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DOWNING Family History

This name is of Anglo-Saxon origin and is from a nickname for a man with particularly dark hair or a swarthy complexion, usually found as "Dunn", and of which "Downing" and "Dunning" are the patronymic forms, meaning "the son of Dunn". The derivation is from the Olde English pre 7th Century word "dunn" meaning "dark-coloured". The name may also partly derive from an Olde English byname recorded as "Dunn" or "Dunna", meaning "the dark one". The surname development has included Geoffrey Dounyng (1311, Essex), Alice Downyng (1379, Yorkshire) and John Downing, sheriff of Norwich (1432, Norfolk). Francis Downing was an early emigrant to the New World, being listed in the "muster" at Charles City, in Virginia, in 1624...

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