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

Where did the Irish Downs family come from? What is the Irish Downs family crest and coat of arms? When did the Downs family first arrive in the United States? Where did the various branches of the family go? What is the Downs family history?

Throughout history, very few Irish surnames have exclusively maintained their original forms. Before being translated into English, Downs appeared as O Dubhain, where the first portion of the word is dubh, which means black, and the second portion is probably derived from some obsolete Irish personal name.

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A name was often recorded during the Middle Ages under several different spelling variations during the life of its bearer because literacy was rare there was no real push to clearly define any of the languages found in the British Isles at that time. Variations found of the name Downs include Downs, Down, Downe, Downes and others.

First found in County Sligo (Irish: Sligeach), in the province of Connacht in Northwestern Ireland, from very ancient times.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Downs research. Another 379 words(27 lines of text) covering the years 1612, 1679, 1675, 1549, 1628, 1735, 1727, 1735, 1724, 1727, 1720, 1724, 1717 and 1720 are included under the topic Early Downs History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Another 123 words(9 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Downs Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Death and immigration greatly reduced Ireland's population in the 19th century. For the native Irish people poverty, hunger, and racial prejudice was common. Therefore, thousands left their homeland to seek opportunity in North America. Those who survived the journey and the quarantine camps to which they arrived, were instrumental towards building the strong developing nations of the United States and the future Canada. By far, the largest influx of Irish settlers occurred with Great Potato Famine during the late 1840s. These were employed as construction or factory workers. An examination of passenger and immigration lists has shown early immigrants bearing the name Downs:

Downs Settlers in the United States in the 19th Century


  • James Downs, aged 30, arrived in New York, NY in 1803
  • Thomas Downs, who arrived in America in 1807
  • Richard M Downs, who landed in Mississippi in 1841
  • Timothy Downs, who landed in Vermont in 1848
  • C H Downs, who landed in San Francisco, California in 1851


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  • Hugh Malcolm Downs (b. 1921), retired American Emmy Award winning broadcaster, television host, producer, and author, served as anchor of 20/20, host of The Today Show
  • Wilbur George Downs (1913-1991), American naturalist and virologist
  • Johnny Downs (1913-1994), American actor
  • Scott Jeremy Downs (b. 1978), American Major League Baseball player
  • Bertis Downs (b. 1956), American musician
  • Brigadier-General Sylvester DeWitt Jr. Downs (1889-1957), American Deputy Chief of Staff, IX Corps (1945)
  • Deidre Downs (b. 1980), American beauty pageant contestant and winner of Miss America 2005
  • Bill Downs (1914-1978), American broadcast journalist for CBS Radio, one of Murrow's Boys
  • Lila Downs (b. 1968), Mexican singer
  • Ephraim Downs (1787-1860), America wooden movement clockmaker

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  • The Downs Family of Virginia, Ohio & Indiana by George Gilbert McCarthy.
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  1. Colletta, John P. They Came In Ships. Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1993. Print.
  2. Woulfe, Rev. Patrick. Irish Names and Surnames Collected and Edited with Explanatory and Historical Notes. Kansas City: Genealogical Foundation, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-940134-403).
  3. Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at Galveston Texas 1896-1951. National Archives Washington DC. Print.
  4. Best, Hugh. Debrett's Texas Peerage. New York: Coward-McCann, 1983. Print. (ISBN 069811244X).
  5. McDonnell, Frances. Emigrants from Ireland to America 1735-1743 A Transcription of the report of the Irish House of Commons into Enforced emigration to America. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-1331-5).
  6. Chadwick, Nora Kershaw and J.X.W.P Corcoran. The Celts. London: Penguin, 1970. Print. (ISBN 0140212116).
  7. Bolton, Charles Knowles. Bolton's American Armory. Baltimore: Heraldic Book Company, 1964. Print.
  8. Zieber, Eugene. Heraldry in America. Philadelphia: Genealogical Publishing Co. Print.
  9. Bullock, L.G. Historical Map of Ireland. Edinburgh: Bartholomew and Son, 1969. Print.
  10. Browning, Charles H. Americans of Royal Descent. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  11. ...

The Downs Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Downs Family Crest was drawn according to heraldic standards based on published blazons. We generally include the oldest published family crest once associated with each surname.

This page was last modified on 7 May 2014 at 10:37.

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