Downatt History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The Downatt 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 Downatt family

The surname Downatt 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 Downatt family

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

Downatt Spelling Variations

The first dictionaries that appeared in the last few hundred years did much to standardize the English language. Before that time, spelling variations in names were a common occurrence. The language was changing, incorporating pieces of other languages, and the spelling of names changed with it. Downatt has been spelled many different ways, including Dunnett, Dunnet, Donnatt, Donnat, Downett, Downatt, Dunett, Dunet, Donnett and many more.

Early Notables of the Downatt family (pre 1700)

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

Migration of the Downatt family

Thousands of English families in this era began to emigrate the New World in search of land and freedom from religious and political persecution. Although the passage was expensive and the ships were dark, crowded, and unsafe, those who made the voyage safely were rewarded with opportunities unavailable to them in their homeland. Research into passenger and immigration lists has revealed some of the very first Downatts to arrive in North America: 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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