I have ancestors with the surname Bowles. It is a simple name but you would be amazed what variations occur. Some of these errors are due to spelling or transcription errors, but sometimes it is just because the name has evolved over the years.
The following are excerpts from The History of the Bowles Family; Containing an Accurate Historical Lineage of the Bowles Family from the Norman Conquest to the Twentieth Century, with Historical and Genealogical Notes and Some Pedigrees of Bowles Families in Various Sections of the United States and Britain (1):
So far we have:
According to The Internet Surname Database (3), we can also add to this list:
As if that weren’t enough…I started looking on FamilySearch.org for my 3rd great grandfather, PHINEAS BOWLES. I found:
Phil F. Bolls
Phinehes B. G. Bowles
I could go on, but you get the point. Remember to think outside the box when doing a name search for an ancestor—even if it is a name that seems very clearly spelled one way to you. Not everyone excels in spelling and in the olden days spelling wasn’t that important. Keep in mind too that your surname’s spelling may have changed over the years.
Dover Publications, Inc., Mineola, New York, Electronic Clip Art, East Meets West Art Deco, 2010.
(1) The history of the Bowles family; containing an accurate historical lineage of the Bowles family from the Norman conquest to the twentieth century, with historical and genealogical notes and some pedigrees of Bowles families in various sections of the United States and Britain, compiled and published by Thomas M. Farquhar, Philadelphia, 1907, p. 51 (http://archive.org/details/historyofbowlesf00farq: accessed January 1, 2013).
(2) Ibid, p. 52.
(3) The Internet Surname Database, 1980 - 2013 Name Origin Research (http://www.surnamedb.com/surname/bowles: accessed January 3, 2013).