4Re: Irish, Danish, or English?
- Jan 1, 2009--- In email@example.com, "Jeff" <bowes2000@...> wrote:
> My current research proposes a number of possible explanatons as to
> the origins of the name Bowes in Ireland. Firstly the name itself,
> has I think two basic origins:
> 1). The name derives from the ancient Gaelic Sept, O'Buadhaigh
For the Yahoo! record, the origin of this is The Book of Munster, written in 1703 by Rev.
Eugene O'Keeffe, Parish priest and Poet of Doneraile, North Cork. Within this book are the
Eoghanacht Genealogies. Here you find:
" Maolodhar son of Sealbach had five sons: Ealathach, from whom the Mac Ealathaigh
family; Buadhach, from whom the Ui Buadaigh (O'Bogue); Cathalan, from whom Ui
Chathalain Cahalane); Maoilin, from whom Ui Mhaoilin; and Croinin, from whom the Ui
Chroinin family (O'Cronin)."
Add to that MacLysaght, Edward, Surnames of Ireland, Dublin, 1985 indicated that the
Irish surname Bowes is a synonym of Bogue, and thus it's been interpreted to mean that
Bowes stems from Buadhach, son of Maolodhar. But it's interesting to note that the name
Buadagh shows up multiple times in this genealogy (and they may all relate?). According
to MacLysaght, Buadhach (buach) is a first name meaning "victorious." I am now realizing
that a synonym doesn't equate to genetic connection. Bowes is synonymous with all
Buadaghs, regardless of their ancient roots, since Bowes is the anglicization of the Gaelic
word buadhagh for "victorious." So I think we have even less idea whether it's accurate to
say that the Bowes surname in Ireland ever had its origin with the particular Buadhach,
son of Maolodhar. On top of this, the Book of Munster was written approximately 1000
years after Maolodhar's sons would have been born (calculating approximately 25 years
per generation as does FTDNA and reading the rest of the text to factor in how many
generations back were these births [we could double check this calculation]).
I am racking my brain for where I first read about the Maolodhar connection. Can you
think of a source for this? I may have drawn the wrong conclusion and then spread it
myself. Yikes. I guess as long as we clear up our goofs that's the point of research.
I think we should "zoom out" conceptually and say that anytime one of our project
members matches another Irish surname, we should look for the two surnames
originating in the same family in the ancient texts.
I have posted the Eoghanacht Genealogies in Files > Research - Countries - Ireland
> 2). The name is linked to the North Yorkshire English place-name
> Bowes, which derives from the Saxon/Danish word Bogas meaning 'bow'
> or 'bend'.
I've also posted a new document "Possible Origins of Bowes Surname" in Files. These are
clips from various websites that offer some additional possibilities.
It does seem, judging by Bowes surname concentration maps that the surname for a
majority of Bowes lineages originates in Yorkshire, now Durham. See Links > Research -
Countries - Worldwide > Ancestry.com - Family Facts - Bowes. There is a similar link there
for Bowe. The general overlap between these maps may relate to your mention below that
"s" was added to indicate "son of" among Saxon English. I never knew that.
I have been in touch with a gal whose father was last name Bowes and hired someone to
do an extensive genealogy for their family some decades back. It is six inches thick, hand
written, and details their line and how it connects to the Bowes-Lyon line of the Queen
Mother. Her family has 30 letters from the Queen Mother's father confirming the tie. This
line, from the Yorkshire area, begins in William the Conqueror's time with Arcubus de
Bowes who was said to have come over with William the Conqueror from Normandy (see
"Who Really Came with [William] the Conqueror in 1066? " in Links > Research - Countries
- England, which, for what the source may be worth, neither confirms nor rules this out).
This is the only living line I know of that can confirm early ties with Yorkshire and the
Queen Mother. It would be invaluable to the project to have a male representative join so
we'd know that haplotype modal (unique DNA markers). But as luck (or not) would have it,
she is unaware of any remaining male Boweses. Somewhere out there are distant cousins,
and if she can find them she will help us connect with them. There is a website with more
information about this line in Links > Research - Countries - England > "A Bowes Lineage
from Yorkshire". Note that I have commented on that site's complete renunciation of
William de Arcubus in "Possible Origins of Bowes Surname."
> If the name is indeed of 'English/Danish/Saxon' roots then when and
> how did it travel to Ireland?
> a) Possibly through the Norse/Danish incursions into Ireland during
> the 9th Century? Well not entirely satisfactory as Vikings tended in
> general to name their children after the Father, thus JorgenSON,
> HaroldSON etc. They did occasionaly choose 'nick' names or adopt
> place-names, but this was rarer. Besides, the Danes were amonsgt the
> last in Europe to use surnames, a time after the Viking period in
> b) The name 'Bowes' could possibly have been adopted later by
> Scandinavian settlers
And they could have done this whether at the time of adopting a surname they'd
maintained their "English" Scandinavian identity or enculturated into the Irish culture as so
many of them did.
> c) The adding of an 'S' to a name was a widespread practice used by
> the Saxon-English to suggest 'son-of'. For example: RichardS EdwardS
> etc. Could BoweS have a similar origin? If the name has English roots
> at what stage did it move to Ireland?
Interesting. Quite possible for some of us. Other times, Bowe and Bowes were just variants
before the time that the spelling of last names became consistent, with many families
using both names, or the family name being recorded differently by people such as census
takers who just wrote what they heard. "What's your last name?" "We're Bowes." Is that
plural of Bowe, son of Bowe, or Bowes? I think the more prominent English Bowes
lineage(s) began as more of a place name (e.g., William de Arcubus/Bowes and Gerard de
Bowes where "de" means "of" in French), but no doubt there were other lineages that
began Bowe and added "s" to indicate `son of.".
> Well we can to some degree rule out the 12th Century Norman invasion
> of Ireland, the majority of whom were Norman and Welsh. Any English
> component of this incursion were made up of troops from the West
> Country of England, where the name 'Bowes' is not at all common.
> Besides at this time many ordinary people had not taken up the
> practice of distinct surnames.
I think between the English William de Arcubus/Bowes story and Gerard de Bowes, both
names of Norman construction, during and not long after the Norman conquest of
England, we should keep this possibility on the table. Some could have come from England
not necessarily as ordinary folk but as gentry. Many norman gentry fully acculturated into
Also, I've read the Normans themselves (at least some of them) were originally Vikings
who went to Normandy (by way of the Yorkshire area?). So participants in our project with
Viking DNA can't yet rule out a Norman connection by way of Yorkshire or otherwise. At
least one of the two Bowes and Bowe participants with the "Danish" haplotype (Haplotype
I1 Group 3; Ken Nordvedt says were Danish) was from Kilkenny, the Norman seat of power
(ENA Michael Bowes, b. 1791, Kilkenny).
No firm conclusions in favor of Norman roots, but I'm inclined to leave the possibility quite
open. Many of these Normans thoroughly integrated into Irish culture. I read the Statutes
of Kilkenny were intended in part to bring the scallawags into line since they were a thorn
in the Crown's side. I believe some researchers are keeping an eye out in case haplotypes
representing the Norman vikings emerge. How can we get huge numbers of males in that
part of France to get their DNA tested??? I hear Europeans are not so interested in genetic
> Where does that leave us? Well the name 'Bowes' would certainly have
> developed and been adopted more numerously by the 16th Century and
> one wonders if this was the period that heralded the arrival of the
> English name 'Bowes' to Ireland during the Elizabethan, Cromwellian
> and later plantations. Do we have any evidence to support this idea?
Bingo for some Bowes lines. I am in touch with two Bowes males (not project participants
at this time) whose paper trails match in Fermanagh. One found his 1600s family records
in an Anglican church and they owned a farm. He surmises that they came as part of the
plantations, having been given a land grant, and says, "The land grants were one of the
first attempts to get British citizens (Anglicans loyal to the crown) to immigrate to Ireland,
mostly in the
north... They were basically trying to make sure that loyal Anglicans started to take over in
Ireland and Canada." Note "loyal", as opposed to the not so loyal English who were said to
be "more Irish than the Irish themselves."
> Not specifically. However there is a fascinating clue in the____
> prevalance of the Bowe/Bowes name in Counties Wexford and Kilkenny,
> both areas of particularly high English settlement from the Middle
> Ages onwards.
I didn't know that these were areas of particularly high English settlement. Good
correspondence. If you have a source for that for future use as conclusions solidify that
would be great.
>With further DNA testing of Bowes from these areas it_____
> could be possible to detect Danish/Saxon haplogroups, which may well
> have arrived through English settlers.
We have a start. As mentioned above: "At least one of the two Bowes and Bowe
participants with the "Danish" haplotype (Haplotype I1 Group 3; Ken Nordvedt says were
Danish) was from Kilkenny, the Norman seat of power (ENA Michael Bowes, b. 1791,
Kilkenny)." Hopefully we'll get more participants from this area.
> In conclusion we have two versions of the name, one Gaelic Irish, the
> other Old-English/Danish, revealing which one we belong to is of
> course a challenge being addressed by DNA testing.
We should also keep in mind for theOne-Name and DNA studies that sometimes
individuals changed surnames for a variety of life story reasons. An "illegitimate" son
might end up with the name of the father that raised him. Many children were orphaned
due to parents falling sick and other reasons and then integrated into another family ... so
some people today may have the surname without having any genetic connection to these
possible early origins. In addition, there may be early origins of the name (and its variants)
for some genetic lines that simply arose somewhere else for some unknown reason.
This variety of possibilities is why growing the DNA database is so important and
interesting. Through the combination of paper trails and genetic markers we begin to piece
a puzzle together. With so many separate genetic lines in our project already, I think it will
be an interesting road ahead! It would not be surprising if some of us came as early Viking
incursions of the 800s, others with Normans, others as part of the English plantations, and
others from Gaelic origins in the O'Buadaigh sept or something else. Some of us will never
know for sure. Others will refine their history with the help of the project.
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