Dunham History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms
The ancestry of the name Dunham dates from the ancient Anglo-Saxon culture of Britain. It comes from when the family lived 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 Dunham family
The surname Dunham 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." 
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 Dunham family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Dunham research. Another 153 words (11 lines of text) covering the years 1190, 1332, 1511, 1577, 1561, 1577, 1579, 1634, 1561, 1585 and 1652 are included under the topic Early Dunham History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Dunham Spelling Variations
Spelling variations in names were a common occurrence before English spelling was standardized a few hundred years ago. In the Middle Ages, even the literate spelled their names differently as the English language incorporated elements of French, Latin, and other European languages. Many variations of the name Dunham have been found, including Dunham, Dunnam, Downham, Dounham, Downnam and others.
Early Notables of the Dunham family (pre 1700)
Distinguished members of the family include William Downham (1511-1577) chaplain to Princess Elizabeth, Bishop of Chester (1561-1577.)
William Damon or Daman was one of Queen Elizabeth's musicians and is probably the earliest composer who set the Psalms in the vernacular to part-music. His work appeared first in 1579, printed by John Day. 
George Downham or Downame (d. 1634), was...
Another 58 words (4 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Dunham Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
In the United States, the name Dunham is the 1,330th most popular surname with an estimated 22,383 people with that name. 
Migration of the Dunham family to Ireland
Some of the Dunham 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 and printed products wherever possible.
| Dunham migration to the United States ||+|
Families began migrating abroad in enormous numbers because of the political and religious discontent in England. Often faced with persecution and starvation in England, the possibilities of the New World attracted many English people. Although the ocean trips took many lives, those who did get to North America were instrumental in building the necessary groundwork for what would become for new powerful nations. Some of the first immigrants to cross the Atlantic and come to North America bore the name Dunham, or a variant listed above:
Dunham Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
- John Dunham of Plymouth who in 1633 purchased land at Dartmouth
- Robert Dunham, who arrived in Virginia in 1650 
- Thomas Dunham, who landed in Virginia in 1650 
- John Dunham of Barnstable settled in America in 1655
Dunham Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
- John Dunham, who arrived in Maryland in 1747 
Dunham Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
- Henry Dunham, aged 32, who landed in New York in 1812 
- Ann Dunham, who arrived in New York in 1836 
- John S Dunham, who arrived in San Francisco, California in 1849 
- B T Dunham, who landed in San Francisco, California in 1850 
- E Dunham, who arrived in San Francisco, California in 1851 
- ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
| Dunham migration to Canada ||+|
Some of the first settlers of this family name were:
Dunham Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
- Ms. Mary Dunlap U.E. who arrived at Port Roseway [Shelburne], Nova Scotia on October 26, 1783 was passenger number 331 aboard the ship "HMS Clinton", picked up on September 28, 1783 at Staten Island, New York 
- Mr. Benjamin Dunn U.E. who settled in Belle Vue, Beaver Harboutr, Charlotte County, New Brunswick c. 1783 
- Mr. Daniel Dunham U.E. (b. 1730) born in Woodstock, New Jersey, USA who settled in Saint John, New Brunswick c. 1784 married to Catharine Campbell c. 1746 they had 6 children he died before 1821 
- Mr. David Elson Dunham U.E. who settled in Canada c. 1784 
- Mr. Isaac Dunham U.E. who settled in Saint John, New Brunswick c. 1784 
- ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Dunham Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
- William Dunham, who arrived in Canada in 1836
- Alfred Dunham, who landed in Esquimalt, British Columbia in 1862
| Dunham migration to Australia ||+|
Emigration to Australia
followed the First Fleets
of convicts, tradespeople and early settlers. Early immigrants include:
Dunham Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
- Mr. John Dunham, (b. 1817), aged 20, English groom who was convicted in Lincoln, Lincolnshire, England for life for theft, transported aboard the "Elphinstone" on 27th May 1837, arriving in Tasmania (Van Diemen's Land) 
| Dunham 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:
Dunham Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
- Miss Mary Dunham, (b. 1863), aged 10 months, British settler travelling aboard the ship "Amoor" arriving in Lyttleton, South Island, New Zealand on 1st July 1864 
- Ms Elizabeth Dunham, (b. 1836), aged 28, British settler travelling aboard the ship "Amoor" arriving in Lyttleton, South Island, New Zealand on 1st July 1864 
- Mr. William Dunham, (b. 1860), aged 4, British settler travelling aboard the ship "Amoor" arriving in Lyttleton, South Island, New Zealand on 1st July 1864 
- Mr. Frederick Dunham, (b. 1862), aged 2, British settler travelling aboard the ship "Amoor" arriving in Lyttleton, South Island, New Zealand on 1st July 1864 
|Contemporary Notables of the name Dunham (post 1700) ||+|
- Stanley Ann Dunham (1942-1995), American anthropologist, mother of Barack Obama, the 44th President of the United States
- Jeffrey "Jeff" Dunham (b. 1962), American ventriloquist and stand-up comedian; Forbes.com ranked him as the third highest-paid comedian in the United States (2008-2009)
- Katherine Dunham (1910-2006), American dancer and choreographer
- Ransom Williams Dunham (1838-1896), American politician, U.S. Representative from Illinois (1883-1889)
- Michael Dunham (b. 1972), retired American professional ice hockey goaltender, current goal-tending coach for the New York Islanders
- Mark Wentworth Dunham (1842-1899), American importer and breeder of horses
- Lena Dunham (b. 1986), American filmmaker and four-time Emmy Award and two-time Golden Globe nominated actress
- Jonathan Singletary Dunham (1640-1724), American settler of Woodbridge, New Jersey, who built the first gristmill in New Jersey
- Jason Lee Dunham (1981-2004), American Corporal in the United States Marine Corps, eponym of the destroyer USS Jason Dunham (DDG-109)
- Cyrus Livingston Dunham (1817-1877), American Civil War Colonel, U.S. Representative from Indiana (1849-1855)
- ... (Another 48 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
|Historic Events for the Dunham family ||+|
Grover Shoe factory
- Miss Florence A. Dunham (b. 1886), American book keeper at the Grover Shoe factory in Brockton, Massachusetts on 20th March 1905 when the boiler exploded and collapsed the wooden building; she died 
- Mr. Elmer Marvin Dunham, American Seaman First Class working aboard the ship "USS Arizona" when she sunk during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on 7th December 1941, he died in the sinking 
|Suggested Readings for the name Dunham ||+|
- The Dunhams of Callaway: A Genealogical History by Ray Fields Dawson.
- Fuller-Dunham Genealogy: From Edward Fuller of the Mayflower Robert Wallace Dunham.
- Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
- Smith, George (ed), Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1885-1900. Print
- "What are the 5,000 Most Common Last Names in the U.S.?". NameCensus.com, https://namecensus.com/last-names/
- 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)
- Rubincam, Milton. The Old United Empire Loyalists List. Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc, 1976. (Originally published as; United Empire Loyalists. The Centennial of the Settlement of Upper Canada. Rose Publishing Company, 1885.) ISBN 0-8063-0331-X
- Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 18th March 2022). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/elphinstone
- New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 17th October 2018). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
- California Digital Newspaper from 21st March 1905 (retrieved on 5th August 2021.) Retrieved from https://cdnc.ucr.edu/?a=d&d=SFC19050321.2.19&e=-------en--20--1--txt-txIN--------1
- Pearl Harbour: USS Arizona Casualties List Pearl Harbour December 7, 1941. (Retrieved 2018, July 31st). Retrieved from http://pearl-harbor.com/arizona/casualtylist.html