by Jilliaine Smith, Huguenot Project Leader

The Huguenot Cross (Image Credit: Wikipedia)

Sometime between 1550 and 1580, members of the Reformed (Protestant) church in predominantly Catholic France came to be commonly known as Huguenots, initially a derogatory term, then one held with pride. They were virulently prosecuted by the French government, in part because many Huguenots were families of wealth who sought political power as well.

The height of this persecution was the St. Bartholomew’s Day massacre (in 1572) when 5,000 to 30,000 Huguenots were killed. After that time, tolerance varied, there was a brief period of legal acceptance of Protestant practice, until King Louis XIV made Catholicism the religion of the nation then outlawed Protestantism entirely in 1685.

By the end of the 17th century and into the 18th century, roughly 500,000 Huguenots had fled France, four thousand of which emigrated to the North American colonies. Huguenots (with estimates ranging from 200,000 to 1,000,000) also fled to surrounding Protestant countries: England, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Norway, Denmark, and Prussia. Some went to South Africa. See Wikipedia for more historical background.

Many Huguenot descendants continued to use French first names and surnames for their children well into the nineteenth century, as they tried to keep some connection to their heritage.

The Huguenot Migration project at WikiTree seeks to identify those emigrating Huguenots— wherever their destination. Profiles so identified include the {{Huguenot}} template, which places the following on their profile.

This person was a Huguenot.
If you are interested in this profile,
please check out the Huguenot Migration Project!

This template also automatically categorizes the profile with Category:Huguenot_Migration.

If you’ve got Huguenot ancestry, please join the project by sending a Private Message to project lead Jillaine Smith requesting the Huguenot Project Badge and add your name to the appropriate section of the Project Table at http://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Project:Huguenot_Migration (If you need help, let Jillaine know. She’ll help.)

Project members should also add the tag “huguenot” to their G2G feed so they will be notified when someone posts a message about Huguenots.

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