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Bowes, Bowe, Related and Similar Surnames DNA Project

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About us

Bowes, Bowe, Related and Similar Surnames DNA Project

About the Surnames
This surname project started studying just the Bowes and Bowe names which are known to be related in some areas. Over years of research, it became apparent that we had encountered a complex web of surnames that claim or have claimed the same variants because they share:

  1. linguistic roots, and/or
  2. phonological characteristics, and/or
  3. documentary/historic associations
We see these overlaps in England, Scotland and Ireland as well as in continental Germanic and Scandinavian regions. Consequently, many surname history references sometimes appear to randomly link some of these spellings as 'variants' under the same surname without providing any evidence to justify the assertion.

Y chromosome DNA provides a great tool for establishing which of these surname spellings are in fact related since the time surnames began. A glance at the Name column in our results clearly shows this process at work, although in some cases, as noted, we need additional SNP testing to confirm relatedness between variants that are provisionally grouped together. As we test more and more men who go by as many of these surnames as possible, we'll further establish which spellings are true variants of one another in surviving families. That will help participants to know what spellings to focus on in their documentary research. See this work in progress that helps illustrate the confusion among these names. 

A characteristic shared by many of these names is that they are uncommon to rare (a few probably even extinct!). This means:

  1. Most of these names don't have their own surname DNA project,
  2. Some of these names may be dying out, so time is short to capture their Y DNA and family history. If you know any eligible males please send them our way!
Meanwhile, when it comes to the original Bowes and Bowe names under study, there are many lines still not tested and we need all possible lineages to participate. We are in great need for English Bowes and Bowe to test. Many families by these names came from England and the only way to help connect them back to their homeland is to have good representation among English Bowes and Bowe men for comparison.

If you know a man whose surname matches our list, please encourage him to participate and help us establish the DNA patterns among these interesting names!

Notice of Non-Affiliation
Tyrone Bowes of Irish, English and Scottish Origenes is not involved with administration of the Bowes One-Name Study and DNA Project. I regretfully point this out here for two reasons:

  1. He makes a highly exaggerated claim that shows in our results next to his Irish Origenes notation. His earliest known ancestor shows in our project results as 'Bowes (1600s, Laois, Ireland)'. There are no available parish, DNA or other records that confirm a 17th century location for this or any other specific surviving Bowe(s) lineage. In fact I am not aware of any records to show his line ever even lived in Laois. The available evidence through his Irish Bowe(s) genetic matches, about whose lines more is known, point more strongly to Kilkenny and Tipperary. As far as I'm aware the most distant known location for his family, which is not in Laois, dates to the late 19th/early 20th century.
  2. The leap to Laois in the 16th century derives from Origenes' 'Bowes Case Study' using a 'methodology' that's been critiqued numerous times. (See my critique of Irish Origenes' Bowe(s) case study, and Dubious commercial claims.) Naturally we all have errors in our work, and we all sometimes make our best possible judgement calls based on the weight of available evidence, but this is simply too big of a stretch and just part of a story he's written about Irish Bowe(s) that he's used to attract new customers to his business.

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