Direct Lines Indirect and Collateral Lines Broken Branches and Mysteries Surname Index Individual Index The McDowell Book of Lists
The greatest resource of the online world has always been people, and the greatest opportunity of the online world has always been the creation of new communities made of people whom distance would otherwise have kept apart, and the revitalization of old ones wounded by the automobile-driven diaspora--like the American extended family, now so often so scattered in space-time that it scarcely exists. (I live in Michigan, my sisters in Delaware, my mother in New Jersey.)
There are many gaps in the family tree I've been compiling, and--unfortunately--I didn't manage to capture all the pieces of the puzzle held in the memories of my relatives who are now dead. But at the same time, I'm certain that I can't be the only member of my line online--lost and undiscovered relatives are surely among the millions already here, and more will be coming. And perhaps, just perhaps, after this page is reindexed, someone looking up their own family in Google or Yahoo or Alta Vista will see these words, the six degrees of separation will be reduced to one, and a few more pieces of the puzzle will be unearthed and fall in place...
2005 Update Notes:
According to Census data, McDowell is the 626th most common surname in the United States, borne by approximately two-one hundredths of a percent of the population. This places it well down the list from other Scots-Irish "Mc"names, such as McDonald (#117), McCoy (#218), McKinney (#285), McDaniel (#302), and McCarthy (#409), but more common than the Scots clan name MacDougal(l) from which it derived.
The McDowell Book of Lists
2000 Update Notes: This update brings the database current as of the end of 2000. Though I have not had a great deal of time to work on genealogy in the past few years, there are nevertheless many additions, corrections, and other changes. One is in presentation: I have changed from an individual focus to a family focus for these pages. Also, because I have so many unexplored lines which may still have living relations, I've started taking a "one-name study" approach to the McDowells of Pennsylvania/NJ and to certain other rare surnames (Deich, Ketlar, etc.) in my tree--tracking individuals and families that I can't tie to my lines at this time, in the hope that some connection can be confirmed at some future date.
1997 Update Notes: With the help of WhoWhere and my first-cousin-once-removed Jamie Bunny McDowell, I located and made contact with a third cousin, John Philip McDowell, who lives in Colorado. Phil is not only a descendant of a sibling of my great-grandfather, but had done extensive genealogical research on the McDowells of eastern Pennsylvania. Thanks to the material Phil's sent me so far, I've been able to:
identify by name and birthdate all five siblings of my great-grandfather James McDowell
add a substantial branch descended from James' eldest brother, my great-granduncle John H. McDowell (Phil's line)
identify the parents of James and John, and the first of my McDowells to enter the US, as Samuel McDowell (1821-?) and Margaret Jane Milford (1826-?), who emigrated from County Antrim, Ireland through Liverpool to Philadelphia, PA in August, 1850 (and who welcomed their first child in mid-ocean). This is the first time I've been able to jump across the Atlantic with solid information about the origins of Samuel McDowell (previously, I had the name and nothing more).
identify Samuel's sponsor as Archebald McDowell of Pennsylvania, who married Mary A. Riddle.
speculatively identify Archebald and Samuel as two of seven McDowell brothers who came to Pennsylvania at various times in the mid-1800s.
Ironically, at the end of the day, although one big McDowell branch was rediscovered, there are now ten broken branches to work on--James' other two brothers William and Alexander, his sisters Eliza and Mary, and his uncles James, William, Archebald, Thomas, Alexander, and John, all of whom might have living descendants in the US.
(All listed marriages produced at least one child)
According to family stories,
For more details: follow the Surname
Index or the Alphabetical List
to family pages and ancestor trees for each person in my database.
If you think there's a chance--even a slim one--that you belong to one of the above lines, please E-mail me with whatever information you have, so we can compare notes.
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