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The Cabinet des Titres


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We received a query from Monsieur D. and felt that we did not answer it as fully as we might have done, so we decided to do some homework. Monsieur D. has some ancestors mentioned in d'Hozier and wanted to know more.

Pierre d'Hozier was a seventeenth century French genealogist and juge d'armes to the king. His job was to check on claims of nobility. His son, Charles, eventually took over the work and the position of juge d'armes. He created, at the request of Louis XIV, the Armorial général de France,  a list of all the coats of arms in use at the time. It includes not only personal arms, but those of cities, towns and associations. The king wanted to know not only that those who surrounded him were of the right sort, but the names of all of those who could be taxed as nobility.

All of the d'Hoziers' genealogy notes, and those of other royal genealogists, especially Bernard Chérin, (but also including the work of the fraud, Jean de Launay, who was put to death for selling fake arms and fake "proofs" of nobility) are in the Bibliothèque nationale. The entire collection is entitled the Cabinet des Titres. Along with the notes are many documents acquired as proofs:

  • a few originals and many copies of registrations of baptisms, marriages and burials
  • family genealogies, both published and not
  • faire-parts
  • much correspondence with nobles and would-be nobles

The Cabinet des Titres forms a part of the French manuscripts collection (numbers 26485 through 33264), the catalogue of which lists all the manuscripts in detail (begin on page 102). The breakdown is:

  • Original documents, pièces originales, numbers 26485 to 29545
  • The blue files, or Dossiers bleus, numbers 29546 to 30229
  • The d'Hozier squares, or Carrés d'Hozier, (the files are square-shaped), numbers 30230 to 30881
  • The Cabinet d'Hozier, numbers 30882 to 31225
  • Nouveau d'Hozier, numbers 31226 to 31562
  • Collection Chérin, numbers 31563 to 31776

There is an alphabetical index to all the family names mentioned in the six groups or series above, Répertoire alphabétique des séries généalogiques de l’ancien Cabinet des titres de la Bibliothèque nationale, in the library . The Pièces originales also have a chronological index up to 1514. 

Additionally, there are the proofs of nobility, from the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, for specific purposes:

  • to enter the royal military schools, les écoles royales militaires et le collège royal de la Flèche, numbers 32060 to 32099
  • to be a page at the royal stables at Versailles, Les pages de la Grande écurie du roi, numbers 32100 to 32109
  • or at the smaller stables, la Petite écurie, numbers 32111 to 32117
  • to be one of the young ladies at Saint-Cyr, numbers 32118 to 32136

Again, there are alphabetical indices to each of the above in the library.

Finally, in the Cabinet des Titres can be found the Armorial général de France, also called the Armorial d'Hozier, in two parts:

Most of the Cabinet des Titres has been microfilmed and can be viewed at the Richelieu building. 

Monsieur D., we hope this serves you better.

Happy hunting!


©2013 Anne Morddel

French Genealogy