I found tucked away on the internet a document which professed to be "NOTES about our FAMILY (Paternal side) by Count René de CHERISEY [Minister Plenipotentiary of France, Commander of the Legion of Honour]. It was written during the war 1940-1945 & then digitized by OCR by Jean Loup de Chérísey.
The document explained that "I was told that we should leave a few notes on our origins and the various members of our family existing today. The new generation is little aware of their situation. Madame de BERNIS - Aunt Céline - said quite pleasantly, at the time of Yolande's engagement: "Guillaume knows that he has a father, that he has a grandfather... Past that, he doesn't know anything anymore." I don't know if I'll have time to finish this job until, for lack of my papers left at JONCY, I have to do it all entirely by memory. Let's still try.
We belong to a family of the Lorraine knighthood that, since the Crusades, has constantly distinguished itself by arms. Constituted on the steps of the Pays de Metz, the fief of CHERISEY was in the face of all the wars between France and Germany. Plundered and ruined 7 times, (the seventh time in 1940), burned down 2 or 3 times, the castle has always been restored and preserved by the Lords of the name, without patronymic or any substitution. This is an almost unique case in the history of Lorraine.
What is meant by maisons de chevalerie lorraine? These are the original noble houses, that is, dating back to the XIII century, having been ennobled by no one and occupying a fief of franc alleu, a fief that one could not hold that of God and his sword.
This dignity of chivalry conferred important privileges (high, low and medium justice), etc..., etc…the main purpose of which was to sit on the assizes that kept the supreme leadership of the country. I believe that this persisted effectively until the reign of Stanislaus, former King of Poland and father-in-law of Louis XV. There were about 250 such families. I think today there are 35 of them scattered all over the place. As for the division into "Big Horses" and others, it is purely arbitrary. It is certain that four families were recognized - older or at least more certain origin, in that they belonged to the Merovingians. These are: HARAUCOURT, du CHATELET, LIGNIVILLE, and LENONCOURT. Only the LIGNIVILLES remain today.
Later, a fanciful heraldist (I believe it was under Stanislaus) invented the "Little Horses". He found 20 or 25; but this classification is based on absolutely nothing serious and there is no more reason to assign a precedence to the BASSOMPIERRE, the d'ASPREMONT or the LAMBERTYE rather than the CHERISEY or the POUILLY. The real principle is that from the round table: All gentlemen and all equal".
There were several points i wanted to pick up on here. These were the following;
1] the Lorraine knighthood
2] maisons de chevalerie lorraine
3] families that belonged to the Merovingians.
I was also interested in the earliest Chérisey family as this was considered to stem from collateral ancestry found in the Languedoc, the Franche-Comté and Brittany. The research focused on civil status registers, parish registers, notarial acts, and in documents edited by genealogists and historians.
This made the interests and knowledge Philippe de Chérisey had much more interesting that i had previously thought.
If the ancestry is true the Chérisey bloodline could claim to go back to the Carolingians [for example Louis the Pious] as well as families originating in old Septimania.