Diamond Surname Meaning, History & Origin

Diamond Surname Meaning
Diamond is a surname that has three different origins – Irish, English, and Jewish:

  • the Irish root the Gaelic O’Diamain, from the name Dioma, with the anglicized form being Diamond.
  • the English origin the Old English word dayman, derived from deye meaning “a keeper of livestock.” 
  • and the Jewish origin the Yiddish diment or “diamond,” and chosen as an ornamental name.

The main alternative spelling has been Dimond.  Other variants have been Diman and Diment,

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Diamond and Dimond Surname Ancestry

England. An early example of the surname – Stephen Deyman in the 1224 pipe rolls of Buckinghamshire – matched the old meaning of the word. By the next century the “d” had appeared, as in Dymond. This became in time Dimond and then Diamond.

Devon.  Dimond persisted as a surname in the west country and particularly in Devon; while Diment cropped up in Somerset. The family line of James Dyment, born in Beaford in Devon in 1767, was variously spelt Dyment, Diment and Diamond.


Kent.  The Diamond name also occurred in Kent in various places. John Dimonde was said to have arrived in Brenchley near Tunbridge Wells from France in the early 1600’s. The name there became Diamond.

Later in the 1600’s John Diamond was a yeoman farmer and gunfounder in Hawkhurst, a profession also taken up by his son Robert. Jack Diamond (sometimes Dymer) was a member of the notorious Hawkhurst smuggling gang. He was arrested in 1747 but escaped execution.


Ireland
. The O’Diamain family originated in Derry and Antrim along the Lower Bann river where they were an erenagh family which acted as stewards for the church at Kilrea. Neal Diamond was born in Maghera parish in 1764. A Diamond branch, stone masons who worked on the stone at Guildhall in Derry, migrated to Ardnaglass in county Sligo in the early 19th century.

Many Diamonds left for America during the 19th century. Patrick Diamond, for instance, came to Pennsylvania in the 1760’s and subsequently migrated to North Carolina. Both his sons fought in the Revolutionary War.


America.
John Diamond was a ropemaker from Devon who came first to Massachusetts and then settled in Kittery, Maine in 1651 where he built fishing boats. His son John was tortured to death during an Indian raid in 1692.

Thomas Diamond or Diman (he himself spelt his name Diamond) was the forebear of the Dimonds/Dimans of Bristol, Rhode Island. He came first to Westerfield, Connecticut, thence to Farmington, and thence to Easthampton on Long Island where he died in 1683.

The name was spelt variously at that time, but then two different spellings took root:

  • the first was Dimond. Thomas Dimond and the Rev. James Dimond both came to Bristol, Rhode Island around the year 1712.
  • the second was Diman. Joseph Diman came to Bristol in the 1760’s and raised two master mariners, Captains Royal and Jeremiah Diman.

There was both a Dimont and Diman Governor of Rhode Island in the 1840-50’s.

Another Dimond line began with Thomas Dimond who died in Fairfield, Connecticut in 1658. The spelling subsequently varied between Dimond and Dimon. David Dimon of Weston received rough treatment from the British in 1777. Henry Dimond was a Christian missionary from Fairfield who set off for Hawaii in 1834 where he lived for a further sixty years. Edwin Ormond’s 1891 book The Dimond or Dimon Family of Fairfield, Connecticut covered these and other lines.

Jewish.  Diamond is also a Jewish name in America. Louis Diamond arrived from Russia in 1904 and, after studying medicine at Harvard, made his name in pediatrics. He has been called the father of pediatric hematology. His son Jared Diamond is a popular science writer. Other second generation Diamonds in America have been the composer David Diamond and the singer/songwriter Neil Diamond.

Canada.  Jack Diamond, a Jewish immigrant from Poland in 1927, built up from scratch Pacific Meats, British Columbia’s largest meat packing firm.  On his death, his sons Gordon and Charles took over the business.  Charles’s son Craig now runs West Coast Seeds, a pioneer in organic gardening.

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Diamond Surname Miscellany

John Diamond, Father and Son, in Maine.  John Diamond moved from Massachusetts in Kittery, Maine where he built shallops and fished with his sons on the Isle of Shoals.  He was appointed constable of the town in 1659 and town clerk in 1662.  He died in 1667.

His eldest son had come with his father from Massachusetts and Maine where he carried on his father’s work.  He met his end, however, during an attack by French and Native forces against the English outpost at Wells, John Diamond was captured at the outset of the attack trying to escape the boats for the fort and was tortured to death.

“They stripped, scalped, and maimed him; slit his hands and feet between the fingers and toes; cut deep gashes in the fleshy parts of his body, and then stuck the wounds full of lighted torches, leaving him to die by piecemeal in the agonies of consuming fire.”

He met his end even though the other defenders managed to resist the attack and survive.

The Dimonds/Dimans of Bristol, Rhode Island.  According to tradition this family was of French Huguenot origin. The name was spelled Diamond or Diament during their sojourn in Connecticut and Long Island until the early 1700’s.   It was then changed by some of the Bristol family in the seventh generation from the settler to Dimond.  It was also written as Diman by one branch of the family.

A number of the name represented the town in the General Assembly of the state, among them being:

  • Hopestill P. Dimond (1790-1857)
  • Byron Diman (1795-1865) who served as Governor in 1846-47
  • Francis M. Dimond (1796-1859) who served as Governor in 1853-54
  • and Henry Wight Diman (1835-1884), who also served as the US consul in Portugal.

There were all born in Bristol.  Byron Diman was the son of Captain Jeremiah Diman, Francis Dimond the son of Thomas Dimond. 

William Diamond’s Drum.  William Diamond was the drummer of Captain John Parker’s Company who sounded the alarm summoning the members of the Lexington militia to the Common on April 19, 1775.  At the time William was working as an apprentice wheelwright to Thomas Fessenden in Lexington.  His drum roll was the call to arms for the farmers and villagers in Massachusetts that was said to have begun the American revolution.

William Diamond, born in Boston in 1758, later became a foot soldier and served for the duration of the war. He was present at the British surrender at Yorktown.  He died in 1828 and was buried in Peterborough, New Hampshire.

David Dimon’s Misfortunes with the British.  David Dimon lived in Weston.  Upon hearing of the landing of the British forces at Cedar Point in April 1777, he took his gun, mounted his horse, and started out to oppose the invaders.  On his way he met a company of horsemen who asked him where he was going.  Thinking they were friends, he replied that he was going to shoot the British.  Whereupon he was immediately seized by them and tied on a horse and his gun was broken over a rock.  He was taken to New York and imprisoned in an old sugar-house where, it was thought, he died of smallpox.

His home was plundered by the British soldiers who took a high silk hat, a blue broadcloth coat and a pair of silver knee buckles, for which his wife afterward received payment from the British government.

Louis Diamond, the Father of Pediatric Hematology.  Louis K. Diamond was born in Bessarabia, at the time part of the Russian empire.  At the age of two he emigrated with his family in 1904 to the United States. He began medical studies at Harvard in 1919 and emerged with an MD from Harvard Medical School eight years later.  After that he spent several years studying pediatrics at Boston Children’s Hospital.

He then set up one of the first pediatric hematology research centers in the United States at this hospital, focusing on anemias.  By 1930 he had succeeded in identifying thalassemia, a hereditary anemia that affected children of Italian and Greek ancestry.  Two years later he identified the Hemolytic disease of the newborn, at that time a significant disorder among newborns.  He also discovered various other disorders and diseases affecting children.

He died at his home in Los Angeles in 1999 at the age of 97.  His son Jared Diamond is a popular science writer.

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Diamond Names
  • Legs Diamond was an Irish American gangster in Philadelphia and New York City during the Prohibition era. 
  • Jack Diamond who immigrated from Poland to Canada in 1927 created Pacific Meats, the largest meat packing firm in British Columbia.
  • Neil Diamond is an American singer-songwriter of Jewish background with a career that began in the 1960’s. 
  • Anne Diamond is an English radio and television presenter and journalist of Irish background.
Diamond Numbers Today
  • 6,000 in the UK (most numerous in Northern Ireland)
  • 9,000 in America (most numerous in New York)
  • 8,000 elsewhere (most numerous in Canada)

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