I have a French surname, am I of Huguenot descent? Not necessarily. Prior to the arrival of the Huguenots, there were a significant number of people in Britain and Ireland who had French surnames. These were people who were either of Norman descent, or who were closely connected to the Normans in some other way, for example: servants, tenants or soldiers. If your surname can be traced back beyond the 17th century, it is more likely to be Norman. Having said that, many people in Britain and Ireland are of Huguenot descent, especially in the areas where they mainly settled - it is estimated that 25% of Londoners have a Huguenot ancestor.
How do I find out more? You can make a start by visiting the website of The Huguenot Society of Great Britain and Ireland which contains lots of useful information for anyone starting to research in this area. The Family History page includes a number of really helpful files you can download.
- The Huguenots in London
- Huguenots message board (Also covers Walloons)
- Online tour of a Huguenot's house
- A webring for Huguenot websites
- Huguenot names found in Devon
- The Huguenot page on Wikipedia