Donat History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms
The Donat surname is a habitational name, taken on from Downhead in Somerset, or Donhead in Wiltshire. These place names both derived from the Old English words "dun," meaning "hill," and "he-afod," meaning the geographic "head" of land. There was also a place so named in Caithness, Scotland.
Early Origins of the Donat family
The surname Donat was first found in Wiltshire. Originally from Normandy, the name was originally spelt Dannet, for De Anet or D'Alneto. D'Alnai is mentioned at the Battle of Hastings (Wace) as 'Sire d'Alnai.' 
Important Dates for the Donat family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Donat research. Another 278 words (20 lines of text) covering the years 1246, 1296, 1500, 1577, 1648 and 1663 are included under the topic Early Donat History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Donat Spelling Variations
Before English spelling was standardized a few hundred years ago, spelling variations of names were a common occurrence. Elements of Latin, French and other languages became incorporated into English through the Middle Ages, and name spellings changed even among the literate. The variations of the surname Donat include Dunnett, Dunnet, Donnatt, Donnat, Downett, Downatt, Dunett, Dunet, Donnett and many more.
Early Notables of the Donat family (pre 1700)
More information is included under the topic Early Donat Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Donat migration to the United States
A great wave of immigration to the New World was the result of the enormous political and religious disarray that struck England at that time. Families left for the New World in extremely large numbers. The long journey was the end of many immigrants and many more arrived sick and starving. Still, those who made it were rewarded with an opportunity far greater than they had known at home in England. These emigrant families went on to make significant contributions to these emerging colonies in which they settled. Some of the first North American settlers carried this name or one of its variants:
Typical Donat Emigration from the United Kingdom to North America
Donat Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
- Hermann Donat, who settled in Philadelphia in 1763
- Hermann Donat, who arrived in Pennsylvania in 1763 
- Jacob Donat, who arrived in Pennsylvania in 1765 
Donat Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
- Carl Donat, who landed in Galveston, Tex in 1851 
- Wilhelmine Donat, who arrived in America in 1854 
- Kath Schmidt Donat, who landed in America in 1855 
- Hermann Otto Hans Zu Donat, aged 19, who landed in New York, NY in 1874 
Contemporary Notables of the name Donat (post 1700)
- Friedrich Robert Donat (1905-1958), better known by his stage name Robert Donat, was a distinguished Academy Award-winning English film and stage actor
- Donat R. Baribault (1885-1970), American New England architect who designed a number of Catholic churches, schools, convents and rectories in Western Massachusetts and New Hampshire
- Donat Acklin (b. 1965), Swiss three-time gold medalist bobsledder
- Donat Leclair (b. 1952), former chief financial officer and executive vice president of Ford Motor Company
You May Also Like
- ^ 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)
- ^ 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)