Dowdall Family Crest, Coat of Arms and Name History


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This surname is a locational one meaning “of Dowdall”, which, according to Charles Wareing Bardsley, in his book A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames, is a place in Yorkshire. Another author believes it comes from Dovedal in Derbyshire. The etymology of the last name is from the Middle English word dale (valley) and dove (river). It was first recorded in “manor of Overdale otherwise Dowdale” in 1408 AD. Yet another source claims it’s an Irish surname that came to England via the Norman Conquest. The family settled in County Louth during the 1200s. Spelling variants include Dowdell, Dowdale, and Dowdle. One author states it’s an English surname adopted by bearers of Gaelic Ó Dubhdáleithe.

Early notables bearing this surname include Nicholas Dodale, Johannes de Dowedale, Willelmus de Dowedale, and Willemus Doudale, who were recorded in the Poll Tax of Yorkshire in 1379 AD. Early marriages include James Dowdell to Mary Morris at St. George’s Hanover Square in 1773, Grace Dowdle to James Vicary in 1775, and Jane Dowdall to Henry Kusder in 1801.

Early American immigrants with this surname were James Dowdall (Virginia 1788), Anne Dowdall, (New York, 1794), and Charles, James, and William Dowdall (Pennsylvania, 1840-1870).

Famous people bearing this name were 1) Sir Robert Dowdall (d. 1482), the Chief Justice of the Irish Common Pleas and son of Luke Dowdall, 2) Thomas Dowdall (d. 1492), a judge and Master of Rolls in Ireland, 3) George Dowdall (1487-1558), an Irish cleric who was Archbishop of Armagh and was appointed Primate of All Ireland (an important church title) by King Henry VIII, and 4) James Dowdall (d. 1600) who was a merchant and Roman Catholic martyr.

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Blazons & Genealogy Notes

Dovedale, England, historic home of the Dowdall family

1) (or Dowdal). (London). Ar. five martlets gu. three and two. Crest—Out of a ducal coronet a boar’s head and neck collared or.
2) (Reg. in Ulster’s Office as “The Red Dowdall of Lecall,” originally of Oriel, co. Louth). Ar. a fess betw. three martlets gu. Crest—A martlet gu. crowned ar.
3) (Smith’s Ordinary, Ulster’s Office). Same Arms. Crest—A dove holding an olive branch in the beak and ducally gorged all ppr. Motto—Fidelis usque ad mortem.
4) (Mount Town, co. Meath). Same Arms, a crescent sa. on the fess for diff.
5) (Reg. in Ulster’s Office as “The White Dowdall of co. Dublin,” originally of Glaspistol, co. Louth). (Athlumney, co. Meath; Fun. Ent. of Edward Dowdall, d. 1629). Gu. a fess betw. five martlets ar. Crest—A martlet ar. crowned or.
6) (Reg. Ulster’s Office). Gu. on a fess ar. five martlets of the field.
7) (Reg. Ulster’s Office). Or, a fess betw. five mullets gu.

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