Father Edward Dondanville 
in front of the birth place of his father in St. Maurice with Alphonse Dontenville, 
his daughter Odiel and three sons during visit in 1910. The first Dontenvilles to arrive in the United States believed that the family originally came from Spain to the low countries that became known as the Spanish Netherlands during the 16th Century when Charles I brought these lands into the Spanish Kingdom. It is commonly accepted today that the family originated in Tantonville, a village approximately 30 kilometers south of Nancy on the road to Mirecourt. The village is near Vezelise, the ancient Earldom of Vaudemont in the Meurthe and Moselle region of Lorraine.

In the mid 1500s, the Duke Antoine of Lorraine dispatched a mid level finance minister, to Alsace. It is probable that he was sent to serve the Seigneury of Tanviller. As was common at that time, the Dukes emissary adopted Tantonville, the village from which he originated, as his family name. Other emissaries and representatives of various trades to support the Seigneury followed. Local historians believed that for the most part the families who came were unrelated.

By early in the 17th century many families in Alsace bore the name Tantonville simply as an indication of the town of their origin. Because they experienced phonetic difficulties, they modified the prefix Tanton to Dande and then to Donde. That variation appears in Alsace records as early as 1660, when Jacob Donttenweil from St. Maurice married Catherine Zigler from Ville. The family name Tantonville continued to appear into the early 1700s. In the early 1800s the name was recorded as Dontenvill. Eventually the name of this ancient Lorraine family, very widely known in the Val de Ville, became fixed under the spelling Dontenville.

For more on the Evolution of the Family Name - Click Here

Until the late 1990s, descendants in North America could only trace the lineage of the Dontenville family in St. Maurice from Simon Jude, who was born in 1753. In 1910 Father Edward Dondanville, a great great grandson of Simon Jude, and a grandson of Ludwig, who had immigrated to the United States in 1850, visited St. Maurice. Father Ed was able to document early church records of family births, marriages and deaths. Before the French Revolution vital records were maintained only by the church. In 1792 Napoleon decreed the separation of Church and State and ordered that the State assume responsibility for such records.

Shortly after Germany declared war on France in August of 1914, a German garrison in the Valley, convinced that the citizens of St. Maurice were harboring French Partisans, burned much of the village. Four of the men, including Alphonse Dontenville, were killed and the church records for St. Maurice, which Father Dondanville had seen in 1910, were destroyed.

In 1999 Larry Dondanville initiated The Dondanville Family Web Site. Larry is a descendant of Simon Jude and a great grandson of Ludwig who brought his family to Illinois in 1850. The Dondanville Web Site generated new interest in researching the early history of the family and establishing relationships between various family groups. Several people contributed to this research. The key individuals were Patricia Dontenville Camajani and Aimar Dontenville. Pat is a descendant of Jean Nicolas Dontenville a first cousin of Simon Jude and husband of Barbe Antzenberger. Pat's grandparents Nicolas Dontenville and Philomena Kleinprinze came to New York in 1891. Aimar, who came to the United States in 1970, is a descendant of Francois Dontenville and Elisabeth Munsch. Francois was an older brother of Simon Jude.

Search of records maintained by the Family History Center, (FHC), of the Church of Latter-Day Saints was undertaken by a number of people. Birth, marriage, and death records, copied from FHC microfilms were forwarded to Aimar who undertook the meticulous task of translation. Pat then transcribed the translations. Aimar gathered additional records and charts from the town halls of villages in the Val de Ville, and other sources, during his regular trips to visit his parents in Scherwiller.

Records examined by Father Ed in 1910 had revealed that Simon Jude had two sons, twin brothers, Jean Baptiste and Jean Michel. The FHC search identified six additional children. Search of FHC records also established the fact that Simon Jude was the youngest of seven known children of Joseph Dontenville and Marie-Elisabeth Marschal who date to the very early 1700s. Further research revealed that Joseph was one of six known children of Jean Martin Tantonville and Marie Freyd who date to the 1680s, the period immediately following the Thirty-Year War.

Francois Willette, Rector of the Church of Neuve-Eglise and Annexes, prepared a report in 1690 on the condition of his parish. There were 76 Catholic families in the six villages that made up the parish. In addition to Martin Tantonville, his wife Marie Freyd and their three children, there were four other Tantonville families in the parish. George, married Catherine Ondernerme with four children, lived in St. Maurice. Christine Tantonville, married Estienne Christie, also lived in St. Maurice. Mathis married to Barbe Leize, with one child, lived in Neuve-Eglise. Anne Tantonville, married Claude Colin with two children, lived in Neuve-Eglise. These five Tantonvilles could have been brothers and sisters. It is not known at this time. All of the Dontenvilles who immigrated to the United States, and the Dontenvilles living in the Val de Ville Region of Alsace today, can be traced to Jean Martin Tantonville.

The pages that follow present brief biographical sketches of the early generations of Dontenvilles who were parents and grandparents of the later generations who came to America.

MARIE FREYD (1653-1739)

Jean Martin Tantonville was born in 1661. His family is believed to have arrived in Alsace shortly after the end of the Thirty-Year War. Jean Martin married Marie Freyd in 1679. They settled in St. Maurice. There were four additional Tantonville families in St. Maurice and Neuve-Eglise in the late 1600s.. They were possibly brothers and sisters, but it is not known at this time. According to the terminology of the times, Jean Martin's occupation was recorded in early records as citizen farmer. Two daughters and five sons are known to have been born to this marriage. Early birth and marriage records for Jean Martin's children recorded the family name as Tantonville. Later marriage and death records carried the family name Dontenvill.

The oldest son, Jean Jacob, born in 1680, married Eva Coutret on 18, January 1706. The oldest daughter, Anne-Marie, born in 1685, married Jean Martin Mour in 1712 and following his death married Pierre Paulus. The order of birth of the additional sons is not known. Nicolas, probably born before 1690, married Marie-Barbara Mour on 22 June 1720. The second daughter, Anne-Barbara, born in 1695, married Joseph Mour. Jean Michel, born about 1700, married Anne-Marie Mour in 1725. Joseph, also born about 1700, married Marie-Elisabeth Marschall on 4, February 1732. George, born after 1700, married Magdalena Tebst on 1, February 1734 in St. Maurice. Jean-Martin died in 1726. Marie Freyd lived until 1739.

Records indicate that a Jean Martin Tantonville, married to a Christine Marquis in the mid 1660s had three daughters, Catherine, born September 24, 1668, Madeleine, born December 4, 1670, and Marie, born March 5, 1673. The three daughters were born in Dieffenbach-au-Val. Although it cannot be confirmed, it is believed that this was the same Jean Martin who later married Marie Freyd.


Joseph Dontenvill, one of seven known children of Jean Martin Tantonville and Marie Freyd, was born about 1700 in St. Maurice. He took up the trade of cooper, constructing and repairing wooden barrels for the local wine growers. Joseph married Marie-Elisabeth Marschall on February 4, 1732.

Ten children are known to have been born to their marriage, the eldest, Anne-Catherine on November 5, 1733. Jean Joseph, born March 8, 1738, married Catherine Marcot in 1764. Leopold, born October 28, 1740, married Sophia Meyer in 1772, and following her death, married Odile Schaffer in 1786. Jean-George, born April 14, 1743, married Sophie Geiger in 1775 and, following her death, married Marie-Anne Humbert in 1788. Francois, born August 20, 1745, married Marie Elisabeth Munsch in St. Maurice on May 30, 1774.

The second daughter, Marie-Anne, was born October 18, 1748. Sebastian was born on January 1, 1751 and Jean Martin on July 2, 1752. The ninth child, Simon Jude, born 15, November 1753, married Catherine Geiger the sister of Sophie. The youngest son Antoine was born on October 11, 1756. Joseph died in St. Maurice about 1770 and Marie-Elisabeth died on June 23, 1771.

CATHERINE GEIGER (1758 - 1804)

Simon Jude Dontenville the ninth of ten known children of Joseph Dontenville and Marie-Elisabeth Marschall , was born November 15, 1753. He was 20 years younger than his oldest sibling. Simon Jude married Catherine Geiger and settled in the village of St. Maurice. He supported his family as a vigneron. Their eldest son, Jean Baptist was born in 1779. Jean Baptist married Therese Meyer in St. Maurice. The second son, Jean Michel was born in 1781.Jean Michel's family is discussed below

Simon Jude Dontenville 
home in St. Maurice. \nBirth place of Jean Baptist 
and Jean Michael. Taken in 1910. Records have been found for seven additional children. Records have been found of the birth of Francois Joseph in 1783. There is no further information on this third son. Catherine, born in 1787, married Joseph Barthelimi Weisser on January 7, 1811. They had two sons, Xavier and Joseph, and one daughter, Marie-Josephine. Augustin, born in 1789, married Anne-Marie Claude on January 6, 1812. They raised six children in Hirtzelbach. Marie-Anne Dontenvill, born in 1793, married Martin Otzenberger on July 5, 1814 in St. Maurice. Jean George, born in 1795, married Marie Salome Bannwarth. Their family is discussed below. Meinerade, born about 1796, died in 1800 before his fourth birthday. The youngest child, Francois Louis, born June 21, 1802, married Marie-Madeline Paulus of Triembach in 1826. Simon Jude died on October 10, 1803 and was buried in the cemetery of St. Maurice. Catherine Geiger died June 2, 1804 and was buried next to Simon Jude.

MARGARET LABRUX (1777 - 1819)
SUSANNE JEAN (1793 - 1844)

Jean Michel Dontenvill, the second son of Simon Jude Dontenvill and Catherine Geiger, was born in St. Maurice, Alsace on October 3, 1781. Like his father before him he was a vigneron. On January 13, 1809, Jean Michel married Marguerite Labrux, daughter of Jean Georges Labrux and Odile LeClaire, at the church in St. Maurice. The marriage was witnessed by his older brother,Jean Baptist Dontenvill and by Joseph Labrux, an uncle of Margaret's. Jean Michel and Marguerite had a daughter Catherine, born on October 30, 1809. Catherine married Nicolas Ernst in St. Maurice on May 19, 1835. A son, Louis was born August 22, 1812. Louis married Clara Brumpt of Neuve-Eglise in the late 1830s. In 1850 Louis and Clara immigrated with six children to The United States. In later years, his family and friends referred to Louis as Ludwig. A third child, Marie-Ursula born in 1815, died at age two. Jean Michel and Marguerite Labrux's son Louis Dontenville and his descendants are the subjects of Family Index Series 1.0.

Marguerite Labrux died 21, February 1819. Jean Michel then married Susanne Jean. A son, Michel, was born 15, September 1820. Michel married Marie Anne Duffner in 1848 and remained in St. Maurice. Several of Michel's children and grandchildren immigrated to the United States they are the subjects of Family Index Series 2.0. Jean Michel and Susanne had at least four additional children, A second son, Nicolas born 10, December 1821, married Seraphine Dontenville on 5, May 1850. Augustine was born 19, August 1823. A daughter, Marie Madeleine was born July 20, 1825. Emerence, born 15, November 1827, married Florent Dontenwill on 9, February 1852. A daughter, Fides was born 1, November 1829. Susanne died in St.Maurice on 19, January 1844. Jean Michel lived until September 15, 1862.


George Dontenville, seventh of the nine known children of Simon Jude Dontenville and Catherine Geiger, was born in Saint Maurice on April 22, 1795. Like his father and older brothers, he became a vigneron. On February 13, 1818 he married Marie-Salome Bannwarth of Saint Maurice. At least seven children were born to their marriage. Florent, born October 29, 1819, married Emerence Dontenville on February 9, 1852. Following Emerence's death, Florent married Victoire Meyer on April 20, 1858. A daughter, Salome, was born October 25, 1821. Salome married Maximilien Eymann in 1851

A second son, Dagobert, was born December 23, 1823. Jacque, born on July 20, 1826, married Marie-Anne Dontenville, daughter of Antoine Dontenville and Catherine Siegrist, on January 31, 1855. Maximine, was born May 22, 1829. The sixth child, Felix, was born on May 15, 1833. Max and Felix immigrated to the United States in 1851 and changed their name to Dondeville. The seventh child, Balbina, born in 1836, died at age three. Marie-Salome died February 7, 1939 and Jean George on April 9, 1840. Maximine and Felix and their descendants are the subjects of Family Index Series 3.0


Francois Dontenville, fifth of the known children of Joseph Dontenville and Marie- Elisabeth Marschall, was born in St Maurice August 20, 1745. He married Marie-Elisabeth Munsch, daughter of Joseph Munsch and Elisabeth Schaeffer, in St. Maurice on 30, May 1774. His marriage record lists his occupation as vigneron, but later records show him as a farrier, a blacksmith who shoed horses.

FFrancois and Marie-Elisabeth are known to have had six children. Barbe, believed to have been born in 1775, married Meinrad Schuler. Francois-Joseph born about 1776, married Cecelia Muller in St. Maurice in the early 1800s. Marie Anne, born in 1783, married Francois Antoine Burg. Elisabeth, born May 30, 1785, married Francois Antoine Dontenville, son of Jean Michel Dontenville and Anne-Marie Jean, in 1807. Sophie, born February 27,1790, married Jean Dolle in 1813. Sebastian, youngest of the six known children, was born January 20, 1794. Sebastian married Marie-Anne Heinrich in 1822. Francois died in Thanville on April 29, 1795 and Marie Elizabeth died December 23, 1824.


Sebastian Dontenville, youngest of the six known children of Francois Dontenville and Marie-Elisabeth Munsch, was born January 20, 1794 in St. Maurice. In his early years Sebastian worked as a grounds keeper for the De Castrex Family at the Chateau de Thanville. He married Marie-Anne Heinrich on January 28, 1882. They established their home in Thanville on Rue de L'Eglise and started a restaurant which exists to this day, and which was operated until 1998 by a great-great grandson.

Nine children are known to have been born to Sebastian and Marie Anne. Little is known about the four eldest daughters except that they died in infancy. The first daughter, Marie-Anne, born in 1823, died at nine months. A second Marie-Anne, born in 1824, died at fourteen months, A third Marie-Anne, born in December 1825, grew to adulthood. A daughter Madeleine was born in 1827.

The fifth child, Joseph was born on July 18, 1829. Joseph married three times: first to Anne-Monique Humbert, next to Marie-Elise Meyer, and finally to Anne-Marie Egele. With his three wives, Joseph had eleven children. Catherine, born on April 3, 1831, married Joseph Anton Frering. Another daughter, Helene, died at one month in 1833. Virginie, born November 22, 1835, married Hubert Weber, a baker in St. Pierre-Bois. Gregoire, born on March 10,1840, married Madeleine Freppel of Maisongoutte on 19, May 1864. Gregoire and Madeleine settled in Breitenbach where twelve children were born. Sebastian died on December 4, 1868 in Thanville. Marie-Anne's date of death is not known. Their youngest son Gregoire and his descendants are the subject of Family Index Series 5.0.


Jean Michel Dontenville, a brother of Joseph Dontenville and one of seven children of Jean Martin Tantonville and Marie Freyd, was born about 1700 in St. Maurice. It is very likely that he was baptized with the family name Tantonville, although later baptismal records for his children recorded the name as Dontenvill and other variant spellings. Like his father before him, Michel was a farmer, a grower for the Val de Ville's flourishing wine industry. On April 9, 1725 Michel married Anne-Marie Mour, daughter of Jean Martin Mour and Barbara Claude, at the church of Neuve-Eglise.

Eight children are known to have been born to Michel and Anne-Marie. A daughter, Anne-Marie, born in 1727, married Melchoir Bannwarth. Marie Barbara, born in 1729, married Gabiel Collin. Sophie Therese, was born in September 1732. Sophie, the wife of Protasi Ernst, was the sage femme, the midwife, whose name appeared on many St. Maurice birth records. A fourth daughter, Anastase, was born in 1735. Anastase married Antoine Rausher. Marie Anne, born in 1738, married Sebastien Thiebaut, and upon his death Jean Baptiste Thomas. The first son, Jean Michel, born on December 31, 1741, married Anne-Marie Jean. Catherine, the sixth daughter born in 1744, married Laurent Lang. Jean Nicolas, born September 3, 1748, married Barbe Antzenberger. In later years Michel served as a justiciary, a local judge. Michel died in Neuve-Eglise in 1769. Anne-Marie's date of death is unknown.


JJean Nicolas Dontenville was born in St. Maurice September 3, 1748 to Jean Michel Dontenville and Anne-Marie Mour. Like his father before him, and his older brother Jean Michel born in 1742, Jean Nicolas was a vigneron. He married Barbe Antzenberger, the daughter of Antoine Antzenberger and Rosine Zipper, on February 20, 1775 in St. Maurice. It is known that Jean Nicolas and Barbe had at least nine children. Rosine, born in 1777, married Jacques Knecht of Thanville in 1813. Marie-Anne, born in 1779, married Jean Wagner in 1809 in St. Maurice. Therese was born in 1781, Jean Nicolas in 1784, and Francois Antoine born in 1786, may have died young since no other records have been found.

Nicolas, born in 1785, married Anne Marie Meyer. Jean Vendelin, the seventh known child of Jean Nicolas and Barbe , was born in 1791. He married Marie-Madelaine Lusch in Dieffenbach au Val in 1817. Jacques, born in 1793, died at age six. A second Therese, born in 1797, married Nicolas Vonderscher of Erlanbach in 1825. Jean Nicolas died in St. Maurice on March 19, 1807. Barbe died on December 10, 1818.


Jean Wendelin Dontenville, seventh of the known children of Jean Nicolas Dontenville and Barbe Antzenberger, was born in St. Maurice on October 13, 1790. Like his father Wendelin was a vigneron. He married Marie Madelaine Lusch in Dieffenbach au Val in 1817. They resided there after their marriage. There were ten known children of that union. Marie-Anne, born in 1818, married Jean Baptiste Marcot in 1849. Marguerite, born in 1819, died in 1848. Barbe, born in 1821, died at age six. Odile, born in 1823, died in 1844.

Their oldest son Laurent, born in 1826, married Elisabeth Siedenmeyer in 1850 in Dieffenbach-au-Val. This union produced five known children, two of whom immigrated to the United States. Four additional daughters were born to Wendelin and Madelaine: Balbine, in 1829; Madeleine, born in 1831, died in 1848; Catherine, born in 1833, married Laurent Xiessel in 1858; and Helene, who died at birth in 1838. The youngest child and second son, Antoine died at birth in 1840. Wendelin and Madelaine out lived six of their ten children. She died in Dieffenbach in 1848 and he died the following year. Their oldest son Laurent, and his descendants who came to America, are the subjects of Family Index Series 6.0.