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Huguenot Walloon Immigration to South Africa

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Huguenot Refugees in the Cape Colony of South Africa

Following is an article researched and written by Lesley Robertson. Lesley may be contacted at: l.a.robertson@stm.tudelft.nl

Be sure to visit the online free Ships Passenger Lists for the Huguenot Immigration to S. Africa

The persecution of Protestants in France in the second half of the 17th century gradually increased in strength, to the point when mass movements of refugees began in Europe. One of the routes of escape led to the Netherlands, and the records of many of these people can still be found in the registers of the Walloon Churches of Middelburg, Delft, Leiden, Amsterdam and Rotterdam, among others. The background to this exodus has been extensively discussed by M. Boucher (French Speakers at the Cape: The European Background, publishers The University of South Africa in Pretoria, 1981).

The Dutch East India Company (or VOC) took the opportunity of the influx of relatively well educated craftsmen to recruit settlers for their colony at the Cape of Good Hope. Among the skills they took with them were the cultivation of vines and production of wine. Only about 200 emigrated, but they were to have a lasting effect on the colony. For example, The "Fransche Hoek" of Cape Town literally means the French Corner. Many of their farms were named for the land they left behind (e.g. "La Provence", "La Brie", "Picardie", "Versailles"). These last two belonged to two of my own ancestors, the apothecary and hat-maker, Isaac Taillefer and the farmer, Pierre Cronier.

The VOC maintained a policy of integration of the various national groups. The French refugees at first had their own Pastor, but this eventually stopped. The children were educated in Dutch, and many of the names took on a Dutch spelling. Thus Cronier became Cronje, and Nortier became Nortje. Others have retained their original form.

The records of the early settlers are, in general, relatively easy to find because the VOC controlled immigration. Indeed, books of the family registers up to about the start of the 19th century have been published. An older version (Genealogies of Old South African Families by de Villiers & Pama) is gradually being expanded by J.A. Heese and published in a series of volumes (South African genealogies, vol 1 has A-C; vol 2 has D-G, vol 3 has H-I and vol 4 has J-K; publishers HRSC, Pretoria).

Boucher has listed most of the Huguenot refugees according to their origins in France (where known), and I will continue that sub-division here. Please note that this list may not be complete - while the VOC records are extensive, the changing of names, and the fact that some families stopped in the Netherlands and other countries before moving on means that some may not be readily apparent. Some names appear more than once as it's fairly obvious that people with the same name seem to have arrived from different areas, and are probably unrelated. While most arrived as refugees, a number were in the employ of the V.O.C., possibly after migrating or escaping from France. I've given some of the Africaans versions in brackets. The names marked * are the ones I am interested in.

Note that locations are in {}

{Brittany, Anjou, Touraine, the Orléanais, Normandy, west Ile-de-France, Maine and Perche.)

Marais; Sabatier; Basché; Maschepasté; Terrier; Godefroy; Malherbe; Grillon; Rétif; Rousseau; Pinard; Foucher; le Riche; Cronier (Cronje)*; Duthuilé; Drouin; Bruère; Souchay; le Roux; Martineau; Couvret; Valette; Cellier; Avic; du Moulin; Cordier; le Long; Bérault; Baignoulx; ; de Gournay; Néel; Sénécal; le Sage; du Puis; Vivier; Lorée; Auret

{Poitou, Berry, the Bourbonnais, the Lyonnais, Auvergne, Limousin; Marche, Saintonge, Pay d'Aunis, the Angoumois, Languedoc, Roussillon, Béarn, Gascony, Guyenne.}

du Plessis; Menanteau; Labat; Berrangé;Barillé; Migault; de Villiers; du Buisson; Seunet; Saint-Jean; Bossau (Boshof); Labuscaigne; Bacat; le Clercq (de Klerk); Gauch; Sollier; Roulain; Mellet; Imbert; Therond; Fisquet; Martin; Guilliaumé; Bénézet

{Provence, Dauphiné, south east Burgundy, Fanche-Comté, Montbéliard, Savoy}

Gauch; Decré; Manget; Margra; Sauchy; Matthé; Simond; Fourié; Lombard; Conteau; Gros; Bouvat; Durand; Garde; Niel; Rochefort; Villion; Roux; Faure; Jourdan; Rousse; Pellanchon; Verdeau; Frachas; Jaubert (Joubert); Reyne (Resne); Rey (Roy)*; Meinard (Mesnard); Courbonne; Barrat; Mallan (Malan); Gardeau (Gardiol); Perrotette; Ferrand; Amiel; Terreblanque (Terreblanque)*

A number of people from this area are known to have left for the Cape on board the ill-fated Berg China. 20 people died on board among which:

Furet; Goirand; Rousse; Madan; Verdette; Jourdanne; Richarde; Malan

{Champagne, Brie, the Nivernais, parts of Ile de France, Picardy & Burgundy, Paris}

Allier; du Puis; Pariset; le Grand; Taillefert*; Briet*; Lefebvre*; Bisseux; Sézille; Cloudon; Hugot; Desbordes; Blignaut; Martinet; Légeret; de Villiers; Serrurier; Wibau (Wibaut);

{N. Picardy, Artois, Sedan, Metz, the Flanders-Hainault border, Belgium}

Caucheteux (Costeux); des Ruelles; Nourtier (Nortje)*; Vitu*; Jacob; de Vos; de Bus; Prévost; le Fèvre*; Bleuset; Manié; de Zobry; le or du Four; Dumont; du Puis; Hanseret; Naudé; Isnard; du Plessis; Auchamp; Abrahams; du Toit; Cochet; le Clerq (de Klerk); Durier; Delporte; Mouret (Moris); de Grave*; Mouton*; Bastiaansz; de Villiers*; Lanoy; Taillard (Taljaard); de Savoye*; des Prez (du Preez, du Pré); Potier; Rogier; Bureau (Francen); Braquenet (Brackenij); Bourbonnais; du Plooy*; Mouy

Uncertain origin

Batté; Brasier; le Loup; Mantior (Massion); Péridon; Eloy; Labat; Véron; Eliard;

You may visit the Human Resources Research Council (the folk who do professional searches in S.Africa)

The Huguenot Society of South Africa is also online.


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