They were honest, hardworking people whose predecessors were among the first settlers of Canada. Of further intrigue is that both Lazare and Clarice descended heavily from the historically famous Filles du Roi.

Lazare Côté and Clarice Bergeron
  • Lazare Côté and Clarice Bergeron
  • Lazare Côté and Clarice Bergeron family
  • Lazare Côté and Clarice Bergeron family

18 remarkable grandmothers

... of the Lazare Côté children

When my late brother Tom first researched grandmother Marie-Louise Côté’s family history in 1996, he suggested that she and her 13 siblings, the children of Lazare Côté and Clarice Bergeron, might have descended from one of the historically famous Filles du Roi, the 768 women sent by the King of France between 1663 to 1673 to help populate the colony which would become Canada.

More than 20 years later, I found upon close inspection that the lineage of Marie-Louise and her siblings led directly to 18 of the legendary Filles. Looking deeper still, I found that some of those Filles had more than one child whose subsequent families created even more direct links to Lazare or Clarice, thus establishing 33 clear lineages.

After their arrivals began in the 1600s, the name ‘Filles du Roi’ (daughters of the king) became the term used to describe these state-sponsored, marriageable women. Ironically, it’s very unlikely when Lazare, Clarice, and their children were born 200+ years later that they or their recent ancestors had ever heard of the Filles du Roi or would have considered how they mattered, historically speaking. But of course they mattered. They were the founding mothers of an entire nation.

Why do we care?

It might be that the only real value in exploring our ancestry is to satisfy us that we carry useful genes from quality ancestors. It really doesn't matter if they were well known, of a certain appearance, or where they originated. If we descend from Attila the Hun or Florence Nightingale, it would serve as little use unless their DNA renders us more robust, more compassionate, more intelligent, or somehow better able to deal with the world now about us.

There are members of every family who blithely state that they don’t care about their genealogy. I’m not one of those. While it has been fun discovering the origins of our Côté blood, the task would never have preoccupied me without the knowledge that the Filles du Roi and the adventurous men they chose for procreation gave all of us a valid reason to embrace our country and our roots. It might also explain feelings we’ve had about our own ability to defend our families or to look adversity in the eye. It’s darned good blood. Let’s be proud of it.

— Denis Thievin, grandson of Marie Louise Côté, great-grandson of Lazare and Clarice Côté

Lazare Côté / Clarice Bergeron family tree

Cote family tree icon

This family tree begins with our ancestors' arrival in Canada in the 1600s and continues through 10 generations to the marriage of Lazare and Clarice. It's a large document — about a square metre in size. It will soon be ready and available here at no charge. Its layers contain 1,024 ancestors (unlike the five-generation illustration above). A few details are left to tweak, but check back often or get yourself on the mailing list to be notified when it is ready.

Are you family?

Families get scattered far and wide. By 2050 the specific descendants of Lazare and Clarice Côté will likely number in the ten thousands. We all benefit from an inventory. If you are a descendant, please register in the data base. Your details are completely safe — there is no commercial benefit sought in this family project.



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