My family name 'Dowdell' seems to inspire poetic license. I've heard it mispronounced Doodle, Dydell, Dwydell, Dondel, Dawdell, and Dodow among others! My all-time favorite mispronunciation, though, I heard only recently at a reception as a farewell conversation ended with, "Thank you, Miss Doo-well." Doo-well? It was the first time a mispronounced name had inspired me. Yes, of course, I certainly intend to Do Well!
I believe that names tell the story of who we are and where we come from. That's why a name is so important. I love my name. I consider it the greatest gift I have ever received, given to me by the best person I have known in my lifetime ... my father Leroy Paul. I affectionately tell this story as my gift to him and to you and to all those mispronouncers whose variations have been a source of wonderment and amusement to me:
In ancient times, people commonly took their name from their native land and surroundings. My ancestors hail from counties Louth and Meath in Ireland where they lived in a beautiful valley that in days gone by was called a 'dell'. White birds flew in the valley, and although they looked like doves, they were called 'dows'. So naturally, the townsfolk referred to the family as "the people who live with the dows in the dell." From that lilting phrase derived the surname "Dowdell."
Whether the story is truth or fiction, I formed an affinity for the avian species as a child when my father first fascinated me with that tale and capped it with a crooning of Toora Loora Loora to rival Bing Crosby's.
I enjoy retelling his story. When I shared it with my friend Lloyd, he gifted this inspired response: "Oh, so you're the Valley Dove!" With that, the idea for Valleydove Entertainment, a work in progress, was born. Its mission? To bring forth works that nurture the spirit and help others to Do Well. So, now you know!
The first record of the name Dowdell, also officially recorded as Dovedale, appeared in Yorkshire, England, where the family had been seated since ancient times ... well before the Anglo/Norman invasion of Ireland in 1172. The ancestral coat of arms features a silver shield with a red fess between three red martlets. Cresting the shield, a free-flying red marlet crowned with gold. The mythical martlet, often depicted as footless, catches its food while flying. A 13th century panel of Edward the Confessor's arms in Westminster Abbey represents martlets as doves.
Copyright © 2006 Maureen Dowdell