This week I am branching out or back a bit further than I would normally. I don’t know much about Catherine Pillard, except what I read on the internet. I haven’t researched her much except to find that I am descended from her. I plan to do a lot more research on her and this post will get me started.
The reason I am interested in her is I came across a bit of conflicting information this week. Catherine was supposed to be one of the girls contracted to come to New France to provide wives for the settlers and soldiers living there. I suppose it is understandable that in the early years of a colony there is not necessarily a lot of women among the settlers. What’s a king to do? If he wants his colony to become well established, he sends women of marriageable age to marry his colonists. Hence les filles du Roi.
The only problem is, mt-dna tests done on several of her direct female line descendants show that she was Haplogroup A. If you are not aware, Haplogroup A is a native North American Haplogroup. More about that later.
Between 1663 and 1673 approximately 770 women were sponsored by King Louis XIV to come to Nouvelle-France. Their passage was paid for and many received a small dowry. Most were between 16 and 25 years of age. On arrival they were cared for by the nuns. They had the right to refuse marriage if the man was not to their liking. Most did find husbands.
Catherine Pillat (Pillard, Laplatte, Le Plat etc.) apparently arrived at Québec on 30 June 1663 aboard Le Phoénix de Flessingue, having sailed from La Rochelle, France. This site includes the name of their parents. There is a baptism recorded in 1646 in the registers of Chapelle Sainte-Marguerite of La Rochelle, in Aunis, France, that is supposedly hers. She married Pierre Charron on the 19th of October 1665. I descend through her son François.
Another website claims that she is not on any passenger lists. They go on to explain that the evidence that Catherine came from La Rochelle, France is suspect and give a good theory for Catherine to be the daughter of Atseña, nicknamed Le Plat, a Huron chief. They breakdown the occurrences of various different versions of her name, and identify a place in present day Ontario (on Nottawasaga Bay and Lake Simcoe), that was part of the Huron Nation lands, that according to the Rocollet preist Sagard, was also known as La Rochelle by the french.
There is so much conflicting data out there, one does not know what to believe. All I can do is try to gather all the info I can and try to find the primary documents for myself. I do know that DNA doesn’t lie. If a reputable lab has done the work and the results are mt Haplogroup A and the genealogies of eight descendants have been scrutinized and found to be reliable, then barring a baby being switched at birth, I am thinking Pierre Charron’s wife was not who we think she was.
Today, I find out that Catherine is Haplogroup A10. I am waiting for further info on that. New developments everyday … how is one to keep up?