Origin of the Name McDowell
family history was found in the allfamilycrests.com archives.
Over the centuries Surnames developed a wide number of variants. Different spellings of the same name can be traced back to an original root. Additionally when a bearer of a name emigrated it was not uncommon that their original name would be incorrectly transcribed in the record books at their new location. Surnames were also often altered over the years based on how they sounded phonetically and depending on the prevailing political conditions it may have been advantageous to change a name from one language to another.
Variants of the name McDowell
include MacDougal and MacDouall. This name in Gaelic is MacDubhghaill, meaning 'dark foreigner'. This name is of Scottish descent and is found in many ancient manuscripts in that country. Examples of such are a Fergus MacDowile who was a juror on an inquest in Berwick in 1296. Sir Dugal MacDouwille, sheriff of Dumfries, is mentioned in the year 1312. Names were recorded in these ancient documents to make it easier for their overlords to collect taxes and to keep records of the population at any given time. When the overlords acquired lands by either force or gifts from their rulers, they created charters of ownership for themselves and their vassals. In Ireland the McDowells arrived as Galloglasses and became well established in County Roscommon where the town of Lismacdowell still exists. The name McDowell is also often found in Ulster Province, settlers having arrived there from Scotland , especially during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.
The McDowell coat of arms came into existence centuries ago. The process of creating coats of arms (also often called family crests) began in the eleventh century although a form of Proto-Heraldry may have existed in some countries prior to this. The new art of Heraldry made it possible for families and even individual family members to have their very own coat of arms, including all McDowell descendants.