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The ancestors of the first family to use the name Duncan lived among the Pictish people of ancient Scotland. The name Duncan comes from the Gaelic Donnchad, Duncha, Donnachadh and others which literally means brown warrior.

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The surname Duncan was first found in Forfarshire part of the Tayside region of North Eastern Scotland, and present day Council Area of Angus, where the Clan has a long and distinguished history dating back to before 1000 AD. They claim descent from Dunchad, the 11th Abbott of Iona who died in 717. He was also the progenitor of the Robertsons. On their maternal side, they are related to King Duncan of Scotland who was killed by MacBeth. The Robertsons or Clan Donnachaidh derive their name and ancestry from Fat Duncan (Donnchadh Reamhar) who was chief of the Clan at the time of Robert the Bruce and led the clan at the Battle of Bannockburn in 1314.

In medieval Scotland, names were more often spelled according to sound than any regular set of rules. An enormous number of spelling variations were the result. Over the years, the name Duncan has been spelled Duncan, Dunecan, Dunkan, Junkan, Junkin, Duncans, Dunkans, Dunckane, Dunkane, Dunekan, Duncin, Duncen, Duncine, Junken and many more.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Duncan research. Another 151 words (11 lines of text) covering the years 1451, 1703, 1745, 1649, 1735, 1731, 1804, 1800 and are included under the topic Early Duncan History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

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Notable amongst the Clan at this time was Daniel Duncan (1649-1735) French-born, Scottish physician, Huguenot by religion, known as a writer of iatrochemical works; and Adam Duncan (1731-1804), who entered the Royal Navy...

Another 33 words (2 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Duncan Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

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Some of the Duncan family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 129 words (9 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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In such difficult times, Ireland, Australia, and North America looked like better homes for many Scots. The trips were expensive and grueling, but also rewarding, as the colonies were havens for those unwelcome in the old country. That legacy did not die easily, though, and many were forced to fight for their freedom in the American War of Independence. The Scottish legacy has resurface in more recent times, though, through clan societies, highland games, and other organizations. Immigration and passenger lists have shown many early immigrants bearing the old Scottish name of Duncan:

Duncan Settlers in United States in the 17th Century

  • Nathanial Duncan settled in Nantasket in 1630 with Peter his brother
  • Nathaniel Duncan, who arrived in Dorchester, Massachusetts in 1635

Duncan Settlers in United States in the 18th Century

  • Ester Duncan, who landed in Virginia in 1700
  • John Duncan settled in New Hampshire in 1716
  • David Duncan who settled in New Hampshire in 1718
  • George Duncan settled in Georgia in 1737
  • Isaac Duncan, who landed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1767
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Duncan Settlers in United States in the 19th Century

  • Samuel Duncan, who landed in Pennsylvania in 1803-1827
  • Thomas Duncan, who landed in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1808
  • Margaret Duncan, who arrived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1811
  • Daniel Duncan, aged 28, landed in New York in 1812
  • Alexander Duncan, who landed in America in 1820
  • ...

Duncan Settlers in United States in the 20th Century

  • William Duncan, who landed in Arkansas in 1904

Duncan Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century

  • John Duncan, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1749
  • John Duncan, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1750
  • Martha Duncan, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1750
  • Rebecka Duncan, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1750
  • David Duncan, who migrated from Aberdeen to New Brunswick in 1773
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Duncan Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century

  • David Duncan from Fife to Ontario in 1815
  • Thomas Duncan, aged 40, a labourer, arrived in Quebec aboard the ship "Dorothy" in 1815
  • Isobel Duncan, aged 9, arrived in Quebec aboard the ship "Dorothy" in 1815
  • Thomas Duncan, aged 5, arrived in Quebec aboard the ship "Dorothy" in 1815
  • Donald Duncan, aged 2, arrived in Quebec aboard the ship "Dorothy" in 1815
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Duncan Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century

  • William Forbes Duncan, Scottish convict from Aberdeen, who was transported aboard the "Asia" on July 29th, 1823, settling in Van Diemen's Land, Australia
  • George Duncan, Scottish convict from Perth, who was transported aboard the "Andromeda" on October 16, 1826, settling in Van Diemen's Land, Australia
  • John Duncan, English convict from Essex, who was transported aboard the "Arab" on February 22, 1834, settling in Van Diemen's Land, Austraila
  • John Duncan a seaman, arrived in Kangaroo Island aboard the ship "Rapid" in 1836
  • James Duncan arrived in Glenelg Roads aboard the ship "Pestonjee Bomanjee" in 1838
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Duncan Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century

  • A Duncan landed in Wellington, New Zealand in 1840 aboard the ship "Royal Merchant"
  • J Duncan landed in Wellington, New Zealand in 1840 aboard the ship "Royal Merchant"
  • M. J. Duncan landed in Otago, New Zealand in 1840
  • Andrew Duncan arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Bengal Merchant" in 1840
  • John Duncan, aged 2, arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Bengal Merchant" in 1840
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  • Lois Duncan Steinmetz (1934-2016), known as Lois Duncan, an American writer of children's books, she received the 1992 Margaret Edwards Award from the American Library Association for her contribution in writing for teens
  • Donnie Duncan (1940-2016), American football coach and college athletics administrator, 26th head football coach for the Iowa State University Cyclones (1979-1982)
  • John Bowman Duncan (1923-2016), American actor, best known for his role as "Robin" in the 1949 serial Batman and Robin and for his roles in The East Side Kids, The Bowery Boys Mystery of the 13th Guest
  • Raymond Twomey "Ray" Duncan (1930-2015), American entrepreneur and vintner, co-founder of Silver Oak Cellars in 1972, inducted into the Colorado Ski and Snowboard Hall of Fame in 2006
  • Michael Clarke Duncan (1957-2012), American Academy Award and a Golden Globe nominated actor, best known for his role as John Coffey in The Green Mile
  • Brigadier-General Early Edward Walters Duncan (1894-1966), American Commanding General Iceland Base Command (1944-1953)
  • General Brigadier Asa North Duncan (1892-1942), American Chief of Staff of the Eighth Air Force, Savannah Air Base, Georgia (1942)
  • Max Duncan, American Democrat politician, Alternate Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Kentucky, 1956
  • Mike Duncan, American Republican politician, Delegate to Republican National Convention from Kentucky, 2004
  • Milton V. Duncan, American politician, Mayor of Lompoc, California, 1944-46
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Duncan Historic Events



Empress of Ireland

  • Mr. James Duncan (1873-2014), English First Class Passenger from London, England, United Kingdom who survived the sinking on the Empress of Ireland on May 29th 2014

HMAS Sydney II

  • Mr. Emmanuel Robert Thomas Duncan (1918-1941), Australian Supply Assistant from South Preston, Victoria, Australia, who sailed into battle aboard HMAS Sydney II on the 19th November 1941 and died during the sinking

HMS Repulse

  • Mr. Daniel Duncan, British Able Bodied Seaman, who sailed into battle on the HMS Repulse and survived the sinking
  • Mr. Samuel George Duncan (1923-1943), Irish Marine from Stewartstown, County Tyrone, Ireland, who sailed into battle on the HMS Repulse and survived the sinking, died whilst a Prisoner of War in 1943

RMS Lusitania

  • Mr. Alexander Duncan, English Junior 2nd Engineer from England, who worked aboard the RMS Lusitania and survived the sinking
  • Mr. Peter Robinson Duncan, English Senior 4th Engineer from Walton, Liverpool, England, who worked aboard the RMS Lusitania and died in the sinking
  • Miss Christina Campbell Duncan, English Stewardess from England, who worked aboard the RMS Lusitania and died in the sinking
  • Mr. Robert Henry Duncan, English First Senior 3rd Engineer from Walton, Liverpool, England, who worked aboard the RMS Lusitania and survived the sinking
  • Mrs. Duncan, Canadian 2nd Class passenger from Montréal, Quebec, Canada, who sailed aboard the RMS Lusitania and survived the sinking
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  • Brown-Duncan and Associated Families: Kittery, Maine, Piscataqua and New Castle, N.H. by Hazel May Standeven.
  • The Duncan Family: Memories and More by B.J. Rone.
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The motto was originally a war cry or slogan. Mottoes first began to be shown with arms in the 14th and 15th centuries, but were not in general use until the 17th century. Thus the oldest coats of arms generally do not include a motto. Mottoes seldom form part of the grant of arms: Under most heraldic authorities, a motto is an optional component of the coat of arms, and can be added to or changed at will; many families have chosen not to display a motto.

Motto: Disce pati
Motto Translation: Learn to suffer.

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Duncan Clan Badge
Duncan Clan Badge

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A clan is a social group made up of a number of distinct branch-families that actually descended from, or accepted themselves as descendants of, a common ancestor. The word clan means simply children. The idea of the clan as a community is necessarily based around this idea of heredity and is most often ruled according to a patriarchal structure. For instance, the clan chief represented the hereditary "parent" of the entire clan. The most prominent example of this form of society is the Scottish Clan system...

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Septs of the Distinguished Name Duncan
Docan, Docand, Docane, Docant, Docen, Docend, Docent, Docind, Docint, Docyn, Docynd, Dokan, Dokand, Dokane, Dokant, Doken, Dokend, Dokent, Dokind, Dokint, Dokyn, Dokynd, Duncan, Duncand, Duncane, Duncannon, Duncanon, Duncans, Duncanson, Duncant, Duncason, Duncen, Duncend, Duncent, Dunceson, Dunchad, Duncin, Duncind, Duncine, Duncing, Duncink, Duncinson, Duncint, Dunckan, Dunckand, Dunckane, Dunckans, Dunckant, Duncken, Dunckend and more.

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Citations



    Other References

    1. Scarlett, James D. Tartan The Highland Textile. London: Shepheard-Walwyn, 1990. Print. (ISBN 0-85683-120-4).
    2. Black, George F. The Surnames of Scotland Their Origin, Meaning and History. New York: New York Public Library, 1946. Print. (ISBN 0-87104-172-3).
    3. Holt, J.C. Ed. Domesday Studies. Woodbridge: Boydell, 1987. Print. (ISBN 0-85115-477-8).
    4. Urquhart, Blair Edition. Tartans The New Compact Study Guide and Identifier. Secauccus, NJ: Chartwell Books, 1994. Print. (ISBN 0-7858-0050-6).
    5. Robb H. Amanda and Andrew Chesler. Encyclopedia of American Family Names. New York: Haper Collins, 1995. Print. (ISBN 0-06-270075-8).
    6. Paul, Sir James Balfour. An Ordinary of Arms Contained in the Public Register of All Arms and Bearings in Scotland Second Edition. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1903. Print.
    7. 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).
    8. Donaldson, Gordon and Robert S. Morpeth. Who's Who In Scotish History. Wales: Welsh Academic Press, 1996. Print. (ISBN 186057-0054).
    9. Matthews, John. Matthews' American Armoury and Blue Book. London: John Matthews, 1911. Print.
    10. Bell, Robert. The Book of Ulster Surnames. Belfast: Blackstaff, 1988. Print. (ISBN 10-0856404160).
    11. ...

    The Duncan Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Duncan 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 15 July 2016 at 13:06.

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