Show ContentsDunning History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The name Dunning is part of the ancient legacy of the Anglo-Saxon tribes of Britain. It is a product of when the family lived in the region of Dunning in the lower part of Strathearn. Today Dunning is the process of communicating with customers to ensure the collection of accounts receivable derived from the 17th century verb "dun," meaning to demand payment of a debt.

Early Origins of the Dunning family

The surname Dunning was first found in Shropshire where they held a family seat from very early times.

Early History of the Dunning family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Dunning research. Another 243 words (17 lines of text) covering the years 1086, 1199, 1200, 1234, 1437, 1440, 1514 and 1782 are included under the topic Early Dunning History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Dunning Spelling Variations

The first dictionaries that appeared in the last few hundred years did much to standardize the English language. Before that time, spelling variations in names were a common occurrence. The language was changing, incorporating pieces of other languages, and the spelling of names changed with it. Dunning has been spelled many different ways, including Dunning, Dunnings, Douning, Downing, Dunnin and many more.

Early Notables of the Dunning family

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

Dunning Ranking

In the United States, the name Dunning is the 2,911st most popular surname with an estimated 9,948 people with that name. 1

Ireland Migration of the Dunning family to Ireland

Some of the Dunning 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.

United States Dunning migration to the United States +

Thousands of English families in this era began to emigrate the New World in search of land and freedom from religious and political persecution. Although the passage was expensive and the ships were dark, crowded, and unsafe, those who made the voyage safely were rewarded with opportunities unavailable to them in their homeland. Research into passenger and immigration lists has revealed some of the very first Dunnings to arrive in North America:

Dunning Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Theophilus Dunning, who landed in Salem, Massachusetts in 1642 2
  • Sarah Dunning, who made her home in Virginia in 1650
  • Hen Dunning, who arrived in Virginia in 1664 2
  • James Dunning, who arrived in Maryland in 1668 2
Dunning Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Andrew Dunning, who landed in New England in 1717 2
  • David Dunning, who landed in Boston, Massachusetts in 1718 2
  • Elizabeth Dunning, who landed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1740 2
  • Samuel Dunning, who arrived in America in 1760-1763 2
  • John Dunning, 24, settled in the fishing community of Fort Cumberland in 1774
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Dunning Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Hugh Dunning, who arrived in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1840 2
  • Patrick Dunning, who arrived in Charleston, South Carolina in 1842 2
  • William Dunning, who arrived in Mississippi in 1843 2
  • Charles Dunning, who arrived in Mississippi in 1844 2
  • E Dunning, who arrived in San Francisco, California in 1850 2
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Canada Dunning migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Dunning Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
  • John Dunning, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1774
  • John Dunning, aged 24, who arrived in Fort Cumberland, Nova Scotia in 1774
Dunning Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • Henry Dunning, who landed in Canada in 1830
  • Daniel Duncan Dunning, who arrived in Canada in 1832

Australia Dunning migration to Australia +

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

Dunning Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Mr. George Dunning, (Dunhill), English convict who was convicted in East Riding, Yorkshire, England for 7 years, transported aboard the "Dromedary" on 11th September 1819, arriving in Tasmania (Van Diemen's Land), he was executed in 1827 3
  • Mr. George Dunning, (b. 1800), aged 29, English ploughman who was convicted in Chester, Cheshire, England for 7 years for stealing, transported aboard the "Bussorah Merchant" on 1st October 1829, arriving in Tasmania (Van Diemen's Land) 4
  • Mr. John Dunning, English convict who was convicted in London, England for life, transported aboard the "Canton" on 20th September 1839, arriving in Tasmania (Van Diemen's Land) 5
  • Samuel Andrew Dunning, aged 24, a bricklayer, who arrived in South Australia in 1854 aboard the ship "Dirigo" 6

West Indies Dunning migration to West Indies +

The British first settled the British West Indies around 1604. They made many attempts but failed in some to establish settlements on the Islands including Saint Lucia and Grenada. By 1627 they had managed to establish settlements on St. Kitts (St. Christopher) and Barbados, but by 1641 the Spanish had moved in and destroyed some of these including those at Providence Island. The British continued to expand the settlements including setting the First Federation in the British West Indies by 1674; some of the islands include Barbados, Bermuda, Cayman Island, Turks and Caicos, Jamaica and Belize then known as British Honduras. By the 1960's many of the islands became independent after the West Indies Federation which existed from 1958 to 1962 failed due to internal political conflicts. After this a number of Eastern Caribbean islands formed a free association. 7
Dunning Settlers in West Indies in the 17th Century
  • George Dunning traveled further south landing in Barbados in 1654

Contemporary Notables of the name Dunning (post 1700) +

  • John Dunning (1942-2023), American writer of non-fiction and detective fiction, best known for his reference books on old-time radio and his series of mysteries featuring Denver bookseller and ex-policeman Cliff Janeway
  • David Alan Dunning, American social psychologist and professor of psychology at the University of Michigan
  • Debra "Debbe" Dunning (b. 1966), American actress, model and spokesperson
  • Margaret Isabel Dunning (1910-2015), American businesswoman and philanthropist, benefactor of the Plymouth (Michigan) Historical Museum
  • John "Jack" D. Dunning (1916-1991), American Academy Award winning film editor
  • Jake Austin Dunning (b. 1988), American Major League Baseball pitcher
  • Brian Dunning (b. 1965), American writer and producer
  • Jennifer Dunning (b. 1942), American writer and critic for the New York Times
  • John Ray Dunning (1907-1975), American physicist who played key roles in the development of the atomic bomb
  • William Archibald Dunning (1857-1922), American historian, founder of the Dunning School of Reconstruction
  • ... (Another 12 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

The Dunning Motto +

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: Studiis et rebus honestis
Motto Translation: By study and honourable pursuits.

  1. "What are the 5,000 Most Common Last Names in the U.S.?".,
  2. 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)
  3. Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 16th July 2021). Retrieved from
  4. Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 10th November 2020). Retrieved from
  5. Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 17th December 2020). Retrieved from
  6. South Australian Register Thursday 23rd November 1854. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) Dirigo 1854. Retrieved
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