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Exploring the French links

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Lieut-Colonel Charles Mercier
du Paty, Marquis de Clam

There had always been the feeling that our family originated on the continent, possibly France, but this is the first clue. As the dates do not fit in with our family name which is first recorded in Devon in the early 1300's, this link may need to be discounted.

There is an old Alsace-Lorraine French name best known for Lieut-Colonel Charles Mercier du Paty, Marquis de Clam, military tribunal prosecutor of Capt Alfred Dreyfus. Note that some references show him as a Major Armand du Paty. The marquis was also known as Dupaty de Clam, or simply du Paty or Dupaty.

The name of the family is Mercier du Paty de Clam. The patronymic (a name derived from the name of a father or ancestor) is Mercier which means "haberdasher". In the 18th c. the family spelled its name Mercier Dupaty. The family was only ennobled in 1740 and was authorized to officially add the name "Clam" in 1862. The title of "marquis" is fanciful.

Click here to see the du Paty de Clam Coat of Arms as well as information about other well known members of the same name. There are also further details of the Dreyfus Affair. NOTE there are fourty seven (47) pages of detail.

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It has been discovered that there are two towns in France which probably relate to the Marquis du Paty de Clam, namely "Clam" and "Paty" as shown on the map below. It would appear that the marquis had two titles which could be used in different orders - either du Paty de Clam or perhaps de Clam du Paty. The speculation is that De Clam du Paty could easily have become the De Clampytte who lived in Devon, England in the early 1300's.

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