In "Slide Trombone Teaching and Method Books in France (1794-1960)", published in the Historic Brass Journal, Volume 9 (1997), authors Benny Sluchin and Raymond Lapie describe the situation as follows:
All other references I could find in the handful of doctoral theses and other academic works referencing Vobaron omit the bookends of his life, underscoring the statement of "little precise biological information available" made by Sluchin and Lapie. The dates during which he was interim professor at the Conservatoire seem solid, but dates and attribution to works get a bit fuzzy outside of this narrow range. Confusing matters further, there was an Edmond Vobaron (possibly Felix's son), who published a method for trombone around the same time as a different work attributed to Felix, and some modern transcriptions of these works apparently contain references to both Felix and Edmond in different places.There is little precise biographical information available about the musical members
of the Vobaron family. The eldest seems to have been Félix Vobaron. He was an interim
professor at the Conservatoire and served as music director at the cavalry school at Saumur
and for the first regiment of horse grenadiers of the Garde Royale. He belonged to the
Royal Society of Fine Arts of Ghent, as well as that of Bordeaux. A Vobaron is mentioned
as professor of trombone at Cahors in 1819-1820. In his Grand méthode, Félix Vobaron
mentions that he studied the trombone from 1815. These several elements allow us to
sketch a profi le of the musician.
In digging for more information, I ran across The Vobaron Project (https://vobaron.wordpress.com/), an effort by Sam Gossner to transcribe Vobaron's "Grande Methode de Trombonne" from 1834. I reached out to Sam to see if he had any additional information on Felix or Edmond. He provided a wealth of information in his response, including:
Sam suggested a possible search for obituary or genealogical information. I have no previous experience in this sort of research, but the project sounded like a fun learning experience if nothing else. I don't have conclusive evidence as yet, but I wanted to share what I have found so far in case it helps anyone else looking into this.[Vobaron] mentions in the 2nd paragraph of the avertissement at the beginning of Grand Methode de Trombonne that he was inspired to devote himself entirely to studying trombone in/around 1815 after being disappointed in the simplicity of trombone playing in the army at that time. The statement suggests this was when or possibly after he began playing, and thus he was likely born before 1800 in order to be old enough to do so (much less make such a pointed observation). Already by 1834 he must have had something in the way of a career, as he makes detailed reference to playing to great praise throughout France and Belgium (specifically mentioning Gant, Paris, and Bordeaux). This only really makes sense chronologically if we assume Vobaron was at the very least in his late 20's if not 30's by 1834. Again, this is all assumptions and guesses, nothing concrete.
Starting with the site https://en.geneanet.org, I searched for Vobaron, and found some interesting trails to follow. Among them, this link from military records:
https://translate.google.com/translate? ... 0%2F573594
Shows a Felix Joseph Francois VOBARON, born in 1791, in Southeastern France. The military service dates seem to align with the beginning of his interest in trombone (as described above by Sam) in or around 1815. For anyone interested, here is a link to the French military register showing Vobaron's name:
https://www.memoiredeshommes.sga.defens ... m_rotate=F
Another link from the same site:
https://translate.google.com/translate? ... &sandbox=1
Shows, I believe, marriage of the same Felix VOBARON in 1815 to Marie Reine Philippine Joseph DEUGEUGNIES. Again we see 1815 as an interesting inflection point - end of military service, marriage, and beginning of focused interest in the trombone.
It isn't conclusive, but the dates seem to align well with what little we do know. If this is indeed the correct Vobaron, then we have a potential candidate for the first of our bookends - a birth date of July 23, 1791.
I'm clumsy at this sort of research, but I do find it interesting. I'll continue looking into it a bit more and see what I can find.