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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright 2000 - 2016


The name Dinstarr is part of the ancient legacy of the Anglo-Saxon tribes of Britain. It is a product of when the family lived in the parish of Dunster in the county of Somerset. The place-name is derived from the Old English word Dunntorr, which refers to a rocky peak.

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The surname Dinstarr was first found in Somerset at Dunster, home of Dunster Castle, a former motte and bailey castle, now a country house owned by the National Trust, which operates it as a tourist attraction. The location has been fortified since the late Anglo-Saxon period and the by the 11th century, William de Mohun had constructed a timber castle on the site. After the siege of Dunster Castle at the end of the English Civil War, much of the castle was destroyed but was later remodeled to fit Victorian tastes. One of the first records of the name was William de Mohun of Dunster (c.1090-c.1155) who was a favourite of Empress Matilda, daughter of King Henry I, and a loyal supporter of her in the war against King Stephen. He earned the epithet the "Scourge of the West"and after the war, Empress Matilda granted him the title Earl of Somerset, in 1141. His father, William was Sheriff of Somerset in 1084.

The first dictionaries that appeared in the last few hundred years did much to standardize the English language. Before that time, spelling variations in names were a common occurrence. The language was changing, incorporating pieces of other languages, and the spelling of names changed with it. Dinstarr has been spelled many different ways, including Dunster, Dunstar, Dunstarr, Dunsterr and others.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Dinstarr research. Another 113 words (8 lines of text) covering the years 1609, 1659, 1640, 1618, 1684, 1660 and 1679 are included under the topic Early Dinstarr History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Another 81 words (6 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Dinstarr Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Thousands of English families in this era began to emigrate the New World in search of land and freedom from religious and political persecution. Although the passage was expensive and the ships were dark, crowded, and unsafe, those who made the voyage safely were rewarded with opportunities unavailable to them in their homeland. Research into passenger and immigration lists has revealed some of the very first Dinstarrs to arrive in North America: Robert Dunstarr who settled in Barbados in 1635; Catherine Dunstar settled in Annapolis Maryland in 1726; Henry Dunster settled in Cambridge Massachusetts in 1648.

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  1. Mills, A.D. Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-19-869156-4).
  2. Weis, Frederick Lewis, Walter Lee Sheppard and David Faris. Ancestral Roots of Sixty Colonists Who Came to New England Between 1623 and 1650 7th Edition. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0806313676).
  3. Holt, J.C. Ed. Domesday Studies. Woodbridge: Boydell, 1987. Print. (ISBN 0-85115-477-8).
  4. Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds. Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8).
  5. Bede, The Venerable. Historia Ecclesiatica Gentis Anglorum (The Ecclesiastical History Of the English People). Available through Internet Medieval Sourcebook the Fordham University Centre for Medieval Studies. Print.
  6. Browning, Charles H. Americans of Royal Descent. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  7. 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).
  8. Papworth, J.W and A.W Morant. Ordinary of British Armorials. London: T.Richards, 1874. Print.
  9. Elster, Robert J. International Who's Who. London: Europa/Routledge. Print.
  10. Matthews, John. Matthews' American Armoury and Blue Book. London: John Matthews, 1911. Print.
  11. ...

The Dinstarr Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Dinstarr 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 March 2014 at 08:29.

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