The original family name 'Bouyssavy' is recorded in the Dordogne area (France) as early as the 15th century. Recorded in the archives in 1445 is a certain H. Bouyssavy, a lawyer in the city of Perigeux. The name possibly traces back to the old French word 'bouis' (boxtree, - in Latin buxus).
In the records of various villages and towns the name Bouyssavy appears in various spellings. It seems that the family is divided into separate branches. In the 17th century in particular, the social status of the separate branches differs markedly. There is a branch consisting of mainly lawyers and landlords, and a branch with many well to do farmers and vineyard owners. What they have in common is Protestantism.
Lucas Boussavy appears to be the founder of of todays Boissevain family. Lucas sells his half of the ancestral property in the village of Couze to his brother Jean on 22 July 1685. On 4 December 1687 he draws up his last will (read the original text or view the document ) in the town of Bergerac. Because of Catholic persecution of the Protestants, he goes into exile, first to Bordeaux, and then to Amsterdam (Netherlands). He settles there about 1691, using the name Boissevain. So all bearers of this name, wherever in the world, descend from this Lucas. The name Bouyssavy, in various spellings, lives on in France to this day. Closer research into Lucas ancestors remains to be done in the French archives and records of the 15th and 16th centuries.