Show ContentsDunsmore History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

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 name literally means "the fortified hill," and many old strongholds in Scotland are so called. [1]

Early Origins of the Dunsmore family

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.) [2]

In 1296, the Ragman Rolls listed Patrik de Dundemor and William de Dundemor as landholders in Fife.

Further to the south in England, Dinmore is an extra-parochial liberty, in the hundred of Grimsworth in Herefordshire. Here, "on Dinmore Hill was a commandery of the Knights of St. John of Jerusalem, founded by a brother of the order, in the reign of Henry II." [3]

Hope under Dinmore is found in Herefordshire and Worcestershire. Originally recorded as Hope in the Domesday Book of 1086 [4], it became in Latin, Hope sub Dinnemor in 1291. "Dinmore may be a Welsh name 'din mauer,' meaning 'great fort,' or alternatively 'marsh of a man called Dynna,' from the Old English personal name + "mor." [5]

Dinmore Manor House is a large rural house that dates back to 1189 when it was thought to have been built by Knights Templar.

Early History of the Dunsmore family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Dunsmore research. Another 248 words (18 lines of text) covering the years 1296, 1305, 1670, 1330, 1406, 1585, 1686, 1688, 1662, 1661, 1643, 1723, 1317, 1317, 1650 and 1750 are included under the topic Early Dunsmore History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Dunsmore Spelling Variations

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.

Early Notables of the Dunsmore family (pre 1700)

Another 49 words (4 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Dunsmore Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the Dunsmore family to Ireland

Some of the Dunsmore family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 54 words (4 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

United States Dunsmore migration to the United States +

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 [6]
  • 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 [6]
  • 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 [6]
  • William Dunsmore, who settled in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1872

Australia Dunsmore migration to Australia +

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

Dunsmore Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • William Dunsmore, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Lady Lilford" in 1839 [7]

New Zealand Dunsmore 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:

Dunsmore Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Mr. Robert Dunsmore, (b. 1842), aged 22, British ploughman travelling from London aboard the ship "Glenmark" arriving in Lyttelton, Christchurch, South Island, New Zealand on 21st January 1865 [8]
  • Alex Dunsmore, aged 19, who arrived in Bluff, New Zealand aboard the ship "Christian McAusland" in 1875

Contemporary Notables of the name Dunsmore (post 1700) +

  • 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
  • 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)
  • Charles Dunsmore Millard (1873-1944), American Republican politician, Member of New York Republican State Committee, 1920-37; U.S. Representative from New York 25th District, 1931-37 [9]

HMS Prince of Wales
  • Mr. John Dunsmore, Scottish Chief Petty Officer Engine Room from Scotland, who sailed into battle on the HMS Prince of Wales (1941) and survived the sinking [10]

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

  1. Lower, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  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. Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
  4. Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds., Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8)
  5. Mills, A.D., Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-19-869156-4)
  6. 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)
  7. State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) LADY LILFORD 1839. Retrieved from
  8. New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 17th October 2018). Retrieved from
  9. The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2016, January 14) . Retrieved from
  10. HMS Prince of Wales Crew members. (Retrieved 2014, April 9) . Retrieved from on Facebook