Dare Surname Genealogy

The Dare surname was Anglo-Saxon, but nobody today
really knows what it meant. Some have
suggested that it described a person who acted like a wild animal – as
its root
was the Old English deor or dere
meaning “wild animal.” By contrast, the
same word could have given
us “dear” and meant beloved. 
The first recording
of the surname was Goduui Dere in the 1086 Domesday Book.

Dare Resources on

Dare Ancestry

England. Dare appears to have been at the onset a west
country name. The first sightings were
in Somerset where Walter Dare was recorded in rolls in 1243 and Richard
le Dare
in 1327.

Somerset. Thomas Dare
was a prosperous Taunton
merchant in Tudor times. A later Thomas
Dare was a prominent silversmith in the 1670’s who became involved in
Monmouth rebellion against the King.

“Thomas Dare, though of low mind and
manners, had great influence at Taunton.
He was directed to hasten across the country to direct his
friends that
Monmouth would soon be on English ground.”

Dare was imprisoned in Ilchester jail
for this involvement. He managed to
escape to Holland, but was later shot dead.

By the 18th century there was a
pocket of Dares in villages near to Taunton at North Curry and Stoke
Gregory. John Dare married Mary House in
North Curry in 1736 and Charles Holcombe Dare, born there in 1785, was
a man of
some local importance. His grandson Sir Charles Dare was an Admiral
in the
Royal Navy.

However, there was a black sheep Dare in North Curry. John
Dare, together with his two
brothers-in-law, was tried and convicted of highway robbery in 1839. John, a widower aged twenty-nine, was
transported to Australia on the Parkfield,
leaving four children behind.

The Dare name also appeared at an early time at Lyme Regis in
Dorset. William Dare was recorded there
as early as 1265 and the Dare name in
Lyme Regis
continued prominently until the 1600’s.

Gideon Dare was a yeoman
farmer at Wootton Fitzpaine nearby. However,
he took part in the Monmouth rebellion in 1685 and ended up being
transported to Jamaica.

The Dare name was also to be found in London and the southeast.

Dare was a tiler and bricklayer in London in Tudor times who might have
originally from Essex. His father-in-law
John White from Essex led Sir Walter Raleigh’s attempt to form a colony
Roanoke in America and Dare followed him with his wife in 1587. They left a son John in London.

A later Dare family held the Theydon Bois
manor in Epping Forest, Essex from 1789 onwards. This
family subsequently became Hall-Dare.

were Dares elsewhere. In 18th century
Gretton in Northamptonshire, several generations of a Dare family have
identified through the parish registers.
The first of these was Richard Dare, “a black man,” who married
Medwell in 1749. This line continued in
Gretton records until 1797 and then, for some reason, disappeared.

America. The first Dare in America is
something of a
mystery. Virginia
was born in 1587 at the Roanoke colony in present-day
North Carolina, the first English baby to be born on American soil. But no one knows what happened to her and to
other colonists. Did they die or

There were two later Dare lines
that came to America:

  • James Dare from
    Berkshire arrived in Maryland sometime in the 1670’s.
  • while William Dare from Dorset came to
    southern New Jersey around the year 1682.

based on DNA testing,
these two Dare lines were from the same male progenitor.

James Dare was a prosperous planter in
Calvert county, settling in the Lower Cliffs.
Many of his descendants were buried in the Middleham cemetery

William Dare became a large landowner
in Cumberland county, New Jersey. His
son William bought land near Bridgeton in 1710 where his descendants
were to
remain until 1867. Other Dare branches
moved elsewhere in New Jersey. The Dare Family
was written by
William and
Nellie Montgomery in 1939.
Dare Family Association has held a reunion each year for descendants
of this

There was another William Dare,
possibly related to the Maryland line, who built the Blue Anchor tavern on
the Delaware river in 1681.

. Dare Foods is a well-known
cookie manufacturer
in Ontario, dating back to 1892. The
company was founded then in Kitchener by Charles Doerr.
It has remained family-owned. However,
in 1945 the company and family name
were both changed to Dare. Bryan and
Graham Dare are its co-chairmen today.

Australia. Robert Dare from
Northamptonshire was transported to Tasmania on the Mangles
in 1835. He married
Susan Richardson there in 1845 and they had eight children, some being
registered as Dear and others as Dare.

and Billy Dare
from London arrived in 1838 at the very new
colony of South
Australia. George later departed for New
Zealand, but Billy stayed on and became a successful sheep farmer. In 1849 Joseph Dare, a Methodist minister
from Dorset, came to South Australia where he was an eloquent and
preacher on the Adelaide circuit. He moved to Geelong, Victoria in 1860.

Dare Miscellany

If you would like to read more, click on the miscellany page for
further stories and accounts:

Dare Names

Virginia Dare,
born in 1587 at the Roanoke colony in present-day North Carolina, was
the first
English baby to be born in America.
, born Zena Dones, was an English singer who became famous for
performances in Edwardian musical comedy in the early 1900’s.
Dan Dare
was a British science fiction comic
hero, appearing as Pilot of the Future
in the Eagle weekly strip from 1950
to 1967

Select Dares Today

  • 3,500 in the UK (most numerous
    in London)
  • 2,000 in America (most numerous in California)
  • 2,000 elsewhere (most numerous in Australia)




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