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The Bowles of Canada and their Roots in Ireland and Great Britain

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Captain Thomas Boulds or Bowles of Dublin

Back to Thomas Bowles, Deputy Treasurer of Parliament's Army in Ireland  
Most of the references we have for these Bowles are not from images of the original paper, just from transcriptions of those early documents.  Most of these were made in the late 1800's. In that later period Bowles had become the most common spelling of the name.  Many or even most transcribers may have been trying to be helpful by transcribing an entry like Boules as Bowles. Granted the 1600's script can be very difficult now for many of us to read without a lot of practice and they were often right that the name had evolved from Boules to Bowles but they may also have been making an incorrect assumption.  Back in the 1600's the spelling of surnames was pretty erratic, mostly because it generally just didn't matter.  A clerk recording a church event would write down whatever the family name(s) sounded like to him.  Often that would be based on local spellings of a similar sounding name he was already familiar with.  See Origin of the Bowles Name  Bolle/Bolles and Bold/Bould are two of the phonetically-spelled common early names of families that later became Bowles.

Now a very important point: not a single one of the contemporary (original) references I have found for this family have used the Bowles spelling until 1683 when the first 'w' appears in the name in the registry entry for Hester Bowles marriage to William Stowell.  After that the next 'Bowles' spellings that I could find in original scripts were in Deed Memorials starting in 1715. 

The Whitshed family recorded Thomas Sr. as Captain Boules who married Mary Plunket (see the Whitshed/Plunket reference below) and his burial record lists him as Captain Thomas Bolds. 
The baptism of Thomas and Mary's first child at St Johns Dublin was recorded as to Thomas Bold but the next three baptized there were to Thomas Bould and their next, baptised at St Brides Dublin, was to parents Thomas and Mary Boale.  Their son Thomas Jr's burial was recorded as Mr Boulds.  Thomas Jr's son Charles baptismal entry was spelled Bould. 

Their daughter Hester was baptized as Bould in 1655 but her marriage in 1683 records her as Bowles.  After that I couldn't find the Bowles spelling in an original document until the Deed Memorials involving his grandchildren starting in 1715.

Based on all these early original source references it would appear that it was a Captain Thomas Bould/Bold/Bolds who came from England in 1649/50 and that we should search in those lines for his origin in England.  Perhaps the 19th century transcribers were wrong to convert his name to Bowles in their records.  I don't believe so.  The 'w' had appeared in most of the prominent Bowles families in England by the mid-1600's.  However, Bowles was virtually unknown in Dublin.  One branch of the prominent Thomas Boles of Cork line adopted that spelling only in the 1760's with George Bowles of Mount Prospect, co. Cork (son of Robert Boles of Springfield, co. Cork).  In the also prominent Richard Boles of Cork line the first 'w' that I can find is a reference in the Friends Book of Sufferings for Abigail Bowles in 1698, although her family typically used the Boles spelling, and the next would be the request made by John Boles (then of Ballintrane, co. Carlow) request to be given permission to marry Susan Nicholson in 1701 which is recorded in the Carlow Meeting Minutes which in one sentence uses both 'John Bowles' and 'John Boles'.  I can't find any original source references for a Bowles spelling actually in Dublin that early.

However, while Bowles may not have been known, the Bould spelling was well known in Dublin before Thomas arrived. 
The Dublin Assembly Roll of 1646 lists a Daniel Bould who was newly admitted to the city upon having served his apprenticeship as a goldsmith and paying a fine (a fee).  Due to the severe lack of coinage in Dublin local goldsmiths would issue their own trade tokens one of which issued between 1650 and 1679 which displayed a winged beast was issued by Roger Bold of Skinner's Row.  The Pender Census taken in 1659, which was actually not a census just a list of people occupying land, lists a Roger Bould holding land in Dublin.   An undated document from the Marquis of Ormonde's collection covering the period 1662-1684 includes a Roger Bould in a list of men in the King's Regiment of Guards in Ireland.  In that same collection there is also a manscript dated March 31, 1665 for a recovery of debt from John Pollexfen of Colonel Brent Moore's company of the Royal Regiment filed by Thomas Hoocke, Roger Bold and Benjamin Bunbury and a manuscript dated June 14, 1665 for an affidavit of service order in which Benjamin Bunbury, Roger Bold and Gorman Humphreyes were the paintiffs.
However, the transcription made of the St Brides Dublin church register has an Edmund Bowles son of Roger Bowles bp. July 10, 1664.  The original probably has Bould although I haven't been able to check that yet.
So the spelling of the surnames was all quite random, had little importance at the time (even Wills show variations) and should not be used to follow a family line.

This site was last updated 10/19/18