Does anybody know where the surnames Little and Dorval come from?

I was told Little might be Scottish or Irish and Dorval may be French. No one from my family has done any research. Any help will be great. Thanks.

3 Answers

  • Maxi
    Lv 7
    10 years ago
    Favorite Answer


    Recorded in several spelings as shown below, this is one of the oldest of English surnames. Originally in ancient times it was a personal name of endearment as in "Little man," and even as a medieval nickname surname, probably did not describe a man of small stature, but the very opposite. This is proven to a large extent by the famous outlaw of Robin Hood fables "Little John," so called because he was a giant of a man. His long bow supposedly seven feet in length, was for many years was to be found at the famous Bolton Arms, at Bolton Abbey, in Wharfedale, Yorkshire. It is also claimed that word was used for the younger of two bearers of the same name, as in the modern and mainly American practice of using "junior" for a son with the same name as the father. Early examples of the surname taken from surviving registers include Lefstan Litle in Feudal Documents of the Danelaw at the abbey of Bury St. Edmunds in the county of Suffolk, whilst Thomas Lytle was recorded in Sussex in the Subsidy Tax rolls of 1296. John and Jane Little were early emigrants to the English colonies of the New World being recorded in the parish of Christchurch, Barbadoes, in 1678. Modern spellings of the surname include Little, Littell, Lytle and Lyttle. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Eadric Little. This was dated 972, in the register of Old English Bynames, for the county of Northamptonshire, during the reign of King Edgar, 959 - 975 a.d. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was sometimes known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.

    Read more:

    Dorval.........Belgium, French............however the oldest records are English ( 15th c)

  • 10 years ago

    Dorval Name Meaning and History

    French: habitational name, with the preposition d(e) ‘from’, from either of two places named Orval: in Cher and Manche.

    Dictionary of American Family Names, Oxford University Press, ISBN 0-19-508137-4

    Dorvals in the passenger lists came from England, France, Germany, Scandinavia and Hungary.

    There are thousands of trees for Dorvals and Liitles and the name has been in Canada and the US since the 17th century. If you want to know where your family came from, you will have to do the research.

    Little Name Meaning and History

    English: nickname for a small man, or distinguishing epithet for the younger of two bearers of the same personal name, from Middle English littel, Old English l¯tel, originally a diminutive of l¯t (see Light 3).

    Irish: translation of Gaelic Ó Beagáin ‘descendant of Beagán’ (see Begin).

    Translation of French Petit and Lepetit; also used as an English form of names such as Jean-Petit ‘little John’.

    Translation of any of various other European name meaning ‘little’.

    Dictionary of American Family Names, Oxford University Press, ISBN 0-19-508137-4

    Littles in the passenger lists came from England and Ireland.

  • 10 years ago

    Little might very well be Scot or Irish, but it originated in England.

    Dorval had its origin in England and France.

    Source(s): Looked it up, Genealogical researcher 35+ years and volunteer at local Family History Center
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