The county of Albon emerged in the sources from the mid-11th century, although its precise geographical location has not yet been identified. The comtes d’Albon acquired authority over territory around Vienne but never acquired the county of Vienne. The first member of the family recorded with the comital title was Guigues [III] "Vetus". The earliest document so far identified which links the title of this family to the territory of Albon is the testament of Ramon Berenguer I Comte de Barcelona, dated 12 Nov 1076, which provides for the reversion of his counties to "filium Guigonis de Albion quem habuit de filia sua Agnes" in case of extinction of his descendants in the male line. No record has been found of the precise date when Guigues [III] was appointed count, or who appointed him, although it is likely that he was invested either by Emperor Konrad I (Konrad II King of Germany, who had inherited the kingdom of Burgundy from the last independent king Rudolf III in 1032) or his son Emperor Heinrich II (Heinrich III King of Germany). No record of Guigues [III] has been found in the surviving charters of either emperor... Another perspective is provided by an undated charter in the second cartulary of "saint Hugues" whose preamble states that during the time of "Isarni episcopi [10th century]" no counts ruled in "episcopatum Gratianopolitanum" and that when Mallen was bishop (supposed cousin of Comte Guigues [III] "Vétus"...) "Guigo vetus, pater Guigonis crassi" usurped the title count and seized lands from the bishopric. Fauché-Prunelle asserts that this preamble was inserted subsequently into the document and is not authentic. Nevertheless, the absence of earlier documentation which attributes the title count to members of the family is striking. Whatever the truth of the matter, the county was an imperial fief by the mid-11th century, as demonstrated by the patronage shown to the later counts by Emperor Friedrich I "Barbarossa", who arranged important dynastic marriages for them.
The head of this family was first recorded with the name “dauphin” from the early 13th century. The origin of this title has been the subject of much debate. The name is first found in surviving primary sources attributed to Guigues [VI], as shown by the charter dated to [after 1225] which records that "Guigo delphinus et uxor eius…" confirmed an earlier donation by his father to the abbey of Bonnevaux. Chorier’s Histoire de Dauphiné summarises various outlandish legendary origins which emerged, but concludes that the dolphin was first used as a heraldic symbol by Guigues [VI] and that the title adopted by his descendants simply reflected this use. Prudhomme states that this conclusion cannot be correct as the emblem is first recorded on the arms of the family in 1237. He concludes that "delphinus" was a nickname ("surnom"), first borne by St Delphinus at the end of the 4th century and by a 7th century bishop of Lyon, and was used personally by Guigues [VI]. It was later used as a type of patronymic by André de Bourgogne [Capet]..., son of Beatrix heiress of Viennois and granddaughter of Guigues [VI], to highlight his maternal descent. By the end of the 13th century, the name had evolved into a title, and the first reference to the "delphinatum" of Vienne and Albon dates to 1285.
"Barnuinus et uxor mea…Teutberge" donated property "in villa Vitrosco" to Saint-André de Bas, Vienne, for the souls of "senioris nostri domini Vigoni domneque Fredeburge", by charter dated "regnante domno Rodulfo rege" (dated to [1012/23] in the compilation, but presumably better dated to [993/96]). "Wigo et uxor mea Fredeburga" donated property "in comitatu Viennensi in agro Cassiacensi in villa…Vernio" by charter dated Sep , subscribed by "Umberti episcopi, Richardi, Vagoni, Bosoni, Adraldi". 1