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Daniel Tourneur the Huguenot

Updated: Jan 26, 2019

Daniel Tourneur was a French Huguenot, born in Amiens, the capital of Picardy, in northern France, on March 20, 1625. He was the son of Etienne Tourneur and Marie Burger.

You can "walk" the streets of Amiens on Google Maps to see the city. Click or drag on the image to navigate around the streets:

Picardy is a historical region which extends from the suburbs of Paris to the Bay of Somme on the English Channel. The counties of Picardy were Boulogne, Ponthieu, Amiens and Vermandois. In 2016, the regions of Nord-Pas-de-Calais and Picardy were merged into a new region called Hauts-de-France, meaning "Upper France". The Picardy region was part of the Frankish Empire as early as the 5th century. The Treaty of Verdun in 843 declared it part of West Francia. In 1477, King Louis XI of France led his army into Picardy, occupying key towns until he controlled the entire region.

Picardy is the birthplace of Gothic architecture, containing six of the world's greatest examples of Gothic Cathedrals, including the Amiens Cathedral, the tallest cathedral in France, built between 1220 and 1270. Certainly the Tourneur family were well acquainted with it as it overlooked the River Somme in the city in which Daniel was born. It is a Roman Catholic Church, and likely part of the reason Daniel fled France.

According to "New Harlem past and present; the story of an amazing civic wrong, now at last to be righted", page 297-298, "The Tourneurs, it seems have been victims of repeated persecutions in France, and had been driven from home in the fruitful valley of the Somme in the wake of a relentless war."

See the Huguenot Society of America's website for information about the events that led to the Huguenot migration to America, including the dreadful day of August 24, 1572, when thousands of Huguenots (French Protestants) celebrating the marriage of Prince Henry Navarre in Paris were slaughtered in a heinous act organized by the Crown and the Church - Catherine de' Medici (widow of Henry II) and Pope Gregory XIII.

The Prince, however, responded by leading Huguenot forces to a victory over the Catholic League at the Battle of Ivry in Normandy. After their victory, in 1598, Henry IV issued the Edict of Nantes, granting the Huguenots religious freedom. This freedom, however, did not stop the persecution by their predominantly Catholic countrymen. Thousands of Huguenots fled France as a result of that persecution, Daniel Tourneur being one of them. He left France in or before 1650 and went to Leiden, Holland, where he married Jacqueline Paresis. Two years later, they were on their way to America, settling in what is now Harlem, New York.

"As a very young man in France he had been drawn into a religious clash when a group of Catholics attacked a Protestant burial service. In the struggle, one man was killed and Tourneur, accused, was obliged to flee to the Protestant center of Leyden. There he married Jacqueline Parisis, sister of a Protestant clergyman. Shortly after the birth of their first son, Daniel Jr., he brought the family to America." (Excerpt from "Jan Dyckman of Harlem and His Descendants").

Thirty-three after Daniel left, in 1685, Louis XIV revoked the Edict of Nantes entirely. The remaining Huguenots in France were forced to renounce their faith and convert to Catholicism. They were not permitted to leave France and those who refused, considered heretics, were hunted down and their property confiscated. Daniel and his family had escaped a wicked and unjust fate, by the grace of God.

See Daniel Tourneur's profile page for more details about his life.

See the Dykeman page for more on this branch of my family.



  • Amiens Cathedral article on Wikipedia

  • Somme (department) article on Wikipedia

  • Picardy article on Wikipedia

  • "New Harlem past and present; the story of an amazing civic wrong, now at last to be righted", by by Carl H. Pierce, W.P. Toler, and H.D. Nutting, 1903.

  • "Jan Dyckman of Harlem and His Descendants", by H. Dorothea Romer and Helen B. Hartman, 1981.

  • "Peeps in Picardy", by W. D. Craufurd, W.D. Manton, and E. A. Manton. (Interior of the cathedral, below)


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