name Donham comes from when the family resided in the parish of Dunham, in the county of Norfolk
. The place-name is made up of two old English elements: dun,
which is a word for hill; and ham,
which means home. The translation of the name is home on the hill.
Early Origins of the Donham family
The surname Donham was first found in Norfolk
at Downham Market, often referred to as Downham, a town and civil parish. The place dates back to c. 1050 and was listed later in 1086 in the Domesday Book
as Dunham. However, there are several more listings of the place name including Little Downham in Cambridgeshire
, Downham, Lancashire
and Downham, Essex
. Wilmslow in Cheshire
was an ancient family seat
for the family. "The church is a handsome and very ancient structure in the decorated and later English styles, with a square tower; it comprises a nave, chancel, and two aisles, of which the east end of one and the west end of the other are inclosed as sepulchral chapels, for the families of Dunham and Trafford." CITATION[CLOSE]
Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
Downham Estate is a housing estate in Downham, south east London named in honour of Lord Downham, who was chairman of the London County Council between 1919-1920. Downham Hall is an English country house in Downham, Lancashire
, but this estate was never held by anyone with the family name.
Early History of the Donham family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Donham research.Another 305 words (22 lines of text) covering the years 1190, 1332, 1511, 1577, 1561 and 1577 are included under the topic Early Donham History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Donham 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 Donham include Dunham, Dunnam, Downham, Dounham, Downnam and others.
Early Notables of the Donham family (pre 1700)
Another 16 words (1 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Donham Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the Donham family to Ireland
Some of the Donham family moved to Ireland
, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.Another 37 words (3 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the Donham family to the New World and Oceana
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: John Dunham of Plymouth who in 1633 purchased land at Dartmouth. Later John Dunham of Barnstable settled in 1655. By 1850 the Dunham name had reached as far west as San Francisco..
Contemporary Notables of the name Donham (post 1700)
- Wallace Brett Donham (1877-1954), American academic, the 2nd Dean of the Harvard Business School (1919-1942)
- William W. "Bill" Donham (1973-1984), American politician, Member of the Ohio House of Representatives from the 57th district