Donnet History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The Donnet 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 Donnet family

The surname Donnet 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 [1] as 'Sire d'Alnai.' [2]

Early History of the Donnet family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Donnet research. Another 278 words (20 lines of text) covering the years 1246, 1296, 1500, 1577, 1648 and 1663 are included under the topic Early Donnet History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Donnet Spelling Variations

Sound was what guided spelling in the essentially pre-literate Middle Ages, so one person's name was often recorded under several variations during a single lifetime. Also, before the advent of the printing press and the first dictionaries, the English language was not standardized. Therefore, spelling variations were common, even among the names of the most literate people. Known variations of the Donnet family name include Dunnett, Dunnet, Donnatt, Donnat, Downett, Downatt, Dunett, Dunet, Donnett and many more.

Early Notables of the Donnet family (pre 1700)

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

Donnet Ranking

In France, the name Donnet is the 3,980th most popular surname with an estimated 1,500 - 2,000 people with that name. [3]

Migration of the Donnet family

For political, religious, and economic reasons, thousands of English families boarded ships for Ireland, Canada, the America colonies, and many of smaller tropical colonies in the hope of finding better lives abroad. Although the passage on the cramped, dank ships caused many to arrive in the New World diseased and starving, those families that survived the trip often went on to make valuable contributions to those new societies to which they arrived. Early immigrants bearing the Donnet surname or a spelling variation of the name include: John Dunnet who settled in America in 1772. By the mid-1800's, the Dunnetts were among the many who traveled across the mid-west to the coast of California to make their home in San Francisco..


Contemporary Notables of the name Donnet (post 1700) +

  • Armand Donnet, American politician, U.S. Consul in Lisbon, 1839-41 [4]
  • Jennifer Barbara "Jenny" Donnet (b. 1963), OLY, (b. 1963), Australian two-time gold medalist, Commonwealth Games Diving Champion 1982 and 1990; Olympic diver 1980, 1984, 1988, 1992 daughter of Barbara Ethel Donnet
  • Barbara Ethel Donnet (b. 1929), (nee McAulay), OLY, (b. 1929), Australian Empire and Commonwealth Games Diving Champion 1954; 1956 Olympic diver; 1992 Olympic Diving Coach
  • Beverly Donnet (b. 1950), Australian Commonwealth Games diver
  • Irene Donnet (b. 1918), Australian Empire and Commonwealth Games Diving Champion 1932
  • Thomas Robert Donnet (1921-1952), Australian Olympic Diving Coach 1952, 1956, 1960, 1964, 1968, 1972 and 1976


  1. ^ Wace, Robert, Roman de Brut England: 1155. Digital
  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. ^ http://www.journaldesfemmes.com/nom-de-famille/nom/
  4. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2016, January 22) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html


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