This most interesting and unusual surname is of Old French origin, and is a locational name from a place called Reinville, in Calvados, France. It is one of the many French surnames that were introduced into England by the Normans after the Conquest of 1066 from this region of France. The placename is composed of the Old French element "reine", queen, and "ville", a town; hence, the Queen's town. The surname itself is also found as Renvil and Renville in England. During the Middle Ages, when migration for the purpose of job-seeking was becoming more common, people often took their former village name as a means of identification, resulting in a wide dispersal of the name. Early French recordings include: the marriage of Jean R. Rainville and Jeanne Brechet at St. Thomas', Tougues, Calvados, in 1617; the christening of Paul de Rainville, also at St. Thomas', in 1619; and the christening of Charles Dereinville at L'eveque, Calvados, on January 21st 1652. In England John Renvile married Millicent Smith at Keymer, Sussex, on April 5th 1619, and William, son of William Renveill, was christened at Cuckfield, Sussex, on September 1st 1622. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Rainville, Renfield (no known personal name), which was dated 1166, in "Medieval French Records", during the reign of King Louis V11 of France, 1137 - 1180. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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