The family tree

This smaller version of the Lazare/Clarice Côté family tree was created for this website to illustrate the points I made on the genealogy page. To keep names legible, this tree contains just five generations going back to the mid-1700s. That’s unfortunate because our story actually begins when Canada was in its first wave of settlement by Europeans 100 years earlier. The 18 Filles du Roi who were among our original Canadian ancestors arrived in the small window between 1665 and 1671 in the seventh and eighth generations as you count upward, or more accurately, in the first or second generations counting downward since the introduction of Côté blood in what was to become Canada.

By the way, do not expect to be related to people today who have the same surnames as our Filles matrons. Remember, they all took their husbands’ names upon marriage. Technically speaking, of course, we are distantly related to people with their surnames provided they descended paternally and explicitly from their ancestors back in France.

'Lite' version of the Lazare Côté and Clarice Bergeron family tree.

This is the 'lite' version of the family tree, containing just four generations above Lazare and Clarice Côté’s children. Note that the number of grandparents quadruples in each ring. Our Filles du Roi are actually in the seventh and eighth generations, but a poster-sized page is needed to reproduce those exponential layers.

One day soon we hope to put the finishing touches on a full-sized tree containing 10 generations. We'll notify everyone on the mailing list when it's ready to download (at no charge).


Why are 18 Filles du Roi ancestors of the Côté children and not of the parents? Because only some of those Filles are ancestors of Lazare Côté and some are ancestors of Clarice Bergeron. A few are ancestors of both Lazare and Clarice, arriving through different genealogical paths. For Lazare’s and Clarice’s children, the combined number is 18.

Parallel naming: It was a common practice in 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries for parents to give their children traditional French first names — you will see them over and over in the biographies. It was also common for two or more siblings of one family to marry siblings of an unrelated family. Although it wasn't intentional, their offspring would conveniently share the same grandparents, aunts, and uncles. But the difficulty for ancestry sleuths occurred when those children became parents and named their children after their own brothers and sisters! And that is what happened in hundreds of our ancestral families and indeed those of the entire early Québecois population.

Consanguinity: A complex mosaic of interrelated families was at the heart of Québec’s social foundation and carried through its evolution into the 21st century. Some marriages might appear to be consanguineous (between cousins), but with a closer look it’s clear that most if not all such suspect unions on our tree were separated by numerous generations, that is, between third, fourth, and fifth cousins. True consanguinity is defined only as those between second cousins and closer.

Now add all those darned repeating names, and you have a recipe for mayhem.

Our family tree constitutes only a minute slice of highly similar family trees throughout the entire span of New France’s birth. Tens of thousands of other families, even those not associated with the remaining 750 Filles du Roi, flourished in exactly this way. If you can, picture all of their family trees intertwined with ours. And they were, of course.