Category Archives: France

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.)

The Protestants of Alpes – Dauphiné – Languedoc – Midi-Pyrénées – Provence of the 16th and 17th centuries

 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

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

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

Languedoc- Roussillon

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)

Midi-Pyrénées

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)

Provence-Alpes-Côte-d’Azur

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)

Rhône-Alpes

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/

See also

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/

 

Protestants of Bourbonnais, Bourgogne and area

Researching the Protestants of Bourbonnais, Bourgogne, Franche-Comté, Nivernais and Pays de Montbéliard of the 16th and 17th centuries

Researching your ancestors from this central region of France can be conducted online through the regional archives (Archives départementales). Online searches for the 16th, 1 7th and 18th centuries must be carried out by the commune (village, town, township, city) where your ancestor resided. Once you have determined the commune you seek, click on its name.

A list will come up of all the Catholic parishes of that département as well as the Protestant temples (churches) if the acts of baptisms and marriages survived. There were very few records of deaths among Protestant families for this period.

For each Catholic parish and/or Protestant temple, you can select the time period, listed by years, months and days. These church registers are available online for free by simply clicking on the dossier of your choice. Downloads of documents are also free.

Two notes of caution: the penmanship of ancient Church Registers, both Protestant and Catholic, can be best described as scribbling, and these resources are only available in French. You can apply online translation tools such as Google Translate or DeepL.

 Côte d’or – Archives départementales  http://archives.cotedor.fr/v2/site/ad21/

 Doubs – Archives départementales  http://recherche-archives.doubs.fr/?id=recherche_guidee_etat_civil_numerisee

Haute-Saône – Archives départementales  http://archives.haute-saone.fr/

Jura – Archives départementales  https://www.archives-departementales.com/index.php?article41/archives-en-ligne-du-jura-numerisees

 Niévre – Archives départementales  http://archives.cg58.fr/

 Saône-et-Loire – Archives départementales  http://www.archives71.fr/

Territoire de Belfort – Archives départementales http://www.archives.territoiredebelfort.fr/

Yonne – Archives départementales  https://archives.yonne.fr/Archives-en-ligne

If you do not know the name of the commune in France of your ancestor lived, see:

Journal des femmesNoms de familles. A listing of family names in France that tells you in which commune or département a family name is most common. http://www.journaldesfemmes.com/nom-de-famille/

If you are a North American family lineage researcher, you may have been researching online using FamilySearch.org or/and Ancestry.com. In my opinion, the best commercial research tool in France is Filae.com  https://www.filae.com/recherche  This research tool is NOT free of charge.

The attached 28-page research guide to finding the Protestants who lived in this area of France in the 16th and 17th centuries can be accessed here:  Protestants of Bourbonnais, Bourgogne, etc.

The Protestants of Champagne-Ardenne of the 16th and 17th Centuries

Modern-day Ardennes – Aube – Marne – Haute-Marne

 Champagne-Ardenne, with its capital Troyes, was located within the northeast region of France near the borders with Belgium and Germany. This large province was first established as a territory in the 11th century. In 1284, Champagne was unified with France under the leadership of King Philippe IV.

This research guide is a comprehensive tool for researching French Protestant ancestors from this region.

Caveat: much of it is in French.

Champagne – The ancient, or pre-French Revolution, province of Champagne was subdivided into many territories; Champagne (Troyes) Rhemois (Reims) – Rethelois (Rethel including Porcien) – Perthois (Vitry-le-François) – Vallage (Joinville) – Bassigny (Val-de-Meuse) – Senonais (Sens) – Sedan (Sedan) – Tonnerrois (Tonnerre) – Chalonnais (Châlons-en-Champagne) – Barrois (Barrois-sur-Aube) – Brie Champenoise (Meaux) – Arcy (Arcy-sur-Cure) – Dieulet (Vaux-en-Dieulet) – Pays de Der (Montier-en-Der)  – Clermontois (Argonne)

Following the French Revolution, the province was divided into four départements: Ardennes – Marne – Aube – Haute-Marne.

Please note the ancient province of Ardenne (without an ‘’s’) and modern-day Ardennes (département) are basically the same region. Ardenne was located primarily in Belgium and Luxembourg, but stretched well into Germany and France (lending its name to the Département of Ardennes and the former Champagne-Ardenne.) The primary towns or cities of the Ardenne of France were La Roche-en-Ardenne, Libramont, Neufchâteau, Bouillon, Bastogne, Spa, Saint-Hubert, Chimay, Sedan, Charleville-Mézières, Givet, Revin.

(Source: Wikipedia)

Musée Protestant (France), a leading historical society in France, places modern-day Aisne within the ancient Champagne-Ardenne region. The Government of France in past centuries had placed modern-day département of Aisne within the region of Hauts-de-France – See https://genealogyensemble.com/2020/03/15/hauts-de-france-the-protestants-of-artois-calaisis-flandre-picardie-of-the-16th-and-17th-centuries/   I also added the département of Aisne to this dossier. See page 7

On pages 3, 4 and 9, I have added additional texts in regard to Protestantism in France. These resources can be accessed at various Archives départementales de France.

This region of Champagne-Ardenne was home to exceptional individuals during the 16th and 17th centuries including:

  • Françoise de Bourbon – Vendôme
  • Henri-Robert de la Marck
  • Many professors at the Académie de Sedan, a Protestant college in the city of Sedan from 1559 to 1681. There are articles on the Academy of Sedan and some of its professors on the English and French-language versions of Wikipedia, and at BnF (Bibliothèque nationale de France.

Click here to view the 43-page PDF research guide:   The Protestants of Champagne-Ardenne

Included are links to records concerning Protestants in French archives;  collections on familysearch.org; Histoire des protestants en France by Patrick Cabanel; research guide to family history in France by Gildas Bernard; towns in this region where Protestants resided between 1565-1721; Protestant church and civil registers in France;, links to the Académy de Sedan; books about the history of Protestants in this region; historical societies; online resources; BnF; archives; archives départementales; archives municipales; old Protestant newspapers; genealogy in France, regional; publishers; links to Genealogy Ensemble articles.

 

The Protestants of Centre – Val-de-Loire of the 16th and 17th Centuries

 Modern-day : Cher – Eure-et-Loir – Indre – Indre-et-Loir – Loiret – Loir-et-Cher

This region of central France has a rich history, especially among Catholic families. Protestantism was present here from about 1523.

On page 8 of this research guide, you will find links to four authors of special importance whose works address in part or in total the Protestant presence in Centre-Val-de-Loire during the 16th and 17th centuries. They are Patrick Cabanel, Gildas Bernard, Didier Boisson and Christian Lippold.

Other resources found in this guide include: National Library of France – guides to Huguenot family history searches in France – various archives in France – history of Protestants in France – list of books and studies of Protestantism in this region – list of historical societies – online resources including theses – libraries and archives – genealogical resources – Genealogy Ensemble links.

Click here to open this 40-page PDF research guide: The Protestants of Centre – Val de Loire of the 16th and 17th centuries

The following are French language expressions commonly found within these pages addressing an overview or content of books, essays, theses, dissertations, papers, studies, discourses in regard to the Protestants of Central France of the 16th and 17th centuries.

  • Archives des consistoires de France – Protestant archives at the Archives nationales (France) Pierrefitte-sur-Seine (Paris)
  • Assemblée de nouveaux convertis – A description of former protestant individuals who left the faith in order to join the Catholic Church – It does appear that in some rare cases, that the contrary to the above also addressed former Catholics who joined the protestant faith.
  • Assemblée protestante – Protestant church or temple
  • Assemblée de religionnaires – Protestant church or temple
  • Chapelle protestante – Protestant chapel
  • Communauté protestante – Protestant community
  • Communauté réformée – Protestant community
  • Culte protestant – Protestant faith
  • Culte réformé – Protestant faith
  • Demi-fief de Haubert – A person of the nobility (Bourgeoisie) who was the owner of a Seigniory which dates back to the Knights (Chevaliers) time period of ancient France.
  • Église réformée – Protestant Church of France
  • Exercice du culte – Liberty of action in regard to a place or places of worship
  • Familles protestantes – Protestant families
  • Familles réformées – Protestant families
  • Lieu de prière – Place of worship
  • Lieux de prière -Places of worship
  • Lieu d’exercice – Faith place name
  • Lieux d’exercice – Faith place names
  • Nouveau converti – New convert (Male)
  • Nouveaux convertis – New converts
  • Nouvelle convertie – New convert (Female)
  • Nouvelles converties – New converts
  • Placet au Roi (roi) – Written directives issued by various kings of France which reflects the will (power) of the Crown of France
  • Réformé – Protestant individual
  • Relaps – A person who no longer attend regular church services
  • Religion réformée – Protestant faith
  • Religionnaire – Protestant individual
  • Religionnaires – Protestant individuals
  • Synode – Synod
  • Synodes – Synods
  • Temple protestant – Protestant temple
  • Temple réformé – Protestant temple
  • Temples protestants – Protestant temples
  • Temples réformés – Protestant temples

Hauts-de-France – The Protestants of Artois, Calaisis, Flandre, Picardie of the 16th and 17th centuries

The authors selected for this research guide have researched and compiled books, theses, essays, papers and studies about the Protestant families of the 16th and 17th centuries within the Hauts-de-France region, in the country’s north.

In truth, very few French Canadians or Acadians originated from the Hauts-de-France.  The highly precise Fichier Origine (https://www.fichierorigine.com/) database of pioneers who immigrated to the French colony of Nouvelle-France lists 63 pioneers from modern-day département of the Somme,  53 from the Aisne, 35 from the Oise, 32 from the Pas-de-Calais and 21 from the département du Nord.

On the other hand, Alain Jobin, in an article published in Revue du Nord, indicates that in 1685, 2,700 Protestants left the region of Calaisis and the region of the Pays reconquis (reconquered regions from the British and the Spanish) destined for London, England and the Netherlands – see:

Alain Jobin, “Le protestantisme en Calaisis aux XVIe-XVIIe siècles,” Revue du Nord, volume LXXX, July-Dec. 1998, p. 599-618, on Persée, https://www.persee.fr/doc/rnord_0035-2624_1998_num_80_326_2875

People with Protestant ancestors from the region of Hauts-de-France who settled in London, England around 1685 should look into the records of the local Threadneedle Street Church, where most of the communities of the French and Walloon in England worshipped.  The region of Wallonie in present-day Belgium is located a few miles from the Hauts-de-France.

In 1685, present-day Belgium was part of the Netherlands. From about 1648 onwards, the southern region of the Netherlands was part of the Prince-Bishopric of Liège district.

Link to the 37-page research guide PDF:

The Protestants of Artois, Flandre, Picardie

Most of these resources are in French, but you can get help from an on-line translation tool such as Google Translate or DeepL.

To learn more about Protestant records in France, see the introductions to these recent research guides on Genealogy Ensemble:

Jacques Gagné,  March 2, 2020, “Protestants of  Anjou, Beauce, Bretagne, Perche, Poitou, Touraine of the 16th and 17th Centuries»  https://genealogyensemble.com/2020/03/02/the-protestants-of-anjou-beauce-bretagne-maine-normandie-perche-poitou-touraine-of-the-16th-and-17th-centuries/

Jacques Gagné, Feb. 16, 2020, “Protestants of  Alsace-Lorraine of the 16th and 17th Centuries»  https://genealogyensemble.com/2020/02/16/the-protestants-of-alsace-lorraine-of-the-16th-and-17th-centuries/

Jacques Gagné,  Jan. 19, 2020, “Protestants of Paris in the 16th and 17th Centuries»  https://genealogyensemble.com/2020/01/19/the-protestants-of-paris-in-the-16th-and-17th-centuries/

See also

Jacques Gagné, May 20, 2018, «How to Search for Huguenot Ancestors in France,» https://genealogyensemble.com/2018/05/20/how-to-search-for-huguenot-ancestors-in-france/

Jacques Gagné, June 3, 2018, «Huguenot Family Lineage Searches,»  https://genealogyensemble.com/2018/06/03/huguenot-family-lineage-searches/

Jacques Gagné, May 13, 2018, «Researching Your French Ancestors Online,» (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/

Jacques Gagné, Jan. 27, 2019, «The National Archives of France, » https://genealogyensemble.com/2019/01/27/the-national-archives-of-france/

Jacques Gagné, Dec. 16, 2018, «BNF Gallica» (Bibliothèque nationale de France) https://genealogyensemble.com/2018/12/16/bnf-gallica/

Jacques Gagné,  Sept. 23, 2018, «Finding Ancestors in French Municipal Archives» https://genealogyensemble.com/2018/09/23/finding-ancestors-in-french-municipal-archives/

 

 

 

The Protestants of Anjou, Beauce, Bretagne, Maine, Normandie, Perche, Poitou, Touraine of the 16th and 17th centuries

 France Région du Grand-Ouest

During the 17th and 18th centuries, the north-western region of France contributed the greatest number of immigrants to New France, Acadia and the Great Lakes Region of Upper Canada.

Most of these immigrants were Catholic, however, some were Protestant.

The Protestant presence in the north-western region of France began in 1523-1527 in the cities of Angers, Le Mans, and Rennes. From 1553 to 1560, Protestant churches were organized in Anjou, Aunis, Bretagne, Poitou, Saintonge, and Touraine within this region of France.

The following research guide will help you navigate the morass of resources available to genealogists researching Protestant ancestors from Normandy, Poitou and beyond. It contains information in both English and French.

Click on this link to read the 116-page PDF research guide:

The Protestants of North-West France

This guide includes: France Huguenot Family Lineage Searches in various archives in France; French Protestant records on FamilySearch.org; a description of Protestant Church Registers at various regional archives in France; the region; the authors (books about Protestants in north-west France, including collectif, or various authors); Protestant historical societies (national); Protestant historical societies (regional); Online resources including theses; Archives (France); Archives départmentales; Libraries; Old Protestant newspapers; Publishers; Protestant genealogy (regional); links to other articles on Genealogy Ensemble.

 Protestant Church Registers at various regional archives in France

(Archives départementales & Archives communales de France)

Protestant pastoral church registers began around 1560 in many regions of France. At the regional archives of the Charente-Maritime, Protestant pastoral church registers began in 1561. At the Archives départementales du Calvados and at nearby Bibliothèque municipale de Caen, fonds contain Protestant baptisms and marriages from 1560 to 1572, in addition to an index of Protestant families and places of residence.

Documents which are normally found among the Collection communale et Collection départementale (archives originating from fonds) were researched and compiled by archivists at various Archives départementales (Regional Archives) and Archives communales (Municipal Archives.) These Protestant church registers can be found among the Parish registers (Registres paroissiaux) of an appreciable number of Archives départementales.

Protestant Church registers are described online at various archives as Actes pastoraux or Registres pastoraux. These are the acts of baptisms and marriages written by Protestant pastors (pasteurs Protestants) during the period described as Période du Désert, between the years of 1665 and 1787.

A second collection of church registers, addressing Protestant families and covering 1793 to 1820, is described as Actes de catholicité because Catholic Priests would baptize the children of Protestant parents. Also available online at most of the 95 Archives départementales de France are the civil registers described as Tables décennales, a regrouping of civil registers by 10-year periods from 1793 to 1912, or later at a number of départements (states).  Among these Tables décennales you will find Protestant families (from 1822 onward) later at most regional archives (Archives départementales) of France.

Many of the regional archives (Archives départementales) will feature online information from fonds referred to as Familles protestantes du 16e et 17e siècles (Protestant families of the 16th and 17th centuries). In most cases these fonds were obtained from regional Protestant museums, historical and archeological societies, municipal archives and genealogical societies.

A few regional archives have listings of Protestant families of their own regions from the Société de l’histoire du protestantisme français (SHPF). This society, organized in 1852 and based in Paris, features a growing online database, in partnership with the Bibliothèque nationale de France, addressing the Protestant families of many regions of France from the 16th century onward. See: https://www.//shpf.fr/collections

Common Terms

The following are French language expressions you may come across as you research the Protestants of France in the 16th and 17th centuries.

Archives des consistoires de France – Protestant archives at the Archives nationales (France) Pierrefitte-sur-Seine (Paris)

Assemblée de nouveaux convertis – A description of former protestant individuals who left the faith in order to join the Catholic Church – It does appear that in some rare cases, that the contrary to the above also addressed former catholics who joined the protestant faith.

Assemblée protestante – Protestant church or temple

Assemblée de religionnaires – Protestant church or temple

Chapelle protestante – Protestant chapel

Communauté protestante – Protestant community

Communauté réformée – Protestant community

Culte protestant – Protestant faith

Culte réformé – Protestant faith

Demi-fief de Haubert – A person of the nobility (Bourgeoisie) who was the owner of a Seigniory which dates back to the Knights (Chevaliers) time period of ancient France.

Église réformée – Protestant Church of France

Exercice du culte – Liberty of action in regard to a place or places of worship

Familles protestantes – Protestant families

Familles réformées – Protestant families

Lieu de prière – Place of worship

Lieux de prière -Places of worship

Lieu d’exercice – Faith place name

Lieux d’exercice – Faith place names

Nouveau converti – New convert (Male)

Nouveaux convertis – New converts

Nouvelle convertie – New convert (Female)

Nouvelles converties – New converts

Placet au Roi (roi) – Written directives issued by various kings of France which reflects the will (power) of the Crown of France

Réformé – Protestant individual

Relaps – A person who no longer attend regular church services

Religion réformée – Protestant faith

Religionnaire – Protestant individual

Religionnaires – Protestant individuals

Synode – Synod

Synodes – Synods

Temple protestant – Protestant temple

Temple réformé – Protestant temple

Temples protestants – Protestant temples

Temples réformés – Protestant temples

 

The Protestants of Alsace-Lorraine of the 16th and 17th centuries

From the birth of Protestantism, Calvinists, Lutherans, Anabaptists, Baptists and Mennonites were present with houses of prayer, chapels, temples and churches in the Alsace-Lorraine, otherwise known as the Grand-Est region of France, bordering both Germany and Switzerland.

It must have been confusing for the believers, since the Catholic Church also had a presence within this region, although with reduced power in comparaison to other regions of France.

At the British Conquest of 1759 at the Plains of Abraham, nearly 200 families of German ancestry resided in the St. Lawrence Valley. In the 2016 Canadian Census, 3,322,405 Canadians (nearly 10% of the population) reported German origin. A large proportion of these Canadians of Germanic anscestry lived in Ontario or Central Canada.

For people doing family lineage research in the modern-day départements of Bas-Rhin, Haut-Rhin, Meurthe-et-Moselle, Meuse, Moselle and Vosges, one is struck with the Germanic influence in this region of Grand-Est in France. Germanic family names and place names date from the early 16th century.

The choice of authors of books, essays, theses and papers for this research guide was  difficult. International online retailers such as Amazon.fr have not to this point in time secured the best authors, historians, academics and archivists within this north-east region of France. On the other hand, great institutions of learning, historical societies, and publishing houses at various universities and colleges have published interesting dossiers which address Protestantism in the Grand Est region of France, from the birth of Protestantism in Europe.

Link to the PDF research guide: The Protestants of Alsace-Lorraine of the 16th and 17th centuries

Contents of the research guide: The region; Links to Protestant resources in the National Archives of France; Links to Protestant resources on Familysearch.org; Authors (books about Protestants of Alsace-Lorraine in the 16th and 17th centuries); Historical societies (France); Historical societies (Alsace-Lorraine); Online resources, including theses; Libraries and archives; Publishers; Genealogy resources; Relevant links on Genealogy Ensemble

The Protestants of Paris in the 16th and 17th Centuries

Protestantism in Paris

The first national Protestant synod was held in Paris in 1559.  See the following French language text by Christiane Guttinger; scroll down the page for the English translation.

http://www.huguenots.fr/2010/09/le-premier-synode-national-protestant-reuni-a-paris-en-1559/

The City of Paris is home to splendid archives, libraries and societies in the repositories of which you may find partial answers to your questions about an ancestor who might have been a member of the Église réformée de France or l’Église luthérienne en France from as early as 1555 in the Paris region.

Some of the leading societies or repositories addressing Huguenots in the Paris region are: Société de l’Histoire du Protestantisme Français, Comité protestant des amitiés françaises à l’étranger (Paris), BnF – Bibliothèque nationale de France (Paris), Archives nationales de France (Paris), Archives de Paris, Archives départementales de Paris, Archives départementales – Essonne, Archives départementales – Eure-et-Loir, Archives départementales – Hauts-de-Seine, Archives départementales – Loiret, Archives départementales – Seine-et-Marne, Archives départementales – Seine-Saint-Denis, Archives départementales – Val-de-Marne, Archives départementales – Val-d’Oise – Archives départementales – Yvelines, Archives départementales – Yonne – Archives municipales of the region of Paris

If you are researching French Protestant ancestors who came to North America, you may find the following site of special interest: The Huguenot Refuge in America is an online museum and website in French, English and German.  See https://www.museeprotestant.org/en/notice/le-refuge-huguenot-en-amerique/

The following 45-page compilation in PDF format is designed to help you research Protestants in the Paris area in the 16th and 17th centuries. Click here:  The Protestants of Paris 16th, 17th centuries

This compilation includes various listings; a list of books and articles on the subject (many of these are in French; you can use an online tool such as Google Translate to help understand these texts); a list of historical societies concerned with Protestantism in France; a list of online archival resources including databases, libraries and museums; links to the national library of France, national archives of France, the archives of Paris and other departmental and municipal archives; links to historic Protestant newspapers; French genealogical links; a list of publishers.

See also the following related posts on Genealogy Ensemble:

Jacques Gagné, May 20, 2018, «How to Search for Huguenot Ancestors in Francehttps://genealogyensemble.com/2018/05/20/how-to-search-for-huguenot-ancestors-in-france/

Jacques Gagné, June 3, 2018, «Huguenot Family Lineage Searches,»  https://genealogyensemble.com/2018/06/03/huguenot-family-lineage-searches/

Jacques Gagné, May 13, 2018, «Researching Your French Ancestors Online,» (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/

Jacques Gagné, Jan. 27, 2019, «The National Archives of France, » https://genealogyensemble.com/2019/01/27/the-national-archives-of-france/

Jacques Gagné, Dec. 16, 2018, «BNF Gallica» (Bibliothèque nationale de France) https://genealogyensemble.com/2018/12/16/bnf-gallica/

Jacques Gagné,  Sept. 23, 2018, «Finding Ancestors in French Municipal Archives» https://genealogyensemble.com/2018/09/23/finding-ancestors-in-french-municipal-archives/

Protestants in Quebec

Recently, the news media reported that Quebec Premier François Legault stated that “all” French Canadians are Catholic. While it is true that, historically, almost all francophone Quebecers were Catholic, today many are lapsed Catholics while others are atheists. There are also those who, for a variety of reasons, switched from the Catholic Church to a Protestant religion.

In my own case, I became a Protestant in my mid-forties. My father, Lionel Gagné, was also a Protestant. At a young age, he lost both his Catholic parents and was placed in a Catholic orphanage in east-end Montreal. At about the age of seven or eight, he was taken in by a Huguenot teacher and his wife, a Presbyterian from Massachusetts, who were teachers at a bilingual Protestant College in Pointe-aux-Trembles. This college was operated and financed at the time by McGill University and the Presbyterian Church of Canada.

Like many people, Premier Legault is probably not aware that a small minority of French Quebecers had Protestant ancestors, many of whom were forced to give up their religion when they settled here. Genealogist Michel Barbeau has estimated that about 320 Huguenots, or French-speaking Protestants, settled in New France between 1634 and 1763. See the database of names he identified as Huguenots: http://pages.infinit.net/barbeaum/fichier/index.htm). You can read more about the history of the Huguenots on Barbeau’s website Our Huguenot Ancestors, http://pages.infinit.net/barbeaum/huga/index.htm

Many of these people came to North America to escape from persecution in Europe, however, they did not find life much easier in New France. Many were forced to abjure, or renounce, their religion and others became Catholic after marrying in the Catholic Church. Those who remained Protestant were banned from certain trades, while some had their possessions confiscated.

Here are links to two of my research guides to the Huguenots of New France:

https://genealogyensemble.com/2014/04/02/huguenot-refugees/

https://genealogyensemble.com/2015/02/03/register-of-abjurations/

The following article describes the early Protestant churches of Quebec City:

https://genealogyensemble.com/2019/02/03/the-protestant-churches-of-quebec-city-1629-1759/

In addition to being a list of French-language Protestant churches and their ministers, the research guide below includes an excellent article by Réne Péron about the lives of Protestants in New France, a list of books and authors who have written on the subject, and contact information for the archives of Protestant churches where you can find church registries:

https://genealogyensemble.com/2015/11/22/french-protestant-churches-in-quebec/

The following research guide is a list of villages, towns and townships across Quebec where people from a variety of origins, including Huguenots, settled:

https://genealogyensemble.com/2015/04/08/british-irish-scottish-loyalist-american-german-scandinavian-dutch-huguenot-families-in-lower-canada-and-quebec-1760/

In 2020, I will be posting a series of articles about the Huguenots in Europe. The first will focus on the Protestants of Paris and surrounding region in the 16th and 17th centuries.