Württemberg Minorities

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Waldensians in Württemberg

The French Waldensian religious refugees from the French Val Cluson settled early into Württemberg. Their religion began in Italy when their founder Peter Waldo during the 12th century became a pre-reformation period Protestant leader.  He lived in Lyon, France and his followers were later greatly persecuted during the Counter-Revolution. Some of the localities where they settled by the end of 1699, were the villages of Pinache, Durrmenz, Nagold, Perouse, Nordhausen, Gochsheim, Wiernsheim and others, including Stuttgart and Cannstatt..  These Protestant religious refugees fled from Louis XIV.  In Württemberg, they were given land to build their homes. 

The older French settlers maintained their French language while the younger soon adapted to the German language and dialects of the Schwarzwald area that they settled into..  The Waldensians maintained their own schools and churches in the early German years.

Many later immigrated to Pennsylvania along with other early German immigrants after having climatized to their new German home. 

If your ancestor was a Waldensian some interesting articles to read can be found at the following links and in the following books:


A 5 volume series of books entitles Die Waldenser auf Ihrem Weg aus dem Val Cluson durch die Schweiz nach Deutschland 1532-1829 by Theo Kiefner is available at the Family History Library. The call number is 943 W2K2 v.1-5. It was published in Göttingen by Vanderhoeck und Rupprect in 1995. These volumes give a wonderful and detailed history of the movements of the Waldensians in great detail in the many time periods of their wanderings.

Listings for many French Protestant births, marriages and deaths can be found in the Evangelical Church records for the villages. To see all the book titles available on this subject on the Family History Library Catalog, go to the subject search and type in the keyword "Waldenses".  You will find many titles for that topic listed there.