My Dowling Family


DOWLING is the surname of my mother, Saidee Elise Dowling Wood. This surname was first found in early Virginia (in Jamestown, possibly as Doolin). A Robert Dowling (cir. 1735-1794) migrated from Virginia to the area around Darlington SC around 1773. My family had its origins in this Robert who served in the Revolutionary War. Robert's descendants spread throughout the South. This family is well documented back to Robert in the book A Dowling Family of the South (DFS).

It was speculated in that book that a Frampton Dowling was Robert Dowling's father but the connection to Frampton has since been discounted.

Additional biographical and historical material is available for the DOWLING family on this site.


Frampton Dowling

I have seen many claims that a Frampton Dowling is the father of Robert Dowling the "founder" of the Dowling family in the Southern United States. I believe there are two sources of this misconception, the book A Dowling Family of the South (DFS) and the booklet to Dowlings who served in America's Wars. However neither book provides proof that Frampton was the father or Robert Dowling or any other Dowling for that matter.

They only offer speculation and the DFS book NEVER made the claim that Frampton WAS the father of anyone. It clearly stated that a connection was unknown and suggested that it was a possibility. It states: "On August 1, 1643, a FRAMPTON Dowling arrived in Virginia on board Captain Samuel Matthews' ship. It is not known whether he was the father of a Corporal WILLIAM Dowling mentioned in Maryland records of 1694 nor whether he was kin to the ROBERT Dowling referred to in the Augusta County records of Virginia in 1700."

The passenger manifest Capt. Matthews' ship traveling from Barbados to Virginia listed an Fr. Dowling and he was the only Dowling listed. The given name Frampton was not used but it has been assumed to be Frampton (and the father of Robert) by many including myself until I did further research. For all we know today, this could have been a Priest with the surname Dowling (i.e.: Father Dowling). It is highly unlikely that this man, most likely an adult in 1643, would live long enough to sire Robert who was born about 90 years later.

Unfortunately many websites claim to have traced my ancestor, Robert Dowling's (cir. 1735 - bef. 1794) family back to a Frampton Dowling. Some even show this Frampton Dowling immigrating from Ireland. Every author of these claims that I have contacted could not provide source information or they stated that the book A Dowling Family of the South made this claim. Of those that responded to my inquiry, not one provided any proof of documentation of a link between Robert and any Frampton.

Furthermore, a new book, published in 2002, The [Dowling] Family. Their Ancestors and Descendants, provides documentation that shows William Dowling is the brother of Robert and not his son (as stated in DFS) and, that both Robert and William are sons of a Michael Dowling (Cir. 1698 - bef. 1751). Information on further ancestors back to Jamestown Virginia in 1623 is also provided in this book.


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