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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright 2000 - 2014

Where did the English Dunford family come from? When did the Dunford family first arrive in the United States? Where did the various branches of the family go? What is the Dunford family history?

In ancient Anglo-Saxon England, the ancestors of the Dunford surname lived in the town of Dunford in the northern county of Yorkshire. This West Riding town was first inhabited by the Dunford name in the early 1200's. One of the first records of the name was William de Dunneford who was listed in the Feet of Fines in 1332. A few years later William Dinford was listed in the Subsidy Rolls of 1332.

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It is only in the last few hundred years that the English language has been standardized. For that reason, early Anglo-Saxon surnames like Dunford are characterized by many spelling variations. As the English language changed and incorporated elements of other European languages, even literate people changed the spelling of their names. The variations of the name Dunford include: Dunsford, Downford, Dounsford, Duinsford, Duneford and many more.

First found in Yorkshire where they held a family seat from early times.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Dunford research. Another 323 words(23 lines of text) covering the years 1273 and 1379 are included under the topic Early Dunford History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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More information is included under the topic Early Dunford Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Some of the Dunford family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 110 words(8 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Many English families tired of political and religious strife left Britain for the new colonies in North America. Although the trip itself offered no relief - conditions on the ships were extremely cramped, and many travelers arrived diseased, starving, and destitute - these immigrants believed the opportunities that awaited them were worth the risks. Once in the colonies, many of the families did indeed prosper and, in turn, made significant contributions to the culture and economies of the growing colonies. An inquiry into the early roots of North American families has revealed a number of immigrants bearing the name Dunford or a variant listed above:

Dunford Settlers in the United States in the 17th Century


  • Thomas (Dunnford) Dunford, 33 years of age, an English Gentleman arrived in Jamestown, Va. aboard the ship "Bona Nova" in 1619

Dunford Settlers in the United States in the 18th Century


  • Anne Dunford, who arrived in Virginia in 1711
  • Philip Dunford, who arrived in Virginia in 1711
  • Thomas Taylor Dunford married Elizabeth Keeling in Cumberland County, Va. in 1712
  • John Dunford purchased land on the eastern seaboard in 1718

Dunford Settlers in the United States in the 19th Century


  • James Dunford brought the family name to New York City in 1820

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  • Lieutenant General Joseph F. Dunford Jr. (b. 1955), United States Marine Corps four-star general, 32nd Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps
  • Nelson Dunford (1906-1986), American mathematician, known for his work in functional analysis, developer of the Dunford decomposition and co-developer of the Dunford-Pettis property, and Dunford-Schwartz theorem, awarded the Leroy P. Steele Prize (1981)
  • Mr. William Dunford (d. 1912), aged 41, English Hospital Steward from Southampton, Hampshire who worked aboard the RMS Titanic and died in the sinking and was recovered by CS Mackay-Bennett
  • Jason Edward Dunford (b. 1986), Kenyan seven-time gold, six-time silver and eight-time bronze medalist swimmer, active 2007 to 2011, older brother of David Dunford
  • Malcolm Dunford (b. 1963), New Zealand former association football player who played from 1980 through 2006, represented the National Team (1980-1993)
  • David Harvey Dunford (b. 1988), Kenyan gold, silver and three-time bronze medalist swimmer who specializes in sprint freestyle, younger brother of Jason Dunford
  • Clint Dunford (b. 1943), Canadian politician in Alberta, MLA Lethbridge West (1993-2008)
  • Michael Dunford, British football administrator, Chief Executive Officer of Premier League club Birmingham City


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  2. Magnusson, Magnus. Chambers Biographical Dictionary 5th edition. Edinburgh: W & R Chambers, 1990. Print.
  3. Innes, Thomas and Learney. The Tartans of the Clans and Families of Scotland 1st Edition. Edinburgh: W & A. K. Johnston Limited, 1938. Print.
  4. Hanks, Patricia and Flavia Hodges. A Dictionary of Surnames. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988. Print. (ISBN 0-19-211592-8).
  5. Browning, Charles H. Americans of Royal Descent. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  6. Shaw, William A. Knights of England A Complete Record from the Earliest Time to the Present Day of the Knights of all the Orders of Chivalry in England, Scotland, Ireland and Knights Bachelors 2 Volumes. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print. (ISBN 080630443X).
  7. Le Patourel, John. The Norman Empire. New York: Oxford University Press, 1976. Print. (ISBN 0-19-822525-3).
  8. Papworth, J.W and A.W Morant. Ordinary of British Armorials. London: T.Richards, 1874. Print.
  9. The Norman People and Their Existing Descendants in the British Dominions and the United States Of America. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1975. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0636-X).
  10. Colletta, John P. They Came In Ships. Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1993. Print.
  11. ...


This page was last modified on 19 February 2014 at 12:40.

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