finding your roots

Closing the Gap

Ron Duvall May 23, 2012

When people ask me if I’m related to Robert Duvall I can say sure, he’s my brother. I think they’re talking about someone else though. The actor Robert Duvall and many of the Duvalls in America (along with Barack Obama and Harry S Truman) can trace their lineage to Mareen Duvall the Immigrant who showed up in Maryland as an indentured servant in the 1650′s. I can trace my line back to my 5th great grandfather, Lewis Duvall, who took a land grant in SC in 1770. He was a Captain in the SC Militia in the American Revolution and served the entire duration of the war under officers such as Francis Marion, Andrew Pickens, Daniel Morgan and Nathaniel Greene. He and his sons carry on the names so common among Mareen’s family (Lewis, Alexander, John, Benjamin) but I can find nothing more concrete to help me “close the gap” to the Immigrant. Lewis was awarded significant land holdings in SC as a result of his service but apparently was not successful finacially after the war. Over time he sold off the land and he and much of his family started to drift west. My 4th great grandfather Alexander and my 3rd great grandfather Frederick Croft Duvall lived in northern Alabama and served in western Tennessee militias in the war of 1812. My gg grandfather John Ellis Duvall arrived in Arkansas (where I still live) in 1845/6 and immediately signed up for service in the Mexican War. Seven of my 8 gg grandfathers fought in the Civil War and at it appears that 3 lost their lives in that war (along with 1 ggg grandfather). My family tree after the Civil War is very complete and well documented. A few lines are even complete back to the Kings of Scotland and the Crusades but try as I may I’m unable to “close the gap” in my paternal line. If anyone is able to help I would be eternally grateful.

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The basic drive to discover who we are and where we come from is at the core of the new 10-part PBS series Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates, Jr., the 12th series from Professor Gates, the Alphonse Fletcher University Professor at Harvard University and director of the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research. Filmed on location across the United States, the series premieres nationally Sundays, March 25 – May 20 at 8 pm ET on PBS (check local listings).

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