Ever wonder how you’re related to friends and family, or wanted to know more about someone in your life? We’ll show you how.
Between 1663 and 1673, Louis XIV, the King of France, sponsored around 800 young women — known as filles du roi (daughters of the king) — to immigrate to New France to marry and start families. Today, we can trace their descendants to some families.
Catherine Moitié, a fille du roi, arrived in 1663 at the age of 14. She worked as a servant in the home of Charles Le Moyne, in Montréal. In 1667, Catherine married fellow servant Désiré Viger. They had 10 children and 65 grandchildren. By 1681, the family owned nine cattle and farmed about two hectares of land in the seigneury of Boucherville, northeast of Montréal. Within five generations, Catherine had more than 600 descendants. You can see these generations on a three-dimensional family tree in the first gallery of the Canadian History Hall – to take a virtual tour, click here.
Interested by Catherine’s family tree? Why not build a relationship tree of the important people in your life, and document their history by following the activity instructions below.
Step 1: Draw a relationship tree
Take a look at Catherine Moitié’s family tree. Can you see how people are related to each other by following the lines?
Can you make your own relationship tree? If you don’t have paper and pencils, try making one on the computer. Start with yourself and add your siblings, parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins.
If you prefer, you can create a tree that connects you to other important people in your life. What about close friends, teachers, teammates or pets? These people are important to us too!
BONUS: Decorate your relationship tree with drawings or pictures!
Step 2: Conduct an oral history
Many cultures preserve their history by passing down stories from one generation to the next, without the need for writing. This is called an oral history.
Is there someone in your tree that you would like to create an oral history with, a grandparent perhaps? These adults offer a window into the past, and a connection to your place in your family’s history! Oral histories can also be done by phone or video chat online.
Some important things to remember when conducting an interview or oral history:
- Explain to the person why you want to interview them, and what you plan on doing with that interview after.
- Ask if they are ok with you recording the interview.
- Use good listening skills! Focus on the person who is talking. Don’t interrupt them, but asking follow-up questions is good.
Try these questions to get you started.
- Could you introduce yourself and tell me your name, how old you are and where you live?
- Where were you born? Do you have any brothers or sisters?
- What was your childhood like? Do you have one or two memories that really stand out?
- Tell me about the house you grew up in.
- What was school like for you? What was your favourite subject?
When you are finished, take some time to think about what you heard.
Did anything surprise you? Did you recognize some stories? What did you learn?