Dunnet History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms 

The Dunnet surname is a habitational name, taken on from Downhead in Somerset, or Donhead in Wiltshire. These place names both derived from the Old English words "dun," meaning "hill," and "he-afod," meaning the geographic "head" of land. There was also a place so named in Caithness, Scotland.

Early Origins of the Dunnet family

The surname Dunnet was first found in Wiltshire. Originally from Normandy, the name was originally spelt Dannet, for De Anet or D'Alneto. D'Alnai is mentioned at the Battle of Hastings (Wace) as 'Sire d'Alnai.' [1]

Important Dates for the Dunnet family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Dunnet research. Another 278 words (20 lines of text) covering the years 1246, 1296, 1500, 1577, 1648 and 1663 are included under the topic Early Dunnet History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Dunnet Spelling Variations

Until quite recently, the English language has lacked a definite system of spelling rules. Consequently, Anglo-Saxon surnames are characterized by a multitude of spelling variations. Changes in Anglo-Saxon names were influenced by the evolution of the English language, as it incorporated elements of French, Latin, and other languages. Although Medieval scribes and church officials recorded names as they sounded, so it is common to find one person referred to by several different spellings of his surname, even the most literate people varied the spelling of their own names. Variations of the name Dunnet include Dunnett, Dunnet, Donnatt, Donnat, Downett, Downatt, Dunett, Dunet, Donnett and many more.

Early Notables of the Dunnet family (pre 1700)

More information is included under the topic Early Dunnet Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Dunnet migration to the United States

Searching for a better life, many English families migrated to British colonies. Unfortunately, the majority of them traveled under extremely harsh conditions: overcrowding on the ships caused the majority of the immigrants to arrive diseased, famished, and destitute from the long journey across the ocean. For those families that arrived safely, modest prosperity was attainable, and many went on to make invaluable contributions to the development of the cultures of the new colonies. Research into the origins of individual families in North America revealed records of the immigration of a number of people bearing the name Dunnet or a variant listed above:

Dunnet Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • John Dunnet who settled in America in 1772

Dunnet 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:

Dunnet Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Mathew Dunnet, aged 36, a labourer, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Blenheim" in 1840
  • Margaret Dunnet, aged 33, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Blenheim" in 1840
  • John Dunnet, aged 7, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Blenheim" in 1840
  • Janet Dunnet, aged 4, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Blenheim" in 1840
  • Mr. Mathew Dunnet, (b. 1853), aged 24, Scottish settler travelling from Glasgow aboard the ship "Marlborough" arriving in Bluff, South Island, New Zealand on 4th November 1877 [2]

Contemporary Notables of the name Dunnet (post 1700)

  • George Mackenzie Dunnet (1928-1995), Scottish Professor of Natural History at the University of Aberdeen

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Citations

  1. ^ 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)
  2. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 17th October 2018). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
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