Thursday, March 14, 2013

Owner of Gamone in 1823

For the first time in ages, I drove up to Grenoble yesterday and spent an hour or so in the archives. In the context of my research concerning the history of my house at Gamone, this short visit to the archives was most fruitful, in that I succeeded in obtaining the name and identity of the man who owned my house and property at Gamone some two centuries ago. Let me explain how this happened.

A few years after crowning himself in the cathedral of Notre-Dame de Paris, on 2 December 1804, in the presence of the pope Pius VII, the emperor Napoléon Bonaparte created the interesting concept of a national cadastre: that's to say, a vast map indicating the ownership of every fragment of real estate in France. Here in the corner of the Isère department where I live, the Napoleonic cadastre was only published—as indicated in the following oval title box [called a cartouche in French]—on 19 March 1823, a year or so after the death of the former emperor on the remote island of Saint Helena in the South Atlantic Ocean.

[Click to enlarge]

Here's an outline of the central parcels of the Napoleonic cadastre for my house (parcel #717) and land at Gamone:

Today, my property includes parcel #723 (a former vineyard) as well as a group of additional parcels up in the top left-hand region of the map. As indicated in the diagram, I discovered yesterday that my Gamone property was owned in 1823 by Michel Grégoire Tézier [1761-1833], the mayor of the neighboring village of Pont-en-Royans... shown in this spectacular panoramic photo that I found on the web:

[Click to enlarge]

Now that I've unearthed the identity of this eminent landowner (who had used his personal fortune to acquire real estate that came onto the market in the wake of the French Revolution, when the great religious establishments were disbanded, and their possessions sold), I should be able to move further backwards in time, and discover the exact identity of the owner of Gamone on the eve of the French Revolution.

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