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Waldensians in Württemberg[edit | edit source]
The Waldensian religious refugees from the French Val Cluson and Piedmont region of Italy settled early in and around Württemberg. The origin of their faith, arguably, began in France with evidence of earlier followers in Italy after their founder Peter Waldo, during the 12th century, became a pre-reformation period Protestant leader. He lived in Lyon, France and his followers were later greatly persecuted during the Counter-Revolution. Some of the localities where they settled by the end of 1699, were the villages of Pinache, Durrmenz, Nagold, Perouse, Nordhausen, Gochsheim, Wiernsheim and others, including Stuttgart and Cannstatt. These Protestant religious refugees fled from Louis XIV. They were given land in Württemberg to build their homes.
The older French settlers maintained their French language while the younger soon adapted to the German language and dialects of the Schwarzwald area that they settled into. The Waldensians maintained their own schools and churches in the early German years.
Many later immigrated to Pennsylvania along with other early German immigrants after having climatized to their new German home.
If your ancestor was a Waldensian some interesting articles to read can be found at the following links and in the following books:
- Waldenses Religious movements
- The Waldensian Way to God An online Google book giving the history of the Waldensians in Germany and Württemberg. This book has a map of Württemberg Waldensian enclaves in Baden.
- The Waldensians in Durrmenz
- Basic Background information on the History of the Waldenses
- Waldensians early history
- A 5 volume series of books entitled "Die Waldenser auf Ihrem Weg aus dem Val Cluson durch die Schweiz nach Deutschland 1532-1829 by Theo Kiefner is available at the Family History Library, click here. The call number is 943 W2K2 v.1-5. These volumes give a wonderful and detailed history of the movements of the Waldensians in great detail in the many time periods of their wanderings.
- Listings for many French Protestant births, marriages and deaths can be found in the Evangelical Church records for the villages.
- To see all the book titles available on this subject on the FamilySearch Catalog, go to [https://familysearch.org/search/catalog/results?count=20&query=%2Bkeywords%3Awaldenses Waldenses. You will find many titles for that topic listed there.