The ancient history of the Downam name begins with the ancient Anglo-Saxon
tribes of Britain. The name is derived 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 Downam family
The surname Downam 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 Downam family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Downam research.Another 153 words (11 lines of text) covering the years 1190, 1332, 1511, 1577, 1561 and 1577 are included under the topic Early Downam History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Downam 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 Downam include Dunham, Dunnam, Downham, Dounham, Downnam and others.
Early Notables of the Downam family (pre 1700)
More information is included under the topic Early Downam Notables in all our PDF Extended History products
and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the Downam family to Ireland
Some of the Downam 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.
Migration of the Downam family to the New World and Oceana
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 Downam or a variant listed above:
Downam Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
- Sarah Downam, who arrived in Virginia in 1696 CITATION[CLOSE]
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)