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

Origins Available: Irish, Scottish-Alt, Scottish

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

Hundreds of years ago, the Gaelic name used by the Dunn family in Ireland was O Duinn or O Doinn. Both Gaelic names are derived from the Gaelic word donn, which means brown. O Doinn is the genitive case of donn.


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 Dunn include Dunn, Dunne, Dun, O'Dunne, O'Doyne, Doine, Doin, O'Dunn and many more.

First found in County Meath (Irish: An Mhí) anciently part of the kingdom of Brega, located in Eastern Ireland, in the province of Leinster. The family was descended from O'Rigain one of the ancient "Four Tribes of Tara" in the Kingdom of Meath, now the county of Meath. The Kings of Meath in turn traced their regal history back to the Heremon Kings.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Dunn research. Another 581 words(42 lines of text) covering the years 1180, 1268, 1691, 1700, 1758, 1642, 1713, 1651, 1733, 1692 and 1695 are included under the topic Early Dunn History in all our PDF Extended History products.


Another 77 words(6 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Dunn Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.


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 Dunn:

Dunn Settlers in the United States in the 17th Century

  • Jo Dunn, aged 26, landed in Virginia in 1635
  • Thomas Dunn who settled in Wymouth, Massachusetts in 1647
  • Pascho Dunn, who landed in Maryland in 1652
  • Daniell Dunn, who arrived in Virginia in 1657
  • Tho Dunn, who landed in Virginia in 1658

Dunn Settlers in the United States in the 18th Century

  • Richd Dunn, who arrived in Virginia in 1705
  • Arthur Dunn settled in Maryland in 1723
  • Arthur Dunn settled in Virginia in 1735
  • Arthur Dunn, who landed in Virginia in 1735
  • Dennis Dunn, who arrived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1746

Dunn Settlers in the United States in the 19th Century

  • Adm Dunn, aged 30, arrived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1803
  • Jas Dunn, aged 24, arrived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1804
  • Michl Dunn, who landed in New York, NY in 1804
  • Wm Dunn, aged 30, arrived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1805
  • Maus Dunn, aged 34, arrived in New York in 1812


  • John M Dunn (b. 1945), American president of Western Michigan University (2007-)
  • Harvey Thomas Dunn (1884-1952), famous American painter
  • Patricia Cecile Dunn (b. 1953), American former non-executive chairwoman of the board of Hewlett-Packard Company
  • Stephen Dunn (b. 1939), American poet awarded the 2001 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry
  • Donald "Duck" Dunn (b. 1941), American bass guitarist, record producer, and songwriter
  • Private First Class Parker F. Dunn (d. 1918), American soldier awarded the Medal of Honor for bravery
  • Brigadier-General Beverly Charles Dunn (1888-1970), American Division Engineer, North Atlantic Division (1946-1948)
  • Adam Troy Dunn (b. 1979), American Major League Baseball first baseman, outfielder, and designated hitter
  • Bob Dunn (1908-1989), American cartoonist, known for his comic strip Just the Type which ran from 1946 through 1963
  • Carola Dunn (b. 1946), British-born, American American writer, known for her Daisy Dalrymple series and Cornish Mystery series



  • The Ancestry of Harvey Dunn by Judith Miner Hine Luedemann.
  • The Dunn Descendants by Charles Dunn Owens.

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: Mullach a-bu
Motto Translation: Victory for the Dunns.


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  1. Grehan, Ida. Dictionary of Irish Family Names. Boulder: Roberts Rinehart, 1997. Print. (ISBN 1-57098-137-X).
  2. Colletta, John P. They Came In Ships. Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1993. Print.
  3. Skordas, Guest. Ed. The Early Settlers of Maryland an Index to Names or Immigrants Complied from Records of Land Patents 1633-1680 in the Hall of Records Annapolis, Maryland. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1992. Print.
  4. Heraldic Scroll and Map of Family names and Origins of Ireland. Dublin: Mullins. Print.
  5. Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at Galveston Texas 1896-1951. National Archives Washington DC. Print.
  6. Browning, Charles H. Americans of Royal Descent. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  7. Woodham-Smith, Cecil. The Great Hunger Ireland 1845-1849. New York: Old Town Books, 1962. Print. (ISBN 0-88029-385-3).
  8. Harris, Ruth-Ann and B. Emer O'Keefe. The Search for Missing Friends Irish Immigrant Advertisements Placed in the Boston Pilot Volume II 1851-1853. Boston, MA: New England Historic Genealogical Society, 1991. Print.
  9. Donovan, George Francis. The Pre-Revolutionary Irish in Massachusetts 1620-1775. Menasha, WI: Geroge Banta Publsihing Co., 1932. Print.
  10. Bolton, Charles Knowles. Bolton's American Armory. Baltimore: Heraldic Book Company, 1964. Print.
  11. ...

The Dunn Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Dunn 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 18 October 2014 at 10:45.

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