Sir Derek Jacobi was aware that his family had a French connection through his mother but knew little more. He discovered his maternal great great grandfather was called Armand la Plaigne, a name that strongly indicated French origins. Derek traced Armand and his family through census returns and located his sister, Hannah, in the 1891 census. She was resident at the French Hospital.
Derek learned the French Hospital was incorporated in 1718 for French Protestants and their descendants. He also found her application to the hospital, which detailed her exact French descent from Joseph de la Plaigne, who was a “refugerefuge” in 1702.
We discovered Derek’s Huguenot ancestry thanks to this admission into the French Hospital, (
Its records are held by the Huguenot Society ( huguenotsociety.org. uk). This society is a very important resource for those who are researching Huguenot ancestors as it is dedicated to the Huguenot migratory experience and their history.
The Huguenot library is currently housed at The National Archives ( huguenotsociety. org.uk/library-and-archive. html). Among its most useful publications is the Quatro Series, which indexes all the individuals the society holds records for. Further information on the society’s family history records can be found at
A museum dedicated to Huguenot history has also recently opened in Rochester, Kent (
which is another useful resource.
huguenot society.org.uk/family.html. huguenotmuseum. org/about),