The Protestants of Agenais – Angoumois – Aquitaine – Béarn – Gascogne – Guyenne – Limousin

This area of Southern France has a long and complex history which makes things difficult for genealogists.

Its regions, Aquitaine, Gascogne, Guyenne and Basse-Guyenne, go back to the 13th century and, even before the era of knights and noblemen, the territory was in constant flux, and borders and place names often changed.

For this reason, North American family lineage researchers, not schooled in the fine points of French history, may have a hard time looking up ancestors, Protestant or Catholic, who lived in this region prior to 1790.  Here is some information that might help.

Here is the link to the 50-page PDF research guide to Protestants in this area: Protestants of Agenais-1  Almost all of these resources are in French. For translation help, try Google Translate or www.deepL.com.

Agenais

Agenais is an ancient region of the provinces of Gascogne and Guyenne. Its capital was the city of Agen and consists today of the département of Lot-et-Garonne and a portion of the départements of Tarn-et-Garonne and Gironde. From 1530, Protestant temples were built in 78 cities, towns, townships and villages of Lot-et-Garonne. The exact location of these temples from 1565 to 1721 is listed on the first four pages of the Genealogy Ensemble research guide https://genealogyensemble.files.wordpress.com/2018/05/huguenot-families-in-france-1565-1721.pdf  See also Gironde – Listings of Protestant communes (villages, towns, townships, cities) obtained from the files of Archives des Consistoires 1317-1446 & 1520-1740 #TT-230-276B stored at the Archives nationales de France at Pierrefitte-sur-Seine,  a suburb of Paris.

Angoumois

Today ancient Angoumois consists of the département de la Charente and a small portion of the Haute-Vienne. Its capital city is Angoulême. Protestantism in Angoumois took root in 1533 in Angoulême, La Roche-Foucault-en-Angoulême, Royan. Sources; Wikipedia and Musée protestant

Aquitaine

Ancient Aquitaine, with Bordeaux as the capital, is comprised today of Dordogne, Gironde, Landes, Lot-et-Garonne, Pyrénées-Atlantiques.  Protestantism was present in all or part of 262 communes (villages, towns, townships, cities) from about 1530. Information obtained from the files of the Archives des consistoires 1317-1446 – 1520-1740 #TT-230-276B stored at the Archives nationales de France – Pierrefitte-sur-Seine (Paris.)

Béarn

Béarn had Orthez as its capital from 1242 to 1464 and Pau from 1464 on. Today’s département of Pyrénées-Atlantiques covers the same territory.  Protestants were present in the city of Lescar in 1549 and in 52 other cities, towns, townships and villages (communes.) Source: Archives des consistoires 1317-1446 – 1520-1740 #TT-230-276B stored at the Archives nationales de France – Pierrefitte-sur-Seine (Paris)

Gascogne

The ancient province of Gascogne had two capitals, Auch and Saint-Sever. Today it is covered by the départements of Gers, Landes, Hautes-Pyrénées and a part of Ariège, Gironde, Haute-Garonne, Lot-et-Garonne, Pyrénées-Atlantiques, Tarn-et-Garonne. Protestantism took root in the Gascogne in 1559. There were 61 Protestant communes (villages, towns, townships, cities) existing within two modern-day départements, Gironde and Landes. Source: Archives des consistoires 1317-1446 – 1520-1740 #TT-230-276B stored at the Archives nationales de France – Pierrefitte-sur-Seine (Paris)

Basse-Guyenne

Around 1660, the Protestant population of the Basse-Guyenne stood at 97,000 réformés (members of the Reform Church of France,) with 72 temples within the cities of Bordeaux, Sainte-Foy, Bergerac, Clairac, Nérac. Source: Musée protestant

Guyenne

Bordeaux was the capital of this ancient region prior to 1790. Today’s départements of Aveyron, Dordogne, Gironde, and Lot cover the same territory. Protestantism was established in the Vallée de la Dordogne in 1626. The cities where Protestantism had an impact were Bordeaux, Coutras, Nérac, Saint-Affrique, Saint-Antonin-Noble-Val. Sources: Musée protestant, Wikipedia, Archives des consistoires 1317-1446 – 1520-1740 #TT230-276B – Archives nationales de France – Pierrefitte-sur-Seine (Paris)

Limousin

The city of Limoges was once the capital of the ancient territory of Limousin. Today Limousin is comprised of the départements of Corrèze, Creuse, and Haute-Vienne. Protestantism first appeared here around 1520 in the cities of Limoges, Villefavard, Madranges, La Souteraine, Confolens, Uzerches, Beaulieu-sur-Dordogne, Argentat, Turenne. Sources: Musée protestant and Archives des consistoires 1317-1446 – 1520-1740 #TT 230-276B – Archives nationales de France – Pierrefitte-sur-Seine (Paris.)

Périgord

Périgord is an ancient county with Périgueux as its former capital, while Bergerac and Sarlat-la-Canéda are its principal cities.

The centre of Protestantism in Périgord was Bergerac. Modern-day Périgord is Dordogne. This area was home to 79 Protestant communes (villages, towns, townships, cities.) Source: Archives des consistoires 1317-1446 – 1520-1740 #TT230-276B – Archives nationales de France – Pierrefitte-sur-Seine (Paris.)

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