Our family belongs to the group that descends from Nicolas Perrot. As such, we know that our family originated in France, probably in the province of Bourgogne (Burgundy). Our Perrault family name was originally spelled "Perrot," and the earliest known Perrot ancestor was François, who was born about 1590. François Perrot's grandson, Nicolas Perrot, was our immigrant ancestor, arriving in New France in 1660 at the age of 16 or 17. Nicolas was a fur-trader, explorer, and interpreter of Indian languages. In 1671, he married Madeleine Raclos who was born about 1654 in Paris and immigrated to Québec as a Fille du Roi. Nicolas and Marie had eleven children. Their ninth child was Claude Perrot Perreault (b. 1684), from whom our branch of the Perrault family is descended.
As each generation of descendant sons married, their brides brought their own ancestral lines to the Perrault family --some of which included ancestors who were among the original settlers of New France. These pioneer ancestors include Louis Hebért, Noël Morin, Jean Coté, Zacharie Cloutier, Marin Boucher, Jean Guyon dit DuBoisson, Guillaume Couture and Robert Drouin --all of whom had immigrated by 1634. Among our known female ancestors, twenty-four were filles à marier or "marriageable girls" who immigrated to the New World between 1635 and 1662 to find a better life and a husband. Thirty-six of our female ancestors have been identified as Filles du Roi or "King's Daughters" whose immigration was sponsored by King Louis XIV in an effort to promote marriage, family values, and the growth of the French colony.
With few exceptions, the Perrault ancestors immigrated from France --from cities as well as from rural villages. Some were poor farmers, others were skilled craftsmen, some were merchants, some were soldiers. One fille du Roi ancestress was a young lady of the minor nobility who was a descendant of the Capetian kings of France, William the Conqueror and Charlemagne; one of her own descendants, a great-granddaughter, married the son of a convicted salt smuggler who had been deported to Canada in 1733 by order of King Louis XV.
For seven generations spanning more than two hundred years, the Perrault family remained in Québec, mostly settling along the north bank of the St. Lawrence River between L'Assomption and Montréal.
During the 1880's Nazaire Perrault, grandfather of Robert, was among the growing wave of men and women leaving the province to seek employment and better economic conditions in New England. In 1888 in Boston Massachusetts, he married Demerise Simoneau of Lévis, Québec, also an economic expatriate. In 1892, Nazaire Perrault became a naturalized U.S. citizen, and the Americanization of our branch of the Perrault family was officially underway.