Downey History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms 

Gaelic, otherwise known as Early Modern Irish, was used in Ireland from around the year 1200 until the 18th century. It is from this language that we found the first references to the name Downey as O Dúnadhaigh. The name is essentially derived from the word dún which means fort.

Early Origins of the Downey family

The surname Downey was first found in the twelfth century.

Important Dates for the Downey family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Downey research. Another 189 words (14 lines of text) covering the year 1420 is included under the topic Early Downey History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Downey Spelling Variations

The Middle Ages saw a great number of spelling variations for surnames common to the Irish landscape. One reason for these variations is the fact that surnames were not rigidly fixed by this period. The following variations for the name Downey were encountered in the archives: O'Downey, Dawney, MacDowney, MacEldowney, Muldowney and many more.

Early Notables of the Downey family (pre 1700)

Notable among the family name at this time was the O'Dunadhaigh sept found in Luchair, the old name of a region that lay on the borders of...
Another 26 words (2 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Downey Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Downey migration to the United States

In the 19th century, thousands of Irish left their English-occupied homeland for North America. Like most new world settlers, the Irish initially settled on the eastern shores of the continent but began to move westward with the promise of owning land. The height of this Irish migration came during the Great Potato Famine of the late 1840s. With apparently nothing to lose, Irish people left on ships bound for North America and Australia. Unfortunately a great many of these passengers lost their lives - the only thing many had left - to disease, starvation, and accidents during the long and dangerous journey. Those who did safely arrive in "the land of opportunities" were often used for the hard labor of building railroads, coal mines, bridges, and canals. The Irish were critical to the quick development of the infrastructure of the United States and Canada. Passenger and immigration lists indicate that members of the Downey family came to North America quite early:

Downey Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • James Downey who went to Pennsylvania in 1711
  • Darby Downey, who sailed to America in 1738
  • Elizabeth Downey went to Philadelphia in 1745
  • Elizabeth Downey, who arrived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1745 [1]
  • Daniel Downey, who settled in New England in 1748
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Downey Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • James Downey, who arrived in Maryland in 1812 [1]
  • Charles Downey, who landed in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1838 [1]
  • Peter Downey, who arrived in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1844 [1]
  • Dennis Downey, aged 44, who landed in Missouri in 1847 [1]
  • Patrick Downey went to Boston in 1849 when he was 26
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Downey Settlers in United States in the 20th Century
  • C. R. Downey went to Oregon in the year 1900

Downey migration to Canada

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Downey Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • Judith Downey, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1820
  • Sarah Downey, who settled in Quebec in 1824
  • Calvin C Downey, who arrived in Canada in 1828
  • John Downey, aged 30, a labourer, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick in 1833 aboard the ship "Lord Goderich" from London, England
  • Anne Downey, aged 28, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick in 1833 aboard the ship "Lord Goderich" from London, England
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Downey migration to Australia

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

Downey Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Patrick Downey, a carpenter, who arrived in New South Wales, Australia sometime between 1825 and 1832
  • Thomas Downey, a carpenter, who arrived in Van Diemen’s Land (now Tasmania) sometime between 1825 and 1832
  • Dennis Downey, English convict from Suffolk, who was transported aboard the "Anson" on September 23, 1843, settling in Van Diemen's Land, Australia [2]
  • Mary Downey, aged 17, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Elgin" in 1849 [3]
  • Jane Downey, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Ramillies" in 1849 [4]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Downey 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:

Downey Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Edward Downey, who landed in Wellington, New Zealand in 1840
  • John Downey, who landed in Wellington, New Zealand in 1840
  • John Downey, aged 23, who arrived in Port Nicholson aboard the ship "Oriental" in 1840
  • Mary Downey, aged 23, who arrived in Port Nicholson aboard the ship "Oriental" in 1840
  • Mr. John Downey, (b. 1816), aged 23, British settler travelling from London aboard the ship "Oriental" arriving in Port Nicholson, Wellington, New Zealand on 31st January 1840 [5]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Contemporary Notables of the name Downey (post 1700)

  • Thomas Joseph Downey (b. 1949), American politician Member of the U.S. House of Representatives from New York (1975-1993)
  • Sean Morton Downey (1932-2001), American singer, songwriter and talk show host, known for his program The Morton Downey, Jr. Show
  • Robert John Downey Jr. (b. 1965), Academy Award-nominated and Golden Globe-winning American actor and musician
  • Frank X. Downey, American politician, Member of Illinois State House of Representatives, 1957-65, 1965-67 [6]
  • Francis W. Downey, American politician, Delegate to New Hampshire State Constitutional Convention from Manchester 5th Ward, 1956 [6]
  • Ellen Downey, American Democrat politician, Alternate Delegate to Democratic National Convention from New York, 1920, 1924 [6]
  • Edward L. Downey Jr., American politician, Mayor of Marquette, Michigan, 1965, 1968 [6]
  • Edward Downey, American politician, Representative from North Carolina 3rd District, 1996 [6]
  • Christine Downey, American Democrat politician, Member of Kansas State Senate 31st District; Elected 2000 [6]
  • Charles J. Downey, American Democrat politician, Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Massachusetts, 1916 [6]
  • ... (Another 33 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Historic Events for the Downey family

Empress of Ireland
  • Mr. Thomas Shaun Downey, British Seaman from United Kingdom who worked aboard the Empress of Ireland and survived the sinking [7]
HMS Prince of Wales
  • Mr. Francis Downey, British Leading Stoker, who sailed into battle on the HMS Prince of Wales and survived the sinking [8]
RMS Lusitania

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Citations

  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 Library of Queensland. (Retrieved 2015, January 8) Anson voyage to Van Diemen's Land, Australia in 1843 with 499 passengers. Retrieved from http://www.convictrecords.com.au/ships/anson/1843
  3. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) ELGIN 1849. Retrieved from http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1849Elgin.htm
  4. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) RAMILIES 1849. Retrieved from http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1849Ramillies.htm
  5. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 26th March 2019). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
  6. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, November 25) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html
  7. ^ Commemoration Empress of Ireland 2014. (Retrieved 2014, June 17) . Retrieved from http://www.empress2014.ca/seclangen/listepsc1.html
  8. ^ HMS Prince of Wales Crew members. (Retrieved 2014, April 9) . Retrieved from http://www.forcez-survivors.org.uk/biographies/listprincecrew.html
  9. ^ Lusitania Passenger List - The Lusitania Resource. (Retrieved 2014, March 6) . Retrieved from http://www.rmslusitania.info/lusitania-passenger-list/
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