This website is dedicated to the Downie surname and is maintained by Ian Downie who lives in Aberdeen, Scotland. If your surname is Downie or you have Downie ancestors, you have come to the right place. The information on this website is only a small part of the data which I have collected, with the help of a number of other Downie researchers.

This is a new version of my website which went live on 13 January 2023. You can still access the original website for now, at least until I have made sure that all the information there has been moved across to the new site. Please bear with me while I fix broken links on the old site after the move.

I have lots of information about other Downies in all parts of Scotland including Orkney, Caithness, Aberdeenshire, Aberdeen, Angus, Perthshire, Dundee, Dunfermline, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Blantyre, Old Monkland, Wigtownshire, Argyllshire and Ayrshire.

Farther afield I have researched two different families who moved from Glenisla and Fife to Northumberland, and have identified a number of families which emigrated to Australia, Canada and the United States (including two branches of my own family). Some of my information is unconnected snippets and other material is quite extensively researched - no time to put it on the web.

Alexander Leck Brown Downie Cigarette Card

Alexander Leck Brown Downie 1876-1953
Manchester United 1902-1911

John Dennis Downie Manchester United Footballer


John Dennis Downie
Manchester United 1949-1953

Most Downies are of humble origin, though some became rich, famous or both. Shipowners, shipmasters and naval officers are among their number, along with a Brigadier-General. Several Downies were men of the cloth and politicians.

I believe, based on Y-DNA test results, that the Downie surname has several different origins, and if your surname is Downie you are relatively unlikely to be related to me. My own surname is possibly geographical in origin, from 'doun' or 'down' meaning 'small hill'. My great grandmother, born in 1862, believed that the Downies were associated with the Lindsay family and certainly my ancestors lived near the present seat of the head of the Lindsay family, the Earl of Crawford and Balcarres.

My ancestors lived in the East of Fife and the only similar Downie Y-DNA I have come across occurs in another very extensive set of Downie descendants whom we can trace back to Central Fife.

At the end of 2023, I was excited when Bryan Downie who lives in Parma, Ohio, and whom I've always believed was my fifth cousin, received the results of his Y-DNA 37 marker test, which was a perfect match with mine. That shows that the theory that we are both descended from David Downie and Mary Kerr, who are documented as the parents of Bryan's ancestor James Downie. My line descends from James's brother David, whose birth/baptism record has never been found, and who died in 1846 before Statutory Registration.

A large number of Downies have Y-DNA which suggests Northern Irish origins, migrating to the West of Scotland.

Battle of Plattsburgh, Wikimedia Commons, in the public domain

The Battle of Plattsburgh in the War of 1812, in which Captain George Downie, R.N. was killed

The Brig John Downie of Blyth, Captain Thomas Armstrong, Entering Smyrna Bay, 1858

The Brig John Downie of Blyth, Captain Thomas Armstrong, Entering Smyrna Bay, 1858

My expertise and experience lies mainly in Scotland, where it is relatively easy and not too expensive to do research (unless you count time as money). I make extensive use of the internet to do research and can offer advice and support to anyone willing to share the results with me.

Portrait of Robert Downie of Appin

Robert Downie of Appin, M.P. made a fortune in Bengal and returned to Scotland a wealthy man

Downieville, Sierra County, Cal., California Lettersheet Collection, Kemble Spec Col 09, courtesy, California Historical Society, Kemble Spec Col 09_B059.

Downieville, California was named after 'Major' William Downie, gold miner and prospector