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Downey Family History

Downey Name Meaning

Irish: shortened Anglicized form of Gaelic Ó Dúnadhaigh ‘descendant of Dúnadhach’ a personal name meaning ‘fortress-holder’ (from dún ‘fortress fortified hill’). Irish: shortened Anglicized form of Gaelic Ó Maol Dhomhnaigh or of Mac Giolla Dhomnaigh (see Maloney ). Scottish: habitational name from the Scottish barony of Downie or Duny in the parish of Monikie in Angus (on Tayside) named from Gaelic dùn ‘hill’ + the locative suffix -ach. English: habitational name from any of several places in Devon called Downhayne or Downhays particularly Downhayne in Colyton. The placename derives from singular and plural forms of Old English (ge)haeg ‘enclosure’ (in later Devon usage ‘farm’) situated on a hill (Old English dūn). English: topographic name denoting someone who lived either ‘(at the) hilly island’ Middle English doun(e) dun(e) ‘hill elevation’ + ei ‘island’ (Old English dūn + īeg) or someone who lived ‘(at the) dark island’ Middle English don dun(ne) ‘dark’ + ei ‘island’ (Old English dunn + īeg). However it is not certain that this name survived as a hereditary surname. Americanized form of French Danis .

Source: Dictionary of American Family Names 2nd edition, 2022

Similar surnames: Dorney, Torney, Downen, Downes, Looney, Disney, Dolney, Downer

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Where is the Downey family from?

You can see how Downey families moved over time by selecting different census years. The Downey family name was found in the USA, the UK, Canada, and Scotland between 1840 and 1920. The most Downey families were found in USA in 1880. In 1911 there were 521 Downey families living in Ontario. This was about 51% of all the recorded Downey's in Canada. Ontario had the highest population of Downey families in 1911.
Use census records and voter lists to see where families with the Downey surname lived. Within census records, you can often find information like name of household members, ages, birthplaces, residences, and occupations.

What did your Downey ancestors do for a living?

In 1921, Farmer and Housekeeper were the top reported jobs for men and women in the Canada named Downey. 39% of Downey men worked as a Farmer and 22% of Downey women worked as a Housekeeper. Some less common occupations for Americans named Downey were Clerk and Stenographer. .

View Census Data for Downey | Data not to scale

*We display top occupations by gender to maintain their historical accuracy during times when men and women often performed different jobs.

Top Male Occupations In 1921

  • Farmer
  • Labourer
  • Laborer
  • Clerk

Top Female Occupations In 1921

  • Housekeeper
  • Servant
  • Income
  • Stenographer
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What Downey family records will you find?

Census Records

There are 205,000 census records available for the last name Downey. Like a window into their day-to-day life, Downey census records can tell you where and how your ancestors worked, their level of education, veteran status, and more.

Search Canadian census records for Downey

Passenger Lists

There are 28,000 immigration records available for the last name Downey. Passenger lists are your ticket to knowing when your ancestors arrived in Canada, and how they made the journey - from the ship name to ports of arrival and departure.

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Draft Cards

There are 39,000 military records available for the last name Downey. For the veterans among your Downey ancestors, military collections provide insights into where and when they served, and even physical descriptions.

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What is the average Downey lifespan?

Between 1940 and 2004, in the United States, Downey life expectancy was at its lowest point in 1944, and highest in 1998. The average life expectancy for Downey in 1940 was 41, and 75 in 2004.

View Social Security Death Index (SSDI) for Downey

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