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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright 2000 - 2014

Where did the English Durnall family come from? What is the English Durnall family crest and coat of arms? When did the Durnall family first arrive in the United States? Where did the various branches of the family go? What is the Durnall family history?

The name Durnall comes from one of the family having worked as a grower of darnel, a plant believed to induce intoxication. The name's origins are Old French; darnel is the French name for this plant. It was brought into England by the Normans after the Norman Conquest of 1066. Occupational names frequently were derived from the principal object associated with the activity of the original bearer, such as tools or products. These types of occupational surnames are called metonymic surnames. Occasionally the name was local; there is a Darnall in Yorkshire, and a small group of people took their name from that location. This makes Durnall an example of an English polygenetic surname, which is a surname that was developed in a number of different locations and adopted by various families independently.

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Spelling variations in names were a common occurrence before English spelling was standardized a few hundred years ago. In the Middle Ages, even the literate spelled their names differently as the English language incorporated elements of French, Latin, and other European languages. Many variations of the name Durnall have been found, including: Darnell, Darnall, Darnoll, Darnel, Darnal, Darnol, Darnhill, Dartnall, Dartnell and many more.

First found in Lincolnshire where they held a family seat from very ancient times, some say well before the Norman Conquest and the arrival of Duke William at Hastings in 1066 A.D.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Durnall research. Another 243 words(17 lines of text) covering the years 1095, 1177, 1193, 1379, 1638, 1604, 1645, 1711, 1605, 1675, 1683 and 1689 are included under the topic Early Durnall History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Another 147 words(10 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Durnall Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Families began migrating abroad in enormous numbers because of the political and religious discontent in England. Often faced with persecution and starvation in England, the possibilities of the New World attracted many English people. Although the ocean trips took many lives, those who did get to North America were instrumental in building the necessary groundwork for what would become for new powerful nations. Among the first immigrants of the name Durnall, or a variant listed above to cross the Atlantic and come to North America were : Thomas Darnel, who arrived in Maryland in 1684; Richard Durnel, a bonded passenger who arrived in Barbados in1669; Mr. & Mrs. H. Darnell who arrived in San Francisco California with 2 children in 1856.

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The motto was originally a war cry or slogan. Mottoes first began to be shown with arms in the 14th and 15th centuries, but were not in general use until the 17th century. Thus the oldest coats of arms generally do not include a motto. Mottoes seldom form part of the grant of arms: Under most heraldic authorities, a motto is an optional component of the coat of arms, and can be added to or changed at will; many families have chosen not to display a motto.

Motto: Deus nobiscum
Motto Translation: God be with us.

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  1. Chadwick, Nora Kershaw and J.X.W.P Corcoran. The Celts. London: Penguin, 1790. Print. (ISBN 0140212116).
  2. Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at Galveston Texas 1896-1951. National Archives Washington DC. Print.
  3. Thirsk, Joan. The Agrarian History of England and Wales. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press: 7 Volumes. Print.
  4. Humble, Richard. The Fall of Saxon England. New York: Barnes and Noble, 1975. Print. (ISBN 0-88029-987-8).
  5. Reaney P.H and R.M. Wilson. A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X).
  6. Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin . Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8).
  7. Burke, Sir Bernard. Burke's Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Landed Gentry: Including American Families with British Ancestry. (2 Volumes). London: Burke Publishing, 1939. Print.
  8. Shirley, Evelyn Philip. Noble and Gentle Men of England Or Notes Touching The Arms and Descendants of the Ancient Knightley and Gentle Houses of England Arranged in their Respective Counties 3rd Edition. Westminster: John Bowyer Nichols and Sons, 1866. Print.
  9. Elster, Robert J. International Who's Who. London: Europa/Routledge. Print.
  10. Library of Congress. American and English Genealogies in the Library of Congress. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1967. Print.
  11. ...

The Durnall Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Durnall Family Crest was drawn according to heraldic standards based on published blazons. We generally include the oldest published family crest once associated with each surname.

This page was last modified on 18 September 2013 at 09:48.

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