Durant

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Durant Surname Genealogy

The
names Durant, Durrant and Durand are of French origin and come from the
Old
French durant, meaning
“enduring.” The words could describe
someone who is steadfast or else possibly obstinate.
Durand is more common in France and French
Quebec, Durrant in England, and Durant in America.
The
names first came to England after the Norman Conquest of 1066. They were also names of later French Huguenot
refugees.

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Durant/Durand Resources on
The
Internet

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Durant/Durand Ancestry

Guillaume
Durand, a 13th century liturgical writer, came from a noble family in
Languedoc. Today there are some 90,000
Durands in
France, mainly in the south of the country, and a smaller number of
3,000 Durants in
northern France and French-speaking Belgium.

Durants left Normandy for England at the time of the Norman
Conquest. More Durands departed later in the 16th century and
later, either Huguenot refugees or emigrants to French Quebec. Marie Durand
was one Huguenot left behind who suffered in the hands of the
authorities.

England. Durants are
believed to have crossed the Channel from France to England and settled
in Cornwall as early as the 11th century. Certainly the name has
been long-established there. Durants were recorded at Leigh in
the 1300’s and at Pensinams in the 1400’s.

Richard Durant who
died in 1632 was twice mayor of Bodmin and was recorded on his
tombstone at St. Petroc’s as having two wives and nineteen
children. One of his sons, John, was a Puritan preacher who was
deprived of his living after the Restoration. And many have heard
the
story of Dorothy
Durant, the ghost of Botathen
.

Among the Huguenot refugees to England were:

  • a
    Durant
    family which arrived in England from France around the year 1570 and
    settled
    in
    Maldon, Essex. Descendant George Durant
    departed for America in the 1650’s.
  • John Durant who came to North Tawton in Devon sometime in the
    early 1700’s and engaged in the wool trade. The business thrived
    until the wool trade took a downturn at the time of the Napoleonic
    wars.
  • and a Durand family which fled their home in Montpelier in 1685
    and
    initially settled in
    Holland. They later made the move to England. In 1795
    Daniel Francois
    Durand was appointed Dean of St. Peter Port in Guernsey in the Channel
    Islands.

East Anglia. Durrant
is
primarily an East Anglian name, with most sightings in Norfolk and
Suffolk. The Durrants of Scottow in NE
Norfolk claimed descent from an earlier Derbyshire family.
They had established themselves at Scottow
House in the late 16th century and, after Thomas Durrant was High
Sheriff of
Norfolk in 1784, became baronets.

There
were Durrants in the coastal town of Lowestoft in Suffolk by the 17th
century. One family were merchants and
brewers. Dorothy
Durrant
testified in the Lowestoft witch trial of 1662. The Durrant name appeared in Stowmarket,
Walton, Bucklesham, and Ixworth parish records in Suffolk from the
early 18th century.

Elsewhere.
The Rev. Robert
Durant was rector at Hagley in Worcestershire in the late 1600’s. From his respectable family came
less-than-respectable descendants.
George Durant got rich, it is believed, from the slave trade and
bought
with the proceeds the entire village of Tong on Shropshire’s eastern
border in
1764. Both he and his son George were
noted for their wanton lifestyles and illicit affairs.
The children of son George and his mistress
Mary Bradbury took the name of St. George and emigrated to New Zealand
.


Canada
. There
were French soldiers and settlers in what was then called New France as
early
as the 1650’s. The King even encouraged
young women to emigrate through his “fille du roi” program. Their numbers included Francoise Durand who
married Jacques Beaudauin in New France in 1671.

A
Parisian family by the name of Durand was in Quebec City in 1661 and
others of
that name followed in the next decade.
Jean Durand from Doeul-sur-le-Mignon in SW France was an
enlistee,
accepting service in New France for a three year period.
He arrived in 1657 and decided to stay,
marrying a local Huron woman. His line was
documented in Joseph Durand’s 1954 book Jean
Durand et Sa Posterite
. Son Louis
Durand, born in Quebec in 1670, was an early explorer of this new land,
venturing as far away as Minnesota.

Francis Durant, born
in Quebec of French parents in 1780, migrated to Dundas county in
Ontario with his four sons to farm
in the early
1830’s
.


America
. There
were a number of Durant Huguenots who came to America:

  • George
    Durant, a descendant of Huguenot immigrants into England, was to
    be found in Middleton, Connecticut by the 1650’s. Edward Durant
    of this family
    was a prominent landowner in Newton, Massachusetts in the next century. The line was covered in Rev. William Durant’s
    1895 book A History of the Descendants of
    George and Elizabeth Durant
    .
  • Dr.
    John
    Durand from La Rochelle arrived in America sometime in the 1690’s and
    settled
    in Derby, Connecticut. Descendants
    included Asher Brown Durand, one of the founder members of the Hudson
    river
    school of painting. The family history was covered in
    Alvy Ray Smith’s 2003 book Dr. John Durand of Derby,
    Connecticut and
    His Family.
  • Henry
    DuRant came to South Carolina sometime in the late 1600’s.
    His descendants were plantation owners in
    South Carolina on Lynch’s Creek.
  • and
    Benjamin
    Durant, who has been identified by
    historians as being descended from French Huguenots, left South
    Carolina and
    settled along the Alabama river sometime in the 1780’s.
    His family intermarried with local Creek and
    Choctaw Indians, with one line founding Durant Town in Oklahoma.

There were two
prominent later Durants from early New England settlers:

  • one line from George
    Durant descended to Thomas C. Durant, a prominent financier and
    railroad
    promoter of the mid-19th century. He
    lost much, however, in the 1873 panic. His
    son William West Durant helped promote the Adirondacks
    Mountains in
    upstate New York for tourism.
  • while another
    line began with Edward Durant, born in Boston in 1725. Billy Durant was born there
    in 1861,
    but at the age of ten moved with his family to Flint, Michigan where he
    was to
    make his mark as one of the pioneers of the American automobile
    industry.

Will
Durant, the co-author with his wife of The
Story of Civilization
, was born near Boston in 1885. He was the son of
French-Canadian
parents who had been part of the 19th century Quebec emigration to the
United
States. Other
Quebec
Durand families settled in Minnesota and Wisconsin.


Louisiana.
The Durand name was to be found in Louisiana, Durand being
one of the family names of Acadians forced into exile in Louisiana in
1755.

But the best-known Durand of that
region was Charles Durand.
He had arrived from
France in 1820 and established one of the Louisiana’s largest sugar
cane
plantations at St. Martinville.
His home was the
setting for the famous story handed down about his daughters’
spider wedding.


Select
Durant Miscellany

If you would like to read more, click on the miscellany page for
further stories and accounts:


Select
Durant Names

George Durant was an early settler in the Carolinas and has
sometimes been called the father of North Carolina.  Billy Durant was a leading pioneer of
the American automobile industry, a co-founder of both Chevrolet
and
General Motors.
William J. Durant

was an American writer, best known for his mammoth The
Story of Civilization
, co-written with his wife Ariel between
1935 and 1975.

Select Durants/Durrants/Durands Today

  • 12,000 in the UK (most numerous
    in London)
  • 5,000 in America (most numerous in New York)
  • 14,000 elsewhere (most numerous in Canada)

 

 

 

 

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