Sigournay Family History


Published by Norman Lucey

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I have an extensive family tree for the Sigournay family, dating from the early 17th century to the present day. Please contact me if you are searching for particular individuals or if I can assist in your geneological research.


SIGOURNEY IN AMERICA


SIGOURNAY TREE


EARLIEST SIGOURNAYS


SIGOURNAY RECORDS



TRADUCTION FRANçAISE


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Please contact me with any queries you may have: -

REQUEST FURTHER INFORMATION

SIGOURNEY IN AMERICA

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The Sigournays are of French Huguenot descent,

originally from St. Jean d'Angély in the province of Saintonge, near the western coast of France. Legend has it that the two brothers Jean and Esaye (1671-22nd November 1746) Sigournay came to London in a "hogs head". The son Jean (1710-30th December 1781) and Esaye were both inmates of the French Hospital at the end of their lives. Jean was rich enough to afford his own room while Esaye was removed from the premises on several occasions due to drunkenness and fighting.

They were initially silk weavers,

resident in Spitalfields and later Shoreditch and Bethnal Green. Spitalfields was already a district of textile weavers when the great Huguenot immigration took place after the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes in 1685. The French settlers were attracted to this area partly by the opportunity of practising their craft and partly by the cosmopolitan and nonconformist atmosphere which was already typical of the area.

Advertisment J.Sigournay advertisment

A son of Jean,

John had a second son (John - bapt. 1775 at St. Matthew, Bethnal Green) by his second marriage with Sarah. He in turn married a Sarah who bore a first son John (1797-1845, bapt. St. Leonards, Shoreditch) a weaver. He by his marriage to Sarah had the children:- Sarah (1825-1847) and Hannah (1825-?) both twins, John Joseph (1827-1886) the undertaker, George (1828-1882) the cordwainer, Issac Thomas (1836-?) and Caroline Anne (1836-?). In 1841 they resided in Hare Street, Bethnal Green. Jacob Sigournay (the son of John Joseph) was apparently a director of the French Hospital at one time and was also an undertaker.

There is an American branch of the family,

descended from André Sigournay who is also clearly linked to St. Jean d'Angély by baptism certificates. As indeed are many other Sigournay ancesters, through records in the French Hospital. In America the name has become Sigourney.

French Hospital French Hospital, London

The French Protestant Hospital,

known as "La Providence" was created in 1718 as in institution to cater for elderly and infirm French refugees. Jacques de Gastigny, a French Gentleman who had entered the service of William III of Holland, while Prince of Orange, at the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes, and had been Master of the Royal Buckhounds, at his death in 1708 bequeathed £1,000 towards the founding of an hospital in London for the relief of distressed French Protestants. He was also a member of the French Committee for dispensing the Royal Bounty to Huguenot Refugees. The driving force behind the establishment of the Hospital, and the executor of M. de Gastigny's will was the Rev. Philipe Menard.

The money was apparently banked,

for 8 years, during which time with the added interest and further benefactions, adequate funds became available by 1716 to purchase land just north of Old Street, in the parish of St.Lukes, from the Ironmongers' Company. A lease from the City of London of some adjoining land formed altogether approx. 4 acres, on which a building was erected for 80 persons. On 24th July 1718, George I granted a Royal Charter of Incorporation to the Governor and Directors of the Hospital, under which Henri de Massue, Marquis de Ruvigny and 1st Earl of Galway was appointed the first Governor. Shortly after, in November 1718, the building was formally opened and the chapel consecrated. The building was erected facing the lane leading from Old Street to Islington, later named Bath Street, City Road, and was originally surrounded by orchards and market gardens. The contractor was Peter Legrant, and the total cost of the building £2,750.

From then the funds of the institution,

steadily increased through legacies and donations. Lord Galway bequeathed £1,000 in 1720 and in the following year Baron Hervart de Huningue gave a further £4,000. Additional buildings were erected to house, by 1760, 234 poor people. For most of the eighteenth century it housed approx. 225 residents. Until 1783 the Hospital also cared for the mentally ill.

In 1862 the Directors bought,

a new three acre site costing £3,600, north of Victoria Park Hackney, in London. A new building in Victorian Gothic style was constructed for 40 men and 20 women, designed by Robert Lewis Roumieu FRIBA, Architect, one of the Directors and also of Huguenot descent. The building with its own chapel and library was opened in June 1865. The building now houses a Catholic school. "La Providence" continues today. Due to war damage and the threat of a compulsory purchase order, the Hospital moved to Compton's Lea near Horsham Sussex and then transferred to Theobald Square, Rochester in Kent. This fourth building comprising 39 flats was opened on 21st June 1960, but still requires those admitted to prove their French Protestant ancestry.

From a meeting of a group,

of its directors on 15th August 1885 sprang the Huguenot Society of London. Over 23 volumes of annual proceedings and 56 larger Quarto publications (including copies of the French Church registers) have been published by the Society since its inception. Volumes 52 and 53 list inmates of and applications to the French Hospital (1718-1957), and is a useful source on refugees and their descendants on the borderline of destitution. Copies of these exist in the London Guildhall Library and copies relating to early Sigournays are available in French.

Sigournais 15th c. Chateaux of Sigournais nr. St. Jean d'Angély

Apparently most of the protestant records,

in St. Jean d'Angély have been destroyed however we have found there records of two baptisms and a document relating to the renouncing of his protestant faith by a Pierre Sigournay. It is dated 1698 and his age stated as 27. The baptisms relate to André Sigournay (recorded 'ay) son of André (cordwainer , ie. shoemaker) and Charlotte Paysan dated 22nd September 1673 & Elizabeth Sigournay, daughter of Pierre (shoemaker) and Marie Paysan, dated 26th July 1673. The baptism for Bertelemy Sigournay, son of André Sigournay & Charlotte Paisan, dated 16th April 1682 is recorded in the Threadneedle Street, French Huguenot Church records, in London.

The fortified town of St. Jean d'Angély,

fell to royal forces on 23rd June 1621 after a month long seige and was completely raised to the ground. This was the principal fortress guarding the land side of La Rochelle. After the fall of this protestant stronghold, it was made the base for fighting further resistance to the crown. There had been an earlier, unsuccessful seige in late 1569 after the destruction of the Abbey by the Huguenots in 1562.

Certificate 1673 baptism certificate for Elizabeth Sigournay

Known Sigournay’s born in St. Jean d'Angély,

are therefore:-

André* Sigournay - born 1638 - (migrated to London between 1673-1681 and to America in 1686)
Pierre* Sigournay (son of Pierre) - born 1643 - (resident in La Rochelle 1678, migrated to America)
René Sigournay - born approx. 1660 - (godfather at baptism 1696)
Alexandre Sigournay (nephew of André*) - born 1665 - (migrated to London 1681)
André Sigournay (son of André*) - born 1673
Susan Sigournay (daughter of André*) - born before 1681
Jean Sigournay - born approx. 1670 - (migrated to London before 1705)
Esaye* Sigournay - born 1671 - (migrated to London between 1707-1713)
Jacques Sigournay - born 1671 - (married Judith Challot)
Anne Sigournay - born 1672 - (migrated to London unmarried before 1705)
Elizabeth Sigournay (daughter of Pierre*) - born 1673
Elizabeth Sigournay - born approx. 1685 - (married Michel, tanner, son of Jacques Helie and Martha, 16th June 1706)
Elizabeth Sigournay (daughter of Esaye*) - born 1706

This page revised 27th October 2003
with additional information 18th October 2016

Published by Norman Lucey
e-mail:
norman@lucey.net
© Copyright 1999, Norman Lucey. All rights reserved.