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The GINOUX of the Cevennes

In the 1100s, two new heresies of Catholicism were to share the favor of regional demands: Valdéism (which started in Lyon and spread to Vivarais, Cévennes and all of Provence) and, of course, Catharism, more centered on the axis of Carcassonne, Albi, Toulouse.

Pierre Valdès (born around 1150), a large merchant from Lyon, like Saint Francis of Assisi, suddenly converted, sold all his possessions (si vis perfectus esse…) and went to preach on the roads. The official Church sees this approach in a very bad light, especially since the Valdéistes disciples, more royalist than the king, accuse this same Church and its clergy of being a servant of the devil, of having totally forgotten evangelical poverty and of obscuring the texts that “embarrass” them. However, as “obedere opportet magis deo quam hominibus”, the Valdeists preach a return to the sources of Christianity and the Gospel outside of any ecclesiastical structure. Chased very quickly from all sides, they hide, especially in Piedmont and the Cévennes valleys where they will sow the ground for the future Reformation, which is very close in its beginnings to Valdeism.

If we consider that the family name GINOUX (or GINHOUX or GIGNOUX) comes from the same family group, two hypotheses are offered to us with the help of the elements in our possession.

First hypothesis: the GINOUX, poor people from Lyon, practicing the Waldensian religion, separated around the 1200s, one family settling in Piedmont (the Pellice valley), another in the Cévennes (in Vézénobres).

Second hypothesis: after emigrating to Piedmont, one of the families came to Vézénobres in the Cévennes in the 1300s.

In the digitized documents from the various noble families and notaries, the first trace in the Cévennes is in 1377 in the description of land in Vézénobres next to those of Guillaume GINOUX and Raimond GINOUX. This indicates a settlement already well advanced.

Sources: les fonds Chassin du Guerny sur GENEAWIKI

Places of life of the GINOUX des Cévennes (enlarge the map France, Cévennes side, small purple men)

The Cevennes, a GINOUX cluster

In the space of a hundred years, a dozen places are already invested by the GINOUX in the Cévennes: 

Mercoirol, commune of Saint Florent sur Auzonet
La Lèche, commune of Saint Julien des Points
Portes where the famous castle is located
Aubarine between the Communes of Rochegude and Rivières
The mas d’Aleyrargues in Barjac
The “mas” of Le Bouc and Reignery, commune of Saint Germain sur Cèze and very close to Saint Ambroix.
Alès and nearby Larnac and La Bedosse
Bagnols sur Cèze
All these places will be occupied by GINOUX for several hundred years, even up to the present day. 

A hundred years later, there are more than fifty places occupied by GINOUX including the first ten places above. And are not included, the more distant places occupied by some of them like the one that settled in the Provençal Baronnies, in Mollans sur Ouvèze or Chateaurenard in the Bouches du Rhône and certainly others to be discovered…

Below are excerpts from Cassini’s map (years 1700 to 1790) and landmarks of the places occupied by GINOUX between 1377 and 1499

The first GINOUX of the Cévennes

It seems that a father and his family, notably composed of several sons, arrived in the Cévennes, probably in Vézénobre around the 1350s, well before the great emigration of the Waldensians from Piedmont, on the Italian side. Vézénobre is located on a very busy road at that time, the Regordane road linking Le Puy en Velay to the abbey church of Saint Gilles du Gard.

The father’s name was Bernard GINOUX. His sons :

Guillaume and Raymond owned land in Vézénobre (1377).
André settled in Mercoirol, commune of Saint Florent sur Auzonet. He married his daughter Jeanne in 1402 with Bernard COTELIER from the village of Portes.
Pierre settled in Aubarine, between the communes of Rochegude and Rivières.
Jean, perhaps the youngest son, became a notary, then lord of Le Bouc and Reignery and settled in several places. Leaving Mercoirol, they settled in La Lèche, commune of Saint Julien des Points, then near Saint Ambroix at the mas du Bouc and nearby Reignery, as well as in Aubarines between Rochegude and Rivières.
It is Jean who seems to have had many children with several women in several places. The legend indicates about twenty children. He died before 1466.

Below are Jean’s presumed children by location (next month we will detail, when possible, the life of each of the children) :


  • Georges, becomes notary of Alès in 1460, marries Gilette de Monteils and will be coseigneur of Larnac and La Bedosse near Alès and salt keeper of the town of Alès. He dies around 1514 without descendants. His wife continued to manage his property and that of his niece until her death. The property will remain in the de Monteils.
  • Guillaume
  • Raimond
  • Vincente got married in 1466 with Raimond PORTAL and went to live with her husband in the village of Sabran near Barjols. She will have 3 daughters and 5 sons.
  • Pierre, a carder in Alès, makes his will before going to Santiago de Compostela in 1500. He bequeathed his property to his wife Claude BORNE and his brother Guillaume.
  • Guirand
  • Louis
  • Martin
  • Simon
  • François

Saint Ambroix

  • Antoine
  • Jean

La Lèche

  • Jacques
  • Jaumette
  • Etienne
  • Barthélémy


  • André

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