England Huguenot Records (National Institute)

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The original content for this article was contributed by The National Institute for Genealogical Studies in June 2012. It is an excerpt from their course English: Non-Anglican Church Records  by Dr. Penelope Christensen. The Institute offers over 200 comprehensive genealogy courses for a fee ($).

Other Records of Huguenots[edit | edit source]

There are three very helpful other records made in the French churches and all have been published by the Huguenot Society and filmed:

Témoignages—Certificates of sound doctrine and good behaviour from their previous congregation presented to the new one. These are the most important of the documents after the registers as they state when the family arrived and from whence. Those for the London Walloon Church, Threadneedle Street 1669-1789 have been published by W. and S. Minet and are also on FHL film 0466698.

Reconnaissances—Profession of Calvinistic faith in lieu of a témoignage which were not able to be presented after the 1685 Revocation of the Edict of Nantes. Some 3,000 of these are available for the prime years of 1686-1688 in the Acts of the Threadneedle Street congregation alone.

Abjurations—These were conversions from Roman Catholicism and were comparatively rare.

A fascinating series of manuscripts reporting on visits during 1879-1883 by church representatives to the lapsed members of their congregations in London’s east end has been described by Gandy (1997).

Huguenot Charities[edit | edit source]

A number of charities were established by Huguenots to assist members in difficulties, especially the nearly destitute late-17th century refugees, by the French Committee from 1681-1704. Records of some have been published by the Huguenot Society in their Quarto Series) or in their annual Proceedings, both of which are on film. The Huguenot Library has much more unpublished charity material as well.

Marmoy’s splendid series on the vast records of the French Protestant Hospital called La Providence, at Rochester in Kent was published in the Quarto Series as volumes 52 and 53. It has extracts relating to all inmates and unsuccessful applicants 1718-1957 as well as for the Coqueau Charity 1745-1901, with details such as appear below.

Chart: Extracts from Archives of the French Protestant
Hospital at Rochester

Rosina CLARKE née HITCHINS, inmate
Petitioned 17 Feb 1923. Entered 6 Oct 1928, left 5 Dec 1931. Of 261 Harrow Road, Leytonstone, parish of East Leyton. Widow, d/o Henry Hitchins and Rebecca Hitchins née Barnardier. Born 5 May 1857 in Abbey Place, Bethnal Green. On mother’s side an ancestor was a French Protestant who left France about 1776. Brother George Hitchins (also in the index).Formerly a domestic, married, now supported by Port of London Authority with an annuity of £29 per annum. In her file are copies of her birth and marriage certificates, death certificate for (husband), Mr. T. Clarke; etc.
Sarah Elizabeth CLARKE, applicant
Entered 31 Mar 1880, deceased 22 Jul 1880. Of 133 Columbia Square, Bethnal Green. Spinster d/o James and Sarah Clarke. Born 26 Oct 1823 in Busby Street, Bethnal Green. Mother was a d/o Elizabeth Vatin, a member of French Protestant church until her death. Petitioner is niece of Susannah Lawson (also in index) a former recipient of Coqueau Charity. Formerly a weaveress, now supported by waistcoat making, earns about 6/- weekly from the use of her needle. Failing health. In her file are copies of parish register entries for her birth/christening, parents’ marriage, mother Sarah Palmer’s birth/christening and grandparents Joseph Palmer and Elizabeth VATIN’s marriage.

The Friendly Benefit Society of Bethnal Green, Middlesex was one of the Huguenot Friendly Societies whose object was to grant weekly allowances to sick members, an allowance at death of members and their wives, and a retirement pension. An example from the records appears in below.

Court Books of the Weavers’ Company[edit | edit source]

This City of London craft guild had a large French membership heavily concentrated in the Spitalfields area of east London and their records can be very useful, not only for details of their work, but for family relationships.

Chart: Excerpts from Bethnal Green (Huguenot)
Friendly Benefit Society Minutes

1857 Apr 6 Proposed by Mr Geo Ferry, Wm Goddard by trade a Cabnet (sic) maker, 34 Turk St. Bethnal Green, aded (sic) 20 years.
1858 Jul 5 Proposed by Mr Edw. Ferry, Tho Stillwell by trade a Weaver, No 24 Mape St Bethnal Green, aged 23 years.
1858 Jul 5 Proposed by Mr Tho Combs, seconded by Mr John Hill that all members arived (sic) at the age of 65 years that he be excenpt (sic) the call for Steward. Carried.
1859 Mar 7 Proposed by Mr Keymer, Henery Treadway by trade a Fancy Trimming Manufacturer, No 10 North Side Bethnal Green, aged 19 years
1859 Apr 4 Proposed by Mr Tho Combs, Alfred Wm Combs by trad (sic) Pawnbroker, No 2 Proverdance (sic) Row, Old Ford Road, aged 19 years. Admitted.

Huguenot Family Histories, Pedigrees and Probate[edit | edit source]

There are a huge number of Huguenot family histories and Wagner collected about 900 Huguenot pedigrees, both sources being well represented in the FHL. A large number of Huguenots left wills, many of which have been indexed and abstracted by Wagner and are at the Huguenot Library.

Huguenot Publications[edit | edit source]

Gwynn’s two publications (Records of Huguenots in the British Isles, pages 1-9 in Volume F, World Conference on Records and Genealogical Seminar, Salt Lake City, Utah, USA 5-8 August 1969. Genealogical Society of Utah. FHL fiche 6039361(1) and Huguenot Heritage: The History and Contribution of the Huguenots in Britain. Routledge) , Currer-Briggs and Gambier (Huguenot Ancestry. Phillimore, 1985), and Delaforce (Undated, about 1981.Family History Research Vol I “The French Connection”. Regency Press, London.) are good places to start, and Kershaw and Pearsall (Immigrants and Aliens. A Guide to Sources on UK immigration and citizenship. PRO Publications, 2000) have details of the PRO holdings. The Huguenot and Walloon Research Association are about to publish a valuable index to the French Protestant Hospital records and a Guide to Protestant Ancestry Research, an article by Tsushima describes their work.

The Huguenot Society of London has lead the way in gathering and publishing records of a particular religious group. The Proceedings run from 1885 and their record series (theQuarto Series) from 1887 to date, many giving complete transcriptions of archive material, for example the Returns of Aliens, Denizations and Naturalizations and Oaths of Naturalization from the PRO, and all of the London French church registers. Both the Quarto Series and the Proceedings are on film and there is a comprehensive (but not all-name) index by Marmoy (General Index to the Proceedings and the Quarto Series of Publications of the Huguenot Society of London, 1885-1985. Huguenot Society. FHL book 942.1 C42m). Ramsay-Sharp (Huguenot Surname Index Quarto Series Volumes 1-40. Society of Australian Genealogists) has completely surname-indexed volumes 1-40 of the Quarto Series.


Information in this Wiki page is excerpted from the online course English: Non-Anglican Church Records offered by The National Institute for Genealogical Studies. To learn more about this course or other courses available from the Institute, see our website. We can be contacted at wiki@genealogicalstudies.com

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