French Renaissance Paleography


Riom,[1] 2 April 1637
Inquest regarding land dispute
Chicago, Newberry Library, VAULT Case MS 5027


Here we present a few pages of a document that records oral testimonies of people living in the village of Saint-Bonnet-le-Bourg,[2] in Auvergne, regarding a disputed piece of land claimed by the Fayolle family.

The document is signed by Amable-Jacques de Soubrany (b. 1610), a lawyer, receiver general for taxes in Riom, and conseiller en la sénéchaussée d’Auvergne et présidial de Riom. As a civil officer, Soubrany oversaw the inquest, and heard the testimonies that are recorded in the document.

Amable-Jacques de Soubrany is the patriarch of an important land owning family established in Riom, in Auvergne. A large number of family documents are found in the Lauzanne Family Papers, including birth certificates and marriage contracts, wills, personal letters, quittances, legal dossiers, sale and leasing contracts, etc.

Amable-Jacques married Gilberte de Lobeyrie, lady of Bénistant, in 1636, and the family adopted the name “Soubrany de Bénistant” from then on. Our collection includes three documents related to the Lobeyrie family
During the 17th and 18th century, the members of the Soubrany de Bénistant were particularly fond of the name “Amable,” which was given both to men and women. Jacques-Amable named one of his sons and one of his daughters Amable. His son Jacques-François married Amable Bournet. Among their children were Amable-Gilberte, Claude-Amable, and Amable-Jacques. This Amable-Jacques had a daughter named Amable, and a son named Jacques-Amable, who in turn had a daughter named Amable-Perrette and a son named Amable-Jacques. If the latter had had children, the “Amable” line might have continued, but he died without issue.

Jacques-Amable’s son Amable is the patriarch of another Soubrany line, known as “Soubrany de Verrières,” from which the famous revolutionary Pierre-Amable de Soubrany de Verrières de Macholles (1752-1795) is issued.