Research Your Ancestry

One of the most common questions we receive at the Irish Section of the Huguenot Society of Great Britain and Ireland is – ‘My name sounds French, am I a Huguenot descendant?’ Unfortunately, it is not a question that we are able to answer. The Huguenot Society in Ireland does not have any employees and unfortunately therefore cannot reply to individual emails. However, we hope the information provided in this website will provide you with a starting point for finding out that all-important answer for yourself.

Huguenot Surnames

Many French-sounding names in Ireland date from the 12th Century when the Normans first came to Ireland. Confusingly, some of the same French surnames were also among those Huguenot refugees who came to Ireland many centuries later. In other cases, the spelling of some Huguenot surnames was slightly different, but local Irish people were used to the Norman spellings of similar-sounding names, so the new names were often changed slightly to a more ‘familiar’ form.

Having said that, there are lots of names that do seem to be more likely to be Huguenot and you will find them in lists of burials in Huguenot cemeteries and in Huguenot Church Records of births, marriages and deaths. The Huguenot Society produces CD-ROMs of many of these lists.

Am I a Huguenot?

Many people have grown up hearing the story that their family had Huguenot links. This is a good starting point for research. Many of those who take the steps to find out who their ancestors really were do indeed discover that the family-lore was correct. There are lots of websites, libraries and research centres that can help you to trace your Huguenot family history. It is not as difficult as it first might seem and it can be very enjoyable. Visit our Genealogical Resources page for a list of what we consider to be the best starting points.

If you are planning on researching your Irish Huguenot links, then we encourage you to join the Irish Section of the Society, where you will meet many others who can share their experience of taking the same fascinating journey. For more information about the Irish Section and our activities click here.