Huguenot ancestors from Brandenburg

A little less than a year ago I blogged about the Falkenberg branch of Val’s family, where we discovered a couple more generations after more than 30 years of searching. But Val’s great-great grandfather Christian Falkenberg married as his second wife Justine (Jessie) Schultz, who was 9 years old when they came out on the ship together from Germany.

Back when we first started we found that the Schultz and Falkenberg ancestors came from what was then the German Democratic Republic (East Germany) and we thought that that branch was a dead end. But a Mr Hans-Georg Bleibaum in West Germany said he could find a researcher who would look for us, if we would send him some cash for a parcel of groceries. So we sent the cash, and he sent the groceries over to East Germany, and several months later came a letter saying that Val’s ancestor Martin Schultz had married a Marie Payard, and he had traced her cancestry back several generations — all of them descendants of Huguenot refugees from France who had fled to Brandenburg after the revocation of the Edict of Nantes in 1685.

And for several generations they had lived in the same area, the Ueckermark, and married French, so their records were all in the registers of the French Reformed Church. And so we had the families: Payard, Bettac, Bevierre, Berthe, Varembourg, Devantier, de la Croix, Peronne, and several others. One thing that surprised us was that the earliest ancestors were tobacco farmers from the French/Belgian border.

For a long time it just remained a list of names until we made contact with Barry Alexander in Australia through the Fidonet BBS network. He was descended from Devantiers, and had a book about the family. Many of the Brandenburg Huguenots had gone to Denmark and from there to other places. So we had not only a list of remote ancestors, but had made contact with real live cousins as well.

There were so many in these families that we found quite a number of other people researching them, and have managed to compare notes. I’m trying to get all the ones related to us in one file, but they intermarried with each othert so much that it is sometimes hard to work out the relationships, and I keep discovering another researcher who has found some more somewhere.

4 Responses

  1. Hi! I’m of Brazil and also of the Devantier family. Also I am interested myself for the history of the family. Here in the south of Brazil (been of the Rio Grande Do Sul) it has people with this last name, migrantes for America, certainly. If to be able to repass information for me, would be thankful.

  2. Vanessa,

    If your family descends from the Huguenot emigrants to Brandenberg, then it might be quite easy to find if there is a link, because many branches of that family have been documented, but if they went from France to Brazil, it would be more difficult to find a link.

  3. Hello! I’m from New Zealand and have Huguenot history I’m trying to find out about. Our family came to New Zealand via Edinburgh, Scotland, from Fredericia, Denmark and we think Brandenburg, Germany before that. The family name is now Stein, but was originally De Pierre (it was changed to a german/danish equivalent from the French). If anyone has any information about us I would be most grateful to hear from you!

  4. Susan

    Maybe I can help. Visit my website, maybe there are something, that can help you.
    If not, just mail me, it’s not every thing I have,
    that’s on the site.
    Torben Devantie

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