Tuesday, May 15, 2012

The Mystery of the Meaning of the Word "NOBLE" Discovered on Ancestor's Military Document

Pierre Frederick d'Arensbourg Jr.
My 4th Generation Great Grandfather's
Officer's Military Record

Every now and then as you do family history research, you may come upon a mystery that needs a little more focused attention for determining its meaning. I recently discovered one particular mystery while working on gathering documentation to have two more of my Louisiana ancestors recognized as Louisiana Patriots during the American Revolution with England. These two ancestors, my 4th and 5th generation great grandfathers, were both named Pierre Frederick d'Arensbourg  Sr. and Jr.  
Having to compile records to prove my lineal descent from each of these men was a challenge I was happy to take on. I had previously done so with another one of my other ancestors who was discovered living in New Orleans during this most interesting time period. Finding records that proved helpful in determining whether   these two men actually served was somewhat easy since both were military officers. One was listed as a French Army officer in several documents I found, and the other, his son was discovered to have had a Spanish military record established which I found in the Archivo General de Simangas (the Spanish Archives). What was also interesting in discovering this particular record was one word listed on his document “NOBLE”. Needless to say, I wondered what this meant and set out to trace the origin of such a title, now carried by a member of the 3rd generation from that of the Progenitor of the family and his Grandfather - Karl Frederick d' Arensbourg.  
There was another word listed on this record "de Carabinero" that needed a little more investigation into its meaning. Could this word also lead to a few answers that might help explain the title Noble? In a book titled   Honor and Fidelity: The Louisiana Infantry Regiment and the Louisiana Militia Companies, 1766-1821 by Jack Holmes he stated: 
By 1779, Bernardo de Galvez had created the snob-appeal unit know as the Distinguished Company of Carabineer Militia of New Orleans. Finding that the wealthy Creoles declined serving next to their own shoemakers and barbers, and refusing to follow Unzaga's policy of exempting them from service, he decided to organize a company of cavalry composed of the most prominent men in the capital and environs with Galvez himself as its Captain and Commandant so that they might enlist with greater good will. They were at first armed only with cavalry sabers, but Galvez wanted them supplied at government cost with carbines and pistols. In additional, he requested a shipment of saddles, bridles and other cavalry equipment. The first group of forty-nine men had brought their own uniforms and supplied their own mounts. Their uniforms were striking, consist of a fles colored jacket: white waistcoat, breeches, lining, collar and lapels: golden thread button -- holes: and gilt button.  By 1792, this outfit consisted of two companies of forty men each none of whom earned a salary except during military campaigns or emergency duty.
Granted, this additional information explained a little more about the rank or position as a Carabineer and also helped me to understand that such men with this title or position came from wealthy or important Creole families. However, the title of "Noble" was still yet to be solved. Then, I found another reference to the progenitor of the Darensbourg Family -- Karl Frederick Darensbourg. According to a book written by Albert J. Robichaux, Jr., titled German Coast Families, European Origins and Settlement in Colonial Louisiana:
1753, d'Arensbourg was ordered to settle German families from Alsace -- Lorraine on the German Coast. In recognition of this long and meritorious service in Louisiana, Louis XV, King of France ordered Governor KELEREC, the then Governor of Louisiana on August 1, 1759 to bestow upon D'ARENSBOURG the Cross of St Louis . As late as October 31, 1765 the crosses with their ribbons had not arrived in Louisiana. By March 28, 1766, the decoration has still not been bestowed upon d'Arensbourg.   

Could this have anything to do with Pierre Frederick d'Arensbourg Jr.'s use of the title of "Noble" mentioned on his military record? New questions now appear to have popped up. What happened to Charles Frederick d'Arensbourg's decoration -- Royal Military Order of St Louis? Did he eventually received it and would I be able to locate any documentation that prove he was indeed eligible to receive such?  The search continues.

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