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   In 17th and 18th centuries...
... noble families were in two great categories the "sword nobility" and the "robe nobility". The first one has been established since 1579 to all of those that had received some nobility's letters from the king, in exchange of finance (meaning, patent document in exchange of $$$). That is existing yet today. The 2nd one was inside exercise of public charges (functions).

   The grant of Noble Patent Documents...
...exercise of public charges and military service were an important part of many families from origin, just before 1789. Excepted for the fact that today, a Prince (sovereing or not) can bestow nobility titles, at least to perpetuate the nobility and/or the importance of the title. In some cases, a Duke can also transmit a title.


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