Please excuse me for writing in English.I do it only because I am lazy and assume my French speaking brethren can easily translate.
I was watching TV yesterday and James Cameron, the director of the movie Titanic was on and stated, “History is a consensus hallucination .”The history of our family, however, is much clearer because of your diligent research.Your latest post is a shining example.
Back a few years ago in the midst of a severe economic down turn, somebody commented on the current dating environment and said that “smart is the new sexy.”One would think that same view point could have applied back in the 1661 when Françoise Gosse arrived, or soon thereafter between 1663 & 1673 when the approximately 800 or so “Filles du Roi” stepped off the boat in Nouvelle France.While I am sure that curly hair and low cut dress lines were an attraction to the men who had so anxiously awaited the arrival of females,the reality is that most of the women, like Françoise Gosse, wound up in rural settlements like L’Ange-Gardienwhich would be established as a parish in 1664.They struggled to live off the land and survive with their new husbands.Marrying a smart, hard working woman who could run the household and home school the children would have been a huge asset.
Luckily education was a point of honor in Noyon where Françoise was raised.She undoubtedly studied at the Ursuline convent-school in Saint-Martin where she received a good education.Clearly, Robert benefitted from that by being taught by her how to read and write, and the children all being home schooled by her.
I agree that when doing genealogical research, we often overlook the importance of the females in our family tree.That is mainly due to the male centric naming practices that evolved out of the middle ages in Europe where females and children were often overlooked and not even recorded in birth records. Despite the fact that 50% our DNA belongs to the female branches of our tree, it is the male side that has received all of the focus because naming rituals.
What we do know about Robert & Françoise is that despite the fact that they were both born in France, they were raised in very different worlds and I am sure saw the world differently.Robert was born in a small farming village that was ravaged by the plague, heavy taxation and religious strife.It was so bad that the family fled to St. Julien parish in Caen.Soon thereafter, Robert decided to leave with his step-brother for Nouvelle France which offered a better life.
Françoise, on the other hand, came from a more affluent family.Her father was a hotelier and brew master and she probably lived very well until his death when she became an orphan.
One can only wonder if that dramatic change for her moving from France to Quebec caused so much pressure and discord that it had something to do the demise of Nicholas Durand.Being a carpenter and operating a lime kiln by trade, one would think that Robert was a tougher person than Nicholas Durandand that is why he survived to the ripe old age of almost 74 years old.The fact that Robert andFrançoise did not live together for Robert’s last few years should not overshadow the longevity of a marriage that lasted almost 49 years and produced what is now a huge family tree.
At Maison Laberge, I am planning on having Jean-Marie Laberge who lives in Chicoutimi sculpt a bust of Robert and also one of Françoise.Both of the busts would have a monument sign in front of them describing who they were and the important role in our family.
While the artist’s sketch of Robert that we have all seen does look strikingly like me and many other Laberges, we really don’t have any idea what Françoise looked like.I have chosen the following portrait as a model for Jean-Marie to use along with photos of other female Laberges.If anyone has a better idea what Françoise would have looked like, please let me know.