Show ContentsDowson History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The Anglo-Saxon name Dowson comes from the personal names Douce and Dow. This patronymic name is augmented by the suffix -son, which superseded the other patronymic suffixes in prominence by the 14th century, and was most common in the north of England.

Early Origins of the Dowson family

The surname Dowson was first found in the Hundredorum Rolls of 1273 which included: Jordan Dousing, Lincolnshire; and Richard Dusing, Norfolk. Later, the Yorkshire Poll Tax Rolls of 1379 listed Johannes Dousyng as holding lands there at that time. [1]

Early History of the Dowson family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Dowson research. Another 176 words (13 lines of text) covering the years 1320, 1327, 1349, 1379, 1573, 1596, 1668 and 1643 are included under the topic Early Dowson History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Dowson Spelling Variations

One relatively recent invention that did much to standardize English spelling was the printing press. However, before its invention even the most literate people recorded their names according to sound rather than spelling. The spelling variations under which the name Dowson has appeared include Dowson, Douson, Doweson, Dowsoun, Douseson, Douceson and many more.

Early Notables of the Dowson family (pre 1700)

Notables of this surname at this time include: William Dowsing (1596-1668) was an English iconoclast under orders in 1643 which stated that "all Monuments of Superstition and Idolatry should be removed and abolished", specifying: "fixed altars, altar rails, chancel...
Another 39 words (3 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Dowson Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

United States Dowson migration to the United States +

At this time, the shores of the New World beckoned many English families that felt that the social climate in England was oppressive and lacked opportunity for change. Thousands left England at great expense in ships that were overcrowded and full of disease. A great portion of these settlers never survived the journey and even a greater number arrived sick, starving, and without a penny. The survivors, however, were often greeted with greater opportunity than they could have experienced back home. These English settlers made significant contributions to those colonies that would eventually become the United States and Canada. An examination of early immigration records and passenger ship lists revealed that people bearing the name Dowson arrived in North America very early:

Dowson Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Gilbert Dowson, who landed in Virginia in 1618 [2]
  • Gilbert Dowson who settled in Virginia in 1637
  • Geor Dowson, who arrived in Virginia in 1643 [2]
Dowson Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Thomas Dowson, who arrived in Virginia in 1700 [2]
  • John Dowson, who landed in Virginia in 1703 [2]
  • George Dowson, who settled in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1774
Dowson Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • R. H. Dowson, who settled in Maryland in 1820
  • W. Dowson, who settled in New York in 1823

Australia Dowson migration to Australia +

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

Dowson Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • William Dowson, English convict from London, who was transported aboard the "Argyle" on March 5th, 1831, settling in Van Diemen's Land, Australia [3]
  • Lydia Dowson, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Recovery" in 1839 [4]
  • Mr. William Dowson, (b. 1820), aged 38, Engish farmer who was convicted in Durham, England for life for murder, transported aboard the "Edwin Fox" on 24th August 1858, arriving in Western Australia, Australia, he died in 1897

New Zealand Dowson 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:

Dowson Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • T. W. Dowson, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "William Watson" in 1859
  • T.W. Dowson, British settler travelling from London aboard the ship "William Watson" arriving in Auckland, New Zealand on 8th February 1859 [5]

Contemporary Notables of the name Dowson (post 1700) +

  • David Dowson (b. 1988), English footballer who plays for Darlington
  • Phil Dowson (b. 1981), English rugby union player for Northampton Saints
  • Ernest Christopher Dowson (1867-1900), English poet, novelist and writer of short stories, associated with the Decadent movement
  • John Dowson M.R.A.S. (1820-1881), British Orientalist, best known for his book Classical Dictionary of Hindu Mythology
  • Graham Dowson, Chief Executive of the Rank Organization, from England
  • Sir Philip Henry Manning Dowson (b. 1924), leading British architect
  • Major Gen. Arthur H Dowson, Commander Order of the British Empire, from England
  • Erick Dowson Prado Meléndez (b. 1976), retired Salvadoran footballer

  1. Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  2. 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)
  3. State Library of Queensland. (Retrieved 2015, January 8) Argyle voyage to Van Diemen's Land, Australia in 1831 with 251 passengers. Retrieved from
  4. State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) RECOVERY from London 1839. Retrieved from
  5. New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 26th March 2019). Retrieved from on Facebook