Anne MorddelOne of the great difficulties for people researching their French immigrant ancestors’ roots is that so little is known outside of France about when and why the French left their country. This dearth of knowledge led many family historians of the 19th century to presume Huguenot, noble émigré, or Alsace-Lorraine ancestry for any ancestor with a French name. The presumption became a family legend that then became a research frustration as more recent family historians attempt to prove what was never more than a misguided supposition.

This webinar looks at the many waves of French migration, as well as the three mentioned in the title, from the 17th to the 20th centuries. The historical reasons for when, why, and to where they emigrated provide key points to bear in mind when conducting research. The bibliography, in English and French, contains not only books and articles concerning French emigration but a list of websites to aid the researcher.

BCG’s next free monthly webinar in conjunction with Legacy Family Tree Webinars is “French Emigrants: They Were Not All Huguenots, or Nobles, or from Alsace-Lorraine,” by Anne Morddel, CG®. This webinar airs Tuesday, April 16, 2024, at 8:00 p.m. EDT.

Anne Morddel, CG®, MLIS, worked in libraries and archives in her native California, Europe, South America, the Middle East, and Africa. She is now based in France, where she has written The French Genealogy Blog for more than a dozen years, producing nearly one thousand posts about the many aspects of French genealogical research. Some of these posts have been published in book form, most notably, French Genealogy From Afar. She also has spent many years researching American merchant seamen in Europe. Her recently published American Merchant Seamen of the Early Nineteenth Century: A Researcher’s Guide explains how to use libraries, archives, and online databases around the world to document the lives of seamen who lived in the early 1800s. She is currently writing a book about the more than 1500 American mariners who were prisoners of war in Napoleonic France.

When you register before April 16th with our partner Legacy Family Tree Webinars (, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar. Anyone with schedule conflicts may access the webinar at no charge for one week after the broadcast on the Legacy Family Tree Webinars website.

“Education is one of the most significant ways of achieving BCG’s mission of promoting public confidence in genealogy through uniform standards of competence,” said President Faye Jenkins Stallings, CG®. “We appreciate this opportunity to provide these webinars that focus on the standards that help family historians of all levels practice good genealogy.”

Following the free period for this webinar, BCG receives a small commission if you view this or any BCG webinar by clicking our affiliate link:

To see the full list of BCG-sponsored webinars for 2024, visit the BCG blog SpringBoard at For additional resources for genealogical education, please visit the BCG Learning Center at (

The words Certified Genealogist and letters CG are registered certification marks, and the designations Certified Genetic Genealogist or CGG, and Certified Genealogical Lecturer or CGL are service marks of the Board for Certification of Genealogists®, used under license by board certificants after periodic evaluation.