A suite of Memoirs by the author, My Ancestors in the Vosges

Above a dramatic moment during World War I, German soldiers occupy the home of the lord maire of the small town of Provencheres in the East of France, my ancestors family home, it is probably my dad, 12 or 13 yeas old at the time who turns his back to the fanfare celebrating. Above right the flags from France, Poland, Sweden, Denmark, Germany who all played a part in the history of the region, and the coat of arms of Alsace and Lorraine(the land of Lothaire), with the castle of the Haut Koenigsbourg(German King/ Kaiser hohkonigsburg).
On the right Le Haut Koenigsbourg at the limit of the Vosges and Alsace overlooks the Rhine Valley not far from Germany,Switzerland, Colmar the french petite venise and Basle the town of these three countries.

Le Haut Koenigsbourg dates back to the XIth century was damaged during the thirty years war with sweden restaured in 1908 by Germany and later upkept by France after the first world war, supertition, may have prevented the Luftwaffe during WWII to damage the German Kaiser memorabilia sitting on French soil,...maybe there was a spell from local sorcerers for such 'destroyers' to rebuild it!.

Below another dramatic moment, German soldiers during World War one take away the bells of the church to melt them down to make guns, after the war my grand dad, Leopold, could not make peace with his neighbor until they were brought back, they came back and stayed there during World War two.

The author ancestors were born not far from the Haut Koenigsbourg at the foot of the Montagne D'Ormont near the Spitzemberg not far from the town of Provencheres

Click this link to see map and images of my ancestors region, around the montagne D' Ormont

Provencheres (a handful of earth), the tradition of the region at funerals is to throw a handful of earth on the coffin with the expression 'que la terre te soit legere' may the earth be light for you.

The Celt legend also says that near the montagne D'Ormont, fairies ride a gold charriot pulled by two large white oxen, but swearing makes it to disappear. While specific links do not exist anymore before 1600 most clues point to the origin of the family in Provencheres as early as the foundation of this little town between 630 and the Xth century, as an early registre of births and Christian confirmation has a third of the registre with the names Humbert and Delagoutte(close branch of the family) and another third with names of their descendants.

Provencheres and around little villages would have been the likely origin of our family ancestors, people lived in group in small hamels/ villages dating back to the Celts before the Vth century, around the Montagne D'Ormont, with its legends confirming the Celtic influence, these first inhabitants wood-cutters, hunters(bears were abundant, the name Humbert may be related to bears), blachsmiths for travellers protected by the many small chapels.

Around the year 619 the bishop of Nevers (Deodatus - St Die probably born in Ireland) evangelised this region in the Vosges at the foot of the Montagne D'Ormont, and named it the Val of Galilea after the place in the Holy Land, Nazareth(the home of Jesus Mary and Joseph) and Magdala, the birth place of Marie Madeleine, are in Galilee;
Provencheres was placed under the protection of Ste Catherine. The Bishop of Nevers is linked with the rosicrucians and Vezelay where the relics of Marie de Magdala are kept, if Marie Magdeleine and the Da Vinci code rings a bell.

- My family traditionally went to school at the Marianistes College of the Villa St Jean across the border in Fribourg Switzerland which was also in its earlier days the Grand Seminar(not mentioned in the link above) for Catholic priests, together with the one in Sion not far, standing at a place called Vinci I visited in my childhood(see Chapters My Dad Jean and Switzerland ma deuxieme patrie), for more about Marie Magdeleine and Galilea see this link.

The Spitzemberg (look-out tower, local dialect, pointed mount in German) around the area of the Montagne D'Ormont is another landmark of Lorraine built between 910 and 1150. Both the Haut Koenigsbourg containing old artefacts from Germany today, and the Spitzemberg, home of Christine de Denmark in 1550, were destroyed by the Protestant Swedes during the thirty years'war and only ruins remain, church archives with birth registers were also burnt, the Haut Koenigsbourg was rebuilt later.

My grandfather Leopold(1870-1954)
had a hardware shop(see photos right and top) and was the Lord Maire(1912-1935) of this small town in the East of France, Provencheres sur Fave. altitude 400-450metres and situated in the Departement des Vosges at the foot of the 'Montagne D'Ormont'(See Mapcarta link).
The Provencheres Town's church has a double steeple giving it an East European aspect, the region across years received visitors from Poland, Hungary, Austria and the Habsburgs(Vienna - Humbert le Viennois, Knight Templar, headed a failed crusade which stopped in Turkey).

My Grand Dad was an early user of motorcycles, a photo of him riding his('tricycle a vapeur') in 1898 is inside the short essay about the town my late uncle Paul contributed to and who continued the hardware family business until the mid sixties(see bibliography below).

Around 1898 my grandfather would be visiting his customers with one of the earliest spark plug motorcycle, a bit of an adventure with a box of six plugs which just lasted 20 to 40km just enough to go to the nearest larger town St Die and back. St Die is known as('La Marraine des Ameriques'), monks in the town were the first to put the name('America') on a map, after Amerigo Vespucci the navigator. See Saint Die godmother of America.

La Place Royale is today the place des Vosges, situated in the Quartier du Marais, the second oldest in Paris after the Quartier latin -Ile de la cite, the place was renamed to honour the Departement des Vosges, the first region to pay taxes to the republic after the French Revolution in 1789 albeit someone said also, that a clock maker named Jean Baptiste Humbert was the first person to climb to the top of the Bastille the 14th of July. The town of Provencheres was collecting donations for the newly formed republic two months after the 14th of July see below.
For more about the Bastille visit this link.

Click this link to see Leopold Family.

Beside the legends, real gold was running down the rivers in this small Kingdom of Middle Earth, here and there, visitor will find the Bar Americain or l' Auberge Celte, in 1990 a gold funeral chariot of a Celtic chief was found in the vosges region in Diarville by renown archaeologist Laurent Olivier, a kind of Indiana Jones, see picture below, The Celtic gold chariot of Diarville. the French Ministry of Culture organizes Archaelogical vaccations in the region. This recent discovery confirms legends associated with the Montagne D'Ormont, if we add to this the Baden-Wurtenberg tumb of the Giant of Hotchdorf, we can see that betwen 600BC and 450BC the Region was at the hands of the Celt Princes.

Note :

While no specific link can be established in the family tree before the XVth century there is certainty that the name Humbert existed in the Xth century when the towns around the montagne of Ormont were established, my uncle Jacques the Priest, researched in one of these small towns a potential link with the Cardinal Humbert of Moyenmoutier
(Close to the pope he organised the first conclave of Cardinals to elect a pope, as it remains today, well filmed in the movie angels and demons!).
The Cardinal Humbert was buried in the Lateran Basilica.

Humbert was used as a first name by the Maison de Savoie and the crusaders and/ or masters in the Order of the Templars. The name Humbert as a surname was mentioned several time across centuries from the XIth to the XIVth century with the Shroud of Thurin, cared by the Maison de Savoie, and last by Humbert II of the Maison de Savoie, King of Italy who died in 1983 May be DNA testing could be used in the future with the Shroud and the relics of Marie Madeleine, but we now have a good idea of the earlier scnerio of our family tree, with our without DNA, and it is visible to the right, thanks to the research carried out by my uncles Paul Jacques and my Gand Dad Leopold(titulaire des Palmes Academiques).

One thing is certain, the name Humbert now can be found around the planet, but it was found around Lorraine and Burgundy first and not vice-versa, the name Humbert was found around the Vth century, as a first name, first, then as a family name and most likely in the Vosges Region first, a region once populated from 600BC by the Celts.

People today around the region

are not afraid of their heritage mixing a bit of German organisation with some French refinement and Swiss precision (Rolex which moved from London today, and earlier Paliard Kern, Bolex...).
Car manufacturing on both sides of the border are thriving industries, the Author worked at Peugeot Sochaux HQ for a short mission(1972-73), Mercedes, german side of the rhine, Bugatti Royale yesterday in Molsheim/ Alsace, the Bugatti Veyron Rembrandt today in Germany with VW
are fine examples of car manufacturing!
The Region is also the home of Alcatel Societe Alsacienne des Cables et Telephones affiliated with Airbus Industries(Gustav Humbert former CEO). Alcatel is a world leading manufacturer of Optical fibre, a French and US invention.

Wars are not fought anymore near the town of the Three Countries, but BIS, the Bureau of International Settlements that sets up World Banking regulations is based in Basle(Basel I II III regulations), people are more worried these days of money getting lost in cyberspace into derivatives, another kind of war, derivatives are UFOs not bullets, and France and Germany are now united to limit the damage from these time bombs!


Paul and Leopold Humbert Essais sur Provencheres a tra vers les ages, the Preface by my uncle Paul and some extracts are also visible below. ========================================== V === = = = >

Leopold Humbert Histoire du Spitzemberg =>
Jean Humbert
Ministere de la culture
Archives nationales- Bibliotheque nationale de France
Museum Carnavalet
Archives Departemantales des Vosges
Archives de la Commune de Provencheres
Archives paroissiales dee Provencheres
Bulletin de la Societe Philomatique Saint-Die
Departement des Vosges par Leon Louis
Museum Carnavalet Agenda du Bicentenaire


By Leopold and Paul Humbert, the Author, and my cousins Marie-Claude and Marie-Therese
(photos of Grand Dad Leopold and Grand Mother)
Photo below of Laurent Olivier(re-edited)
from Wed Oct 3, 1990 Liberation Newspaper
Museum Carnavalet Agenda du Bicentenaire

Photo at the top(left side):
Anciennes Cartes de Lorraine

From suite of Memoirs
Chapter 1 My Ancestors in the Vosges
Chapter 2 My dad Jean
Chapter 3 The Alpes ma deuxieme patrie
Chapter 4 Childhood in Paris- Memoires d'enfance
Chapitre 1

Chapter 5 Irish and Normands Connection
Chapter 6 The Age of technocrats and Technology
Chapter 7 Au revoir Provence
Chapter 8 The arrival
Chapter 9 Australia and abroad
Chapter 10 Bio and videogames

First photo below, my uncle Paul, Odile, his wife(my aunt), my wife Margaret(the Celts connection from Ireland), photo Taken in 1990 in front of the Spitzemberg, and superimposed, Celts Archeologist specialist, Laurent Olivier in Diarville in 1990(montage).

Next photos, Provencheres was massively destroyed after 1918,
and my grandfather Leopold was the lordmaire during
the reconstruction efforts as explained by
my uncle Paul in the document displayed

Last photo at the bottom from Leopold,
history of Provencheres, showing the
contribution of Provencheres
to support the Republic
established in 1789.

Galerie Francois Humbert Menu