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An excerpt from archives copyright 2000 - 2016

The original Gaelic form of Dowdy was O Dubhda. The first portion of the name comes from the word dubh, which means black or dark complexioned. [1]


People who were accounted for by scribes and church officials often had their name recorded many different ways because pronunciation was the only guide those scribes and church officials had to go by. This resulted in the problem of one person's name being recorded under several different variations, creating the illusion of more than one person. Among the many spelling variations of the surname Dowdy that are preserved in archival documents are Dowd, Duddy, Doody, O'Dowd, Dowdy, Dowdie, Doudy, Doudie, Doudd, Doodie and many more.

First found in County Mayo (Irish: Maigh Eo) located on the West coast of the Republic of Ireland in the province of Connacht. King Niall, brother of Fiachra and descended from Daithi, was one of the last pagan Kings of Ireland. For centuries they were the leading sept of northern Ui Fiachrach. Their territory comprised the baronies of Erris and Tirawley in the county of Mayo and Tireagh in Sligo. [2] They were the traditional Princes of Hy-Fiachra in Connaught. [1]


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Dowdy research. Another 461 words (33 lines of text) covering the years 1354, 1579, 1813, 1891, 1579, 1579, 1656 and 1706 are included under the topic Early Dowdy History in all our PDF Extended History products.


Another 53 words (4 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Dowdy Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.


Irish families left their homeland in astonishing numbers during the 19th century in search of a better life. Although individual reasons vary, most of these Irish families suffered from extreme poverty, lack of work opportunities, and exorbitant rents in their homeland. Many decided to travel to Australia or North America in the hopes of finding greater opportunities and land. The Irish immigrants that came to North America initially settled on the East Coast, often in major centers such as Boston or New York. But like the many other cultures to settle in North America, the Irish traveled to almost any region they felt held greater promise; as a result, many Irish with gold fever moved all the way out to the Pacific coast. Others before that time left for land along the St. Lawrence River and the Niagara Peninsula, or the Maritimes as United Empire Loyalists, for many Irish did choose to side with the English during the American War of Independence. The earliest wave of Irish migration, however, occurred during the Great Potato Famine of the 1840s. An examination of early immigration and passenger lists has revealed many people bearing the Dowdy name:

Dowdy Settlers in United States in the 17th Century

  • Henry Dowdy, who landed in Connecticut in 1639
  • George Dowdy, who arrived in Massachusetts in 1645
  • Jno Dowdy, who arrived in Virginia in 1657
  • Danl Dowdy, who landed in Virginia in 1699

Dowdy Settlers in United States in the 18th Century

  • Joseph Dowdy, who arrived in Virginia in 1717
  • Nathaniel Dowdy, who landed in Savanna(h), Georgia in 1794

Dowdy Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century

  • William James Dowdy arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Ramillies" in 1849
  • Marie Dowdy arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Ramillies" in 1849
  • Richard James Dowdy arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Ramillies" in 1849
  • William Ramillies McLean Dowdy arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Ramillies" in 1849
  • Bridget Dowdy, aged 18, arrived in South Australia in 1852 aboard the ship "Sibella"

Dowdy Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century

  • Thomas Dowdy, aged 19, a farm labourer, arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Soukar" in 1874


  • Adam Matthew Dowdy (b. 1975), American former professional baseball umpire who worked more than 400 games between 2002 and 2008
  • Colonel Joe D. Dowdy (b. 2003), American commanding officer of the Regimental Combat Team 1 during the 2003 invasion of Iraq, current Special Operations Manager at NASA's Kennedy Space Center
  • Nancy M. O'Fallon Dowdy, American nuclear physicist who was instrumental in nuclear disarmament negotiations between the U.S. and the Soviet Union after the Cold War, Fellow of the American Physical Society
  • Lewis Carnegie Dowdy (1917-2000), American educator, the 6th President, and first chancellor of North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University (1964-1972)
  • Cecil Dowdy (1945-2002), American college football player and businessman, two-time National champion (1964, 1965)
  • Bill Dowdy (b. 1933), American musician and teacher, born in Arkansas, best known as the drummer for the jazz trio, The Three Sounds
  • Charles Wayne Dowdy (b. 1943), American former politician, United States Congressman from Mississippi (1981-1989)
  • John Vernard Dowdy (1912-1995), American politician, Member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Texas (1952-1967) and (1967-1973)
  • Helen Dowdy, American Broadway actress and singer


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  1. ^ O'Hart, John, Irish Pedigress 5th Edition in 2 Volumes. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Company, 1976. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0737-4)
  2. ^ MacLysaght, Edward, Irish Families Their Names, Arms and Origins 4th Edition. Dublin: Irish Academic, 1982. Print. (ISBN 0-7165-2364-7)

Other References

  1. Filby, P. William and Mary K Meyer. Passenger and Immigration Lists Index in Four Volumes. Detroit: Gale Research, 1985. Print. (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8).
  2. Read, Charles Anderson. The Cabinet of Irish Literature Selections from the Works of the Chief Poets, Orators and Prose Writers of Ireland 4 Volumes. London: Blackie and Son, 1884. Print.
  3. McDonnell, Frances. Emigrants from Ireland to America 1735-1743 A Transcription of the report of the Irish House of Commons into Enforced emigration to America. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-1331-5).
  4. Hickey, D.J. and J.E. Doherty. A New Dictionary of Irish History form 1800 2nd Edition. Dublin: Gil & MacMillian, 2003. Print.
  5. Bullock, L.G. Historical Map of Ireland. Edinburgh: Bartholomew and Son, 1969. Print.
  6. Magnusson, Magnus. Chambers Biographical Dictionary 5th edition. Edinburgh: W & R Chambers, 1990. Print.
  7. Woulfe, Rev. Patrick. Irish Names and Surnames Collected and Edited with Explanatory and Historical Notes. Kansas City: Genealogical Foundation, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-940134-403).
  8. Leyburn, James Graham. The Scotch-Irish A Social History. Chapel Hill: UNC Press, 1962. Print. (ISBN 0807842591).
  9. Woodham-Smith, Cecil. The Great Hunger Ireland 1845-1849. New York: Old Town Books, 1962. Print. (ISBN 0-88029-385-3).
  10. Best, Hugh. Debrett's Texas Peerage. New York: Coward-McCann, 1983. Print. (ISBN 069811244X).
  11. ...

The Dowdy Family Crest was acquired from the archives. The Dowdy Family Crest was drawn according to heraldic standards based on published blazons. We generally include the oldest published family crest once associated with each surname.

This page was last modified on 8 December 2015 at 19:35.

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