Duval Genealogy

is a French surname meaning “of the valley” and would
describe someone who would be residing there.
and Duvall
are the main spellings today. The name
crossed the Atlantic to French Canada as Duval. Normans
brought the DuVal name to
England. Huguenots brought DuVal also to
America. But the spelling there became
Duvall in one main line after a few generations.

Duval Resources on

Duval Ancestry

are some 35,000 Duvals in France today. The
name has been highly concentrated in Normandy in NW France
Many were to be found at Alencon in Orne department. Georges
Duval, the early 19th century French playwright, came from Valognes in
Manche department.

England. Normans
brought a version of the Duval name to England. The
original family name may have been Valinscourt, reportedly descended
from the
Duke of Valors. This became in England de Val or de Wall or
Wall over time. The Irish branch of
the family, based at
Dunmoylan castle in Limerick, assumed the Wall surname.
One line here led to John Wall Du Val and to his
grandson Charles Allen Du Val, a notable Victorian portrait

Claude Du Vall,
said to have come from a noble family in Normandy which had been
stripped of its name and title, arrived in London in the early
1660’s. He pursued a short career as a “gentleman” highwayman
before he was captured and executed in 1670.

At the time of the 1891 census there were fewer than 240 Duvals in

Canada. The earliest recorded Duval in French Canada
was probably Jean Duval, a locksmith in Nova Scotia who had moved there
Normandy. He was implicated in a
conspiracy to hand French Canada over to Spain and was hanged by the
French in

Duvals from Normandy were also
settlers in Quebec. Early marriages there showed:

  • Pierre
    and Romain Duval as husbands in the 1650’s, both sons of emigrants
    and Jeanne Duval
  • Jean
    Duval, a
    soldier who had arrived in the 1650’s and a husband at Contrecoeur in
  • and
    Jean Duval, a husband in Quebec also in 1678. He was killed by
    Iroquois Indians twelve years later

Pierre Thuot dit
arrived in Quebec just after 1700.

Not all of the Duvals in Canada were French. Edmund Hillyer Duval
had come from London to St. John, New Brunswick in 1845 to teach and he
established a British school there. But there were French
roots in his past. Edmund’s great grandfather Pierre Duval had
been a Huguenot weaver from Normandy who had moved to London in the

America. The Duval/Duvall
lines in America stemmed primarily from two Huguenot immigrants, one
into Maryland and the other into Virginia.

Maryland. Marin
Duval, a
Huguenot at his family estates in Normandy, became Mareen Duvall
after his landing in Maryland in 1650. By the time of his death
in 1699 he had become a considerable landowner there, owning several
thousand acres in Anne Arundel and Prince George’s counties. His
primary home was the Middle Plantation in Anne Arundel.

Mareen was married three times and was the father of twelve children,
most of them born in America. The main line of descent has been
from his son Mareen. But there was also an older son John,
iniitially left behind in France, who came to Maryland later, in
1678. This Captain John Duvall made his home at Wilson’s Grove
plantation and had perhaps the nost distinguiished record in his

Harry W. Newman’s 1952 book Mareen
Duvall of Middle Plantation
covered his descendants. Among
his most notable Duvall descendants were:

  • Gabriel Duvall, a US Associate Supreme Court Justice from 1811 to
  • Isaac Duval, a brigadier general in the Union army during the
    Civil War
  • Betty Duvall, a Confederate spy in the Civil War
  • and (much later) the actor Robert Duvall.

One Duvall line, through John Miles Duvall and his son Jacob, migrated
in the late 1780’s from
Maryland to Kentucky where they eventually settled in Grayson
county. John Miles had married into a Catholic family and
Catholics were not particularly welcome in Maryland at that time.

“Family legend has John Miles Duvall
dying in Virginia by drowning in the Potomac river around 1787.
He was
supposedly taking his family, along with several other Catholic
families, to Kentucky.”

Kentucky is the state with the largest numbers of Duvalls today.

Virginia. Daniel
Duval, another Huguenot known in France as Chevalier Duval, fled
Normandy for England from where he departed on the Nassau in 1701 for Virginia.
His line was covered in Bessie Grabowski’s 1931 book The DuVal Family of Virginia. Among
his descandents were:

  • William
    Pope Duval
    who was the first civilian Governor of
    Florida, holding the post from 1822 to 1834.
  • and two of William’s sons who participated in the failed Texas
    Revolution against Mexico in 1835. Burr was executed, but
    John survived to make a name for himself as “the father of Texas
    literature.” Another son Thomas became a prominent Texas
    judge. Their story
    was told in Roy Swift’s 1995 book Civilizers:
    The DuVals of Texas.

Other Sightings.
William Devol from Lincolnshire came to America in 1640 and settled in
Rhode Island. He was said to have been of
Huguenot origin. It looks like some of
his descendants became Davall or Duvall:

  • the
    Davalls of Sag Harbor, Long Island included in their number Captain
    John Davall who was killed in Savannah, Georgia in 1801 by the
    firing of a cannon during the July 4th celebrations.
  • while
    George Duvall from
    Rhode Island settled in Shelter Island in the 1860’s.
    Ralph Duvall wrote a history of the island in

Jean Formy-Duval fled
Revolutionary France for Haiti and ended up around 1795 in Columbus
North Carolina. He was an early cotton
planter there. His son John settled in
Florida and fought on the Confederate side in the Civil War. Some descendants shortened their surname to

Canadian Duvals crossed the border into America. Included
in their number were the descendants
of early immigrant Pierre Thuot dit Duval – some of them migrating to Monroe
county, Michigan near Detroit in the late 1700’s while Charles
and Sarah Duval arrived in Wisconsin in 1873

Duval Miscellany

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

Select Duval Names

Claude Du Vall from Normandy was a famous highwayman in the roads around London in the 1660’s.
Mareen Duvall, a French Huguenot, arrived in Maryland in 1650 and was the forebear of most Duvalls in America.
William Duval was the first civilian Governor of Florida, from 1822 to 1834.
Robert Duvall is an Oscar-winning American actor.

Select Duvals Today

  • 1,000 in the UK (most numerous
    in London)
  • 12,000 in America (most numerous in Kentucky)
  • 11,000 elsewhere (most numerous in Canada)


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