30 Jun. 1669 27 Nov. 1669 Jean Sédillot 18 25 Aug. 1687 36 N Link
Lequay Madeleine 7 Dec. 1636 3 Jul. 1668 6 Nov. 1668 Jean Garnier 31 21 Dec. 1708 72 Y Link
Marie Marie Denise abt 1654 3 Sept. 1673 12 Feb. 1674 Jean Quenneville 20 31 aug. 1720 66 Y Link
Masson Anne abt 1638 31 Jul. 1670 8 Sept. 1670 Robert Gallien 18 13 Sept. 1710 31 Y Link
Pescher Marie abt 1645 30 Jul. 1671 1672 Jean Harel 27 19 Nov. 1728 83 Y Link
Petit Jeanne abt 1643 3 Aug. 1672 31 Oct. 1672 François Séguin-Ladéroute 29 29 Mar 1733 90 N Link
Phanseque Anne-Marie 1657 3 Sept. 1673 20 Nov. 1673 Hubert Leroux 16 12 Apr. 1722 65 Y Link
Roussel Marie-Charlotte abt 1646 3 Jul. 1668 12 Nov. 1668 Pierre Gauthier 22 bef 20 Jan 1698 52 Y Link
Roy Jeanne abt 1645 30 Jun. 1669 26 Jan 1670 Jean Peladeau 25 5 Dec. 1721 76 Y Link
Vie Lamothe Madeleine-Sainte abt 1648 30 Jun. 1664 27 Aug. 1664 Jean Poitras 16 28 Jul. 1691 43 Y Link

Some statistics

Most of the women who came to Canada as Filles du Roi were young, and our family is no exception. The table below compares the average of all Filles du Roi against the ones in our family.

Age Group % of Filles % of (Leroux) Filles
14-18 13.7% 23.5%
19-24 43.8% 35.3%
25-29 24.1% 17.6%
30-34 12.3% 17.6%
35-39 3.3% 0.0%
40 and up 1.8% 5.9%

Some statistics based on the Leroux Filles du Roi

    Average age at marriage 25.81
    Minimum age at marriage 16
    Maximum age at marriage 40
    Average age at death 66.11
    Minimum age at death 36
    Maximum age at death 90
    Average children per woman* 5.21
    Maximum children per woman 17

* I have only entered the children that are in the direct Leroux bloodline. Several of these women had children from other marriages, which I have not (yet) entered lowers the average children count.

For the harsh life they lived, living to the ripe age of 66 was pretty good!

Locations of births

The Filles du Roi were mostly from the cities, mostly from the Paris area. The distribution of the Leroux ancestors follows a similar line, with a few exceptions. Anne-Marie Phanseque was from Hamburg, so one of the first Germans in Canada, and almost certainly the first German woman in Canada was an ancestor of ours.

I am working on a map of these

Additional Information

There are several good sites with information on the Filles du Roi. Since there is quite a bit of ambiguity on who was actually a "Fille" and there are few supporting records, there is no comprehensive list of names. The one I chose to use is from the Université de Montréal and part of their Programme de recherche en démographie historique (PRDH) . The PRDH links directly back to the Drouin copies of Parish registries for births/baptisms, marriages and deaths/burials. Anything that has a PRDH number associated with it is what I would consider to be a trusted entry.

Another site with some good information is La Société des Filles du roi et soldats du Carignan, Inc. They have some great general information here.

Pedigree/Lineage charts for each of the Filles du Roi that I am related to can be found here.