Show ContentsDenniston History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Denniston is a Dalriadan-Scottish name, no doubt originally for a person who lived near a place named Danzielstoun, in Scotland. Thus Denniston is a local surname, which belongs to a category of hereditary surnames derived from pre-existing names for towns, villages, parishes, or farmsteads.

Early Origins of the Denniston family

The surname Denniston was first found in Renfrewshire, at Danzielstoun, in the parish of Kilmalcolm. "The manor took its name from some man named Daniel, and it bore this name as early as the reign of Malcolm IV", 1 who died in 1165. It is generally thought that the town was founded about 1060.

Early History of the Denniston family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Denniston research. Another 91 words (6 lines of text) covering the years 1296, 1694 and 1890 are included under the topic Early Denniston History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Denniston Spelling Variations

Spelling variations were extremely common in medieval names, since scribes from that era recorded names according to sound rather than a standard set of rules. Denniston has appeared in various documents spelled Denison, Denniston, Dennistoun, Deniston, Denistoun, Dinniston, Dinnistoun and many more.

Early Notables of the Denniston family

Notable amongst the family at this time was

  • Sir John Denniston

Denniston Ranking

In the United States, the name Denniston is the 13,812nd most popular surname with an estimated 2,487 people with that name. 2

Ireland Migration of the Denniston family to Ireland

Some of the Denniston family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 58 words (4 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

United States Denniston migration to the United States +

Many who arrived from Scotland settled along the east coast of North America in communities that would go on to become the backbones of the young nations of the United States and Canada. In the American War of Independence, many settlers who remained loyal to England went north to Canada as United Empire Loyalists. Their descendants later began to recover the lost Scottish heritage through events such as the highland games that dot North America in the summer months. Research into various historical records revealed some of first members of the Denniston family emigrate to North America:

Denniston Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Sam Denniston who settled in New York in 1774
  • Samuel Denniston, aged 25, who arrived in New York in 1774 3
Denniston Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Alexander Denniston, who arrived in New York in 1801 3
  • John Denniston, who arrived in Philadelphia in 1802
  • James Denniston, aged 28, who arrived in New York in 1812 3
  • Ralph Denniston, aged 30, who landed in New York in 1812 3
  • Hans Denniston, who landed in New York, NY in 1836 3
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Canada Denniston migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Denniston Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
  • Mr. Robert Denniston U.E. who settled in Home District [York County], Ontario c. 1784 4

Australia Denniston migration to Australia +

Emigration to Australia followed the First Fleets of convicts, tradespeople and early settlers. Early immigrants include:

Denniston Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Alexander Denniston, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Orator" in 1849 5

Contemporary Notables of the name Denniston (post 1700) +

  • Radcliffe R. Denniston Jr. (1916-1942), American officer in the United States Navy during World War II, posthumously awarded the Navy Cross for his actions preceding and during the Battle of the Coral Sea
  • Robert Denniston (1800-1867), American lawyer and politician
  • Lyle Denniston, American legal journalist, professor, and author
  • John Dewar Denniston (1887-1949), British classical scholar, Fellow of Hertford College, Oxford (1913-1949)
  • Commander Alistair Guthrie Denniston CMG CBE RNVR (1881-1961), English cryptographer in Room 40, the first head of the Government Code and Cypher School (GC&CS) and a bronze medalist field hockey at the 1908 Summer Olympics
  • Sir Cecil Denniston Burney (1888-1968), 2nd Baronet Burney, Commander in the Royal Navy

  1. Black, George F., The Surnames of Scotland Their Origin, Meaning and History. New York: New York Public Library, 1946. Print. (ISBN 0-87104-172-3)
  2. "What are the 5,000 Most Common Last Names in the U.S.?".,
  3. Filby, P. William, Meyer, Mary K., Passenger and immigration lists index : a guide to published arrival records of about 500,000 passengers who came to the United States and Canada in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries. 1982-1985 Cumulated Supplements in Four Volumes Detroit, Mich. : Gale Research Co., 1985, Print (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8)
  4. Rubincam, Milton. The Old United Empire Loyalists List. Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc, 1976. (Originally published as; United Empire Loyalists. The Centennial of the Settlement of Upper Canada. Rose Publishing Company, 1885.) ISBN 0-8063-0331-X
  5. State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) The ORATOR 1849. Retrieved from on Facebook