Immigrant Origins

The origins of our 185 immigrant ancestors are, for the most part, typical of French Canadian family trees. Most pioneer settlers came from the north and west of France, regions that had for centuries been involved with Atlantic seafaring and commerce. The role of Paris was emphasized during the period 1663-1673, when the French regime actively recruited young women -- the “King’s Daughters” -- mainly from in and around the city.

Our family tree is distinctive in that virtually all of our immigrant ancestors arrived before 1700, although at least one-quarter of the overall French settler population arrived after that year, mainly as soldiers who remained in Canada following their enlistments. But we are well represented in all of the earlier recruitment episodes and especially in the establishment of Montréal in the 1640s and 1650s.

The above map presents the origins of the 172 ancestors for whom we have this specific information, assigned by modern French département. Over half came from just three regions: Normandy, the areas around the western port of La Rochelle, and Paris. Most of the rest originated in nearby Brittany, Poitou, and Maine. The Duval line itself came from the village of Tonnerre in the département of Yonne -- the one on the right half of the map with two immigrants.

As related in this family history, only two of our 185 immigrant ancestors did not come from France: André Robidoux, born in about 1640 in Burgos, Spain, of a French father and a Spanish mother; and Annetje Christiaansz, born in about 1676 in Schenectady, New York, of a Dutch father and an African mother.

Origins in France of the Immigrant Ancestors
of Charles and Sarah (St. Aubin) Duval

The Duval Family
Wisconsin
of Unity and Marshfield