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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright 2000 - 2015

Origins Available: English, Scottish

Where did the Scottish Dowler family come from? What is the Scottish Dowler family crest and coat of arms? When did the Dowler family first arrive in the United States? Where did the various branches of the family go? What is the Dowler family history?

The Dowler family name comes from the personal name Dougal. The Gaelic form of the name is Mac Dhughaill and literally means "son of Dougal." The personal name Dougal, meaning "dark stranger."


Spelling variations are a very common occurrence in records of early Scottish names. They result from the repeated and inaccurate translations that many names went through in the course of various English occupations of Scotland. Dowler has been spelled MacDowall, MacDowell, MacDugald, MacDill, Dowall, Dowler and many more.

First found in Galloway (Gaelic: Gall-ghaidhealaibh), an area of southwestern Scotland, now part of the Council Area of Dumfries and Galloway, that formerly consisted of the counties of Wigtown (West Galloway) and Kirkcudbright (East Galloway), where they held a family seat from early times and their first records appeared on the early census rolls taken by the early Kings of Britain to determine the rate of taxation of their subjects.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Dowler research. Another 386 words (28 lines of text) covering the years 1268, 1310, 1359, and 1363 are included under the topic Early Dowler History in all our PDF Extended History products.


Another 80 words (6 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Dowler Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.


Some of the Dowler family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 106 words (8 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.


Numerous Scottish settlers settled along the east coast of the colonies that would become the United States and Canada. Others traveled to the open country of the west. At the time of the American War of Independence, some remained in the United States, while those who remained loyal to the crown went north to Canada as United Empire Loyalists. The highland games and Clan societies that sprang up across North America in the 20th century have helped many Scots to recover parts of their lost traditions. Research into passenger and immigration lists has revealed some of the very first Dowlers to arrive in North America:

Dowler Settlers in United States in the 17th Century

  • Laurence Dowler, who arrived in Virginia in 1622
  • John Dowler, who landed in Virginia in 1622

Dowler Settlers in United States in the 19th Century

  • Henry Dowler, who arrived in New York, NY in 1804
  • Thomas Dowler, aged 48, landed in Missouri in 1840

Dowler Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century

  • Mr. John Dowlin U.E. who arrived at Port Roseway [Shelburne], Nova Scotia on December 13, 1783 was passenger number 420 aboard the ship "HMS Clinton", picked up on November 14, 1783 at East River, New York
  • Mr. Abraham Dowling U.E. who settled in Carleton [Saint John City], New Brunswick c. 1784

Dowler Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century

  • Sandy Dowler, aged 18, a labourer, arrived in South Australia in 1855 aboard the ship "Admiral Boxer"


  • Lawrence Robert Dowler (b. 1954), American competitive swimmer at the 1976 Summer Olympics
  • Thomas "Spook" Dowler (1903-1986), American football, basketball, and baseball player and coach
  • Boyd Hamilton Dowler (b. 1937), former American football wide receiver
  • Joseph Dowler (1879-1931), British silver and bronze medalist tug of war competitor at the 1908 Summer Olympics and 1912 Summer Olympics
  • Beau Dowler (b. 1987), former Australian rules footballer
  • Brendan John Dowler OAM (b. 1968), Australian gold and silver medalist wheelchair basketball player from Illawarra, New South Wales
  • William Dowler, English founder of W Dowler & Sons, in 1744 in Birmingham, a large-scale manufacturer of buttons and whistles
  • Annabelle Dowler (b. 1974), English actress, best known for playing Kirsty Miller in the BBC Radio 4 soap The Archers
  • Mike Dowler, retired Welsh professional football goalkeeper
  • Lieutenant General Sir Arthur Dowler (1895-1963), General Officer Commanding the East Africa Command of the British Army


The motto was originally a war cry or slogan. Mottoes first began to be shown with arms in the 14th and 15th centuries, but were not in general use until the 17th century. Thus the oldest coats of arms generally do not include a motto. Mottoes seldom form part of the grant of arms: Under most heraldic authorities, a motto is an optional component of the coat of arms, and can be added to or changed at will; many families have chosen not to display a motto.

Motto: Vincere vel mori
Motto Translation: Victory


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  1. Barrow, G.W.S Ed. The Charters of David I The Written Acts of David I King of Scots, 1124-53 and of His Son Henry, Earl of Northumerland, 1139-52. Woodbridge: The Boydell Press, 1999. Print.
  2. Fairbairn,. Fairbain's book of Crests of the Families of Great Britain and Ireland, 4th Edition 2 volumes in one. Baltimore: Heraldic Book Company, 1968. Print.
  3. Burke, Sir Bernard. Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Landed Gentry Including American Families with British Ancestry 2 Volumes. London: Burke Publishing, 1939. Print.
  4. Paul, Sir James Balfour. An Ordinary of Arms Contained in the Public Register of All Arms and Bearings in Scotland Second Edition. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1903. Print.
  5. Weis, Frederick Lewis, Walter Lee Sheppard and David Faris. Ancestral Roots of Sixty Colonists Who Came to New England Between 1623 and 1650 7th Edition. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0806313676).
  6. Hanks, Patricia and Flavia Hodges. A Dictionary of Surnames. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988. Print. (ISBN 0-19-211592-8).
  7. Dorward, David. Scottish Surnames. Glasgow: Harper Collins, 1995. Print.
  8. Bolton, Charles Knowles. Scotch Irish Pioneers In Ulster and America. Montana: Kessinger Publishing. Print.
  9. 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).
  10. Matthews, John. Matthews' American Armoury and Blue Book. London: John Matthews, 1911. Print.
  11. ...

The Dowler Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Dowler 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 15 September 2015 at 15:48.

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