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Thread: Huguenot ancestry

  1. #1
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    Huguenot ancestry

    Hi Guys,

    I recently came across the interesting surname of Boucher in my mother's tree (Mary Jane Boucher was my G-G Grandmother, born 1864). The line is English, from around the Birmingham area. Mary Jane's father was a Joseph Boucher, who is harder to trace - we don't believe he was born in Birmingham.

    It was drawn to my attention that Boucher, as a French name, could have come in with the Huguenots. I checked in with the Royal Huguenot Society in London, and there are indeed several Boucher's who are listed as Huguenot immigrants in the appropriate periods in England.

    I'm interested whether anyone else has experience of researching Huguenots (especially in England), and how I might best proceed. Also, whether Boucher could simply be a weird spelling of the regular English name Butcher? I've been told not, however...

    Thanks!

  2. #2
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    Hi Jon,

    I'd be interested in that too, so posting to bookmark the thread for myself.

    I did have 1 DNA match with potential Huguenot ancestry, but after a lot of searching around we came to the conclusion that it wasn't on the shared line we originally thought. Potentially a side of his family not mine.
    Like everything, it's easier to find hints of a French connection, but more difficult tracking it down to a specific time period or location.

    Maybe the French community can provide some guidance.

    Surnames do seem to change frequently over time and I'm no expert but I agree with you I think it's more likely for a French name to be anglicised to Butcher etc to fit in with current surroundings more than move in the other direction.

    Good luck, will follow with interest.


    Bart

  3. The Following User Says Thank You to Bart For This Useful Post:

     Jon (10-18-2020)

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    Thanks Bart, good to hear from you.

    Is there a specific French community thread on here - and if so, would you know how to alert them to this message?

    I mentioned this over on another thread, and a French guy got back with some frequency data for Boucher - it's quite common, apparently, especially so in the NE of France, around Lorraine and Normandy; on that basis, I guess a move to England is more likely. Also there was only my family line called Boucher in the Wolverhampton/Birmingham area - so clearly not a common local name at all.

    My next moves in the UK include hiring a local researcher who can try to get back generation by generation the good old fashioned way. Apparently some giveaways are intermarriage with other French sounding names; locations (for example Canterbury seems to have been a Huguenot hotspot); and certain jobs (my Boucher's, in the 19th century, seem to have been involved with the textile industries - linen and so on, which again I have read as being a Huguenot line of work).

    Let's see if this can generate any interest. I'll post again if I get anywhere...

    Jon

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    Hi again Bart - I posted on this over in the French section here, and have received lots of helpful replies (in English!). Take a look if there's anything of interest to you...

    Jon

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    I've seen several different Huguenot distant cousins in my greater tree. One name springs to mind is Reno, from Reneau or etc. Reno, Nevada was named for one of them, an army general who later was killed in the Civil War.

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    Was investigating this and found some surnames locally that I did not know where foreign.

    Lamrock would be one, looks like an English name.

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