Miseries & Misfortunes - Peasant life in France 1648

As Luke is doing a deep dive in French history, since noble life is well documented, I thought I could share some info on the far less represented peasant life in 1648.

So I dug up the family genealogies as far as I could go and got to know my ancestors.

Here is some interesting bits that could help shed some light on the subject, most of this comes from records kept by the catholic church and census information.

Robert Boulay (Boulé, Boullé, Boulet, etc.)
Born in 1630 or 31, he was a farmer (fr. laboureur) in St-Germain-de-Loisé, 85 miles west of Paris. In 1648 the region is hit by a disette a famine caused by war, the church records show many entries for “Death by hunger”. A passing missionary mentions in his texts “The weaker farmers have abandoned everything, their servants now beggars.” Robert left France in 1662, another famine year, he borrowed 20 livres from a friend who was also emigrating, and headed to La Rochelle with his wife and daughter where they boarded, along with 100 workers and 100 men of arms, onto two ships, l’Aigle d’Or (the Golden Eagle) and the Saint-Jean-Baptiste that had been promised to the colonies of New France by Louis XIV.

Robert was not the first Boulay in New France. Francois had come in 1639 but had been killed in 1653 in a Iroquois raid where he was hit by three bullets to the stomach, groin and thigh. He was scalped.

I’ll update as I find more interesting bits.


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