Other Waldensian Sources
In addition to the data sources listed in the 5 Steps to Finding Your Waldensian Ancestors, there are many other Reources to help you search for your Waldensian ancestors.
The Waldensian Bulletin/Bollettino
A very useful source for Waldensian family history research is the periodical or journal called the Bulletin de la Société d’Histoire Vaudoise (Italian: Bollettino della Società di Studi Valdesi). It is published by the Società di Studi Valdesi (Society for Waldensian Studies), formerly known by the French name Société d'Histoire Vaudoise (Waldensian Historical Society).
This publication includes articles about key figures and episodes in Waldensian history. You may well find some ancestors, or at least their relatives, in the lists of refugees or victims. The journal was originally published in French. After some years with articles in either language, Italian became the standard with issue number 40 (1919).
Following are some of the lists and articles in the Bulletin that may reveal information about your Waldensian ancestors or their relatives. There are, of course, many other articles of interest. Depending on your language abilities, you may not be able to understand the whole article, but at least you can skim the material to recognize the surnames of your ancestors.
- "Liste de Vaudois exilés en 1698 et 1699" [List of Waldensians Exiled in 1698 and 1699], by Alex. Vinay. (BSHV 10 , pages 21-75
- “Résumé alphabétique des Vaudois du Pragela, refugiés en Suisse en 1730” [Alphabetic Summary of Waldensians from Pragela, Refugees in Switzerland in 1730], by T. Gay. (BSHV 27 , pages 15-19)
- "Les Vaudois réfugiés de Piémont en Suisse en 1731" [Waldensian Refugees from Piedmont in Switzerland in 1731]. (BSHV 29 , pages 14-30)
- "Les héros de la Rentrée" [The Heroes of the Return], by Jean Jalla. (BSHV 31 , pages 178-197)
- “Quelques Documents des Archives d’Etat relatifs aux Vaudois emprisonnés pour leur foi en 1686 et aux enfants enlevés” [Some Documents in the State Archives Relative to the Waldensians Imprisoned for Their Faith in 1686 and to Kidnapped Children]. (BSHV 37 , pages 56-92)
- "Quelques Documents sur les Vaudois prisonniers et les enfants enlevés lors des Pâques Piémontaises en 1655" [Some Documents About the Waldensian Prisoners and Kidnapped Children at the Piedmont Easter in 1655]. (BSHV 39 , pages 50-65)
- "Lista dei Valdesi che furono detenuti nel Castello dal maggio 1686 al febbraio 1687" [List of the Waldensians Detained in the Castle from May 1686 to February 1687]. (BSHV 40 , pages 36-49)
- “La Soumission des Vallées Vaudoises à Charles Emmanuel 1er en 1594” [Submission of the Waldensian Valleys to Charles Emmanuel I in 1594], by P. Rivoire. Lists heads of families who signed the submission. (BSHV 19 , pages 31-47)
- “Une famille vaudoise du Piemont du XIVe au XIXe siècle” [A Waldensian Family of Piedmont from the 14th to the 19th Century], B. Appia (BSHV 126 (1969) pages 37-62 and BSHV127 (1970) pages 3-40)
Let us look at an example of how such articles can assist your research. Suppose you were researching your ancestor Madeleine Carriere, wife of Jacques Costabel. You learn from the Piedmont Project that she was buried on 22 March 1751, age 73. The compilers calculated her birth therefore as 1678. She and Jacques had eight known children: Marie, Jacques, Judith, Catherine, Madeleine, Joseph, Madeleine or Catherine, and Jean Pierre.
Where Madeleine Carriere was born is not revealed in the parish registers, but she died at Angrogna. Her husband was from Pinasca. Neither Carriere nor Costabel is an Angrogna surname, and you don't find them in Gli Esuli, the "Deliverance" papers, nor even in the Angrogna notarial records.
But when you check the Bulletin article about the "second exile" (volume 10; the first article listed above), you finally discover some Carriere families. Your challenge now is that three of them have daughters named Madeleine, and all three were born within a year of each other. Here is the information from the entries:
Jean Charrier and wife, from Roure (BSHV 10:23)
- Catherine, age 26
- Marie, age 24
- Jean, age 22
- Jeanne, age 20
- Susanne, age 18
- Madeleine, age 16
Jean Charrier and wife, also of Roure (BSHV 10:23)
- Jean, age 24, and wife Marie
- Jacques, age 18
- Madeleine, age 16
Jacques Carrier, Judith his wife, of Pinasca (BSHV 10:50)
- Beatris, daughter age 24
- Magdelene, daughter, age 15
How can we choose the most likely Madeleine? The difference in the surname spelling isn't particularly significant. "Ch" in Italian is pronounced "k," so there's little difference in pronunciation. But two clues seem to point in the direction of the last Madeleine, the daughter of Jacques.
The first clue is the fact that the Madeleine we seek had a daughter Judith. In fact, Judith was her second daughter, exactly the right place to be named after Madeleine's own mother.
The second clue is that Jacques is from Pinasca, which is where Madeleine's husband, Jacques Costabel, was from. Of course, we need to check the Pinasca notarial records for confirmation.
Stories about Individuals
And there may be other articles in the Bulletin/Bollettino that pertain to your ancestors as well. For instance, here are some examples of stories about individuals:
- Daniel Forneron of Prarostino was a notary. The invading troops in 1686 captured him and forced him to guide them through the more remote areas. The result was almost the complete death or imprisonment of the Waldensians. Issue number 39 (1918) of the BSHV (Bulletin) provides an overview of his family, as well as the account he wrote of the troubles of 1686. Being an eyewitness to much of the destruction, his account is noteworthy. The other Waldensians understood the constraint under which he had acted, as shown by the fact that after their return from exile, Daniel was elected to office in the village. Daniel's sister Marthe was the wife of Paolo Gardiolo, whose will we considered a little earlier in the lesson.
- Josué Janavel was a leader of the small band who rose up to keep the Waldensians from extinction during the Piedmont Easter massacre in 1855. BSHV (Bulletin) number 38 (September 1917) includes an article about Janavel, including background about his name and some details of his family. Janavel, wary of the duke's promises, so often broken in the past, escaped that brutal massacre, but watched from afar as his wife and daughters were captured and led away to prison. Exiled after his escapades forced the duke to treat with the Waldensians, he died in Geneva in 1690.
- Antoine Durand-Canton, discussed earlier, was the subject of an article in BSHV number 8 (1891). In 1706, Victor Amedée, Duke of Savoy, fled French troops that had captured Torino. Antoine Durand-Canton and his family sheltered the fleeing duke. In gratitude, the duke left his personal cup and a silver spoon, and granted the family the special privilege of burying their dead in their own garden—a major concession and privilege normally punitively withheld from the Waldensians.
Antoine Durand-Canton's willingness to shelter the duke impresses me. The duke had persecuted the Waldensians. He was the duke who in 1685 had ordered the imprisonment and extermination of all Waldensians who would not convert to Catholicism. Later, in January 1686, under intense pressure from Protestant countries, he had agreed to free the survivors only on condition of perpetual exile. Antoine's own father Barthélemy had been one of the victims of that cruelty, dying in February 1686 during the forced march over the Alps to exile in Switzerland, as we have seen.
And here’s another irony. Further research in the notarial records revealed that this Antoine Durand-Canton’s wife (Jeanne Bonnet) was a granddaughter of Josué Janavel (through his daughter Marie Janavel, who married Etienne Bonnet of Pragela and Villar).
Someday when you have a lull in your research—which may not be soon, as there are so many ancestors to be found—you may be curious to know if any of your ancestral surnames was present in Angrogna at an early time. You could check this brief article:
- “Divisione del Luogo d’Angrogna tra’ fratelli Berengario e Riccardo di Lucerna (1232, 16 aprile)” [Division of the Place Angrogna Between the Brothers Berengar and Richard of Lucerna (16 April 1232)]. (BSSV 4 (1888), pages 4-6)
Heads of families are mentioned, as they were required to take the usual feudal oath of allegiance to these brothers, their lords. You won’t be tracing your direct Waldensian lines back that far, of course. The documentation simply doesn’t exist to do that. But by using the resources and documents discussed in this course, you may be able to take some of your lines back to the mid- or perhaps even early-1500s.
Accessing the Bulletin/Bollettino
The Family History Library (FHL) in Salt Lake City, Utah, subscribes to the Bulletin, but the issues have not been microfilmed. The set is found on the International floor at the FHL and the call number is 945 F25b.
According to the Union List of Serials and Mansell's National Union Catalog, the following libraries also have at least some issues. Your closest library belonging to the Interlibrary Loan system may be able to borrow volumes of interest to you, or at least to order photocopies of key pages. (If you don't know which pages, you can request, through your local library and the Interlibrary Loan system, a photocopy of the table of contents, and use information from it to determine which pages you need.)
- California: San Francisco Theological Seminary, San Anselmo
- Connecticut: Yale University, New Haven
- D.C.: Library of Congress
- Illinois: McCormick Theological Seminary, Chicago; Newberry Library, Chicago; University of Chicago
- Massachusetts: Harvard University, Cambridge; Andover-Harvard Theological Library
- Michigan: University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
- New York: Columbia University; New York Public Library
- Pennsylvania: Crozer Theological Seminary, Chester; Presbyterian Historical Society, Philadelphia
Collective Family Histories
Other, broader histories may help you as well. The following two examples illustrate the kinds of collective Waldensian family histories that can assist you in your research.
- Watts, George B. The Waldensians in the New World. Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press, 1941. FHL film 176,638
The above volume is especially useful for Waldensian immigrants in the southeastern U.S. (e.g., North Carolina), but it devotes attention also to other settlements.
- Stokoe, Diane, The Mormon Waldensians, Master's Thesis, BYU, December 1985.
This publication can be found on the internet at: dianestokoe.com/waldensians.html
For descendants of those Waldensians who joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons), this resource is invaluable. It identifies those in the Waldensian Valleys who joined the LDS Church in the mid-1800s, relates some of their experiences in immigrating, and follows their settlement in the U.S. in that first generation. One note of caution, however: The chapter on early Waldensian history is seriously flawed, having used sources no historian accepts today. To read a history that reflects the views of more recent researchers, click HERE.
Individual Family Histories
If someone has written a family history, you should try to locate it and buy a copy or photocopy pages that pertain to your line (without violating copyright law, of course). It will not only give you information about your immigrant ancestors, but will also help you identify relatives you may not have known about who may provide helpful clues in your search.
For example, a few years ago one of my father's second cousins and his daughter decided to compile a Malan family history. They involved another cousin who had been a photojournalist. The result was two thick volumes:
- Malan Book of Remembrance, Volume 1: John Daniel Malan, by James Barker Knighton, Lisa Knighton Delap, and J Malan Heslop. (privately printed, 1992) FHL book 929.273 M237K v. 1
- Malan Book of Remembrance, Volume 2: Descendants of John Daniel Malan by J Malan Heslop, Nona Bunderson Knighton, and Lisa Knighton Delap. (privately printed, 1993) FHL book 929.273 M237K v. 2
*FHL stands for the Family History Library in Salt Lake City. In each case mentioned on this site, the book or film call number is given.
CAUTION: Again, not everything published (in print or in electronic form) is accurate. Family histories and other published sources are only as accurate as the researchers and producers made them, and they also may have misinterpreted data or made typographical errors.
Many libraries have a number of printed family histories, such as:
- The Waldensian Archives has family histories. Although it doesn’t have as many printed family histories as some other libraries, what they do have are focused on Waldensian families. Examples include:
- La Famiglia Meille (1550-1954) by Reverend Jean Jalla, 1926
- Frühgeschichte der Waldenser-Sippe BONNET aus Chambons-Mentoulles im Cluson-Tal (Dauphiné) by Dr. Rudolf Bonnet, 1955 (Entirely in German)
Of course, the Waldensian Archives also has the original “Family Summaries” of Reverend Jean Jalla, discussing his own ancestral families. With permission, those Family Summaries are presented on this site. To read them, click HERE:
The Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah, U.S.A, which has one of the largest collections of family histories in the world.
Go to FamilySearch.org and choose the BOOKS link near the top of the page. Type the surname you seek. Many of the printed books have also been microfilmed, in which case you could request and study the microfilm at your nearest Family History Center.
You can rent (at a reasonable fee—covering only shipping and handling) a microfilm through the internet. The film will be sent to the Family History Center of your choice. To order a microfilm online, click HERE.
To discover the location of the Family History Center nearest you, click HERE.
- The U.S. Library of Congress has an even larger collection, but you can only use them in that library.
Go to the Library of Congress Online Catalogs and search for the surname of interest to you. You may find a book that would help you and, once you know the name of the book and the author, you may be able to find it also in a library closer to you, or your closest library belonging to the Library Loan system may be able to borrow it for you to use.
The Library of Congress also has an large digital collection of books, maps, photographs, manuscripts, and histories.
- If you are not able to find a book at a library near you, you may be able to have your local library borrow it from another library using the Interlibrary Loan system. To find which libraries have your book, go to www.worldcat.org.
Searching the Internet for Your Ancestors
There are several other sites on the internet that might include one or more of your Waldensian ancestors. To check such other sites, you might try:
- The largest repository of online genealogical information can be found at FamilySearch.org. There is no charge to use their website.
- Search the entire internet using a search engine such as Google or Yahoo. Type ancestors of [put your ancestor’s full name, birth year, and place].
- Go to www.cyndislist.com. This is the most comprehensive genealogy site so far, with more than 180 categories of genealogical information with a total of more than 292,140 links. Go to the SURNAMES category to search for your surname.
- There are many other sites, such as Rootsweb, Ancestry, FindMyPast and others, although many of these charge a fee to use their sites. However, many public libraries subscribe to these services. You can also use these services at no charge at many local branchs of the Family History Library. There are also many sites focused on local areas as well, so you may wish to check those in your area and country.
IMPORTANT: Realize that the accuracy of the information on any genealogy site is subject to error. Always remember to check for sources of the information used and try to verify that those sources are dependable. (For instance, an official document of birth/christening, marriage, or death/burial is more dependable than “family tradition says that ....”)