This aristocratic surname, widely recorded in the spellings of Dando, Daddow, Daunay, Dauney, Dawnay, Dorney, Delaney and Delany, is now English, sometimes Irish, but usually of French-Norman descent. It is first recorded in England after the 1066 Norman Invasion, and in Ireland after the 1169 invasion by Strongbow, earl of Pembroke. The name is locational and originates from the places called Aunou and Aunay, in Normandy and Northern France. These names are developments of the pre 7th century Old French "aunie", meaning an alder grove.The later surname has the fused preposition "de", to imply of or from. After the invasion the nameholders were granted large estates in various parts of England, particularly in the West and North. In Ireland there is a possibility that some nameholders derive from an ancient gaelic clan called the O' Dubhshlaine, which translates as "The descendants of the black haired defiant one". As such the spelling is usually found as O' Dowlaney, O'Dulaney or Donal. The earliest recording of the placename is in the 1086 Domesday Book for the county of Somerset, where it appears as "Contone", however in the Assize Rolls of 1256 this has changed to "Compton Dunnon", now Compton Dando, the home of the Dando family. Amongst the earliest recordings are those of Robert del Aunei of Lincoln in 1156, and Helias de Auno of Somerset, the ancestor of the Dando's, in 1201. Other recordings include Mathew Dauny of Whitby, Yorkshire, in 1251, and Fulco Dando of Somerset in 1273. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William de Alno. which was dated 1086, in the Domesday Book for the county of Suffolk, during the reign of King William Ist known as "The Conqueror", 1066 - 1087.
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