Ireland already had an established system of hereditary surnames when the Strongbownians arrived. Often the two traditions blended together quite well due to some of their basic similarities, but the incoming Anglo-Norman system brought in some forms that were uncommon amongst the Irish. One of these Anglo-Norman anomalies was the prevalence of local surnames, such as Dowdall. Local names were taken from the names of a place or a geographical feature where the person lived, held land, or was born. Originally, the place names were prefixed by de, which means from in French. This type of prefix was eventually either made a part of the surname if the place name began with a vowel or was eliminated entirely. The local surnames of these Strongbownian invaders referred to places in Normandy, or more typically England, but eventually for those Anglo-Normans that remained in Ireland, the nicknames referred to places or geographical features of the island: they became true local names. The Dowdall family appears to have originally lived in a place called Dovedale or Dowdale in Yorkshire. The surname Dowdall belongs to the large category of Anglo-Norman habitation names, which are derived from pre-existing names for towns, villages, parishes, or farmsteads. The Gaelic form of the Dowdall surname is Dubhdal, this is one of the few instances where the element dubh is not derived from the adjective which means black.
Spelling variations: Dowdall, Dovedale, Dowdale, Dowdell, Dowdle and others.
|George Dowdall & Ellen Mary Gowland y Phillips ( modificado el 19.03.2017 )|