Show ContentsMcDowall History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The McDowall 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 McDowall family

The surname McDowall 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 McDowall family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our McDowall research. Another 372 words (27 lines of text) covering the years 1268, 1312, 1347, 1354, 1359, 1363, 1390, 1416, 1515, 1578, 1590, 1597, 1602, 1603, 1605, 1609, 1621, 1650, 1653, 1666, 1675, 1677, 1684, 1685, 1690, 1708, 1739, 1743, 1744, 1755, 1760, 1766, 1824 and 1890 are included under the topic Early McDowall History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

McDowall Spelling Variations

Historical recordings of the name McDowall include many spelling variations. They are the result of repeated translations of the name from Gaelic to English and inconsistencies in spelling rules. They include MacDowall, MacDowell, MacDugald, MacDill, Dowall, Dowler and many more.

Early Notables of the McDowall family

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 McDowall Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the McDowall family to Ireland

Some of the McDowall 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 McDowall migration to the United States +

Significant portions of the populations of both the United States and Canada are still made up of the ancestors of Dalriadan families. Some of those in Canada originally settled the United States, but went north as United Empire Loyalists in the American War of Independence. The late 19th and early 20th centuries saw the ancestors of many Scots on both sides of the border begin to recover their collective national heritage through Clan societies and highland games. Some of the first North American settlers carried this name or one of its variants:

McDowall Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Patrick McDowall, who arrived in America in 1758 4
  • Robert McDowall, aged 7, who landed in New York, NY in 1775 4
  • Edward McDowall, aged 9, who landed in New York, NY in 1775 4
McDowall Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Alexander McDowall, who arrived in America in 1811 4

Australia McDowall migration to Australia +

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

McDowall Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Mr. Charles Mcdowall, (b. 1815), aged 19, English convict who was convicted in Lancaster, Lancashire, England for 7 years for house breaking, transported aboard the "Bengal Merchant" on 27th September 1834, arriving in New South Wales, Australia 5
  • James McDowall, aged 20, a farm servant, who arrived in South Australia in 1859 aboard the ship "North"

New Zealand McDowall 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:

McDowall Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • William McDOWALL, who landed in Wellington, New Zealand in 1840 aboard the ship Royal Merchant
  • Mr. John McDowall, Scottish settler travelling from Greenock aboard the ship "Philip Laing" arriving in Otago, South Island, New Zealand on 15th April 1848 6
  • Mrs. Elizabeth McDowall, Scottish settler travelling from Greenock aboard the ship "Philip Laing" arriving in Otago, South Island, New Zealand on 15th April 1848 6
  • Jessie McDowall, aged 29, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Celaeno" in 1872

Contemporary Notables of the name McDowall (post 1700) +

  • Jack McDowall (1905-1969), American football player
  • Robert Murray McDowall (1821-1894), Scottish-born Australian cricketer
  • Jai McDowall (b. 1982), Scottish singer
  • Drew McDowall (b. 1961), Scottish musician
  • Rose McDowall (b. 1959), Scottish musician
  • Kenny McDowall (b. 1963), former Scottish footballer
  • Rachel Anne McDowall (b. 1984), English actress
  • Iain McDowall, British crime fiction author
  • Cecilia McDowall (b. 1951), British classical music composer specialising in choral and chamber music
  • Betty McDowall, Australian film and television actress
  • ... (Another 1 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

North Sea Flood
  • Phillomena McDowall, British traveler aboard the ferry "Princess Victoria" killed in the North Sea Flood, a major storm surge in 1953

The McDowall 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. 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)
  5. Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 7th October 2020). Retrieved from
  6. New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 26th March 2019). Retrieved from on Facebook