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Origins Available: Irish, Scottish


Downey is a Dalriadan-Scottish name, no doubt originally for a person who lived in the old barony of Duny or Downy, which was also called Douney in 1331, in the parish of Monikie, Angus. The surname is still commonplace in the district and Downie is one of the oldest names in the parish of Kemnay.

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The surname Downey was first found in the parish of Monikie in Angus (Gaelic: Aonghas), part of the Tayside region of northeastern Scotland, and present day Council Area of Angus, formerly known as Forfar or Forfarshire. One of the first records of the name was Duncan de Dunny who witnessed a discussion of boundaries of Tulloes (Tulloch) and Conon in 1254.

Spelling variations were extremely common in medieval names, since scribes from that era recorded names according to sound rather than a standard set of rules. Downey has appeared in various documents spelled Downey, Downie, Downy, MacIldowney, MacIldownie, MacDowney, MacDownie, O'Downey and many more.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Downey research. Another 255 words (18 lines of text) covering the years 1330, 1402, and 1550 are included under the topic Early Downey History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

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

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Some of the Downey family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 194 words (14 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

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Many who arrived from Scotland settled along the east coast of North America in communities that would go on to become the backbones of the young nations of the United States and Canada. In the American War of Independence, many settlers who remained loyal to England went north to Canada as United Empire Loyalists. Their descendants later began to recover the lost Scottish heritage through events such as the highland games that dot North America in the summer months. Research into various historical records revealed some of first members of the Downey family emigrate to North America:

Downey Settlers in United States in the 18th Century

  • James Downey who went to Pennsylvania in 1711
  • Darby Downey sailed to America in 1738
  • Elizabeth Downey went to Philadelphia in 1745
  • Elizabeth Downey, who arrived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1745
  • Daniel Downey settled in New England in 1748
  • ...

Downey Settlers in United States in the 19th Century

  • James Downey, who arrived in Maryland in 1812
  • Charles Downey, who landed in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1838
  • Peter Downey, who arrived in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1844
  • Dennis Downey, aged 44, landed in Missouri in 1847
  • Patrick Downey went to Boston in 1849 when he was 26
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Downey Settlers in United States in the 20th Century

  • C. R. Downey went to Oregon in the year 1900

Downey Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century

  • Judith Downey, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1820
  • Sarah Downey settled in Quebec in 1824
  • Calvin C Downey, who arrived in Canada in 1828
  • William Downey, aged 30, a labourer, arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick aboard the ship "Edward Reid" in 1833
  • John Downey, aged 30, a labourer, arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick in 1833 aboard the ship "Lord Goderich" from London, England
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Downey Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century

  • Patrick Downey, a carpenter, arrived in New South Wales, Australia sometime between 1825 and 1832
  • Thomas Downey, a carpenter, arrived in Van Diemenís 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
  • Mary Downey, aged 17, arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Elgin" in 1849
  • Jane Downey arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Ramillies" in 1849
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Downey Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century

  • Edward Downey landed in Wellington, New Zealand in 1840
  • John Downey landed in Wellington, New Zealand in 1840
  • John Downey, aged 23, arrived in Port Nicholson aboard the ship "Oriental" in 1840
  • Mary Downey, aged 23, arrived in Port Nicholson aboard the ship "Oriental" in 1840
  • James Downey arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Joseph Fletcher" in 1855
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  • 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
  • Frank X. Downey, American politician, Member of Illinois State House of Representatives, 1957-65, 1965-67
  • Francis W. Downey, American politician, Delegate to New Hampshire State Constitutional Convention from Manchester 5th Ward, 1956
  • Ellen Downey, American Democrat politician, Alternate Delegate to Democratic National Convention from New York, 1920, 1924
  • Edward L. Downey Jr., American politician, Mayor of Marquette, Michigan, 1965, 1968
  • Edward Downey, American politician, Representative from North Carolina 3rd District, 1996
  • Christine Downey, American Democrat politician, Member of Kansas State Senate 31st District; Elected 2000
  • Charles J. Downey, American Democrat politician, Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Massachusetts, 1916
  • A. M. Downey, American Democrat politician, Member of Wyoming State House of Representatives, 1950
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Downey Historic Events



Empress of Ireland

  • Mr. Thomas Shaun Downey, British Seaman from United Kingdom who worked aboard the Empress of Ireland and survived the sinking on May 29th 1914

HMS Prince of Wales

  • Mr. Francis Downey, British Leading Stoker, who sailed in to battle on the HMS Prince of Wales and survived the sinking

RMS Lusitania

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  • A Downey & Crawford Ancestry by Roy H. Downey.
  • The Genealogy of Thomas Downey and Margaret Tracey by Joyce V. Hawley Spires.
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Citations



    Other References

    1. Browning, Charles H. Americans of Royal Descent. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
    2. Moncrieffe, Sir Ian of That Ilk and David Hicks. The Highland Clans The Dynastic Origins, Cheifs and Background of the Clans. New York: C.N. Potter, 1968. Print.
    3. Bell, Robert. The Book of Ulster Surnames. Belfast: Blackstaff, 1988. Print. (ISBN 10-0856404160).
    4. Fulton, Alexander. Scotland and Her Tartans: The Romantic Heritage of the Scottish Clans and Families. Godalming: Bramley, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-86283-880-0).
    5. 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).
    6. Moody David. Scottish Family History. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1994. Print. (ISBN 0806312688).
    7. Best, Hugh. Debrett's Texas Peerage. New York: Coward-McCann, 1983. Print. (ISBN 069811244X).
    8. Matthews, John. Matthews' American Armoury and Blue Book. London: John Matthews, 1911. Print.
    9. Bradford, William. History of Plymouth Plantation 1620-1647 Edited by Samuel Eliot Morrison 2 Volumes. New York: Russell and Russell, 1968. Print.
    10. Le Patourel, John. The Norman Empire. New York: Oxford University Press, 1976. Print. (ISBN 0-19-822525-3).
    11. ...

    The Downey Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Downey Family Crest was drawn according to heraldic standards based on published blazons. We generally include the oldest published family crest once associated with each surname.

    This page was last modified on 19 May 2016 at 14:07.

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