Family Name

Some confusion exists as to whether the family name should be la Cour or Dornonville de la Cour.

It is clear from preserved documents that Pierre styled himself Lacour, but already his children used the more correct Franch form la Cour. In the sermon read at Pierre’s funeral, his father is referred to as Dornumville de la cour and this form is also used in a still preserved handwritten family list prepared by one of Pierre’s children. The form Dornonville de la Cour first appears in a genealogy published in 1877 by Frederik Barfod, who was half-brother to one of Pierre’s grandchildren. In a genealogy prepared by Janus la Cour published in 1903 (and contained in the Library on this site), the family is called la Cour, and reference is made to various more or less random constructions of the family name. In the genealogy published in 1917, the family is called Dornonville de la Cour. References are there made to genealogical research performed in 1896 which, however, did not disclose any persons bearing that name. The name Bernouville turned up in the encyclopedia La France Protestante, and an Isac Bernouville was mentioned arriving in Magdebourg in Germany with a wife and a child in 1698, moving to Köpenick in 1700. This could, however neither have been Pierre nor his parents.

The form la Cour was used by all decendants until 1904. That year, two decendants applied to the King of Denmark for permission to use the form Dornonville de la Cour. The explanation was that when doing business abroad it was difficult for them to be recognised when using the – as they put it – abbreviated form of the original name, since that name was known abroad. The authorites referred to the genealogical research performed by Frederik Barfod and took this as evidence that Dornonville de la Cour was the correct original form of the name. Permission was thus granted.

In 1907, 61 additional family members applied for permission to change their name to Dornonville de la Cour. This represented a wide group of the decendants living at that time, but by no means all. In some branches of the family, some siblings chose to change the name whereas some kept the short form. Consequently, both the form la Cour and Dornonville de la Cour are now used by the decendants of the founding father Pierre Lacour.