In the 17th century, southern France harboured more Protestant families than any other part of the country. In 1660, the six provinces of the Midi (Southern France) accounted for close to 50% of the total Protestant population of France: 369,000 individuals and 298 temples (churches.)
This region included: Haut-Languedoc (Haute-Guyenne) – 80,000 individuals and 64 temples; Bas-Languedoc – 81,000 individuals and 63 temples; Cévennes – 74,000 individuals and 59 temples; Vivarais – 48,000 individuals and 29 temples; Provence – 8,000 individuals and 12 temples; Dauphiné – 78,000 individuals and 71 temples. (Source : Les seize provinces synodales (1660) https://www.museeprotestant.org/)
The Region (updated May 15)
This is the oldest region of France, although some will argue that the city of Paris is even older. The city of Marseille was a Roman Empire outpost.
The ancient provinces and regions of this south eastern region of France were assigned various names over the centuries, so I listed all of them. In the 1790s, following the French Revolution, the old provinces of France were carved-out into départements. The boundaries of the territories of ancient France were not respected when France was reorganized into départements. Some of the départements were formed in the 1790s and onward from portions of two distinct ancient provinces.
Alpes de Haute-Provence formerly part of the province of Provence. Its main cities are Digne-les-Bains, Manosque, Sisteron, Barcelonnette, Castellane and Forcalquier. After 1790, this alpine region became Alpes-de-Haute-Provence. Between about 1565 to 1791, Protestant Temples were erected in 14 communes (villages, towns, townships, cities.) Sources: Archives des Consistoires 1317-1446 – 1520-1740 at the Archives nationales de France – Pierrefitte-sur-Seine (Paris) & Wikipedia
Dauphiné is an ancient province in southeast France which was also referred to as Viennois. Its capital was Vienne. The Dauphiné de Viennois from the eleventh century to 1343 was part of the Holy Roman Empire. In 1349 under Philippe VI de Valois it became a province of France. Following the French Revolution this region became the départements of Drôme, with 76 Protestant communes (villages, towns, townships, cities), Hautes-Alpes with 35 Protestant communes and Isère with 39 Protestant communes. Sources: Archives des Consistoires 1317-1446 – 1520-1740 at the Archives nationales de France – Pierrefitte-sur-Seine (Paris) & Wikipedia
The ancient province of Languedoc began in the XIII century. In 2020 it is known as région française d’Occitanie. The two largest cities are Toulouse and Montpellier. After the French Revolution, Languedoc was divided into 11 regional départements; Ardèche with 140 Protestant communes, a portion of Ariège with 20 Protestant communes, Aude with 32 Protestant communes, Gard with 274 Protestant communes, a portion of Haute-Garonne with 23 Protestant communes, Hérault with 46 Protestant communes, a portion of Haute-Loire with 14 Protestant communes, Lozère with 44 Protestant communes, a portion of Tarn-et-Garonne with 40 Protestant communes, Tarn with 18 Protestant communes, a portion of Pyrénées-Orientales with 3 Protestant communes. Sources: Wikipedia & Archives des consistoires 1317-1446 – 1520-1740 at the Archives nationales de France – Pierrefitte-sur-Seine (Paris)
This part of southern France was known in ancient times as Haut-Languedoc. Its largest city being Toulouse, the region regroups eight modern-day départements. Ariège with 20 Protestant communes (villages, towns, townships, cities), Aveyron with 26 Protestant communes, Haute-Garonne with 23 Protestant communes, Gers with 18 Protestant communes, Lot with 11 Protestant communes, Hautes-Pyrénées with 11 Protestant communes, Tarn with 54 Protestant communes, Tarn-et-Garonne with 40 Protestant communes. Sources: Wikipedia & Archives des consistoires 1317-1446 – 1520-1740 at the Archives nationales de France, Pierrefitte-sur-Seine (Paris)
This is an ancient region of the south of France and its oldest city, Marseille, dates back to the Roman Empire. Following the French Revolution (1789-1799), modern-day Provence-Alpes-Côte-d’Azur became six regional départements of France; Alpes-de-Haute-Provence with 10 Protestant communes (villages, towns, townships, cities), Hautes-Alpes with 35 Protestant communes, Alpes-Maritimes with nine Protestant communes, Bouches-du-Rhône with 15 Protestant communes, Var with 11 Protestant communes. Sources: Wikipedia & Archives des consistoires 1317-1446 – 1520-1740 at the Archives nationales de France, Pierrefitte-sur-Seine (Paris)
This is another ancient region of south-eastern France. The cities of Lyon and Grenoble are the largest. Following the French Revolution of the 1790s, Rhône-Alpes was divided into eight regional départements; Ain with 48 Protestant communes (villages, towns, townships, cities), Ardèche with 148 Protestant communes, Drôme with 76 Protestant communes, Isère with 40 Protestant communes, Loire with four Protestant communes, Rhône with six Protestants communes, Savoie with 21 Protestant communes, Haute-Savoie with five Protestants communes. Sources: Wikipedia & Archives des consistoires 1317-1446 – 1520-1740 at the Archives nationales de France, Pierrefitte-sur-Seine (Paris)
The Research Guide
The attached 100-page research guide to Protestant records from this area includes a variety of resources, including a long list of books by various authors and academics, online resources, and links to archives and historical, genealogical and Protestant societies in France.
In this guide, you will find an alphabetical list of the villages, towns, cities, townships and counties of this region of France where Protestant families once established a temple or a house of worship. The guide includes the largest listing of place-names addressing the Protestants of France of the 16th and 17th centuries available up to this point. These dossiers can be obtained from the Archives nationales de France in Pierrefitte-sur-Seine near Paris or requested by email or text-message as part of the Archives des consistoires TT-230-276B (1317-1446 & 1520-1740). A consistoire in France is a Protestant diocese. To this day, consistoires still exist in most regions of France.
Within the Collectif portion I have reproduced the texts in the old French language of the 14th, 15th, 16th and 17th centuries, precisely as they appear within the collection at the Archives in Paris within the Archives des consistoires (1317-1446 & 1520-1740.)
Another listing , the Trésor des Chartes (1204-1407) on page 10 contains, most likely, the oldest dossiers in France addressing the bourgeoisie de France (elite families) from 1204 to 1407.
I have also included a new feature: Theses.fr (academic theses), from page 95 to page 97, theses by regions of France addressing Protestants (Huguenots).
Most of these books, websites and other resources are in French. For help understanding these resources, you can use online translation tools such as Google Translate or DeepL.
You can access this research guide here: Protestants of Alpes, Dauphiné, Languedoc, Midi-Pyrénées, Provence
There are two more research guides to come in this series on French Protestants. I hope you find them helpful. We will eventually post a similar series on Catholic records in France.
You can find more background information on Protestant records in France in the introductions to the other guides in this series. Here are links to the previous research guides on Protestant records, plus guides to researching French archival records in general:
Protestants of Bourbonnais, Bourgogne and area, April 26, 2020, https://genealogyensemble.com/2020/04/26/protestants-of-bourbonnais-bourgogne-and-area/
The Protestants of Champagne-Ardenne of the 16th and 17th Centuries, April 12, 2020, https://genealogyensemble.com/2020/04/12/the-protestants-of-champagne-ardenne-of-the-16th-and-17th-centuries/
The Protestants of Centre – Val-de-Loire of the 16th and 17th Centuries, March 29, 2020, https://genealogyensemble.com/2020/03/29/the-protestants-of-centre-val-de-loire-of-the-16th-and-17th-centuries/
Hauts-de-France – The Protestants of Artois, Calaisis, Flandre, Picardie of the 16th and 17th centuries, March 12, 2020 https://genealogyensemble.com/2020/03/15/hauts-de-france-the-protestants-of-artois-calaisis-flandre-picardie-of-the-16th-and-17th-centuries/
Protestants of Anjou, Beauce, Bretagne, Perche, Poitou, Touraine of the 16th and 17th Centuries, March 2, 2020, https://genealogyensemble.com/2020/03/02/the-protestants-of-anjou-beauce-bretagne-maine-normandie-perche-poitou-touraine-of-the-16th-and-17th-centuries/
Protestants of Alsace-Lorraine of the 16th and 17th Centuries, Feb. 16, 2020, https://genealogyensemble.com/2020/02/16/the-protestants-of-alsace-lorraine-of-the-16th-and-17th-centuries/
Protestants of Paris in the 16th and 17th Centuries, Jan. 19, 2020, https://genealogyensemble.com/2020/01/19/the-protestants-of-paris-in-the-16th-and-17th-centuries/
How to Search for Huguenot Ancestors in France, May 20, 2018, https://genealogyensemble.com/2018/05/20/how-to-search-for-huguenot-ancestors-in-france/
Huguenot Family Lineage Searches, June 3, 2018, https://genealogyensemble.com/2018/06/03/huguenot-family-lineage-searches/
Researching Your French Ancestors Online, May 13, 2018, (the attached updated PDF describes how to research in the Archives départementales de France, the country’s 95 regional archives) https://genealogyensemble.com/2018/05/13/researching-your-french-ancestors-online/
The National Archives of France, Jan. 27, 2019, https://genealogyensemble.com/2019/01/27/the-national-archives-of-france/
BNF Gallica (Bibliothèque nationale de France), Dec. 16, 2018, https://genealogyensemble.com/2018/12/16/bnf-gallica/
Finding Ancestors in French Municipal Archives, Sept. 23, 2018, https://genealogyensemble.com/2018/09/23/finding-ancestors-in-french-municipal-archives/