This unusual and interesting name is of Scottish origin, and is a locational surname deriving from the place called Bowhill, near Selkirk, in the Borders region, formerly Berwickshire. The placename means 'the hill shaped like a bow', derived from the Old English pre 7th Century 'boga', bow, with 'hyll', hill. Locational surnames were acquired especially by those former inhabitants of a place who had moved to another area, and were thereafter best identified by the name of their birthplace. The spelling of the original name was often changed, through clerical error and dialectal variations, and in this instance, the modern surnames from 'Bowhill' include Bohil(l), Bohil(l)s, Boahil(l) and Boahil(l)s. The plural forms are genitive, indicating 'of Bowhill'. One James Bohill was christened at St. Sepulchre, in London, on May 1st 1774, and William Bohills, son of George and Christian, was christened in Embleton, Northumberland, on March 16th 1788. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of James Bowell, which was dated 1600, Documents relating to Scotland in the Public Records Office, during the reign of King James V1 of Scotland, 1567 - 1625. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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