My Ninth Great-Grandmother
Daughter of René Boileau and Joachine Ferrant
Husband Jean Serreau Saint Aubin
Mother of Marguerite, Pierre, Genevieve and Charles
Decisions, decisions, decisions.
“Marguerite Boileau, how would you like a chance at a better life? All that is required is to leave your current life behind, journey across the Atlantic Ocean and marry a man who is living in Nouvelle-France.” Marguerite did.
“Marguerite, there are many men in Nouvelle-France whom you can marry. This is your decision. It is your choice who you marry, not your parents’. Who will you marry?” Marguerite married Jean Serreau Saint-Aubin who was eighteen years her senior.
“Marguerite, you are are a married woman. Are you aware that Jean Terme (a much younger man than your husband) has feelings for you? He pays attention to you in ways that upsets your husband. What will you do? Marguerite, what will you do?” Marguerite’s husband killed him.
Organizations such as Société Notre-Dame de Montréal or the Hôtel-Dieu de Montréal recruited marriageable girls, Filles à Marier, between 1634 and 1662 to marry the men in Nouvelle-France (Quebec and Montreal) and to help settle the territory. The Filles à Marier went at their own expense or were sponsored by merchants or religious societies. Once Marguerite arrived in Quebec, she probably recuperated from her Atlantic crossing with the Ursulines in Québec. There she was quickly taught how to live in the undeveloped and sometimes-savage land. The crossing took from six weeks to two months. On average, ten percent of passengers died before arriving in Nouvelle-France. Marguerite was probably the last of the 262 women who went to Nouvelle-France as Filles à Marier during that time.
Though of minor noble birth, born to Rene Boileau and Joachine Ferrant in 1638 in Orches Poitou, France, Marguerite dared to leave when she was twenty-one or twenty-two years old. Her sister, Marie, followed a few years later as a “Fille du Roi,” a daughter of the king. These young women were sponsored by the King of France and were given a dowry once they married in Nouvelle-France. With both Marguerite and Marie going to Nouvelle-France, this is an indication that their parents had either died or came upon hard times. The Filles à Marier and Filles du Roi were given a privilege women never had in European history: a woman could decide for herself who she would marry and if the woman signed a marriage contract and decided not to marry the man, she could have the marriage contract annulled.
Marguerite chose to marry Jean Serreau Saint-Aubin from Poitou in 1663.The marriage record of Marguerite Boileau and Jean Serreau has not been located, but the baptismal records of their children as well as a Letter of Grace from the King of France cite their marriage. He arrived in Quebec around 1662. Soon after their marriage, Marguerite started to fulfill her purpose. Their first child, Marguerite, was born and baptized at Chateu-Richer, near Quebec in 1664.Chateau-Richer Paroisse de la Visitation de ND. Co. Montmorency registry, Marguerite Serreau, p. 26; ancestry.com, Quebec, Canada, Vital and Church Records (Drouin Collection), 1621-1968 Record, … Continue reading Their second child, Pierre, was born in June 1665 and baptized at Notre Dame in Quebec.Paroisse Notre-Dame De Quebec registry, Pierre Serreau, p. 77; ancestry.com, Quebec, Canada, Vital and Church Records (Drouin Collection), 1621-1968 Record, image 78 of 93 … Continue reading Soon after his birth, Marguerite’s life became very complicated. Jean Terme was killed by Marguerite’s husband. The historical record focuses how this event affected Jean Serreau. There are at least two sides to every story and in this true life story, Marguerite’s side has never been told.
Marguerite’s story will continue in another post. Historical resources close to the time of the event that describe the killing of Jean Terme are in French and are being transcribed and translated. Many articles have been written about this event and focus on Jean Serreau. My goal will be to tell Marguerite’s story accurately without judgement or assumption based on information in historical documents.
|↑1||The marriage record of Marguerite Boileau and Jean Serreau has not been located, but the baptismal records of their children as well as a Letter of Grace from the King of France cite their marriage.|
|↑2||Chateau-Richer Paroisse de la Visitation de ND. Co. Montmorency registry, Marguerite Serreau, p. 26; ancestry.com, Quebec, Canada, Vital and Church Records (Drouin Collection), 1621-1968 Record, image 27 of 727 (https://www.ancestry.com/imageviewer/collections/1091/images/d13p_16510182?pId=14876896 : viewed 13 December 2022).|
|↑3||Paroisse Notre-Dame De Quebec registry, Pierre Serreau, p. 77; ancestry.com, Quebec, Canada, Vital and Church Records (Drouin Collection), 1621-1968 Record, image 78 of 93 (https://www.ancestry.com/imageviewer/collections/1091/images/d13p_31410408?pId=15042987 : viewed 13 December 2022).|