Family historyFree resourcesHuguenot ancestry

Websites for Huguenot and Spitalfields Huguenot ancestry

In the course of some fantastically interesting research I am doing on a group of Huguenot families, I have come across a few websites which other researchers may find useful or interesting. Even if they do not mention your ancestor specifically, a lot of these websites contain valuable background information and links.  I have discovered a number of websites which include pictures that may be useful for Huguenot family history, which are in the public domain although other sites are charging a fee for the use of them.  Copyright law is different in different countries, and so you may wish to check if you are outside the UK, but in general things designated public domain in the UK will be in the public domain worldwide.  The reverse is sometime not true.

Huguenots and Spitalfields

There are a number of websites on Spitalfields which include details about Huguenot families who once lived there, and vice versa.

Huguenot Museum

Museum in Rochester in Kent celebrating Huguenots.

The Huguenots of Spitalfields

The people behind the Huguenots of Spitalfields arrange tours and walks, go into schools to teach about Huguenots, and they are also gathering information about the Huguenots on the website.  People are posting their requests for information about their ancestors on the Huguenot Traces page too.

Spitalfields Life

A blog which is interested in the history of the Spitalfields area, which is interesting for many people researching a Huguenot ancestry. There are thousands of posts about the area, and a lot of background which would be useful for those writing a family history.

This is a specific blog post about the Huguenots of Spitalfields, and a lot of people have used the comments on the blog to  give information about their Huguenot ancestors or to ask for information about them.

The Spitalfields Project reports

The Spitalfields project took place in the early 1990s, when archaeologists and historians were allowed access to the bodies held in the Spitalfields church crypt, while the crypt was being  converted to a place for the homeless to get food and assistance.

It was an unusual project, in that the archaeologists were allowed access to bodies which had a known history.  Groups of researchers from various universities were given access to material which they would normally never get to see.

The project was covered in a long Chronicle video which I once saw.  I do not know whether it is available now (see below).  However, the reports of the Spitalfields project are available in PDF form, for both parts of the project.  These may not deal with your immediate ancestors, but give very interesting detail about the life in Spitalfields, and about the medical and social conditions of the people living there.

Volume 1, the archaeology is available here as a PDF

Volume 2, which deals with the anthropology and is subtitled “The Middling Sort” is available here as a PDF

There is a very useful related publication, called Life and Death in Spitalfields 1700-1850 which is also available as a PDF.  It will give you so much background information about the people of Spitalfields.

It’s your funeral

This website might not seem to have too much to do with the Huguenots, but it is written by one of the people who made an amazing programme about the skeletons of Spitalfields many years ago, which I must have watched in 1992.  The Chronicle program: Skeletons of Spitalfields was a BBC programme, and the blogger suggests it is possible the BBC might produce a tape of the programme in return for a fee.  I don’t know if this is true.

There is a very bad recording of another programme on youtube “Footsteps of Man” dealing with the work in Spitalfields, but the sound is really appalling.

Blogs on Huguenot ancestors or ancestry

Huguenot Jo

This is a really excellent website by a person with Huguenot ancestry.  Some parts of the site are hidden from view except for invited guests, but her blog posts and photographs are wonderful.

This post is about Christ Church Spitalfields.

Two-century family Odyssey in Spitalfields

Richard A. Edmunds is an author who has published several books about Huguenot weavers, clockmakers and bone turners, and this website includes his own family history in two parts. His blog for the family, who were imprisoned in Dieppe Castle before being expelled from France and making their way to England is very interesting.

Part one is here. Part two is here.

Huguenot girl

Interesting blog, research and posts about the Dalbiac family and others. Also weaving, Spitalfields, some interesting illustrations and photography *not* Public Domain.

French Genealogy

The French Genealogy Blog

This site may have a lot to offer someone with a French ancestry, but there are a LOT of useful links and information in the post on Huguenot genealogy, including links to archives in particular areas of France.

Genealogy Val-de-Marne

Includes a lot of useful information about the records from the Temple of Charenton, information about places around Val-de-Marne, information about records etc.

General Huguenot Genealogy

The National Archives Podcast series: tracing Huguenot ancestors

Illustrations for Huguenots

Several of the books I linked on my page of Huguenot Society resources have illustrations which are in the public domain.  You can screen shot or download those pictures for use in your own family history.

Reproduction of the Text on Spitalfields from London published by Charles Knight and Co in 1842.

The link above includes the illustrations from the book which can be downloaded, as all the material is in the public domain.  Click on the thumbnail, right click on the enlarged photograph and choose to “save photograph as”.

The British Museum has illustrations, mainly of objects made by Huguenot craftsmen.  Many of their pictures are available with a creative commons copyright designation, which means you need to attribute the picture to them and can then share or use it freely.  You need to check on each item you propose to use though.  This is what I found searching simply for the word Huguenot on the British Museum site.

The British Library has put over a million images into the public domain, including them on Flickr Commons.  This is what comes up for a search on Huguenot within the Flickr Commons.  You do need to check whether an item is Public Domain (which needs no attribution, although Flickr Commons would probably appreciate one) or Creative Commons with a specific licence (that often requires attribution).

If you are looking for images for a particular place you could search here, or on Pixabay, which is a royalty free creative commons collection of images which doesn’t require attribution.  Beware the images along the top of each page which are from the paid site istock photo, and are NOT free.  If you want a particular place, or to illustrate a particular thing, you can find some surprising things on Pixabay. There are only a few for Huguenot, but specific places may throw up a lot more. Or you might want something more general.  This is the rather random selection if you put in history.

I love the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.  They have made a LOT of their images public domain, including this one of a wonderful coat the fabric for which was woven by a named Spitalfields Weaver, Peter Lekeux, for example.  If you are looking for objects or particular things, it’s always worth searching their catalogue.  The marvellous thing about American copyright law, is that it doesn’t allow someone to take a photograph of something in the public domain and then claim copyright on it.  I think the National Gallery and the National Portrait Gallery in the UK should take note, and follow suit with their collections, which do, after all, belong to us all. Back to the Met, they have an article on silk production in Europe between 1600 and 1800 and all the photographs of textiles at the top of the page are public domain images which you are free to use. The essay may be useful background too.

Temple of Charenton

The temple of Charenton was a huge temple built by Protestants on the outskirts of Paris, which was demolished in 1685 shortly after the revocation of the Edict of Nantes. There is an article about it on the museeprotestant.org, but they frankly need a sterm talking to as they have put copyright notices all over images which ought really to be in the public domain.  The information on the site may be of interest however, and there are some sources (mostly wikimedia commons or wikipedia) for public domain copies of the same images.

There is a very informative article on the Temple of Charenton here.

Temple of Charenton images in the public domain

It’s become very irritating to me to see a lot of images which should be in the public domain even by our arcane rules, appear on websites which try to make people pay to have a digital copy or to use it in a publication.  Most of the images for the Charenton Temple come from the 17th century and ought to be in the public domain.  I’ve therefore sought out access to those images on sites which have put them in the public domain.

Interior cut away view of the temple of Charenton (public domain)

Temple from a distance with ruined bridge and countryside (public domain)

Plan and profile of the Temple of Charenton. (public domain)

Interior view of the temple (public domain)

Jean Dailé, Pastor at Charenton.  Small, but Public Domain.

Book of sermons by Jean Dailé

The water mill above the bridge at Charenton

Plaque commemorating the Charenton Temple at St Maurice.  (CC by SA 4.0, which means you must attribute the picture to its creator.)

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