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Donnan Family HistoryThis interesting surname, with spellings Dunn, Dunne, Donn, Donne, and Donnan, may be either Irish Gaelic or sometimes Anglo-Saxon and Norman in origin. It derives from the Old Gaelic word "donn", meaning brown, or the Old English pre 7th Century cognate of "dunn", also brown. It was originally given as an ethnic distinguishing nickname to someone with dark hair or a swarthy complexion. The surname first appears on record in England in the latter part of the 12th century, (see below), and John le Dunn, was noted in the Fines Court rolls of of 1198 for Hertfordshire and Jobin Don appears in the Staffordshire Forest Pleas", dated 1271.
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