Show ContentsDoning History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The ancient history of the Doning name begins with the ancient Anglo-Saxon tribes of Britain. The name is derived from when the family resided in Downing, Oxfordshire. There is much speculation about the origin of this name as another source notes that the name could be from a "descendant of Dunn (dark brown); dweller at the hill or hill pasture" [1] and another source claims that the name could have been a nickname for someone with a "dark-brown complexion." [2] And another source claims the name is derived from "a location name in Worcestershire." [3]

Early Origins of the Doning family

The surname Doning was first found in Oxfordshire where Richard Duning was the first record of the family found there in 1197 in the Feet of Fines. Later, Geoffrey Dounyng was listed in 1311. [4]

Early records in Somerset revealed John Dounynne and Tonn Dunnyng, 1 Edward III (during the first year of King Edward III's reign.) [5]

The Hundredorum Rolls of 1273 listed Hervey Dunning, Cambridgeshire and Richard Duning, Oxfordshire. [6]

And in Yorkshire, the Yorkshire Poll Tax Rolls of 1379 listed Johannes Dunnyng; Alicia Downyng and Johannes Downnyng. [6]

"The Downings of Speckshall in the 17th century were a branch of the very ancient Essex family of the name, a member of which was made a Baronet in 1663, whilst another was founder of Downing College, Cambridge. The Downings have their home now in Ipswich and its neighbourhood. In South Elmham church there is, or was, a monument to Dorcas Downinge, bearing the date of 1638." [7]

The Downing Baronetcy, of East Hatley in the County of Cambridge was created for Sir George Downing, 1st Baronet (c.1625-1684.) Downing Street in London is named after him.

Early History of the Doning family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Doning research. Another 148 words (11 lines of text) covering the years 1379, 1400, 1672, 1623, 1684, 1656, 1711, 1685, 1749, 1764, 1606, 1644, 1606, 1623 and 1626 are included under the topic Early Doning History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Doning Spelling Variations

Until quite recently, the English language has lacked a definite system of spelling rules. Consequently, Anglo-Saxon surnames are characterized by a multitude of spelling variations. Changes in Anglo-Saxon names were influenced by the evolution of the English language, as it incorporated elements of French, Latin, and other languages. Although Medieval scribes and church officials recorded names as they sounded, so it is common to find one person referred to by several different spellings of his surname, even the most literate people varied the spelling of their own names. Variations of the name Doning include Downing, Doning, Douning, Duning and others.

Early Notables of the Doning family (pre 1700)

Notables of the family at this time include Sir George Downing (1623-1684), 1st Baronet of East Hatley, an Anglo-Irish soldier, statesman, and diplomat, eponym of Downing Street in London; Sir George Downing, (c. 1656-1711), 2nd Baronet of East Hatley, Teller of the Receipt of the Exchequer; and Sir George Downing, (1685-1749), 3rd Baronet of East...
Another 55 words (4 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Doning Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the Doning family to Ireland

Some of the Doning family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. More information about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Doning migration to the United States +

Searching for a better life, many English families migrated to British colonies. Unfortunately, the majority of them traveled under extremely harsh conditions: overcrowding on the ships caused the majority of the immigrants to arrive diseased, famished, and destitute from the long journey across the ocean. For those families that arrived safely, modest prosperity was attainable, and many went on to make invaluable contributions to the development of the cultures of the new colonies. Research into the origins of individual families in North America revealed records of the immigration of a number of people bearing the name Doning or a variant listed above:

Doning Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Mr. Doning, who arrived in America in 1853 [8]


  1. Smith, Eldson Coles, New Dictionary of American Family Names New York: Harper & Row, 1956. Print
  2. Harrison, Henry, Surnames of the United Kingdom: A Concise Etymological Dictionary Baltimore: Geneological Publishing Company, 2013. Print
  3. Barber, Henry, British Family Names London: Elliot Stock, 62 Paternoster Row, 1894. Print.
  4. Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  5. Dickinson, F.H., Kirby's Quest for Somerset of 16th of Edward the 3rd London: Harrison and Sons, Printers in Ordinary to Her Majesty, St, Martin's Lane, 1889. Print.
  6. Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  7. Guppy, Henry Brougham, Homes of Family Names in Great Britain. 1890. Print.
  8. 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)


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