French Emigrants: They Were Not All Huguenots, or Nobles, or from Alsace-Lorraine

Anne Morddel, CG
Apr 16, 2024
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About BCG
6m 03s
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Speaker's Introduction
1m 18s
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1m 48s
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French Family Stories
11m 47s
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Reasons for Migration
9m 03s
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Colonies and Crises
5m 17s
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17m 13s
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1850s to 1880s
4m 07s
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1m 28s
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Questions / answers
14m 06s

About this webinar

One of the great difficulties for people researching their French immigrant ancestors’ roots is that so little is known outside of France about when and why the French left their country. This dearth of knowledge has led many family historians of the 19th century to presume Huguenot, noble émigré or Alsace-Lorraine ancestry for any ancestor with a French name. The supposition became a family legend that then became a research frustration as more recent family historians attempt to prove what was never more than a misguided supposition.

This webinar looks at the many waves of French migration, as well as the three mentioned in the title, from the 17th to the 20th centuries. The historical reasons for when, why and to where they emigrated will provide the key points to bear in mind when conducting research. The bibliography, in English and French, contains not only books and articles concerning French emigration but a list of websites to aid the researcher.

About the speaker

About the speaker

Anne Morddel, CG, MLIS, worked in libraries and archives in her native California, Europe, South America, the Middle East and Africa. She is now based in France, where she has written The French Genealogy Blog for more than a dozen years, producin
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  1. AW
    Antoinette Wade
    3 months ago

    My direct ancestry is of French colonists & other ( eg French East India Company, French Foreign Services, deported Communards) & their families (from France or those they married in whatever colony they went to) from 1600s onwards- predominantly Madagascar, India, Reunion Island, Mauritius, New Caledonia, French Polynesia, French Indochine, and some possible leads for Canada, New Orleans, Guadelope. I think your webinar is important to highlight a wide range of reasons people left France.Also the places they went to as French is not just France. Your blog is as always such a vital asset for those researching their French family. Interestingly I have found amazing resources to do with my family from many sources with really good French records. I even found via the Scottish Hisorical Society a record of my GG x10 being part of the Scottish Garrison for Queen Mary- some of those French soldiers actually remained in Scotland- so in effect they were indirect migrants.
    I have found .

  2. RB
    Rebekah Berman
    3 months ago

    Excellent info that I plan to use soon!

  3. KW
    Kathleen Withers
    3 months ago

    I know little to nothing about French migration and this was fascinating and very informative. I can’t say enough good things about it and how helpful this was. It was easy to understand even by a complete beginner like myself and all the links she provided in the syllabus are great.

  4. JP
    Jackie Pepin
    3 months ago

    So comprehensive about the places where people relocated. the reasons why they moved (or were forced) to leave France, and the years during which there were wars or other factors that caused people to end up in other locations. It was also helpful to learn about many of them returning to France, either permanently or temporarily.

  5. TC
    Tina Cunningham
    3 months ago

    very interesting topic. I vaguely knew that there wasn’t much information about French migration out there – but learning that there weren’t as many “events” to trigger people to emigrate makes perfect sense. And, that many thought of their emigration as temporary – all very interesting insights.

  6. JL
    Joni Leffler
    3 months ago

    Anne Morddel’s BCG webinar was superb! Such a wealth of information including relevant key points to consider throughout French history! Absolutely loved this fantastic treat! I have French ancestry of both Catholic & Huguenot faiths within France & the New World. I never tire of learning more techniques & resources of use to continue uncovering & preserving their stories! Merci beaucoup!

  7. JD
    john danielson
    3 months ago

    Such definitive opinions about “what is useless to believe” were refreshing!

  8. CT
    Cynthia Taylor
    3 months ago

    Good structure; easy


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