Bowles DNA Project
See About me - a brief autobiography
Why This Web site?
My name is Tom LaPorte so why is my major family history research work about the Bowles family? Well I do also have a LaPorte Family History web site but that wasn't much of a challenge as my LaPortes arrived in Canada in the early 1600's and extensive research into the early French settlement of Canada has already been done by many people so only my family's last few generations required much work to document. The real challenge came when I moved on to my mother's family, the Bowles.
What started as a search for my maternal grandfather's ancestors has grown into a monster. The family story was that Alf Bowles came from an English background and somehow England was not that far back in the story. His father's name was George so I started by searching for a George Bowles in England in the mid-1800's. Well it looked like there were hundreds to pick from but none of these seemed to use Alfred as a family name. Having no idea how to narrow those possibilities down I went back to where every good genealogist should. Talk to your oldest relative about the oldest relative they can remember. Well Grandma always said that George Bowles had died accidentally while working on the construction of the Peterborough Lift Lock. That at least gave me a place to start. Eventually, as the research crawled along through census records and microfilms from the Ontario Archives I learned that George was born in Quebec City (what?), gave his ancestry as Irish (really?) and his death certificate gave diabetes as his cause of death (there goes a good family story shot down in flames!). So much for relying on memories. So now, Bowles in Quebec City! There couldn't have been too many there!
Well I found none using Internet resources but there seemed to be Bowles in every corner of Ontario and some in Quebec particularly north of Quebec City and in Montreal. Finally a trip to the National Archives of Quebec resulted in a gold mine of information (my thanks to the excellent staff there) yielding two more generations of my family in Quebec City (George's father was Robert a grocer and Robert's father was John a shoemaker, both inside the walls of the old city) going back to the early 1800's; plus about 40 other Bowles family members. Several of these looked familiar and looking back through my earlier notes, they were many of those Bowles scattered across Ontario and in Montreal. Gradually the pieces fit together connecting up Bowles in Brighton, Ontario, in Ottawa, in Ontario county, North Simcoe, Victoria county...and all of them Irish! References to counties Carlow and Laois in Ireland became a pattern for "my" Bowles and others who I couldn't connect came from there as well or nearby. Some with children born in Quebec City (were they connected to mine?) and some who seemed to just arrive from nowhere but still from Carlow or Laois. Perhaps connected to mine only back in Ireland.