Show ContentsDowler History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

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." [1] [2]

"The claim of the Macdowells of Galloway to be descended from the ancient native lords of Galloway can neither be disproved nor can it be satisfactorily established." [3]

Early Origins of the Dowler family

The surname Dowler was first found in South Ayrshire where "Mactheuel witnessed a charter by Uchtredus filius Fergusi of the church of Colmanele (now known as Colmonell) in the reign of Malcolm IV. Fergus McDuhile in Wigton was juror on inquest at Berwick, 1296, and in same year as Fergus MacDowilt rendered homage [to King Edward I of England.] He is probably the Fergus MacDowile who witnessed a charter by William, lord of Douglas, 1306-29 (RHM., l, p. 13). In 1307 a pardon was granted Elyas de Vaus at the request of Duncan MacDuel, and in same year Dungall MacDouyl, senior, for services rendered, requested for his son Dungal, junior, the marriage of the daughter and heiress of Hugh de Champaigne, deceased, a tenant in capite." [3]

Early History of the Dowler family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Dowler research. Another 372 words (27 lines of text) covering the years 1684, 1312, 1347, 1354, 1578, 1390, 1416, 1515, 1609, 1621, 1602, 1677, 1675, 1268, 1359, 1363, 1590, 1666, 1690, 1597, 1603, 1605, 1650, 1653, 1685, 1760, 1685, 1708, 1755, 1760, 1744, 1739, 1824, 1739, 1743, 1766, 1766 and are included under the topic Early Dowler History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Dowler Spelling Variations

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.

Early Notables of the Dowler family (pre 1700)

Notable amongst the Clan from early times was Duncan, Earl of Carrick; Ewen MacDougall (fl. 1268), Lord of Argyll; and Thomas MacDowell, Bishop of Galloway (1359-1363). William MacDowell (1590-1666), the Scottish diplomatist, born in October 1690 at Makerstoun, Roxburghshire, was son of Thomas Macdowell by Johanna, daughter of Sir Andrew Ker of Greenhead. From 1597 to 1603 he attended Musselburgh school, and in 1605 proceeded to St. Andrews, where he had a distinguished career. King Charles I would have made him a Scottish privy councillor had not the civil war broke out On 4 June 1650. Macdowell became Charles II's resident agent...
Another 255 words (18 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Dowler Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Dowler Ranking

In the United States, the name Dowler is the 10,367th most popular surname with an estimated 2,487 people with that name. [4]

Ireland Migration of the Dowler family to Ireland

Some of the Dowler family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 59 words (4 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

United States Dowler migration to the United States +

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 [5]
  • John Dowler, who landed in Virginia in 1622 [5]
Dowler Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Henry Dowler, who arrived in New York, NY in 1804 [5]
  • Thomas Dowler, aged 48, who landed in Missouri in 1840 [5]

Canada Dowler migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

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 [6]
  • Mr. Abraham Dowling U.E. who settled in Carleton [Saint John City], New Brunswick c. 1784 [6]

Australia Dowler migration to Australia +

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

Dowler Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Sandy Dowler, aged 18, a labourer, who arrived in South Australia in 1855 aboard the ship "Admiral Boxer"

Contemporary Notables of the name Dowler (post 1700) +

  • 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 Dowler Motto +

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

  1. Arthur, William , An Etymological Dictionary of Family and Christian Names. London: 1857. Print
  2. Charnock, Richard, Stephen, Ludus Patronymicus of The Etymology of Curious Surnames. London: Trubner & Co., 60 Paternoster Row, 1868. Print.
  3. Black, George F., The Surnames of Scotland Their Origin, Meaning and History. New York: New York Public Library, 1946. Print. (ISBN 0-87104-172-3)
  4. "What are the 5,000 Most Common Last Names in the U.S.?".,
  5. 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)
  6. Rubincam, Milton. The Old United Empire Loyalists List. Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc, 1976. (Originally published as; United Empire Loyalists. The Centennial of the Settlement of Upper Canada. Rose Publishing Company, 1885.) ISBN 0-8063-0331-X on Facebook