Here we present the line of direct descent of all Gimbrères in the Netherlands and, onward from there, in the rest of the world. The first Gimbrère proven by us to be a direct ancestor of the Dutch Gimbrères is Jehan, born before 1505, who lived in or near Castera Vivent around 1550.
Jehan Gimbrere (before 1505 – before 1564)
We discovered Jehan’s existence through a dispute about the dowry allotted by him to his granddaughter Frise, daughter of Fris “Pontet” and sister of Fris “Fuzon” (see below). Clearly, Fris was an important name to the family. It is unclear where Jehan was born or where he lived, but, since his sons lived in Castera Vivent, it is highly likely that Jehan at least spent the last phase of his life there. Although no proof is available, it is highly likely that this Jehan is the one and same Jehan who was convicted for carrying a weapon in 1558. He was fined 25 pounds, a considerable sum at the time. This probably involved an epee, a sword, a nobleman’s prerogative, since the court case started out as civil rather than criminal and two local noblemen were claimants. Jehan also represented others in court cases in the county’s court of justice, for instance in a case of a surgeon against the consuls of Cézan, a nearby village. This implies that he was a lettered man, able to provide for an education for his sons, a rare thing in the Gascon 16th century countryside.
Fris “Pontet” Gimbrere (before 1530 – before 1596)
He probably was a farmer and traded in other farmers’ wheat. As was usual in those days (many people shared the same first name), Fris had a nickname: “Pontet”, small bridge. He was a consul of Castera Vivent in 1564, a kind of alderman/councillor. Castera Vivent itself harboured but a few houses, but its municipality bore rich agricultural grounds and many farms. Fris and his relatives were well regarded by the community, being interred as they were inside the church of Saint Blaise. His brother Bernard was the parish priest of that church, which means that he must have been well educated, as was probably Fris himself. It is certain that Fris was able to provide for a good education for his sons: Bertrand probably took Law at the university of Toulouse, no cheap endeavour. Bertrand was an advisor of the d’Auxion family, the local noble seigneurs of Vivent (the relationship between the two families was maintained for more than 100 years) and, later on, barrister at the court of Jegun. In any case, Fris and his brother Bernard had a certain wealth, about which Fris’ sons Bertrand and Ramond, as their heirs, conducted lawsuits against each other in 1596. Their brothers Jehan and Fris “Fuzon” had passed away by then. Fris had no last will and testament and some of his properties were still part of an undivided estate by 1601.
Ramond Gimbrere (before 1560 – before 1608)
Ramond was probably also a farmer, but certainly also grain merchant. We have found many trading contracts for him, which shed some light on his life (for the period 1596 – 1608 we found 41 notarial contracts in which he appears and there are more to search). He purchased wheat and other grains in varying quantities from local farmers, to sell them at a higher price. He payed retrospectively and that did not go always without struggle. Furthermore he provided financing in kind to farmers, to enable them to sow their land. Ramond was widely trusted. In 1596 the noble Antoine de Labaume subcontracted an investment of 500 ponds, a substantial amount of money in those days, to him, and successfully. Already from 1584 he was trustee over the undivided possessions of his father Fris “Pontet” and his uncle, curé Bernard. This has led to disagreement with his educated brother Bertrand and subsequent court cases, including appeal and finally arbitration, when legal costs ran out of hand. Litigation was popular in the family, because we discovered two cases where Ramond went all the way up to, what would be nowadays called, the Supreme Court. Just like his father, Ramond was consul of Castera Vivent, in 1599. He was the first consult and thus the most important one. As far as we know, he had five children: Jean Nauthon (who became a legal adviser), Blaise (who was also literate), Pierre, Jeanne and Jean. It seems that the first two have died at relatively young age, but for the other three we found their marriages.
Jean Gimbrere (before 1590 – 1649)
Jean, the youngest son of Ramond, did not learn to write. He settled as an innkeeper in Ayguetinte. Possibly the noble seigneur of Vivent, who owned property in Ayguetinte (and whose son was later to become seigneur of Ayguetinte), helped Jean with this.
We know that a notarial deed was redacted in his inn in 1637. The site of this inn is unknown. It might have been in the bend of the thoroughfare, the D930, near the Saint Radegondechurch. Nowadays, the church and the road seem new, but the 18th century map Carte de Cassini shows that the tarmac road follows the old route and that the 19th century church was built at the site of the old church. The houses at the small square also look rather new, but they fit well within the old pattern of houses, which can be seen on the map of the land registry of 1811. What we also don’t know is who Jean’s guests were. Merchants, troubadours, king Henry IV’s representatives, perhaps? We don’t know much about Jean, but he surely wasn’t a pauper. He owned a lease farm, the Métairie de la Borde deu Bosc. Five sons of his have shown up in notarial deeds, three of whom became maitre chirurgiens and two became shoemakers.
Blaise Gimbrere (approx. 1620 – approx. 1693)
Jean’s third son Blaise was born from his second marriage to Jeanne Despenan. Blaise was born around 1620 in Ayguetinte and became a maitre chirurgien. He was married to Lucie Despenan. We discovered five sons of his, who all followed in their father’s footsteps to become maitre chirurgiens. Together with his elder half-brother Raymond, Blaise inherited the métairie de la Borde deu Bosc. By their marriage contracts, he donated to each of his elder sons Antoine and Bernard ainé half of his present and future possessions (retaining usufruct for himself and 100 pounds for each of his other children). He did find the need, when ill in 1690, to make a declaration to prevent his elder sons from falling into dispute about some cattle Antoine had bought from money of his dowry and had stabled at the métairie, common property. In that declaration Blaise also gave directions regarding his funeral and care for his salvation. Of his five sons, three remained at Ayguetinte, the others continued their surgeon’s practice in Auch and Gaillac.
A land registry book of Ayguetinte dating from 1676 states Blaises properties: he owns a house in the southern part of the village, next to the gate in the village wall, with a surface area of 150 square meters (some 1600 square feet), as shown in the accompanying registry map.
Furthermore, he owns a courtyard of 300 square meters within the village walls. Outside of those walls, he owns a small farm, 6.4 hectares (16 acres) of farmland, a small hectare (2.5 acres) of vineyards, half a hectare of woods and a piece of meadow of 14 ares (0.1 acre), probably enough to graze his horse. He also is owner of the métairie de la Borde deu Bosc in the neighbouring territory of Valence.
Raymond Gimbrere (approx. 1660 – approx. 1718)
Raymond Gimbrere was the third of Blaise and Lucie’s five sons. He stayed in Ayguetinte and married in 1701 in Saint Jean de Bazillac, 25 km south of Ayguetinte, with Louise Touzet, a lawyer’s daughter. They had at least two sons and a daughter: Antoine, Marie and Bernard. Raymond was a maitre chirurgien and participated in the village administration. We found that he fulfilled the role of consul (alderman) in 1704. He too still was owner of the métairie de la Borde deu Bosc, because his eldest son Antoine sold it in 1730. Raymond must have passed away before 1719, because Louise then granted a lease of a piece of land as a widow. In 1733 Louise granted her son Bernard, then a garçon marchand (merchant’s apprentice) in Bordeaux, permission to marry whomever he seemed fit. By the way, she couldn’t sign this deed herself.
Bernard Gimbrere (approx. 1704 – after 1772)
Bernard Gimbrere left for Bordeaux in 1733, with 800 pounds of his father’s inheritance in his pocket. In 1700 Bordeaux already had 40,000 inhabitants, and the trade in wine, colonial goods and slaves provided a golden age. Bernard is taught the button maker’s trade and, after a few months, marries Marie Magdelaine Roullau (as that family usually spelled their name, authorities write eau and one or two Ls). Bernard and Marie M. have nine children. Five of them have left no other trace. The eldest son Guillaume became a kind of tax inspector, Dominique is the youngest. Bernard is mentioned later as a merchant, which suggests that he has been able to profit from the prosperity in Bordeaux.
Dominique Gimbrere (1748 – 1800)
Dominique Gimbrere, born in 1748 in Bordeaux, seems not to be the most developed Gimbrère we encountered. Although he can write his name, one time he spells it this way, the other that way. At his marriage in 1780 he is still “marinier” (seaman), in 1786 he is a cuisinier de bord, ship’s cook, and still later he seems to have remained ashore as a cook (“cuisinier”). He marries Jeanne Cornet and has seven children, three sons and four daughters, just before and during the French Revolution. For two children, the mother’s name is given as Arnaude Cornet. Probably she is the same person as Jeanne, because that is the name of the youngest child’s mother once again. Names are messed about with in documents regularly. This is also apparent from the birth records of the oldest two: there the name Bernard is mentioned as the husband of Jeanne Cornet. With this kind of inaccuracy, it is understandable that there was a need for an état civil, a formal registry office in which all life events were accurately recorded!
Jean Gimbrere (1783 – 1870)
Jean Gimbrere, the second son of Dominique / Bernard and Jeanne, was born in Bordeaux on January 24, 1783 in the parish of Saint Projet and a day later, like all family members, he was baptized in the Saint André cathedral. The golden age of Bordeaux was over, Napoleon Bonaparte came to power and wanted to make the annexed Antwerp into an important naval port. Many Frenchmen went to the north, as a soldier or craftsman. Jean too is to be found, after 1800, in Antwerp, where he started practicing the profession of blacksmith, later locksmith. Jean’s life is discussed further in The Gimbrères in Antwerp. Here we suffice with stating that he became the father of Jean François.
Jean François Gimbrere (1814 – 1878)
Jean François Gimbrere, who founded a large Gimbrère-dynasty and who is ancestor to all living Gimbrères worldwide.