McDow History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Early Origins of the McDow family

The surname McDow was first found in Berwickshire where the name is likely from the Gaelic, Dhu (dubh), Anglicized as "black" or from "don or doo," the Scottish for dove or pigeon. [1] Another source postulates the name could have been a variant of Dove or Dawe.

The first on record of the family was Ede Douw who held land in 'vico boreali,' Edinburgh, 1366. Four years later, John Dowe was a witness at an inquest taken at Berwick-on-Tweed, 1370. "Dow is not uncommon in Perthshire appearing there in 1497, when Robert Dow held a land in Perth." [2]

Further to the south, the Yorkshire Poll Tax Rolls of 1379 included: Agnes Dowe; Hgo Dowe; Alicia Dowe; and Adam Dowe-man, the servant of Dow. [3]

Important Dates for the McDow family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our McDow research. Another 119 words (8 lines of text) covering the years 1300, 1370, 1500, 1527, 1510, 1516, 1527, 1574, 1616 and 1664 are included under the topic Early McDow History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

McDow Spelling Variations

Spelling variations of this family name include: McDow, Dow, Dowe, Dove, Dows, Dowes, Doves and others.

Early Notables of the McDow family (pre 1700)

Another 34 words (2 lines of text) are included under the topic Early McDow Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Migration of the McDow family to Ireland

Some of the McDow family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. More information about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Migration of the McDow family

Some of the first settlers of this family name or some of its variants were: Matthew Dow who settled in Salem in the year 1640 followed by Francis Dow, both came from Salisbury in Wiltshire. Many of the Dow family name settled in New Hampshire, and were from Somerset, England. John Dow settled in Boston, Massachusetts, in 1635..

Contemporary Notables of the name McDow (post 1700)

  • Thomas F. McDow, American professor in the Department of History, Ohio State University
  • William McDow, American researcher at Environmental Defense, Raleigh, North Carolina
  • Ronald A McDow, American researcher who holds patents for using cryogenic agents for treating skin lesions
  • Nick McDow, American actor, known for The Unit (2006), NCIS (2003) and Lie to Me (2009)
  • Ebony McDow, American actress, known for her work on Flags on the Field (2015), Taboo-The Unthinkable Act (2016) and Demented Love (2016)
  • John McDow, American homesteader, founder of Dow, in Jersey County, Illinois in 1883


  1. ^ Lowe, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  2. ^ 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)
  3. ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
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