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An excerpt from archives copyright 2000 - 2016

Dunsmore was first used as a surname by descendants of the Pictish people of ancient Scotland. The ancestors of the Dunsmore family lived on the lands of Dundemore in Fife where the family has a long and distinguished history dating back to the early Middle Ages.


The surname Dunsmore was first found in Fife, in the territories of Dundemore, near Lindores. One of the first records of the name was Henry de Dundemore who witnessed a confirmation charter by John, Earl of Huntigdoun of land in Kynalchmund to the Abbey of Arboirath c. 1219 and later witnessed another charter by the same earl granting lands of Lundors to the monks of Lindores (c.1232-1237.) [1] In 1296, the Ragman Rolls listed Patrik de Dundemor and William de Dundemor as landholders in Fife.

Repeated and inaccurate translation of Scottish names from Gaelic to English and back resulted in a wide variety of spelling variations with single names. Dunsmore has appeared Dinsmore, Dinsmuir, Dunsmore, Dansmore, Dunmuir and many more.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Dunsmore research. Another 161 words (12 lines of text) covering the years 1317, 1317, 1650 and 1750 are included under the topic Early Dunsmore History in all our PDF Extended History products.


Another 83 words (6 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Dunsmore Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.


Some of the Dunsmore family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 97 words (7 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.


Many Scottish families suffered enormous hardships and were compelled to leave their country of birth. They traveled to Ireland and Australia, but mostly to the colonies of North America, where many found the freedom and opportunity they sought. It was not without a fight, though, as many were forced to stand up and defend their freedom in the American War of Independence. The ancestors of these Scots abroad have rediscovered their heritage in the last century through the Clan societies and other organizations that have sprung up across North America. Immigration and passenger ship lists show some important early immigrants bearing the name Dunsmore:

Dunsmore Settlers in United States in the 17th Century

  • James Dunsmore, who landed in New England in 1651-1652
  • James Dunsmore who settled in New England in 1652

Dunsmore Settlers in United States in the 18th Century

  • Thomas Dunsmore, who arrived in Massachusetts in 1730
  • Dunsmore of Virginia represented the colony in 1772

Dunsmore Settlers in United States in the 19th Century

  • Alexander Dunsmore, who arrived in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1838
  • William Dunsmore settled in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1872

Dunsmore Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century

  • William Dunsmore arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Lady Lilford" in 1839

Dunsmore Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century

  • Alex Dunsmore, aged 19, arrived in Bluff, New Zealand aboard the ship "Christian McAusland" in 1875


  • Drake C. Dunsmore (b. 1988), former American football tight end who played for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2012
  • Patrick Neil "Pat" Dunsmore (b. 1959), American former professional NFL football player who played for the Chicago Bears from 1983 to 1985
  • Barrie Dunsmore, American journalist who covered foreign affairs for ABC News for 30 years
  • Mr. John Dunsmore, Scottish Chief Petty Officer Engine Room from Scotland, who sailed in to battle on the HMS Prince of Wales and survived the sinking
  • Bob Dunsmore, Canadian engineer of Queen's University in 1915, eponym of the Dunsmore Cup, a Canadian sports trophy, presented annually to the winner of the university-level football competition
  • Frederick Roy "Fred" Dunsmore (b. 1929), Canadian NHL ice hockey center who played from 1944 to 1967, inducted into the Manitoba Sports Hall of Fame and Museum in 1989
  • Rosemary Dunsmore (b. 1952), Canadian ACTRA Award winning and two-time Gemini Award nominated television, film and theatre, actress known for her work on Total Recall (1990), Orphan (2009) and Dreamcatcher (2003)


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: Spes anchora tuta
Motto Translation: Hope is a safe anchor.


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  1. ^ 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)

Other References

  1. Donaldson, Gordon and Robert S. Morpeth. Who's Who In Scotish History. Wales: Welsh Academic Press, 1996. Print. (ISBN 186057-0054).
  2. Scots Kith and Kin And Illustrated Map Revised 2nd Edition. Edinburgh: Clan House/Albyn. Print.
  3. 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).
  4. Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at Galveston Texas 1896-1951. National Archives Washington DC. Print.
  5. Crozier, William Armstrong Edition. Crozier's General Armory A Registry of American Families Entitled to Coat Armor. New York: Fox, Duffield, 1904. Print.
  6. Skordas, Guest. Ed. The Early Settlers of Maryland an Index to Names or Immigrants Complied from Records of Land Patents 1633-1680 in the Hall of Records Annapolis, Maryland. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1968. Print.
  7. Browne, James. The History of Scotland it's Highlands, Regiments and Clans 8 Volumes. Edinburgh: Francis A Niccolls & Co, 1909. Print.
  8. Magnusson, Magnus. Chambers Biographical Dictionary 5th edition. Edinburgh: W & R Chambers, 1990. Print.
  9. 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.
  10. Skene, William Forbes Edition. Chronicles of the Picts, Chronicles of the Scots and Other Early Memorials of Scottish History. Edinburgh: H.M. General Register House, 1867. Print.
  11. ...

The Dunsmore Family Crest was acquired from the archives. The Dunsmore 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 3 May 2015 at 11:16.

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