Huguenot Church in the United States

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United States  Gotoarrow.png United States Church RecordsGotoarrow.png Huguenot Church

History in the United States[edit | edit source]

Huguenots were French Protestants who held to the Reformed, or Calvinist, tradition of Protestantism. The term has its origin in early-16th-century France. It was frequently used in reference to those of the Reformed Church of France from the time of the Protestant Reformation. Due to persecution, n 1685, about 200,000 Huguenots fled to foreign nations, including Germany, the Netherlands, England, and America. Often Huguenot families would settle in one country, then move to another.

  • Barred by the government from settling in New France (Quebec), Huguenots sailed to North America in 1624 and settled instead in the Dutch colony of New Netherland (later incorporated into New York and New Jersey)'. A number of New Amsterdam's families were of Huguenot origin, often having emigrated as refugees to the Netherlands in the previous century.
  • Huguenot refugees also settled in the Delaware River Valley of Eastern Pennsylvania and Hunterdon County, New Jersey in 1725. Frenchtown in New Jersey bears the mark of early settlers.
  • In 1700, several hundred French Huguenots migrated from England to the colony of Virginia.
  • Through the 18th and 19th centuries, descendants of the French migrated west into the Piedmont, and across the Appalachian Mountains into the West of what became Kentucky, Tennessee, Missouri, and other states.
  • In the early years, many Huguenots also settled in the area of present-day Charleston, South Carolina. Charleston, South Carolina, is home to the only active Huguenot congregation in the United States.

For additional early history, see:

Mergers With Other Denominations[edit | edit source]

Huguenots often merged with other Protestant religious groups. Records for Huguenots can be found in the records of these churches.

State Church
Kentucky   Presbyterian
New Jersey   Dutch Reformed Church
New York
New Amsterdam (now New York City)
  Dutch Reformed Church
North Carolina   Presbyterian
Pennsylvania   Presbyterian
  Protestant Episcopal
  Reformed
Rhode Island   Protestant Episcopal
  Refomed
South Carolina   Congregational
  Protestant Episcopal
Virginia   Anglican

Finding Records[edit | edit source]

Look for online records.[edit | edit source]

Some records have been digitized and posted online, where they are easily searched. More are being added all the time. Partner websites such as Ancestry.com, FindMyPast, MyHeritage, and American Ancestors can be searched free-of-charge at any Family History Center.

Caution sign.png

Online databases are incomplete. This can lead to two common errors:

  1. Near matches: Researchers might mistakenly accept an entry very similar to their ancestor, thinking it is the only one available "so it must be mine". Only use information that matches your ancestor in date, place, other relationships, and details.
  2. Stopping research: Researchers might assume the database proves church records do not exist. Actually the record is still out there, just not in this incomplete collection of records. Keep searching!

FamilySearch Online Records[edit | edit source]


Societies[edit | edit source]

Dark thin font green pin Version 4.pngSeveral Huguenot Societies have collected existing church records and/or transcripts of them. See Huguenot Societies. This Wiki article will give you contact and collection information for 15+ different societies.

Carefully compare any record you find to known facts about the ancestor[edit | edit source]

You will possibly find many different people with the same name as your ancestor, especially when a family stayed in a locality for several generations, and several children were named after the grandparents or aunts and uncles. Be prepared to find the correct church records by organizing in advance as many of these exact details about the ancestor as possible:

  • name, including middle name and maiden name
  • names of all spouses, including middle and maiden name
  • exact or closely estimated dates of birth, marriage, and death
  • names and approximate birthdates of children
  • all known places of residence
  • occupations
  • military service details


Dark thin font green pin Version 4.pngCarefully evaluate the church records you find to make sure you have really found records for your ancestor and not just a "near match". If one or more of the details do not line up, be careful about accepting the entry as your ancestor. There are guiding principles for deciding how to resolve discrepancies between records that are seemingly close. For more instruction in evaluating evidence, read the Wiki article, Evaluate the Evidence.