"Spem renovant alae"
Their wings renew their hope
Its wings renew its hope is a resource for names Norval: first, middle, and last, and any variations of the spelling. became a static Web site in early 2010 with no active links. Generous respondents from all points of the globe helped build over the course of several years. Sincere thanks to everyone represented on this page. Respondents are solely responsible for accuracy of the information. If viewers need more information, please visit the respondent's Web site or Google respondent information to contact that respondent.

Norval Smith, of Haarlem, The Netherlands, is an associate professor in the department of theoretical linguistics at the University of Amsterdam. He said, in part:

"Norval as a surname seems to be indisputably Norman in origin, from Normanville. However, I believe that as a Christian name it has two sources."

"(a) fairly obviously, the surname used as a Christian name. (b) the Norse word Narval 'narwhal' which was borrowed into Scottish Gaelic. This is where the surname MacNorval comes from. Obviously to be preceded by Mac, a name has to be a true Christian name."

"Presumably the second is what the playwright Home intended with his characters Old Norval and Young Norval. Young Norval has a famous speech, starting, 'My name is Norval, on the Grampian Hills my father feeds his flocks....' This is where my mother got my name."

"For sceptics who do not believe in the existence of a name MacNorval, I have the following story. One day while having breakfast as a student in London in the late 60's, I was listening to the news. To my astonishment the newsreader mentioned a father and son in trouble in their yacht off Brighton. These were father and son MacNorval. Maybe the clan was nearly wiped out that day!"

"I had seen that Norval.Com had been taken. It's nice that you've given it a nice function."

Susan Merkley, of Ontario, Canada, said, in part:

"I was thrilled to see on the internet. My was Thomas A. Norval b. 1827 in Scotland. He was born (LDS records) Thomas Andrew Norval and christened 23 May, 1827 in Auchtergaven Perthshire. His parents were Charles Norval and Agnes Anderson, married 04 Nov. 1822 in Kirkcaldy, Fifeshire."

Margaret c. 13 Sept, 1795 Dysart John (not Joseph) c. 11 Aug. 1799, Markinch Charles c. 17 May 1797 Markinch Janet c. 04 April, 1802 Markinch "I am sure that Charles' parents were Joseph Norval and Janet Cree, married 16 Nov. 1793 in Dysart, Fifeshire. They had (LDS records) the following children: Charles (christened 17 May 1797 in Markinch), Joseph (christened 11 Aug. 1799 Markinch) Janet (christened 04 April, 1802 Markinch)."

"In the 1841 census of Markinch I have found a Joseph Norval age 70 living with a Joseph Norval age 15 and a Thomas Norval age 13...I believe these to be my grandfather and his brother, Joseph born to Charles and Agnes Norval circa 1826 in Prestonpans. I don't know if Charles and Agnes had deceased by then or if the two boys were staying with their grandfather during the census."

"Janet Norval married Alexander Kilgour circa 1824 possibly in Markinch and about 1840 they and their children emigrated to the Pontiac County of Quebec Canada. I don't know if Thomas may have come with his aunt but he ended up in Hammond, St. Lawrence County, New York where he married Mary Shearer (b. Lesmahagow, Lanarkshire, 1826) circa 1859. My gr.grandfather, Charles William Norval was born in Hammond in 1865 and came to Canada circa 1896."

"Thanks for all your efforts. Sue in Ontario, Canada"

Christine Calder, of West Lothian, United Kingdom, said, in part:

"I wonder if you could help me. I am doing some research work for Councillor Audrey Gordon on the Boghall estate in Bathgate which was owned by the Norvell family between 1690 and 1705."

"My research has shown the Norvells were Jacobite sympathisers and in fact had Bonnie Prince Charlie stay with them enroute to the Battle of Prestonpans. The Stuart museum have a pair of curtains which were gifted to the Norvells by Bonnie Prince Charlie and also a poem about their stay."

Ronald L. Norvell, of Tallahassee, Florida, features some interesting spellings of the name and some great looking coats of arms and other information at

Ron says "As for the name Norvell, Normanville, that seems to have originated in the town of Normanville that is near the coast between the towns of Fecamp and Yvetot. That the name was brought to England by Seigneur de Normanville, who was a constable of William the Conqueror."

"When Normanville was shortened to Norville, Norvelle, Norvell, the outward meaning of the name changed from 'Norman village' to 'North village.' At that point some members of Seigneur de Normanville 's descendants evidently migrated north into Scotland. Those who remained in England eventually anglicized the name into Norton (for north town). There was no similar aculturating morphism in Scotland, so the name there either remained largely unchanged or was affected by the gaelic pronunciations resulting in Norvyle, Norvald and other possible variants."

"At present, I do not have first-source documentation for all of this. However it does seem to have the ring of truth and serves as a working framework upon which to test new information."

Graeme Wilson Norval, of Cheshire, reports "I know of two Scottish Norval lines, one line now based in Toronto but originally from Perth, and another line to which I belong. Originally from Killearn, I think, my grandfather, Archibald Norval, moved to Glasgow sometime in the late1800s. He became Head Cashier of the St. George's Glasgow Co-operative Society. All of his known descendants live in England except for the family of his deceased namesake, Archibald, who was the second son of grandfather's second son."

And Graeme said, "I'm the only son of his youngest son born in 1900. One of my cousin Archie's sons is or was a Mississippi River boat pilot or Captain and his brothers/sisters live in the USA. I am now retired and having just moved house, am beginning to wish I knew more about the family name."

"There are two current theories about the origin of Norval as a family name. (1.) Named after Nordvahl, a small village on the coast of Jutland. (2.) Descended indirectly from William de Normanville, who was Willy the Conqus' right hand man after 1066 and all that. I think there are more Norville family surnames around than Norval, and I personally subscribe to the Danish origin for Norval. Oddly enough, there is a theory that William de N (or his predecessors) originally landed in Normandy from the Scandinavian areas."

"The Toronto Norvals from Perth still have family in Perth; one an optician, I believe, and the other, I think, a poulterer-and-game supplier. Certainly those were their occupations in the late 1940s when I was at school outside Perth. However, we could never establish a connection between them and our branch. By pure coincidence, the son of the Toronto Norvals is also Graeme W. Norval altho' his 'W' is William."

Mike G. Lamusse, of Johannesburg, South Africa, has a Web page with information about Norval. Mike has done extensive genealogical research on Norval--that's his wife's maiden name--in South Africa, which is outlined at his page.

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