Show ContentsDinan History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The origins of the Dinan name lie with England's ancient Anglo-Saxon culture. It comes from when the family lived "the dayman," a dairyman or alternatively from the occupation of a "day's man," which was a servant of the keeper of a dairy. [1]

Early Origins of the Dinan family

The surname Dinan was first found in Devon where they quickly rose to be Barons Dinham shortly after the Conquest as they claimed descendancy from the Viscounts Dinant of Bretagne. [2] Some of the family were found at Steeple Aston in Oxfordshire in ancient times; unfortunately one can presume there is now little evidence of their history. "In a chapel on the north side of the chancel are recumbent effigies of Sir Francis Page and his lady, to whom the manor of Middle Aston formerly belonged: Sir Francis destroyed some monuments of the Dinham family to make room for his own, which was erected in his life-time." [3]

We did find this interesting passage about the family. "Whether these Cardinans were the ancestors of the Dynhams, or Dinhams, by whom these possessions were afterwards inherited, has been a subject of dispute; some contending that they belong to the same family, and others arguing that the latter is a distinct race. By those who contend for the distinction between these families, it is said, that Isolda, the descendant, perhaps the grand-daughter, of Robert de Cardinan, being the heiress to his estates, brought this property by marriage to Thomas de Tracy, who in the year 1257 was one of the greatest landholders in Cornwall. This lady, who was left a widow, conveyed this manor as Isolda de Cardinan, who had been the wife of Thomas Tracy, to Oliver de Dinant, or Dinan, in the year 1259; which family of Dinan is said to have taken their name from Dinan in Brittany, where they had founded a monastery, and erected a castle, at a very distant period. During these descents, the name was indifferently written Dynam or Dinham, but in process of time the latter finally prevailed. In the reign of Henry VI. John Dinham, Esq. of Cardinham, who was sheriff of Devon, and resided on his barton of Nutwell." [4]

"Part of the manor of Lanherne, and Kankewas, [in the manor of St. Evall, Cornwall], with all the manorial rights connected with it, was purchased by Mr. John Dayman. " [4]

Early History of the Dinan family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Dinan research. Another 140 words (10 lines of text) covering the years 1221, 1224, 1332, 1379 and 1695 are included under the topic Early Dinan History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Dinan Spelling Variations

Before the last few hundred years, the English language had no fast system of spelling rules. For that reason, spelling variations are commonly found in early Anglo-Saxon surnames. Over the years, many variations of the name Dinan were recorded, including De Dinant, Dinan, Dinam, Dinham, Diamond, Dymond, Dyment, Diment, Dymott, Dimont and many more.

Early Notables of the Dinan family (pre 1700)

More information is included under the topic Early Dinan Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Dinan Ranking

In the United States, the name Dinan is the 12,441st most popular surname with an estimated 2,487 people with that name. [5]

United States Dinan migration to the United States +

To escape oppression and starvation at that time, many English families left for the "open frontiers" of the New World with all its perceived opportunities. In droves people migrated to the many British colonies, those in North America in particular, paying high rates for passages in cramped, unsafe ships. Although many of the settlers did not make the long passage alive, those who did see the shores of North America perceived great opportunities before them. Many of the families that came from England went on to make essential contributions to the emerging nations of Canada and the United States. Research into various historical records revealed some of first members of the Dinan family emigrate to North America:

Dinan Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Daniel, James, Michael, and Thomas Dinan, who all, who settled in Philadelphia between 1840 and 1860

Canada Dinan migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Dinan Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • Elenor Dinan, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1819
  • Mr. Timothy Dinan, aged 2 who immigrated to Canada, arriving at the Grosse Isle Quarantine Station in Quebec aboard the ship "Agnes" departing from the port of Cork, Ireland but died on Grosse Isle in June 1847 [6]

Australia Dinan migration to Australia +

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

Dinan Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Mr. James Dinan, (Denin), (b. 1788), aged 50, Irish Soldier who was convicted in County Clare, Ireland for 10 years for stealing, transported aboard the "Clyde" on 11th May 1838, arriving in New South Wales, Australia [7]
  • Charles Dinan, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Mary Dugdale" in 1840 [8]
  • Margaret Dinan, aged 20, a housemaid, who arrived in South Australia in 1854 aboard the ship "Sultana" [9]
  • Margaret Dinan, aged 22, a servant, who arrived in South Australia in 1855 aboard the ship "Sea Park"

New Zealand Dinan migration to New Zealand +

Emigration to New Zealand followed in the footsteps of the European explorers, such as Captain Cook (1769-70): first came sealers, whalers, missionaries, and traders. By 1838, the British New Zealand Company had begun buying land from the Maori tribes, and selling it to settlers, and, after the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840, many British families set out on the arduous six month journey from Britain to Aotearoa to start a new life. Early immigrants include:

Dinan Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • John Dinan, aged 34, a farm labourer, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Salisbury" in 1876
  • Patrick Dinan, aged 20, a farm labourer, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Waipa" in 1876
  • Helena Dinan, aged 22, a servant, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "British Queen" in 1883 [10]

Contemporary Notables of the name Dinan (post 1700) +

  • John A. Dinan (b. 1885), American politician, U.S. Consular Agent in Limerick, 1914-18 [11]
  • Donald R. Dinan, American Democratic Party politician, Member, Rules Committee, Democratic National Convention, 2008 ; Presidential Elector for District of Columbia, 2012 [11]
  • Charles F. Dinan, American Democratic Party politician, Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Pennsylvania, 1948 (alternate), 1952 (alternate), 1956 [11]

The Dinan Motto +

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: Toujours prest
Motto Translation: Always ready

  1. Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  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. Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
  4. Hutchins, Fortescue, The History of Cornwall, from the Earliest Records and Traditions to the Present Time. London: William Penaluna, 1824. Print
  5. "What are the 5,000 Most Common Last Names in the U.S.?".,
  6. Charbonneau, André, and Doris Drolet-Dubé. A Register of Deceased Persons at Sea and on Grosse Île in 1847. The Minister of Canadian Heritage, 1997. ISBN: 0-660-198/1-1997E (p. 24)
  7. Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 24th February 2021). Retrieved from
  8. State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) MARY DUGDALE 1840. Retrieved from
  9. South Australian Register Saturday 4th February 1854. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) Sultana 1854. Retrieved
  10. New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 12th November 2011). Retrieved from
  11. The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, December 11) . Retrieved from on Facebook