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UEL Association of Canada – Governor Simcoe Branch (Virtual): May 2022 Meeting

May 4 @ 7:30 pm

“The Bachelorette New France (Les Filles a Marier and Les Filles du Roi) : Stories of Bigamy, Incest, Witchcraft and Murder” — Presentation by Dawn Kelly & Carol Ufford

In 1630 New France was populated mainly by men. With threats to its economy from the British in the south, plans were made to encourage young women to immigrate, marry and populate the young colony.

Between 1634 and 1663 the Company of 100 Associates sponsored 260 young women who are now known as Les Filles à Marier or The Marriageable Girls. In 1663 the French king took over governing the colony. Louis XIV established a program to bring young female immigrants to New France. These 768 women are now known as Les Filles du Roi or The King’s Daughters.

Contrary to popular belief, these women were not prostitutes. Many were orphans or from poor families. These young women were able to choose their husbands, and because men far outnumbered them, they had plenty of choice. They led fascinating lives in the wilderness of New France and left behind stories of bigamy, incest, witchcraft and murder!

Dawn Kelly is a veteran radio newscaster. In 1998, after 13-years moving town-to-town, up-and-down the dial in private radio, she signed on as a national newscaster at The Canadian Press. Dawn has won multiple national awards for her broadcasts as well as a Finalist Award from the New York Festival for Outstanding Achievement. She started searching for her Irish ancestors many years ago only to discover she has deep French-Canadian and Acadian roots.

Carol Ufford is a retired librarian, and has been researching her family history off and on for over 30 years. Since retiring in 2016, she has been able to devote more time to her hobby and has made great progress on her family history story. Her family has deep roots in Ontario, but she is jealous of her husband’s deep French Canadian roots on his father’s side, which include 35 Filles à Marier and 34 Filles du Roi. Carol is currently Chair of the Toronto Branch of the Ontario Genealogy Society.

In 2021 Carol and Dawn won the Members’ Choice Award from the Toronto Branch of Ontario Ancestors for their presentations on New France.