Show ContentsDunst History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The ancestors of the bearers of the Dunst family name are thought have lived in ancient Anglo-Saxon England. They were first found in the parish of Dunster in the county of Somerset. The place-name is derived from the Old English word Dunntorr, which refers to a rocky peak.

Early Origins of the Dunst family

The surname Dunst was first found in Somerset at Dunster, home of Dunster Castle, a former motte and bailey castle, now a country house owned by the National Trust, which operates it as a tourist attraction. The location has been fortified since the late Anglo-Saxon period and the by the 11th century, William de Mohun had constructed a timber castle on the site.

After the siege of Dunster Castle at the end of the English Civil War, much of the castle was destroyed but was later remodeled to fit Victorian tastes. One of the first records of the name was William de Mohun of Dunster (c.1090-c.1155) who was a favourite of Empress Matilda, daughter of King Henry I, and a loyal supporter of her in the war against King Stephen.

He earned the epithet the "Scourge of the West"and after the war, Empress Matilda granted him the title Earl of Somerset, in 1141. His father, William was Sheriff of Somerset in 1084.

Early History of the Dunst family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Dunst research. Another 57 words (4 lines of text) covering the years 1609, 1659, 1640, 1618, 1684, 1660, 1679, 1675, 1754, 1675, 1687 and 1678 are included under the topic Early Dunst History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Dunst 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 Dunst include Dunster, Dunstar, Dunstarr, Dunsterr and others.

Early Notables of the Dunst family (pre 1700)

Notables of the family at this time include Henry Dunster (1609-1659), born in Lancashire, England, he emigrated to America in 1640 and became the first president of Harvard University. He was the son of Henry Dunster of Balehoult, Bury, Lancashire. [1] Another Henry Dunster (1618-1684), was an English merchant...
Another 47 words (3 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Dunst Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

United States Dunst 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 Dunst or a variant listed above:

Dunst Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Charles Dunst, who landed in Colorado in 1885 [2]

Contemporary Notables of the name Dunst (post 1700) +

  • Kirsten Caroline Dunst (b. 1982), American two-time Golden Globe Award nominated actress, singer and model, known for her work on Spider-Man (2002), Spider-Man 2 (2004) and Spider-Man 3 (2007)
  • Daniel Dunst (b. 1984), Austrian footballer

  1. Smith, George (ed), Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1885-1900. Print
  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) on Facebook