Downat History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The Downat 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 Downat family

The surname Downat 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.' [1]

Early History of the Downat family

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

Downat Spelling Variations

One relatively recent invention that did much to standardize English spelling was the printing press. However, before its invention even the most literate people recorded their names according to sound rather than spelling. The spelling variations under which the name Downat has appeared include Dunnett, Dunnet, Donnatt, Donnat, Downett, Downatt, Dunett, Dunet, Donnett and many more.

Early Notables of the Downat family (pre 1700)

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

Migration of the Downat family

At this time, the shores of the New World beckoned many English families that felt that the social climate in England was oppressive and lacked opportunity for change. Thousands left England at great expense in ships that were overcrowded and full of disease. A great portion of these settlers never survived the journey and even a greater number arrived sick, starving, and without a penny. The survivors, however, were often greeted with greater opportunity than they could have experienced back home. These English settlers made significant contributions to those colonies that would eventually become the United States and Canada. An examination of early immigration records and passenger ship lists revealed that people bearing the name Downat arrived in North America very early: 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..



  1. ^ 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)


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