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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright 2000 - 2016


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

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The surname Durning was first found in County Antrim (Irish: Aontroim) located in the province of Ulster in present day Northern Ireland, where they had been anciently seated for many centuries and held territories in that county.

The search for the origins of the name Durning family name revealed numerous spelling variations. These variants can be somewhat accounted for when it is realized that before widespread literacy people only recognized their name by pronunciation; it was up to scribes to decide how it was to be formally recorded. Variations found include Durnan, Durnane, Durneen, Durnin, Durnain, Dornan, Dornain and many more.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Durning research. Another 321 words (23 lines of text) covering the years 1596 and 1700 are included under the topic Early Durning History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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More information is included under the topic Early Durning Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Thousands of Irish left in their homeland in the 18th and 19th centuries to escape the religious and political discrimination they experienced primarily at the hands of the English, and in the search of a plot of land to call their own. These immigrants arrived at the eastern shores of North America, early on settling and breaking the land, and, later, building the bridges, canals, and railroads essential to the emerging nations of United States and Canada. Many others would toil for low wages in the dangerous factories of the day. Although there had been a steady migration of Irish to North America over these years, the greatest influx of Irish immigrants came to North America during the Great Potato Famine of the late 1840s. Early North American immigration records have revealed a number of people bearing the Irish name Durning or a variant listed above:

Durning Settlers in United States in the 19th Century


  • Charles Durning arrived in Philadelphia in 1858

Durning Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century


  • Rosey Durning, aged 24, arrived in Saint John, NB aboard the ship "Edward Reid" in 1833
  • Mary Durning arrived in Saint John aboard the ship "Daniel O'Connell" in 1834
  • Hugh Durning arrived in Saint John aboard the ship "Daniel O'Connell" in 1834
  • Catharine Durning arrived in Saint John aboard the ship "Daniel O'Connell" in 1834

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  • Harry Michael Durning (1887-1958), American Democrat politician, Delegate to Democratic National Convention from New York, 1928, 1932, 1936, 1940; U.S. Collector of Customs, 1933-53
  • Charles Durning (b. 1923), American soldier in World War II, during which he was awarded a Silver Star and three Purple Heart medals. He went on to become an Academy Award winning actor of stage and screen


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  1. Matthews, John. Matthews' American Armoury and Blue Book. London: John Matthews, 1911. Print.
  2. Heraldic Scroll and Map of Family names and Origins of Ireland. Dublin: Mullins. Print.
  3. Best, Hugh. Debrett's Texas Peerage. New York: Coward-McCann, 1983. Print. (ISBN 069811244X).
  4. Land Owners in Ireland. Genealogical Publishing. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-1203-3).
  5. 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 Co., 1992. Print.
  6. Somerset Fry, Peter and Fiona Somerset Fry. A History of Ireland. New York: Barnes and Noble, 1993. Print. (ISBN 1-56619-215-3).
  7. Robb H. Amanda and Andrew Chesler. Encyclopedia of American Family Names. New York: Haper Collins, 1995. Print. (ISBN 0-06-270075-8).
  8. Kennedy, Patrick. Kennedy's Book of Arms. Canterbury: Achievements, 1967. Print.
  9. Shaw, William A. Knights of England A Complete Record from the Earliest Time to the Present Day of the Knights of all the Orders of Chivalry in England, Scotland, Ireland and Knights Bachelors 2 Volumes. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print. (ISBN 080630443X).
  10. Woodham-Smith, Cecil. The Great Hunger Ireland 1845-1849. New York: Old Town Books, 1962. Print. (ISBN 0-88029-385-3).
  11. ...

The Durning Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Durning 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 4 November 2015 at 11:49.

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