Archive Working Group members for 2016: Kilian Anheuser, Jenny Buffle, Alan Downing, Paul Kunz, Pierre Laravoire, Yvette Milosevic and Valerie Offord.
New members will be more than welcome to join us. We meet regularly on Friday afternoons but if this is not possible we can arrange other times. For further information about joining the group or depositing records please contact either Valerie or Pierre.
Valerie Offord formally took over the task of archivist in 1986. Shortly afterwards she was able to persuade Dr Mollie Barratt, archivist in charge of local and parish records at Oxford University Library (the Bodleian Library), to come over to Geneva to sort, help and advise us on how to classify our archives. Dr Barratt remarked with some surprise at the time that Holy Trinity Church has a collection of records as good as many parishes in England.
Like her predecessor, Valerie kept most of HTC’s archives at home and this proved very convenient when answering queries which frequently arrive by post and email from not only Switzerland but many parts of the globe and also for those who wished to consult them personally for theses, books, learned papers and suchlike. However, the collection has grown considerably since those non-digitised days of the 1980s now we all agree that it is not wise for an archive of this magnitude to be kept in a private house. The Geneva State Archives have agreed to take them on deposit, and, although access will probably be more difficult than hitherto, it is hard to think of a better solution.
Consequently a group has been formed to list, classify, and where possible to digitise, the oldest and most frequently consulted documents. The State Archives staff specifically asked us to do this before handing them over to their safekeeping. They already have on deposit the Livre des Anglois, the Parish Register of 1555-59 presented to the Genevan authorities by the Marian Exiles when they left to return to England and Scotland after the death of Catholic Queen Mary Tudor and the accession to the throne of England of the Protestant Queen Elizabeth I. The original deeds of the gift of land donated by the city to build Holy Trinity Church upon were deposited in 2004: this was after an exhibition in the Geneva State Archives conceived and curated by Valerie Offord entitled ‘The Welcoming City: English-speaking Protestants in Geneva from 1555 to the present day’.
It is hoped that, before the bulk of our material is deposited on loan in the State Archives, the group will have completed or updated three publications: the history of the Church, the brochure on the church windows and a booklet on the monumental plaques.
A page from the ‘Livre des Anglois’: the names of all the children who were baptized. The godfather in the first entry (4 January 1556, John Stafford) is John Calvin. When the child’s father, Sir William Stafford, died unexpectedly in May 1556 this led to a ferocious custody battle between his widow, Lady Dorothy, and Calvin.
A ‘care and concern’ receipt from the 19th Century
One of HTC’s Open Archive Evenings in Bernex, February 2014.