Dowdy History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

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]

Early Origins of the Dowdy family

The surname Dowdy was 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]

Early History of the Dowdy family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Dowdy research. Another 231 words (16 lines of text) covering the years 1354, 1579, 1813, 1891, 1579, 1579, 1656, 1706 and 1656 are included under the topic Early Dowdy History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Dowdy Spelling Variations

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.

Early Notables of the Dowdy family (pre 1700)

Notable amongst the family name at this time was Father John O'Duada (d. 1579) one of many Irish Franciscan martyrs when he was tortured and hanged in 1579; and Samuel Doody (1656-1706), an early English botanist...
Another 35 words (2 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Dowdy Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Dowdy migration to the United States +

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 [3]
  • George Dowdy, who arrived in Massachusetts in 1645 [3]
  • John Dowdy, who arrived in Virginia in 1657 [3]
  • Danl Dowdy, who landed in Virginia in 1699 [3]
Dowdy Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Joseph Dowdy, who arrived in Virginia in 1717 [3]
  • Nathaniel Dowdy, who landed in Savanna(h), Georgia in 1794 [3]

Australia Dowdy migration to Australia +

Emigration to Australia followed the First Fleets of convicts, tradespeople and early settlers. Early immigrants include:

Dowdy Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • William James Dowdy, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Ramillies" in 1849 [4]
  • Marie Dowdy, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Ramillies" in 1849 [4]
  • Richard James Dowdy, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Ramillies" in 1849 [4]
  • William Ramillies McLean Dowdy, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Ramillies" in 1849 [4]
  • Bridget Dowdy, aged 18, who arrived in South Australia in 1852 aboard the ship "Sibella" [5]

New Zealand Dowdy migration to New Zealand +

Emigration to New Zealand followed in the footsteps of the European explorers, such as Captain Cook (1769-70): first came sealers, whalers, missionaries, and traders. By 1838, the British New Zealand Company had begun buying land from the Maori tribes, and selling it to settlers, and, after the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840, many British families set out on the arduous six month journey from Britain to Aotearoa to start a new life. Early immigrants include:

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

Contemporary Notables of the name Dowdy (post 1700) +

  • Colonel Joe D. Dowdy, 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
  • Adam Matthew Dowdy (b. 1975), American former professional baseball umpire who worked more than 400 games between 2002 and 2008
  • 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


  1. ^ O'Hart, John, Irish Pedigrees 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)
  3. ^ Filby, P. William, Meyer, Mary K., Passenger and immigration lists index : a guide to published arrival records of about 500,000 passengers who came to the United States and Canada in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries. 1982-1985 Cumulated Supplements in Four Volumes Detroit, Mich. : Gale Research Co., 1985, Print (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8)
  4. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) RAMILIES 1849. Retrieved from http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1849Ramillies.htm
  5. ^ South Australian Register Tuesday 3 February 1852. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) SIBELLA 1852. Retrieved http://www.theshipslist.com/ships/australia/sibella1852.shtml.


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