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Bowles DNA Project
The Bowles of Canada and their Roots in Ireland and England

Origin of the Name


Bowles, Boles, Boales, Bolles, Bowls ......even Bolds?

It's only now in the age of computers that the spelling of our name must not change.  In the past, a family knew its own history and it didn't matter much to them how the record keepers decided to write it down.  The church official or the land or immigration clerk could hear a name and then write down whatever the name sounded like regardless of a pre-conceived correct spelling of the name.  Many of our ancestors signed their name with an X even into the 1900's.  In the 1800's in Canada we have examples where a father may have used Bolles while one son used Bowles and another used Boles.

If you feel that as a Boles you have nothing in common with the Bowles in your area, research a little more, you may be surprised.

It is quite likely that the roots of this surname are as complex as the various cultures which made up England and Ireland.  Angles, Saxons, Celts, Vikings, Normans.  All combined to form today's Bowles, Boles......

Rather than repeat all the reported theories I have included some links below to several sites which cover that topic.

Whether you're descended from a Saxon Boles (for which some possible roots are Boll (a steward), 'le Bole' (the bull) and 'les Bolles' (from an area known as The Bolles)), a Viking named Bolla, a Norman named Bolle or Bouelles, or possibly from a Scot named Boal or Boyle who may have descended from a Norman named Bouelles, from a Celt named Ó Baoighill (O'Boyle) and whether you spell your name Boles or Bowls or Boals or anything that sounds roughly like that, for the purposes of this site you are a Bowles.

My own Notes on the Norman origin and my Notes on the Middle English origin of the name Bole.

Some Origin of the Bowles Surname References

A good Bowles Surname Origins site which I believe summarizes several other sites

In Irish Ancestors enter the name Bowles in the Search box

Bowles Surname History by Evan Bowles

Excerpt from the book: Irish families, Great and Small by Michael C. O’Laughlin

Excerpt from Family History: VA Genealogies #2 1600-1800 Genealoglies of Virginia Families Volume IV the Bowles, Anderson,and Shelton families as related to William Sims Of Union Co. SC

Excerpt from The Surnames of Ireland by Edward MacLysaght

Possible roots of the name Bolds and Bowles in Oxfordshire from A History of the County of Oxford: Volume 12

This site was last updated 04/24/16