Dunsmuir History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The Dunsmuir family name was first used by descendants of the Pictish people of ancient Scotland. It is a name for someone who lived on the lands of Dundemore in Fife where the family has a long and distinguished history dating back to the early Middle Ages.

Early Origins of the Dunsmuir family

The surname Dunsmuir 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.

Early History of the Dunsmuir family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Dunsmuir research. Another 81 words (6 lines of text) covering the years 1317, 1317, 1650 and 1750 are included under the topic Early Dunsmuir History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Dunsmuir Spelling Variations

Scribes in the Middle Ages did not have access to a set of spelling rules. They spelled according to sound, the result was a great number of spelling variations. In various documents, Dunsmuir has been spelled Dinsmore, Dinsmuir, Dunsmore, Dansmore, Dunmuir and many more.

Early Notables of the Dunsmuir family (pre 1700)

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

Ireland Migration of the Dunsmuir family to Ireland

Some of the Dunsmuir 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 Dunsmuir migration to the United States +

The cruelties suffered under the new government forced many to leave their ancient homeland for the freedom of the North American colonies. Those who arrived safely found land, freedom, and opportunity for the taking. These hardy settlers gave their strength and perseverance to the young nations that would become the United States and Canada. Immigration and passenger lists have shown many early immigrants bearing the name Dunsmuir:

Dunsmuir Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Hugh Dunsmuir, who settled in New York in 1774
  • Hugh Dunsmuir, aged 40, who landed in New York in 1774 [2]

New Zealand Dunsmuir 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:

Dunsmuir Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Mr. William Dunsmuir, (b. 1842), aged 33, Scottish settler travelling from Glasgow aboard the ship "Peter Denny" arriving in Bluff, Southland, South Island, New Zealand on 25th November 1875 [3]
  • Mrs. Jane Dunsmuir, (b. 1841), aged 34, Scottish settler travelling from Glasgow aboard the ship "Peter Denny" arriving in Bluff, Southland, South Island, New Zealand on 25th November 1875 [3]
  • Miss Janet Dunsmuir, (b. 1864), aged 11, Scottish settler travelling from Glasgow aboard the ship "Peter Denny" arriving in Bluff, Southland, South Island, New Zealand on 25th November 1875 [3]
  • Mr. James Dunsmuir, (b. 1867), aged 8, Scottish settler travelling from Glasgow aboard the ship "Peter Denny" arriving in Bluff, Southland, South Island, New Zealand on 25th November 1875 [3]
  • Miss Mary Dunsmuir, (b. 1874), aged 1, Scottish settler travelling from Glasgow aboard the ship "Peter Denny" arriving in Bluff, Southland, South Island, New Zealand on 25th November 1875 [3]

Contemporary Notables of the name Dunsmuir (post 1700) +

  • Robert Dunsmuir (1825-1889), Scottish coal miner, railway developer, industrialist and politician. He moved to Canada and 38 years later died the richest man in British Columbia
  • James Dunsmuir (1851-1920), Canadian industrialist and politician in British Columbia, 14th Premier of that province in 1900 and 8th Lieutenant Governor in 1906, son of Robert Dunsmuir

RMS Lusitania
  • Mr. James A. Dunsmuir Jr., Canadian 1st Class Passenger from Toronto, Ontario, Canada, who sailed aboard the RMS Lusitania and died in the sinking [4]


The Dunsmuir 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. ^ 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)
  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. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 26th March 2019). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
  4. ^ Lusitania Passenger List - The Lusitania Resource. (Retrieved 2014, March 6) . Retrieved from http://www.rmslusitania.info/lusitania-passenger-list/


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