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

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

The Dalriadan clans of ancient Scotland spawned the ancestors of the Dunshee family. Their name comes from the personal name Robert. Known as the Clan Donnachaidh, the family's origins are very distinguished, as the senior branch of the line were the hereditary abbots of Dunkeld, who traced their descent from Iona. In addition, Abbot Duncan of Dunkeld, the Robertson progenitor, was killed in battle in 964, as he led the warriors, bearing, a reliquary of St. Columba. His grandson, Abbot Crinan of Dunkeld, married the Kings daughter and then fathered King Duncan I of Scotland who was killed by MacBeth (of Shakespearean fame). Crinan is buried at the Isle of lona, burial place of Scotland's early Kings.

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The medieval practice of spelling according to sound and repeated translation between Gaelic and English created many spelling variations of the same name. Dunshee has been recorded as Robertson, MacConachie, Maconachie, MacConaghy, MacConchie, MacConckey, MacConkey, MacDonnachie, MacDonachie, MacDunnachie, MacInroy, MacLagan, Mac Raibeirt (Gaelic) and many more.

First found in Atholl. King Duncan's younger son, Maelmore, sired Madadh, Earl of Atholl, and his grandson, Earl Henry, was father to Conan who held vast territories in this area. Conan of Glenerochie was the first Chief of the Robertsons and gave his name to the Clan Connchaidh or Duncan. His successor, Duncan, the 5th chief, led the Clan in the army of King Bruce at Bannockburn in 1314 against the English. For this service, and his subsequent staunch support of the Scottish Crown, his grandson Robert of Struan was granted the lands and barony in 1451.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Dunshee research. Another 805 words(58 lines of text) covering the years 1745, 1587, 1703, 1715, 1723, 1727, 1745, 1749, 1784, 1746, 1668 and 1689 are included under the topic Early Dunshee History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Another 61 words(4 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Dunshee Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Some of the Dunshee family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 115 words(8 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Descendents of Dalriadan-Scottish families still populate many communities across North America. They are particularly common in Canada, since many went north as United Empire Loyalists at the time of the American War of Independence. Much later, in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the highland games and Clan societies that now dot North America sprang up, allowing many Scots to recover their lost national heritage. Some of the first immigrants to cross the Atlantic and come to North America bore the name Dunshee, or a variant listed above:

Dunshee Settlers in the United States in the 19th Century


  • Edith Dunshee, aged 26, who settled in America, in 1895
  • Mrs. Dunshee, aged 55, who emigrated to the United States, in 1896

Dunshee Settlers in the United States in the 20th Century


  • Miss U.E. Dunshee, who settled in America, in 1904
  • Randolph W. Dunshee, aged 7, who landed in America, in 1908
  • Margaret Dunshee, aged 23, who emigrated to the United States, in 1914
  • James Dunshee, aged 19, who landed in America, in 1918

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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: Virtutis gloria merces
Motto Translation: Glory is the reward of valour.

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  1. Barrow, G.W.S Ed. The Charters of David I The Written Acts of David I King of Scots, 1124-53 and of His Son Henry, Earl of Northumerland, 1139-52. Woodbridge: The Boydell Press, 1999. Print.
  2. 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).
  3. Leeson, Francis L. Dictionary of British Peerages. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1986. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-1121-5).
  4. Moody David. Scottish Family History. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1994. Print. (ISBN 0806312688).
  5. Catholic Directory For Scotland. Glasgow: Burns Publications. Print.
  6. Bloxham, Ben. Key to Parochial Registers of Scotland From Earliest Times Through 1854 2nd edition. Provo, UT: Stevenson's Genealogical Center, 1979. Print.
  7. Matthews, John. Matthews' American Armoury and Blue Book. London: John Matthews, 1911. Print.
  8. Urquhart, Blair Edition. Tartans The New Compact Study Guide and Identifier. Secauccus, NJ: Chartwell Books, 1994. Print. (ISBN 0-7858-0050-6).
  9. Adam, Frank. Clans Septs and Regiments of the Scottish Highlands 8th Edition. London: Bacon (G.W.) & Co, 1970. Print. (ISBN 10-0717945006).
  10. Dorward, David. Scottish Surnames. Glasgow: Harper Collins, 1995. Print.
  11. ...

The Dunshee Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Dunshee 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 31 December 2012 at 08:44.

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