This unusual name is a developed form of the Old French "douarie" and does refer to money or property brought by a woman to her husband at marriage. The surname is found in the spellings of Dowry, Dowrey and the shortened forms of Dover, Dower, Dowyer and the patronymic Dowers and Dowears. The name is probably topographical for a person who lived or worked at a "Dower" property, but it is possible that some nameholders derive from a nickname for a male person who benefitted from a large dowery after marrying a wealthy woman. The name recording and development include the following examples - John Dowry who married Katherine Johnson on April 30th 1587, at the church of St. Stephen and St. Benet, London, whilst on January 13th 1691, Catherine Dowry married Matthew Evans at St. Mary-le-Bone. On January 3rd 1790, Thomas (Dowrey (as spelt) was christened at the church of St. Andrew's, Holborn, London. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Thomas Dowre, which was dated January 17th 1585, a witness at Christchurch, Greyfriars, London, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth 1, known as "Good Queen Bess", 1558 - 1603. 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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