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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright 2000 - 2015

Origins Available: English, Irish

Where did the English Downing family come from? What is the English Downing family crest and coat of arms? When did the Downing family first arrive in the United States? Where did the various branches of the family go? What is the Downing family history?

The ancestors of the name Downing date back to the days of the Anglo-Saxon tribes of Britain. The name is derived from their residence in Downing, Oxfordshire.

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Downing has been spelled many different ways, including Before English spelling became standardized over the last few hundred years, spelling variations in names were a common occurrence. As the English language changed in the Middle Ages, absorbing pieces of Latin and French, as well as other languages, the spelling of people's names also changed considerably, even over a single lifetime. Downing, Doning, Douning, Duning and others.

First found in Oxfordshire 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.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Downing research. Another 295 words(21 lines of text) covering the years 1379, 1400, 1672, 1623, 1684, 1st , 1656, 1711, 1685 and 1749 are included under the topic Early Downing History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Another 99 words(7 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Downing Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Some of the Downing family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. More information about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.

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In an attempt to escape the chaos experienced in England, many English families boarded overcrowded and diseased ships sailing for the shores of North America and other British colonies. Those families hardy enough, and lucky enough, to make the passage intact were rewarded with land and a social environment less prone to religious and political persecution. Many of these families became important contributors to the young colonies in which they settled. Early immigration and passenger lists have documented some of the first Downings to arrive on North American shores:

Downing Settlers in United States in the 17th Century


  • Francis Downing, who came to Virginia in 1624
  • James Downing and Emanuel Downing who both settled in Salem in 1630
  • Emanuel Downing, who landed in Salem, Massachusetts in 1638
  • George Downing, who arrived in New England in 1642
  • Wm Downing, who arrived in Virginia in 1647


Downing Settlers in United States in the 18th Century


  • Eliza Downing, who arrived in Virginia in 1703
  • Anthony Downing, who arrived in Virginia in 1703
  • Jone Downing, who landed in Virginia in 1705
  • Geo Downing, who landed in Virginia in 1714
  • Elizabeth, Downing Jr., who arrived in Virginia in 1717

Downing Settlers in United States in the 19th Century


  • Elizabeth Downing, who landed in New York in 1844
  • W B Downing, who landed in San Francisco, California in 1850
  • W R Downing, who arrived in San Francisco, California in 1850
  • E W Downing, who landed in San Francisco, California in 1850
  • J Downing, who arrived in San Francisco, California in 1851


Downing Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century


  • Henry Downing, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1750
  • Joseph Downing, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1750
  • Ms. Sarah Doyle U.E. who settled in Canada c. 1786

Downing Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century


  • Francis Downing, who landed in Quebec in 1820
  • Thomas Downing, aged 27, a labourer, arrived in Saint John, NB in 1834 aboard the brig "Thomas Hanford" from Cork
  • Daniel Downing, aged 30, a labourer, arrived in Saint John, NB in 1837 aboard the brig "Thetis" from Cork

Downing Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century


  • H Downing landed in Sydney, Australia in 1839
  • David Downing arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Moffatt" in 1839
  • Margaret Downing arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Moffatt" in 1839
  • James Downing, aged 21, a labourer, arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "British Empire" in 1850
  • John Downing, aged 29, a labourer, arrived in South Australia in 1850 aboard the ship "Fatima"


Downing Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century


  • Ellen Downing, aged 22, arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "London" in 1840
  • Honore Downing arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "African" in 1860
  • Ellen Downing arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "African" in 1860
  • William Downing arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Phoenix" in 1860
  • James Downing arrived in Lyttelton, New Zealand aboard the ship "Caroline Coventry" in 1869


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  • Burton Downing (1885-1929), American two time gold, three time sliver and one time bronze Olympic medalist for cycling at the 1904 Summer Games
  • Wilfred "Will" Downing (b. 1963), American singer-songwriter and producer
  • Brian Jay Downing (b. 1950), American former Major League Baseball player
  • Alphonso Erwin "Al" Downing (b. 1941), American former Major League Baseball pitcher
  • Andrew Jackson Downing (1815-1852), American landscape designer, horticulturalist, and writer
  • Paul Michael Downing (b. 1991), English footballer
  • Keith Gordon Downing (b. 1965), English former footballer
  • Kenneth "K. K." Downing Jr. (b. 1951), English Grammy Award winning guitarist, songwriter, founding member of the band Judas Priest
  • Stewart Downing (b. 1984), English footballer
  • Russell Downing (b. 1978), English cycling road-racer, the British national road race champion in 2005

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  • The Downings of Europe and America, 1273-1973 by Anna May Cochrane Gregath.
  • Thaddeus K. Smith and Bertah Heyne: Their Ancestors and Descendants, Including the Families of Bard, Downing, and Veach by Margaret E. Herrick.
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  1. Papworth, J.W and A.W Morant. Ordinary of British Armorials. London: T.Richards, 1874. Print.
  2. Sanders, Joanne McRee Edition. English Settlers in Barbados 1637-1800. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  3. Filby, P. William and Mary K Meyer. Passenger and Immigration Lists Index in Four Volumes. Detroit: Gale Research, 1985. Print. (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8).
  4. Leeson, Francis L. Dictionary of British Peerages. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1986. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-1121-5).
  5. Elster, Robert J. International Who's Who. London: Europa/Routledge. Print.
  6. Hitching, F.K and S. Hitching. References to English Surnames in 1601-1602. Walton On Thames: 1910. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0181-3).
  7. Best, Hugh. Debrett's Texas Peerage. New York: Coward-McCann, 1983. Print. (ISBN 069811244X).
  8. Shirley, Evelyn Philip. Noble and Gentle Men of England Or Notes Touching The Arms and Descendants of the Ancient Knightley and Gentle Houses of England Arranged in their Respective Counties 3rd Edition. Westminster: John Bowyer Nichols and Sons, 1866. Print.
  9. Burke, Sir Bernard. Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Peerage and Baronetage, The Privy Council, Knightage and Compainonage. London: Burke Publishing, 1921. Print.
  10. Le Patourel, John. The Norman Empire. New York: Oxford University Press, 1976. Print. (ISBN 0-19-822525-3).
  11. ...

The Downing Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Downing 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 1 August 2015 at 10:46.

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