Anglo-Saxon culture. The name Downstin comes from when the family lived near a stony hill. Downstin is derived from two Old English elements: dun and stan. Dun was a word for hill, and stan meant "stony." The translation of the name is therefore "stony hill." It is also possible that the name is patronymic; that is, derived from the name of a parent. Dunstan was a popular given name in England in the Middle Ages.
Early Origins of the Downstin family
Cornwall where they held a family seat from very ancient times. The earliest reference of the name was of Dunstan (c.909 - 988,) who was an Abbot of Glastonbury, a Bishop of Worcester, a Bishop of London, and an Archbishop of Canterbury. He was later canonized as a saint. Durston is a village and civil parish in Somerset that dates back to the Domesday Books where it lists Roger Arundel as originally holding the land but later passed to William de Arlegh who founded the priory of Buckland Sororum (also known as Buckland Priory) in about 1167. The market-town and parish of Shiffnall in Shropshire was home to another branch of the family. "This place, formerly called Idsall, appears to have been of greater note than it is at present. It belonged to Earl Morcar prior to the Conquest, and at a period considerably later was the property of the family of Dunstanville, one of whom, Walter de Dunstanville, by the special command of Henry III., resided in the Marches, to protect them against the ravaging incursions of the Welsh. The estate afterwards came into the possession of the Badlesmeres, who obtained from Edward I. a market for two days in the week, and two yearly fairs." CITATION[CLOSE]
Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
Early History of the Downstin family
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Downstin Spelling Variations
One relatively recent invention that did much to standardize English spelling was the printing press. However, before its invention even the most literate people recorded their names according to sound rather than spelling. The spelling variations under which the name Downstin has appeared include Dunstan, Dunston, Dunstone, Dunstane, Donston, Dunstavill and many more.
Early Notables of the Downstin family (pre 1700)
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Migration of the Downstin family to the New World and Oceana
At this time, the shores of the New World beckoned many English families that felt that the social climate in England was oppressive and lacked opportunity for change. Thousands left England at great expense in ships that were overcrowded and full of disease. A great portion of these settlers never survived the journey and even a greater number arrived sick, starving, and without a penny. The survivors, however, were often greeted with greater opportunity than they could have experienced back home. These English settlers made significant contributions to those colonies that would eventually become the United States and Canada. An examination of early immigration records and passenger ship lists revealed that people bearing the name Downstin arrived in North America very early: Andrew Dunston who settled in Virginia with his wife Cicely in 1653; William Dunston settled in Virginia in 1654; Anne Dunstan settled in Maryland in 1741.
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