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Huguenot Records and Registers (Nonconformist)

Nature of Source

Records of French and Low Country Protestants who fled persecution from their own governments. French Protestants had enjoyed relative freedom of worship in France guaranteed by the 1598 Edict of Nantes. Many fled France after the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes in 1685 by Louis XIV who considered them a source of potential rebellion. Within a few years, more than 400,000 Huguenots fled France to settle in England, Prussia, Switzerland, South Africa, Holland and America. It is estimated that 80,000 alone settled in England.

Earlier in 1536 an edict urged the total destruction of the Huguenots and in 1562, 1,200 were killed at the Massacre of Wassy. In 1572 over 8,000 Huguenots were massacred in Paris in what is now known as the St. Bartholomew's Day massacre.

Many Huguenots registered baptisms, marriages and burials in Anglican parish registers. The Huguenots did not have their own burial grounds, so burial ceremonies had to take place in Anglican churches. However, some were buried in nonconformist burying grounds such as Bunhill Fields. Huguenots will appear in the post 1837 civil registration BMD registers but they also had their own chapel registers. The Huguenot Society of Great Britain and Ireland has transcribed and published all the surviving chapel and church registers.

The Huguenots brought with them many skills so look for apprenticeship records, livery company records and trade associations. Look for the Royal Bounty payments made to French Protestants and other charitable records. Look for chapel membership records, character references known as Témoignage which was a certificate enabling an applicant to join another church and the consistory (church court records).

Many Huguenots anglicised their names to assimilate into English society, so difficulties can arise trying to determine whether a person was of Dutch or French origin. Women kept their maiden name after marriage.

Also see
Immigration Records
Lists & Certificates of Aliens/Arrivals
Naturalisation Papers
Netherlands Research
Oaths of Allegiance and Supremacy
Registers of Aliens
Returns of Aliens
Sacrament Certificates

Where Found

Huguenot Society of Great Britain & Ireland (The society, established in 1885, is dedicated to the preservation of Huguenot history in Great Britain and the publication of Huguenot records. The society is especially noted for their Quarto series of publications available on CD ROM since 2004 which includes parish registers from French protestant churches, registers of poor relief institutions, transcriptions from denization and naturalization records and lists of aliens resident in London extracted from tax returns. Please note that the transcribed records deal with all foreigners entering Britain and not just French protestants fleeing persecution. The Society's annual journal 'Proceedings' details Huguenot history with back numbers, 1885 to 2007, available to Huguenot Society members on the internet. 'Huguenot Families' published between 1999 and 2008 contains features of interest to family historians with numbers 1-20 available on CD-ROM and a list of contents for issues 1-20 available online)
Huguenot Library (The library houses the holdings of the Huguenot Society and contains many books and material dealing with Huguenot history)
The National Archives (Registers of the French churches handed in after the introduction of civil registration)
French Protestant Church of London/L'église protestante française de Londres (French Protestant registers and records available to view by arrangement)
Society of Genealogists (Copies of nonconformist registers and other nonconformist material)  
Bishopsgate Institute Library (London Collection: Various holdings relating to the Huguenot community)
Canterbury Cathedral Archives (Canterbury French Church Records. The records of the French Huguenots Church in Canterbury include Actes du Consistoire, various accounts and registers, estate papers, sermons and miscellanea)
Representative Church Body Library - Church of Ireland (Irish Huguenot Archive)

Period Covered

1550 - Onwards

Genealogical Value

Date of baptism and birth, mother's maiden name and names of godparents.
Names of parents, father and mother including her maiden name, address, place of birth.
See Parish Registers-Burials

Further References

Chater, Kathy. Tracing Your Huguenot Ancestors: A Guide for Family Historians: Pen & Sword Books, 2012

Currer-Briggs, Noel & Gambier, Royston. Huguenot Ancestry: Phillimore, 2001

Dobson, David. Huguenot and Scots Links, 1575-1775: Genealogical Publishing Co, 2008

Gandy, Michael. Family History Cultures and Faiths: How your ancestors lived and worshipped: Expert Advice to Speed up Your Search: The National Archives, 2007

Buy Now on Amazon

Gwynn, Robin. Huguenots of London: Alpha Press, 1998

Kershaw, Roger & Pearsall, Mark. Immigrants & Aliens: PRO Publications, 2004

Kershaw, Roger. Migration Records: TNA, 2009

Reaman, George Elmore. The Trail of the Huguenots in Europe, the United States, South Africa and Canada: Genealogical Publishing Co, 2000


Roche, Owen. The Days of the Upright: A History of the Huguenots: C. N. Potter,1965


Wagner, Henry (editor) & North, Dorothy (compiler) Huguenot Wills and Administrations in England and Ireland, 1617 – 1849, and Index: Huguenot Society


TNA Research Guide: Immigration
TNA Research Guide: Naturalisation and British citizenship
TNA Research Guide: Oaths of loyalty to the Crown and Church of England
TNA Research Guide: Refugees

Websites (Suggested Reading on Huguenot History) (TNA podcast: Tracing Huguenot ancestors) (The French Hospital: The site has a history of the French Hospital in Rochester as well as a general history of the Huguenots) (The Huguenots of Spitalfields. This site celebrates the contribution of the Huguenots to Spitalfields and to raise funds for a permanent memorial commemorating their life and work. The site has details of walks, talks, events and places to visit) (The National Huguenot Society, America) (Original home of the Ogier family and other Huguenot workshops)
(French Protestant Church of Canterbury: Sections include a history of Huguenot immigration into Canterbury and East Kent and a guide to Huguenot ancestral research) (The French Protestant Church of London) (Cyndi's List of Genealogy Sites on the Internet - Huguenot) (Huguenot Genealogical Resources)
(Cambridgeshire - Huguenots and Walloons) (ExploreGenealogy: Tracing Huguenot History in England, by Chris Nickson) (Huguenot & Walloon Genealogy)
(The Chapels Society: The Society seeks to foster public interest in the architectural and historical importance of all nonconformist places of worship including churches, chapels and meeting houses throughout the United Kingdom) (Huguenot Family Genealogy Forum) (The Genealogist Research Guide: Non-Conformist & Non-Parochial Records)
(Virtual Museum of French Protestantism: Much of the site is in English and includes a history of Protestantism in France and the rest of Europe.)
(Huguenot Society of Great Britain & Ireland - Irish Section)

Online Databases

BMD Registers (Non-parochial and nonconformist registers) (Historical Records Collections for baptisms and marriages taken from the non-parochial/nonconformist registers. Non-Conformist Record Indexes extracted from TNA series RG 4-8) (Naturalisation and Denization Records, 1609-1960. The collection from the Home Office also includes over 5,000 Huguenot records) (French Refugees in Great Britain in the early 1700s) (Middlesex Marriage Index: Discover your English ancestors today by exploring 33,725 marriage records across 67 parishes in the historic county of Middlesex. The records include both Quaker and Anglican marriages) (Boyd's Marriage Index 1538-1840 including the London & Middlesex Marriage Index 1538-1837: This collection indexes 96,000 marriages for the City of London and Middlesex. This is an on-going project by Cliff Webb working from surviving source records. Over 50,000 City of London marriages and 46,000 for Middlesex have been indexed. These include 3,100 Jewish marriages from Bevis Marks and the Great Synagogues, 3,160 Roman Catholic marriages, and 862 Huguenot marriages) (Registers of the French Church of Portarlington 1694-1816, Co. Laois Ireland. The registers were originally published by the Huguenot Society of Great Britain and Ireland in 1908 and edited by Thomas Philip Le Fanu) (Registers of the French Non-Conformist Churches Dublin 1701-1831)
(Manchester, Non-Conformist Births and Baptisms, Marriages and Deaths and Burials, 1758-1987. This database contains birth records from Nonconformist congregations in the Manchester area. These include Methodist, Quaker, Presbyterian, Wesleyan, URC, Congregationalist, Baptist, Unitarian, and Jewish congregations) (The Shropshire Collection, 1538-1900. The collection includes searchable transcripts and scanned colour images of Non-Conformist Shropshire registers)
Gloucestershire Archives' Genealogical Database (Non-conformist baptisms for some chapels in Gloucestershire. Also try searching for a named individual at the Gloucestershire Archives Online Catalogue which includes the General Personal Names Index and other specialist indexes)

CD Roms

Huguenot Society of Great Britain & Ireland (Quarto Series, Transcripts of Registers from the French churches. Pre-1800 naturalisation and denizations, church membership and administration)
The Huguenot Society of Australia
(Huguenot Surname Index compiled by Cecile Ramsay-Sharp and Robert Nash. The CD-ROM contains a name index to all 61 volumes of primary records taken from the Quarto Series of Huguenots in England and Ireland, published by the Huguenot Society of Great Britain and Ireland. The records include all the surviving Huguenot church registers for England and Ireland, as well as some wills, apprenticeship records for the Weavers' Company, church records, and charity records)
S & N Genealogy Supplies (Various birth, marriage and death registers)
Archive CD Books (Samuel Smiles' The Huguenots, their settlements, churches and industries in England and Ireland. 1889)