GenSpotters Book Review: Coquins et débauchés. Les Fils de famille déportés en Nouvelle-France au XVIIIe siècle by Josée Tétreault and Martin Tétreault.

, ,
Page couverture de Coquins et débauchés - les Fils de famille

This book—only available in French—is about naughty single young men born to well-to-do families and who led a debauched life in France during the 18th century. Every time a book title piques my curiosity, I take a look at its back cover. In this case, I was hooked from the very first sentence which turned out to be a simple question: Who were these naughty young men who led a debauched life and who were deported to New France on the King's orders and at the request of their families? Next thing I knew, I was engrossed in the reading of this essay.

This book is made up of two parts. The first one aims at defining briefly this immigrant group with such a unique profile. The authors initially looked at how same were represented in the historiography. After having utterly outlined the subject of their study, the authors depict the social and geographic origins of these individuals. Then, they consider the numerous and various motives behind their deportation while stressing its main objective—to restore the family reputation. Next, they briefly bring out how the families used their connections to execute this "punishment". The authors also relate the travel conditions while crossing the Atlantic en route to Canada through some personal journal extracts of some of the deported. Finally, they summarize how they settled in Canada and demonstrate the correlation prevailing between the profession or occupation they held or had and their social backgrounds.

The second part consists of more than a hundred biographical notes thoroughly documented that tracks their history. Anyone who has done some genealogical research for that period will recognize the names of a few notaries from New France among the list of the naughty young men. Each biographical note is followed by the sources used by the authors.

This work is the first to address this topic in such detail, explaining the idea behind their deportation. It also sets the record straight about certain prejudices conveyed in historical essays about wealthy young men. Moreover, the precise number of these deported individuals given by the authors is a first. The biographical notes based on documented evidence and reliable sources will undoubtedly be of help to both historians and genealogists who wish to further research one of these individuals or their family.

Tétreault, Josée and Martin Tétreault. Coquins et débauchés. Les Fils de famille déportés en Nouvelle-France au XIIIe siècle, Québec, Éditions GID, 2017, 322 pages.

1 reply

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] GenSpotters Book Review: Coquins et débauchés. Les fils de famille déportés en Nouvelle-France a… by Suzanne Galaise on GenSpotters. […]

Comments are closed.