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Cabinet des titres
by John P. DuLong

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The most important manuscript collection for French nobility research is the Cabinet des titres, the collection of noble titles, at the Bibliothèque nationale de France in Paris. This collection is indexed in the "Répertoire alphabétique des séries généalogiques de l'ancien cabinet des titres de la Bibliothèque nationale" (mss., 10 vols., in-fol.1898).  This index can be found at part of the "Inventaire des instruments de recherche: Manuscrits occidentaux" (Paris and London: Chadwyck-Healey, 1991) microfiche set.

This collection is so valuable because it contains the records generated by royal officials who were responsible for investigating and verifing claims of nobility. It includes the papers of tax court judges, the Judges of Arms, and the Genealogists of the King's Orders. In particular, you will see the name d'Hozier associated with this collection because several members of this family held the position of Judge of Arms from 1641 to 1790. You will also find here the collection of Bernard Chérin (1718-1785) and his son Louis-Nicolas-Hyacinthe Chérin (1762-1799). They were Genealogists of the King's Orders. To prove their noble status, individuals were asked to submit proofs of their noble ancestry, including, marriage contracts, family histories, notarial contracts, abstracts of parish registers, etc. As you can see it is well worth searching through this collection.

The Cabinet des titres is divided into the following subgroups:

bullet.gif (974 bytes) Pièces originales (Original Pieces) from the tax court of Paris, 68,460 dossiers in 3,061 volumes, mss. nos. 26485-29545.
bullet.gif (974 bytes) Dossiers bleus (D'Hozier Blue Dossiers), 18,273 dossiers in 684 volumes, mss. nos. 29546-30229.
bullet.gif (974 bytes) Carrés de d'Hozier (D'Hozier Squares), 652 volumes, mss. nos., 30230-30881.
bullet.gif (974 bytes) Cabinet de d'Hozier (D'Hozier Collection), 9,739 dossiers in 344 volumes, mss. nos. 30882-31225.
bullet.gif (974 bytes) Nouveau d'Hozier (New d'Hozier Collection), 7,918 dossiers in 337 volumes, mss. nos. 31226-31562.
bullet.gif (974 bytes) Chérin Collection, 4240 dossiers in 214 volumes, mss. nos. 31563-31776.
bullet.gif (974 bytes) Collections diverses (Miscellaneous Collection), also known as the supplement or seventh series, 1463 volumes, mss. nos. 31777-33264. Among the documents found in this subgroup are applications demonstrating noble ancestry for the royal schools and pages:
tab.gif (828 bytes) bullet.gif (974 bytes) École royale militaire (Royal Military School), mss. no. 32060-32099.
bullet.gif (974 bytes) Pages de la Grande écurie du Roi (Grand Stable Pages), mss. no. 32100-32109.
bullet.gif (974 bytes) Pages de la Petite écurie du Roi (Small Stable Pages), mss. no. 32111-32117.
bullet.gif (974 bytes) Demoiselles de St-Cyr (Ladies of St-Cyr, a school for young noble girls), mss. no. 32118-32136.
bullet.gif (974 bytes) The blazons and drawings of the "Armorial général de France," mss. nos. 32146-32262, are also included in this subgroup.

The first six series of the Cabinet des titres is now indexed on the Répertoire alphabétique des six séries généalogiques du Cabinet des titres de la Bibliothèque nationale de France, CD-ROM.

Alternatively, you can use the Catalogue général des manuscrits: Anciens petits fonds français to limit your search.   In vol. 3, which covers the manuscript numbers containing the Cabinet des titres, that is, mss. nos. 26485-32262, you can detect which parts of the Cabinet des titres might have information about your ancestors. For example, I can tell that ms. 29788, vol. 243, of the Dossiers bleus, might contain information about my Dulong ancestors since it covers the surnames Droulin-Durant.  Of course, none of my Dulong relatives were nobles and thus are not to be found in the Cabinet des titres.

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This page, and all contents, are Copyright © 1998 by John P. DuLong, Berkley, MI. Created 26 December 1999.   Last modified 16 March 2003.