CHEVALIER - Surname Meaning and Family History

What Does the Last Name Chevalier Mean?

Chevalier is a surname meaning horseman.
Vojko Berk / Eyeem / Getty Images

The French surname Chevalier means knight, or more commonly horseman, from the Old French chevalier, meaning "horseman, mounted soldier." The Old French chevalier derives from the Late Latin caballarius, a derivative of the word caballus, meaning "horse." According to "Dictionary of American Family Names" by Patrick Hanks, it is likely that the Chevalier surname was "originally a nickname, or an occupational name, for a knight's servant, rather than a status name," as most knights belonged to noble families whose surname typically derived from their estate, rather than their occupation or status.

Chevalier is often a French Huguenot surname.

Surname Origin: French

Alternate Surname Spellings: CHEVALER, CHIVALER

Famous People with the Surname CHEVALIER

  • Auguste Chevalier - French botanist
  • Ulysse Chavalier - French historian and bibliographer
  • Michel Chevalier - French engineer
  • Maurice Chevalier - French actor, cabaret singer and entertainer
  • Nicholas Chevalier - Russian-born artist who worked in Australia and New Zealand
  • Charles Louis Chevalier - French optician and instrument maker

Where is the CHEVALIER Surname Most Common?

According to surname distribution from Forebears, the Chevalier surname is most common in France, where it ranks as the 45th most common surname in the country. Chevalier is also somewhat common in Haiti (292nd), the Dominican Republic (427th), and Belgium (523rd).

Surname maps from WorldNames PublicProfiler indicate the Chevalier surname is fairly common throughout France, but especially in the northwest of the country. The greatest numbers of individuals named Chevalier are found in the Pays-de-la-Loire region, followed by Bourgogne, Poitou-Charentes, Bretagne and Haute-Normandie. Outside of France, the Chevalier last name is most common in Canada, particularly in Quebec.

Genealogy Resources for the Surname CHEVALIER

French Surname Meanings and Origins
Does your last name have origins in France? Learn about the various origins of French surnames and explore the meanings of some of the most common French last names.

How to Research French Ancestry
Learn about the various types of genealogical records available for researching ancestors in France and how to access them, plus how to locate where in France your ancestors originated.

Chevalier Family Crest - It's Not What You Think
Contrary to what you may hear, there is no such thing as a Chevalier family crest or coat of arms for the Chevalier surname. Coats of arms are granted to individuals, not families, and may rightfully be used only by the uninterrupted male line descendants of the person to whom the coat of arms was originally granted.

CHEVALIER Family Genealogy Forum
Search this popular genealogy forum for the Chevalier surname to find others who might be researching your ancestors, or post your own Clement query.

FamilySearch - CHEVALIER Genealogy
Explore over 100,000 results from digitized historical records and lineage-linked family trees related to the Clement surname on this free website hosted by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. - CHEVALIER Genealogy & Family History
Explore free databases and genealogy links for the last name Chevalier.

GeneaNet - Chevalier Records
GeneaNet includes archival records, family trees, and other resources for individuals with the Chevalier surname, with a concentration on records and families from France and other European countries.

The Chevalier Genealogy and Family Tree Page
Browse genealogy records and links to genealogical and historical records for individuals with the Chevalier surname from the website of Genealogy Today.


References: Surname Meanings & Origins

Cottle, Basil. Penguin Dictionary of Surnames. Baltimore, MD: Penguin Books, 1967.

Dorward, David. Scottish Surnames. Collins Celtic (Pocket edition), 1998.

Fucilla, Joseph. Our Italian Surnames. Genealogical Publishing Company, 2003.

Hanks, Patrick and Flavia Hodges. A Dictionary of Surnames. Oxford University Press, 1989.

Hanks, Patrick. Dictionary of American Family Names. Oxford University Press, 2003.

Reaney, P.H. A Dictionary of English Surnames. Oxford University Press, 1997.

Smith, Elsdon C. American Surnames. Genealogical Publishing Company, 1997.

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