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

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

The ancestors of the first family to use the name Duncan lived among the Pictish people of ancient Scotland. The name Duncan comes from the Gaelic Donnchad, Duncha, Donnachadh and others which literally means brown warrior.

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In medieval Scotland, names were more often spelled according to sound than any regular set of rules. An enormous number of spelling variations were the result. Over the years, the name Duncan has been spelled Duncan, Dunecan, Dunkan, Junkan, Junkin, Duncans, Dunkans, Dunckane, Dunkane, Dunekan, Duncin, Duncen, Duncine, Junken and many more.

First found in Forfarshire part of the Tayside region of North Eastern Scotland, and present day Council Area of Angus, where the Clan has a long and distinguished history dating back to before 1000 AD. They claim descent from Dunchad, the 11th Abbott of Iona who died in 717. He was also the progenitor of the Robertsons. On their maternal side, they are related to King Duncan of Scotland who was killed by MacBeth. The Robertsons or Clan Donnachaidh derive their name and ancestry from Fat Duncan (Donnchadh Reamhar) who was chief of the Clan at the time of Robert the Bruce and led the clan at the Battle of Bannockburn in 1314.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Duncan research. Another 151 words(11 lines of text) covering the years 1451, 1703, 1745, 1649, 1735, 1731, 1804, 1800 and are included under the topic Early Duncan History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Another 115 words(8 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Duncan Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Some of the Duncan family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 129 words(9 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.

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In such difficult times, Ireland, Australia, and North America looked like better homes for many Scots. The trips were expensive and grueling, but also rewarding, as the colonies were havens for those unwelcome in the old country. That legacy did not die easily, though, and many were forced to fight for their freedom in the American War of Independence. The Scottish legacy has resurface in more recent times, though, through clan societies, highland games, and other organizations. Immigration and passenger lists have shown many early immigrants bearing the old Scottish name of Duncan:

Duncan Settlers in the United States in the 17th Century


  • Nathanial Duncan settled in Nantasket in 1630 with Peter his brother
  • Nathaniel Duncan, who arrived in Dorchester, Massachusetts in 1635

Duncan Settlers in the United States in the 18th Century


  • Ester Duncan, who landed in Virginia in 1700
  • David Duncan who settled in New Hampshire in 1718
  • George Duncan settled in Georgia in 1737
  • Isaac Duncan, who landed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1767


Duncan Settlers in the United States in the 19th Century


  • Samuel Duncan, who landed in Pennsylvania in 1803-1827
  • Thomas Duncan, who landed in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1808
  • Margaret Duncan, who arrived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1811
  • Daniel Duncan, aged 28, landed in New York in 1812
  • Alexander Duncan, who landed in America in 1820


Duncan Settlers in the United States in the 20th Century


  • William Duncan, who landed in Arkansas in 1904

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  • Admiral Donald Bradley Duncan (1896-1975), United States Navy officer who played an important role in aircraft-carrier operations during World War II
  • Dave Edwin Duncan (b. 1945), American former Major League Baseball player
  • Isadora Duncan (1877-1927), American dancer
  • Robert Edward Duncan (b. 1919), American poet
  • General Brigadier Asa North Duncan (1892-1942), American Chief of Staff of the Eighth Air Force, Savannah Air Base, Georgia (1942)
  • Brigadier-General Early Edward Walters Duncan (1894-1966), American Commanding General Iceland Base Command (1944-1953)
  • Michael Clarke Duncan (1957-2012), American Academy Award and a Golden Globe nominated actor, best known for his role as John Coffey in The Green Mile
  • Professor Archibald Alexander McBeth Duncan FBA, FRHistS, FRSE (b. 1926), Scottish historian
  • John Duncan (1866-1945), Scottish painter
  • Thomas Duncan (1807-1845), Scottish painter

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  • Brown-Duncan and Associated Families: Kittery, Maine, Piscataqua and New Castle, N.H. by Hazel May Standeven.
  • The Duncan Family: Memories and More by B.J. Rone.
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The motto was originally a war cry or slogan. Mottoes first began to be shown with arms in the 14th and 15th centuries, but were not in general use until the 17th century. Thus the oldest coats of arms generally do not include a motto. Mottoes seldom form part of the grant of arms: Under most heraldic authorities, a motto is an optional component of the coat of arms, and can be added to or changed at will; many families have chosen not to display a motto.

Motto: Disce pati
Motto Translation: Learn to suffer.

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Duncan Clan Badge
Duncan Clan Badge

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A clan is a social group made up of a number of distinct branch-families that actually descended from, or accepted themselves as descendants of, a common ancestor. The word clan means simply children. The idea of the clan as a community is necessarily based around this idea of heredity and is most often ruled according to a patriarchal structure. For instance, the clan chief represented the hereditary "parent" of the entire clan. The most prominent example of this form of society is the Scottish Clan system...

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Septs of the Distinguished Name Duncan
Docan, Docand, Docane, Docant, Docen, Docend, Docent, Docind, Docint, Docyn, Docynd, Dokan, Dokand, Dokane, Dokant, Doken, Dokend, Dokent, Dokind, Dokint, Dokyn, Dokynd, Duncan, Duncand, Duncane, Duncannon, Duncanon, Duncans, Duncanson, Duncant, Duncason, Duncen, Duncend, Duncent, Dunceson, Dunchad, Duncin, Duncind, Duncine, Duncing, Duncink, Duncinson, Duncint, Dunckan, Dunckand, Dunckane, Dunckans, Dunckant, Duncken, Dunckend and more.

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  1. Filby, P. William and Mary K Meyer. Passenger and Immigration Lists Index in Four Volumes. Detroit: Gale Research, 1985. Print. (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8).
  2. Colletta, John P. They Came In Ships. Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1993. Print.
  3. Browning, Charles H. Americans of Royal Descent. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  4. Chadwick, Nora Kershaw and J.X.W.P Corcoran. The Celts. London: Penguin, 1970. Print. (ISBN 0140212116).
  5. Bradford, William. History of Plymouth Plantation 1620-1647 Edited by Samuel Eliot Morrison 2 Volumes. New York: Russell and Russell, 1968. Print.
  6. Scots Kith and Kin And Illustrated Map Revised 2nd Edition. Edinburgh: Clan House/Albyn. Print.
  7. 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).
  8. Le Patourel, John. The Norman Empire. New York: Oxford University Press, 1976. Print. (ISBN 0-19-822525-3).
  9. Dorward, David. Scottish Surnames. Glasgow: Harper Collins, 1995. Print.
  10. Fairbairn,. Fairbain's book of Crests of the Families of Great Britain and Ireland, 4th Edition 2 volumes in one. Baltimore: Heraldic Book Company, 1968. Print.
  11. ...

The Duncan Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Duncan 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 12 October 2014 at 08:23.

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