The ancestors of the name Downnam date back to the days of the Anglo-Saxon
tribes of Britain. The name is derived from their residence in the parish of Dunham, in the county of Norfolk
. The place-name is made up of two old English elements: dun,
which is a word for hill; and ham,
which means home. The translation of the name is home on the hill.
Early Origins of the Downnam family
The surname Downnam was first found in Norfolk
at Downham Market, often referred to as Downham, a town and civil parish. The place dates back to c. 1050 and was listed later in 1086 in the Domesday Book
as Dunham. However, there are several more listings of the place name including Little Downham in Cambridgeshire
, Downham, Lancashire
and Downham, Essex
. Wilmslow in Cheshire
was an ancient family seat
for the family. "The church is a handsome and very ancient structure in the decorated and later English styles, with a square tower; it comprises a nave, chancel, and two aisles, of which the east end of one and the west end of the other are inclosed as sepulchral chapels, for the families of Dunham and Trafford." CITATION[CLOSE]
Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
Downham Estate is a housing estate in Downham, south east London named in honour of Lord Downham, who was chairman of the London County Council between 1919-1920. Downham Hall is an English country house in Downham, Lancashire
, but this estate was never held by anyone with the family name.
Early History of the Downnam family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Downnam research.Another 305 words (22 lines of text) covering the years 1190, 1332, 1511, 1577, 1561 and 1577 are included under the topic Early Downnam History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Downnam Spelling Variations
Downnam has been spelled many different ways. 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. Many variations of the name Downnam have been found, including Dunham, Dunnam, Downham, Dounham, Downnam and others.
Early Notables of the Downnam family (pre 1700)
Another 16 words (1 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Downnam Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the Downnam family to Ireland
Some of the Downnam family moved to Ireland
, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.Another 37 words (3 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the Downnam family to the New World and Oceana
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 Downnams to arrive on North American shores: John Dunham of Plymouth who in 1633 purchased land at Dartmouth. Later John Dunham of Barnstable settled in 1655. By 1850 the Dunham name had reached as far west as San Francisco..