Show ContentsDowse History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The origins of the Dowse surname date back to the time of the Anglo-Saxon tribes of Britain. It comes from an early member of the family who was a good-tempered person. The surname Dowse is derived from the Old English words douce and dowce, which mean sweet, pleasant. These words, which later became doux, were ultimately derived from the Old French words dolz and dous, which had the same meaning. As a personal name, Dowse was often given to females and occasionally was borne by males.

Early Origins of the Dowse family

The surname Dowse was first found in Wiltshire where they held a family seat from very ancient times, some say well before the Norman Conquest and the arrival of Duke William at Hastings in 1066 A.D.

Early History of the Dowse family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Dowse research. Another 59 words (4 lines of text) covering the years 1582, 1619, 1630, 1640, 1648 and 1683 are included under the topic Early Dowse History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Dowse Spelling Variations

The first dictionaries that appeared in the last few hundred years did much to standardize the English language. Before that time, spelling variations in names were a common occurrence. The language was changing, incorporating pieces of other languages, and the spelling of names changed with it. Dowse has been spelled many different ways, including Dowse, Dowcett, Dowsett, Dorset, Dorsett, Dowser, Dowsey and many more.

Early Notables of the Dowse family

Notables of the family at this time include

  • William Dowse of Collingborn
  • Edward Dowse (1582-1648), an English politician who sat in the House of Commons from 1640 to 1648

Ireland Migration of the Dowse family to Ireland

Some of the Dowse family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 36 words (3 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

United States Dowse migration to the United States +

Thousands of English families in this era began to emigrate the New World in search of land and freedom from religious and political persecution. Although the passage was expensive and the ships were dark, crowded, and unsafe, those who made the voyage safely were rewarded with opportunities unavailable to them in their homeland. Research into passenger and immigration lists has revealed some of the very first Dowses to arrive in North America:

Dowse Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Thomas and Katherine Dowse who settled in Virginia in 1623
  • Mrs. Dowse, who arrived in Virginia in 1623 1
  • Thomas Dowse, who landed in Virginia in 1623 1
  • Lawrence Dowse, who settled in Charlestown Massachusetts in 1630
  • Katherine Dowse, who arrived in Virginia in 1637 1
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Australia Dowse migration to Australia +

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

Dowse Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Mr. Thomas Dowse, (b. 1809), aged 18, English clerk who was convicted in London, England for life for stealing, transported aboard the "Florentia" on 14th August 1827, arriving in New South Wales, Australia, he died in 1885 2
  • Mr. Albert Dowse who was convicted in Maidstone, Kent, England for life, transported aboard the "Clara" on 19th March 1857, arriving in Western Australia, Australia 3

Contemporary Notables of the name Dowse (post 1700) +

  • Denise Yvonne Dowse (1958-2022), American actress and director, best known for her role as Mrs. Yvonne Teasley in the television series Beverly Hills, 90210 (1991–2000)
  • William Dowse (1770-1813), American lawyer and politician from New York
  • Edward Dowse (1756-1828), American politician, U.S. Representative from Massachusetts
  • Thomas "Tom" Joseph Dowse (1866-1946), American Major League Baseball catcher and outfielder
  • Edward Dowse (1756-1828), American Democratic Party politician, U.S. Representative from Massachusetts 1st District, 1819-20 4
  • Duane Dowse, American Democratic Party politician, Alternate Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Illinois, 1964 4
  • Flight Lieutenant Sydney Hastings Dowse MC (1918-2008), Royal Air Force pilot who became a prisoner of war, participant and survivor of The Great Escape
  • Baron Richard Dowse (1824-1890), Irish politician and barrister, Baron of the Court of the Exchequer
  • John Henry Dowse (b. 1935), Australian rugby union player
  • John Cecil Alexander Dowse (1891-1964), Irish rugby international player
  • ... (Another 3 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

  1. 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)
  2. Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 5th October 2022).
  3. Convict Records of Australia. Retrieved 11th February 2021 from
  4. The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2016, January 22) . Retrieved from on Facebook