Downer History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The Anglo-Saxon name Downer comes from when the family resided as inhabitants by the down. The surname Downer is a topographic surname, which was given to a person who resided near a physical feature such as a hill, stream, church, or type of tree. Habitation names form the other broad category of surnames that were derived from place-names. They were derived from pre-existing names for towns, villages, parishes, or farmsteads. Other local names are derived from the names of houses, manors, estates, regions, and entire counties. As a general rule, the greater the distance between an individual and their homeland, the larger the territory they were named after. For example, a person who only moved to another parish would be known by the name of their original village, while people who migrated to a different country were often known by the name of a region or country from which they came.

Early Origins of the Downer family

The surname Downer was first found in Cheshire where they held a family seat from very ancient times, some say well before the Norman Conquest and the arrival of Duke William at Hastings in 1066 A.D.

Early History of the Downer family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Downer research. Another 84 words (6 lines of text) covering the years 1407 and 1810 are included under the topic Early Downer History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Downer Spelling Variations

The English language only became standardized in the last few centuries; therefore, spelling variations are common among early Anglo-Saxon names. As the form of the English language changed, even the spelling of literate people's names evolved. Downer has been recorded under many different variations, including Downer, Downyer, Downar and others.

Early Notables of the Downer family (pre 1700)

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


United States Downer migration to the United States +

For many English families, the political and religious disarray that shrouded England made the far away New World an attractive prospect. On cramped disease-ridden ships, thousands migrated to those British colonies that would eventually become Canada and the United States. Those hardy settlers that survived the journey often went on to make important contributions to the emerging nations in which they landed. Analysis of immigration records indicates that some of the first North American immigrants bore the name Downer or a variant listed above:

Downer Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Henry Downer, who settled in Virginia in 1654
  • Henry Downer, who arrived in Virginia in 1654 [1]
  • Jane Downer, who landed in Virginia in 1655 [1]
  • Fra Downer, who landed in Virginia in 1655 [1]
  • Rob Downer, who arrived in Virginia in 1655 [1]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Downer Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • J B Downer, who arrived in Mobile, Ala in 1822 [1]
  • J Q Downer, who arrived in San Francisco, California in 1850 [1]
  • Arthur Charles Downer, who arrived in Philadelphia in 1870

Canada Downer migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Downer Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
  • Alice Downer, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1750
  • Caleb Downer, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1750
  • Eliza Downer, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1750
  • John Downer, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1750
  • John Downer, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1760
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Downer Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • J Downer, who landed in Montreal in 1832

Australia Downer migration to Australia +

Emigration to Australia followed the First Fleets of convicts, tradespeople and early settlers. Early immigrants include:

Downer Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Thomas Downer, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Moffatt" in 1839 [2]
  • Margaret Downer, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Moffatt" in 1839 [2]
  • Francis Downer, aged 30, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Marion" in 1849 [3]
  • Jane Downer, aged 30, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Marion" in 1849 [3]
  • Mary Downer, aged 2, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Marion" in 1849 [3]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

New Zealand Downer migration to New Zealand +

Emigration to New Zealand followed in the footsteps of the European explorers, such as Captain Cook (1769-70): first came sealers, whalers, missionaries, and traders. By 1838, the British New Zealand Company had begun buying land from the Maori tribes, and selling it to settlers, and, after the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840, many British families set out on the arduous six month journey from Britain to Aotearoa to start a new life. Early immigrants include:

Downer Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Haydon E. Downer, aged 36, a ship wright, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Arethusa" in 1879
  • Anne Downer, aged 33, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Arethusa" in 1879
  • Fitz E. Downer, aged 3, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Arethusa" in 1879
  • Alfred Downer, aged 2, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Arethusa" in 1879
  • Mary Downer, aged 33, a servant, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Hudson" in 1879

Contemporary Notables of the name Downer (post 1700) +

  • Major General Huntington "Hunt" Blair Downer Jr. (b. 1946), Republican politician in the U.S. state of Louisiana
  • Ann Downer (b. 1960), American writer of fantasy novels
  • John E. Downer, American politician, Prohibition Candidate for Presidential Elector for New York, 1896 [4]
  • John B. Downer, American politician, Member of Minnesota State House of Representatives 10th District, 1865 [4]
  • Jason Downer, American politician, Justice of Wisconsin State Supreme Court, 1864-67; Circuit Judge in Wisconsin 2nd Circuit, 1869 [4]
  • J. W. Downer, American politician, Member of California State Assembly 22nd District, 1867-69 [4]
  • Huntington Blair Downer Jr. (b. 1946), American politician, Representative from Louisiana 3rd District, 2010 [4]
  • Frank M. Downer, American politician, Mayor of Longmont, Colorado, 1898-99 [4]
  • Charles Downer, American Republican politician, Delegate to Republican National Convention from Vermont, 1904 [4]
  • Avery Downer, American politician, Member of Connecticut State House of Representatives from Preston, 1830 [4]
  • ... (Another 12 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)


  1. ^ 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)
  2. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) MOFFATT 1839. Retrieved from http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1839Moffatt.htm
  3. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) The MARION 1849. Retrieved from http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1849Marion.htm
  4. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, November 25) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html


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