Downs History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Throughout history, very few Irish surnames have exclusively maintained their original forms. Before being translated into English, Downs appeared as O Dubhain, where the first portion of the word is dubh, which means black, and the second portion is probably derived from some obsolete Irish personal name.

Early Origins of the Downs family

The surname Downs was first found in County Sligo (Irish: Sligeach), in the province of Connacht in Northwestern Ireland, from very ancient times.

Early History of the Downs family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Downs research. Another 190 words (14 lines of text) covering the years 1612, 1679, 1675, 1549, 1628, 1735, 1727, 1735, 1724, 1727, 1720, 1724, 1717 and 1720 are included under the topic Early Downs History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Downs Spelling Variations

A name was often recorded during the Middle Ages under several different spelling variations during the life of its bearer because literacy was rare there was no real push to clearly define any of the languages found in the British Isles at that time. Variations found of the name Downs include Downs, Down, Downe, Downes and others.

Early Notables of the Downs family (pre 1700)

Notable among the family name at this time was William Ducie (c. 1612-1679), created 1st Viscount Downe in 1675; Andrew Downes, also known as Dounaeus, (c.1549-1628), English classical scholar, one of the seven translators of the...
Another 35 words (2 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Downs Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Downs migration to the United States +

Death and immigration greatly reduced Ireland's population in the 19th century. For the native Irish people poverty, hunger, and racial prejudice was common. Therefore, thousands left their homeland to seek opportunity in North America. Those who survived the journey and the quarantine camps to which they arrived, were instrumental towards building the strong developing nations of the United States and the future Canada. By far, the largest influx of Irish settlers occurred with Great Potato Famine during the late 1840s. These were employed as construction or factory workers. An examination of passenger and immigration lists has shown early immigrants bearing the name Downs:

Downs Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • James Downs, aged 30, who arrived in New York, NY in 1803 [1]
  • Thomas Downs, who arrived in America in 1807 [1]
  • Richard M Downs, who landed in Mississippi in 1841 [1]
  • Timothy Downs, who landed in Vermont in 1848 [1]
  • C H Downs, who landed in San Francisco, California in 1851 [1]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Canada Downs migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Downs Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • Mary Downs, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1809

Australia Downs migration to Australia +

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

Downs Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Mr. John Downs, British Convict who was convicted in York, England for 15 years, transported aboard the "Asia" on 25th April 1840, arriving in Tasmania ( Van Diemen's Land) [2]
  • Eliza Downs, English convict from York, who was transported aboard the "Angelina" on April 25, 1844, settling in Van Diemen's Land, Australia [3]
  • George Downs, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Stebonheath" in 1849 [4]
  • William Downs, aged 53, a shoemaker, who arrived in South Australia in 1853 aboard the ship "Epaminondas" [5]
  • John Downs, aged 17, a shoemaker, who arrived in South Australia in 1853 aboard the ship "Epaminondas" [5]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

New Zealand Downs 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:

Downs Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Miss Mary Downs, (b. 1857), aged 10 months, English settler from Worksop travelling from Gravesend aboard the ship "Zealandia" arriving in Lyttelton, Christchurch, South Island, New Zealand on 21st September 1858 [6]
  • Mr. John Downs, (b. 1826), aged 32, English farm labourer from Worksop travelling from Gravesend aboard the ship "Zealandia" arriving in Lyttelton, Christchurch, South Island, New Zealand on 21st September 1858 [6]
  • Mrs. Sarah Downs, (b. 1829), aged 29, English settler from Worksop travelling from Gravesend aboard the ship "Zealandia" arriving in Lyttelton, Christchurch, South Island, New Zealand on 21st September 1858 [6]
  • Mr. Henry Downs, (b. 1854), aged 4, English settler from Worksop travelling from Gravesend aboard the ship "Zealandia" arriving in Lyttelton, Christchurch, South Island, New Zealand on 21st September 1858 [6]
  • Clarles J. Downs, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Queen of Beauty" in 1863
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Contemporary Notables of the name Downs (post 1700) +

  • Hugh Malcolm Downs (1921-2020), American Emmy Award winning broadcaster, television host, producer, and author, served as anchor of 20/20, host of The Today Show
  • Bill Downs (1914-1978), American broadcast journalist for CBS Radio, one of Murrow's Boys
  • Deidre Downs (b. 1980), American beauty pageant contestant and winner of Miss America 2005
  • Brigadier-General Sylvester DeWitt Jr. Downs (1889-1957), American Deputy Chief of Staff, IX Corps (1945) [7]
  • Scott Jeremy Downs (b. 1978), American Major League Baseball player
  • Johnny Downs (1913-1994), American actor
  • Wilbur George Downs (1913-1991), American naturalist and virologist
  • Bertis Downs (b. 1956), American musician
  • Benjamin Downs, American Democrat politician, Candidate for Illinois State Senate 37th District, 1938 [8]
  • Arthur W. Downs, American Republican politician, Candidate for U.S. Representative from Maryland 7th District, 1968 [8]
  • ... (Another 47 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)


Suggested Readings for the name Downs +

  • 916 "The Downs Family of Virginia, Ohio & Indiana" by George Gilbert McCarthy.

  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. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 17th January 2020). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/asia/1840
  3. ^ State Library of Queensland. (Retrieved 2014, November 27) Angelina voyage to Van Diemen's Land, Australia in 1844 with 171 passengers. Retrieved from http://www.convictrecords.com.au/ships/angelina/1844
  4. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) STEBONHEATH 1849. Retrieved from http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1849Stebonheath.htm
  5. ^ South Australian Register Monday 26th December 1853. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) Epaminondas 1853. Retrieved http://www.theshipslist.com/ships/australia/epaminondas1853.shtml.
  6. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 26th March 2019). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
  7. ^ Generals of World War II. (Retrieved 2012, January 24) Sylvester Downs. Retrieved from http://generals.dk/general/Downs/Sylvester_DeWitt_Jr./USA.html
  8. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2016, January 22) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html


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