Sunday, April 5, 2009


(To each his own, baby!)

By Ed Gauthier
Blogweirdo Columnist
And Member Of Royalty

I'm the KING!

Well, at least close enough to it. Below is the authentic background documentation regarding my very rich and colorful French heritage that many of you have often asked me about over the years.

Now all I have to do is go over there and claim my inherited Lordship and related land, castle and servants in waiting. Yes, I'm sure it's just that easy!

And now on to the indisputable facts:

The earliest records for the name Gauthier are found in Languedoc, in the south of France, where this celebrated family was seated since ancient times. Languedoc's capital is Toulouse, which was also the capital of the ancient kingdom of Aquitaine.

In the year 120 B.C., the Romans occupied the region. The Vandals, Sueves, Visigoths and later Franks overran Languedoc in the 5th century.

History has changed the spelling of most surnames. Usually a person spoke his version of his name phonetically to a scribe, a priest, or a recorder. Some variables were adopted by different branches of the family name. Hence, we have variations of the name Gauthier, some of which are:

Gauthié, Gauthyer, Gauthyé, Gauthiait, Gauthiai, Gauthiaie, Gauthiay, Gauthiez, Gothier, Gothié, Gothyé, Gothyer, Gothiait, Gothiai, Gothiaie, Gothiay, Gothiez, Gauthyait, Gauthyai, Gauthyaie, Gauthyay, Gauthyez, Gautier, Gauithier, Gautiez, Gautiait, Gautiaie, Gautiaies, Gautiais, Gautiai, Gautyer, Gautyez, Gautyait, Gautyaie, Gautyaies, Gautyaie, Gautyais, Gautherii and Gottier.

Moors invaded Languedoc in the 10th century. During the 11th and 12th century Languedoc was invaded by the Lords of Toulouse. It fell prey to the ambitions of the Kings of Aragon and of the Capetians. In the 16th century the region also suffered from the religious conflicts of the time.

The Gauthiers of Languedoc were an illustrious family, seated with lands and manor. The Gauthier of Savignac family was granted the title of the Lords of Doumairène, and in the late 11th century, they contributed to the foundation of Villefranche.

Descending from the original line of Rouergue, the members of this family branched to Quercy in 1454, where Jean Gauthier was granted the right to be the Co-Lord of Savignac and Cabanes. As a result of the Gauthiers' involvement in their community, this eminent family received their letters patent confirming their noble status on June 2, 1669.

Many branches of the family formed with different spellings, due to the cultural and linguistic variations throughout France over the centuries. The Gaultier of Girenton family were the Lords of Châteauneuf of Rouge, Lirac, Le Poët, Costebrune, Lauriol and the Marquis of Châteauneuf in 1723. Continuing to branch under names of spellings, the Gautier family provided the Lords of Grambois, Mille and Rustrel, a Councillor of Marseille in 1568 and a Secretary to the King of France in 1624.

As well, this branch provided the Lords of Aiguines, Canjuers, Clumans, barons of Senez and three Knights of Malta from 1643 to 1717. In recognition of their valiant conduct in battle, members of the family of this distinguished branch were granted the titles of the Lords of Gardanne, la Mole and Valabres. Four became Knights of Malta from 1642 to 1746.

Members of this branch were also highly involved in the political events of the times and as a result, a member of the family became the Attorney General in the Parliament and several members were Councillors. Branching to Aix, the members of the family were the Lords of Vernègues and were granted nobility in 1723 and had this status confirmed in 1772 and 1778. Distinctive among the Gautier of La Lauziere family was a Commissioner of the Navy at Marseille in 1714.

Several members of the Gauthier, Gautherii family from the county of Nice participated in politics as Councillors in the district of Provence. Henri, Count of Savignac, Lord of Meuvaine in Lower Normandy, is recorded at Moisac in 1788 when he played an important role in his community. Notable amongst the family name at this time was Henri Gauthier was the Count of Savignac and the Lord of Meuvaine in the 1700's.

France adopted the role of European cultural leadership in the early 16th century. The New World challenged. The explorers led missionaries to North America who settled in New France, New England, New Holland, and New Spain. Jacques Cartier made the first of three voyages to New France in 1534. Champlain came in 1608. He made twenty voyages to France to attract settlers. He brought the first true migrant, Louis Hebert, a Parisian apothecary, and his family, who arrived in 1617.

In 1643, 109 years after the first landings by Cartier, there were only about 300 people in Quebec. Migration was slow. The fur trade attracted migrants, both noble and commoner. By 1675, there were 7000 French in Quebec. By the same year the French Acadian presence in the Maritimes had reached 500. The French founded Lower Canada, thus becoming one of the two great founding nations of Canada.

Among the earliest settlers in North America with the distinguished name Gauthier were Joseph Gauthier, aged 32, settled in New York in 1821; Charles Gautier settled in New York in 1838; J.J. Gautier, aged 32, settled in New Orleans in 1823; Jaques Gautier settled with his wife Jeanne Susan Cochet and daughters, Margaret Susan 9, Marie 6, Rachel 5 and son Isaac 2 in America in 1753; Pierre Gautier settled in Philadelphia in 1753; John Gottier settled in Charles Town in 1772.

Nicolas Gauthier, a native of France, married Jeanne Moreau in 1680, and they had a son named Joseph-Nicolas. Nicolas was a Captain of Arms in Port-Royal, and died in 1715, the same year in which his son married Marie Allain and inherited his father-in-law's commercial businesses. Joseph became one of the richest inhabitants of Acadia by developing the businesses.

The family name Gauthier has made many distinguished contributions to France, Canada, and the USA in the world of science, culture, religion, education and entertainment: George James Gauthier, Chemist, Mystic, Connecticut; Newton Perry Gautier, Superintendent of Schools, Pascagoula, Mississippi; Jean Paul Gaultier, Fashion Designer, France; Dick Gautier, French-Canadian Actor and Artist, USA; Ed Gauthier, French-Canadian Artist and Writer, USA.

Surname Origin: French
Surname Definition: Originating from the Old French "gault" and Gallic "gaut,"
meaning forest, and is a surname often given to lumbermen.
(Gaul was also the original name of France.)

The most ancient Coat of Arms recorded for the family
name Gauthier contained a black eagle over a knight's head,
and a gold background upon which there is a red band showing six blackbirds.
The family motto is: "A chacun sa vue" (French, meaning "For each, his own vision.")

Special thanks to the genealogy researchers of the Swyrich Corporation,
upon which most of the above information was based.