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Huguenots in North America

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Marilyn Markham, MLS, AG, CG

The information in this class syllabus plus more is on the FamilySearch Wiki pages, Huguenots in the United States and Huguenots in Canada.

Brief History[edit | edit source]

The Huguenot Church (French Reformed Church) began in France and eventually faced fierce persecution there. The first large migration of French Protestants (Huguenots) began after the St. Bartholomew's Day Massacre in 1572. A more peaceful time started in 1598 when the Edict of Nantes granted religious freedom.

Unfortunately, the Edict of Nantes was revoked in 1685, removing all religious freedom. Persecution became fierce. About 200,000 Huguenots fled to foreign nations, including the Netherlands (50-60,000), England (40-50,000), Germany (about 25-30,000), Switzerland (22,000), Ireland (10,000), and America (10,000). Often Huguenot families would settle in one country then move to another, either the same generation or one or two generations later.

Canada[edit | edit source]

From 1577 on, many Huguenots became traders or merchants in Canada. At least 1450 Huguenots settled in Canada during French rule. However, after the revocation of the Edict of Nantes, Huguenots were barred from Canada, though some small groups stayed in Quebec. Since Canada under French government was against them, most Huguenots preferred to go to Protestant countries. After the British came to power in 1763, more Huguenots came to Canada. Some came from New England. Others came from Germany, Switzerland, and even France. They settled early in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Ontario, and Quebec.

United States[edit | edit source]

About 10,000 Huguenots settled in what is now the United States, mostly along the eastern coast. In the late 1600's and early 1700's, the greatest number went to South Carolina, with a smaller number going to Virginia. Another group went to New Amsterdam, then over to northern New Jersey.

Huguenots usually merged with other Protestant religious groups. Records for Huguenots can be found in the records of these other churches. Huguenot descendants eventually married into other religious and cultural groups. In both civil and church records, French names were often spelled phonetically or shortened or both.

Florida[edit | edit source]

In 1562, Huguenots settled in present day Jacksonville. By 1565, Spanish military efforts had wiped out the colony, martyring many Huguenots.

Kentucky[edit | edit source]

About half of the early pioneers of Kentucky were descended from French-speaking Protestants, including the Huguenots from southern France and the Walloons from southern Belgium.

Massachusetts[edit | edit source]

The French Huguenots had a Church in Boston, 1686-1748/1764. Unfortunately, no records of this church survive.

New Jersey[edit | edit source]

Between 1677 and the early 1700s, Dutch-speaking French Huguenots from Harlem and Staten Island, New York, settled at Schraalenburgh (now Bergenfield) in the Hackensack Valley of Bergen County. Other Huguenots settled in Monmouth County and Hudson County. Huguenots helped settle the west bank of the Hudson River in about the same time frame as New Amsterdam.

New York[edit | edit source]

One of the important legacies of the New Netherland colony was religious tolerance. The Dutch Reformed Church was predominant at first. However, the colony was also a haven for religious minorities such as the Huguenots. Huguenots settled on Staten Island and in New Harlem, Bushwick, and Flushing in 1657 and 1658. New Paltz in Ulster County was founded in 1677 by Huguenots. In 1688 the Huguenots established New Rochelle in Westchester County.

North Carolina[edit | edit source]

In the early 1700s, small groups of French Huguenot, German Palatine, and Swiss immigrants founded towns on the coast.

Pennsylvania[edit | edit source]

French Huguenot and Swiss families mingled with the Germans. Some Huguenots from New York migrated to Pennsylvania and settled in Berks and Lancaster counties.

Rhode Island[edit | edit source]

The liberal religious culture, laws, and policies in colonial Rhode Island created a wonderful location for French Huguenots.

South Carolina[edit | edit source]

Jean Ribault established a French Huguenot colony in South Carolina in 1562. However, most Huguenot settlements had their beginnings in Charleston around 1681. By 1686, Huguenot settlements existed in Charleston, Santee River, St. John's Berkeley, and Cooper River. Other settlements in colonial South Carolina were at Goose Creek, Orange Quarter, New Bordeaux, and Purrysburgh.

Virginia[edit | edit source]

In about 1700, Huguenots came to Virginia. Their settlement, in King William Parish, near Richmond on the James River, was known as Manakin Town. They and many of their descendants lived in Henrico, Goochland, Cumberland, and Powhatan counties.

Huguenot Society Page

Books about Huguenots in America[edit | edit source]

Often the best family information is found in sources such as town, county, or family histories.

  • Baird, Charles W. History of the Huguenot Emigration to America. Originally published New York, 1885. Reprint Baltimore : Genealogical Pub. Co., 1973.

volume 1 - Digital version on Internet Archive. volume 2 - Digital version on Internet Archive.

  • Fosdick, Lucian J. The French Blood in America. New York, New York: F.H. Revell

Co., c1906. Digital version on Internet Archive.

  • Lart, Charles E. Huguenot Pedigrees. (vols. 1-2). Baltimore, Maryland: Genealogical Pub. Co., 1967. FHL book 942 D2La, also online.
  • Lawton, Mrs. James M., comp. Family names of Huguenot Refugees to America.
  • Lee, Hannah F. The Huguenots in France and America. Digital version on Internet Arachive.
  • Reaman, George Elmore. The Trail of the Huguenots in Europe, the U.S., South Africa and Canada. London: Frederick Muller, c1963. FHL book 284.5 R23t (High Density)
  • Finnell, Arthur. comp. Register of Qualified Huguenot Ancestors of The National Huguenot Society. Fourth Edition, Washington, DC: the Society, 1983. (FHL book 973 D2rq ) 1995.

New Jersey[edit | edit source]

  • Koehler, Albert F. The Huguenots, or the Early French in New Jersey. Bloomfield, N.J. : Huguenot Society of New Jersey, 1955. Reprint Baltimore, Maryland : Clearfield, 2003. FHL book 974.9 F2ka

New York[edit | edit source]

  • Le Fevre, Ralph. History of New Pfalz, New York, and it's old families (from 1678 to 1820). Originally published: Albany, N.Y. : s.n., 1909. Reprint Baltimore, Maryland: Genealogical Pub. Co., 1996. FHL book 974.734/N1 H2L and online

Pennsylvania[edit | edit source]

  • Stapleton, Ammon. Memorials of the Huguenots in America with special reference to their emigration to Pennsylvania. Original published: Carlisle, Pa. : Huguenot Pub., 190l. Reprint Baltimore, Maryland: Genealogical Pub. Co., 1989. Digital version on Internet Archive.

Rhode Island[edit | edit source]

  • Potter, Elisha R. Memoir Concerning the French settlements and French Settlers in the Colony of Rhode Island. Originally published: Providence, R.I.: Sidney S. Rider, c1879. Reprint Baltimore, Maryland: Genealogical Pub. Co., 1968. Digital version on Internet Archive.

South Carolina[edit | edit source]

  • Clut, Robert F. The Annals and Parish Register of St. Thomas and St. Denis Parish in South Carolina, from 1680-1884. Digital version on Internet Archive.
  • Hirsch, Arthur Henry. The Huguenots in Colonial South Carolina. Originally published: Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press, c1928. Reprint Hamden [Connecticut]: Archon Books, 1962. FHL book 975.7 F2h and fiche 6048233 (5 fiche).

Virginia[edit | edit source]

Brock, R.A., ed. Documents, Chiefly Unpublished, Relating to the Huguenot Emigration to Virginia and to the Settlement at Manakin-Town, with an Appendix of Genealogies ... 1886; reprint, Baltimore, Md., 1973. Digital version on Internet Archive.

Societies[edit | edit source]

National Huguenot Society 7340 Blanco Road Suite 104 San Antonio, TX 78216-4970 Telephone: (210) 366-9995 Website: has lists of registered Huguenot refugees and useful websites. Education section of web site includes Who were the Huguenots, Important dates in history, and bibliography Resources section includes Huguenot ancestral name listings, Selected publication for Huguenot research, Other Huguenot specific web sites

Huguenot Society of America 20 W. 44th Street, Suite 510 New York, NY 10036 Phone: 212-755-0592 Website:

Historic Huguenot Street Schoonmaker Library 88 Huguenot Street New Paltz, NY 12561 Phone: 845-255-6738 Email: library@huguenotstreet Website: []

FHL = Family History Library / (free) FamilySearch Wiki is at []

Internet Archive (free) is at []

Huguenot Society of Great Britain and Ireland, Huguenot History at, accessed 13 June 2013. Canadian Encyclopedia, Huguenots, at [1] , accessed 13 June 2013.