Show ContentsDurnan History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The original Gaelic form of the Irish name Durnan was Ó Duirnin or Ó Dornian, possibly derived from the word "dorn," which means "fist." 1

Early Origins of the Durnan family

The surname Durnan was first found in County Antrim (Irish: Aontroim) located in the province of Ulster in present day Northern Ireland. The name is also specific to "Ballydurnian in County Antrim, but Durnian is the more usual form in west Ulster." 2

Early History of the Durnan family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Durnan research. Another 164 words (12 lines of text) covering the years 1596 and 1700 are included under the topic Early Durnan History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Durnan Spelling Variations

The recording of names in Ireland in the Middle Ages was an inconsistent endeavor at best. The many regional dialects and the predominate illiteracy would have made common surnames appear unrelated to the scribes of the period. Research into the name Durnan revealed spelling variations, including Durnan, Durnane, Durneen, Durnin, Durnain, Dornan, Dornain and many more.

Early Notables of the Durnan family

Prominent amongst the family at this time was

  • John Durnan of Magheracloone, County Monaghan

United States Durnan migration to the United States +

The 19th century saw a great wave of Irish migrating out of their homeland in a great measure due to the oppressive imperial policies of the English government and landowners. Many of these Irish families sailed to North America aboard overcrowded passenger ships. By far, the largest influx of Irish immigrants to North America occurred with Great Potato Famine during the late 1840s. These particular immigrants were instrumental in creation of the United States and Canada as major industrial nations because the many essential elements such as the roadways, canals, bridges, and railways required an enormous quantity of cheap labor, which these poor immigrants provided. Later generations of Irish in these countries also went on to make valuable contributions in such fields as the arts, commerce, politics, and education. Extensive research into immigration and passenger lists has revealed many early immigrants bearing the name Durnan:

Durnan Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Nicholas Durnan who settled in Virginia in 1734

Canada Durnan migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Durnan Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • Ms. Mary Durnan, aged 21 who immigrated to Canada, arriving at the Grosse Isle Quarantine Station in Quebec aboard the ship "Thistle" departing from the port of Liverpool, England but died on Grosse Isle in July 1847 3

Contemporary Notables of the name Durnan (post 1700) +

  • William Ronald Durnan (1916-1972), Canadian professional ice hockey goaltender who played for the Montreal Canadiens in the National Hockey League (NHL)
  • Vincent Walter Durnan, Dean of Boston College

  1. MacLysaght, Edward, More Irish Families. Dublin: Irish Academic Press, 1982. Print. (ISBN 0-7165-0126-0)
  2. MacLysaght, Edward, Supplement to Irish Families. Baltimore: Genealogical Book Company, 1964. Print.
  3. Charbonneau, André, and Doris Drolet-Dubé. A Register of Deceased Persons at Sea and on Grosse Île in 1847. The Minister of Canadian Heritage, 1997. ISBN: 0-660-198/1-1997E (p. 26) on Facebook