This is an expansion of a message I sent to the New Zealand ROOTSWEB list a
few days ago. Apologies to readers there if this ends up getting posted to
that list as well.
I am new to the Bowles list and, as will be apparent from the following,
more than a mite puzzled. I have been trying for years to make sense of the
Bowles - Bowker part of my family and its Irish connections. Does anyone on
the list share any part of the confusion described below, have the ability
to cast any light on it, or have any information on where Michael BOWLES
Michael BOWLES was one of my gg grandfathers. He died in Dunedin, New
Zealand aged 39 in May 1878, occupation gardener. His death certificate
says he came from Co. Tipperary, Ireland but lists his father and mother as
unknown, has no information on his children, not known to whom married or at
what age, and no information on how long he had been in New Zealand (!!)
Other information indicates he was married to Emily Mary BOWKER, but I do
not have their marriage certificate. I have copies of the birth register
entries for 5 children, all born in Dunedin. On all of them Michael Bowles
is listed as the father, but the mother's maiden name (or at least
spelling - perhaps due to Michael's broad Irish accent?) varies
Catherine b 13 Apr 1865 mother Amelia Bowles formerly Bouccker
John Patrick b 12 Sep 1866 mother Amelia Bowles formerly Vertay
Robert James b 27 Jan 1868 mother Emma Bowles formerly Bouckeer
Adelaide b 24 Nov 1870 mother Emily Bowles formerly Boaker
Albert Francis b 10 Aug 1872 mother Emily Bowles, formerly Walker
The death certificate for Emily Mary Bowles, who died 23 Dec 1911, lists her
father's name as Boaker and her husband's name as Michael Bowles. Children
living have ages (males) 51, 45, 43, 36 (females) 47, 41. She was born In
London. The time she spent in New Zealand is given as 52 years (i.e.
arrival about 1859).
The children given on her death certificate correlate approximately to those
whose birth certificates I have, except for the eldest son.
One passenger list I have traced has the following arriving in Dunedin on
the ship "Dunedin" from Melbourne, Australia on March 12 1860:
Bouker Amelia cost 6 pounds
Bouker Emily cost 6 pounds
Bouker Mary C cost 12 pounds
I do not know whether these three have any connection to my family.
But then it gets complicated. Family legend has it that Emily Mary BOWKER
first married Michael BOWLES and later married Michael BOWERS. To make it
worse, Michael BOWERS was also apparently a gardener. The children of the
first marriage were supposedly William and Katherine, and those of the
second John, Emily or Emma, and Albert.
This conflict is not resolved by published directories and electoral rolls.
Mrs Emily Bowles is listed in directories (from 1886) and electoral rolls
(1893 -first vote for women - to at least1899).
Robert James BOWERS is listed as a sawyer in the 1890, 1893 and 1896
electoral rolls, address Grosvenor St, but Robert BOWLES, sawyer, is listed
in the 1894 and 1897 directories at the same address!
Albert BOWERS, machinist, turns up in the 1896 and 1899 electoral rolls. I
do not know of him listed as a BOWLES.
John BOWLES is listed as a machinist in the 1890 and 1893 electoral rolls,
but John BOWERS machinist is listed in the 1896 electoral roll at the same
address as Eliza BOWERS - see below.
I have a marriage certificate dated 30 Nov 1892 for
bridegroom: John BOWERS, machinist,
father Michael BOWERS, gardener,
mother Emily Mary BOWERS nee BOWKER
bride: Eliza Grace Finnis MCLEAN etc
These two were the parents of a lady, Mrs Sophia Boraman, who I was always
told was a cousin of our family. She was the one who provided the
information I described above as family legend.
To add further to the confusion, there is a letter in the genealogy section
of the National Library here in Wellington from a Mrs G E Morecraft who
listed the children of Michael BOWLES as
William b 5 Nov 1860 d 1946
Catherine b 1865
John b 1866
Robert b 1868
Emily b 1870 d 2 Aug 1877
Ada b 1871
Albert b 1872
These are close to the children for whom I have birth certificates.
That is as much of the story as I have been able to piece together.
Whenever I come back to it, I end up discouraged by the confusion and the
lack of information connecting back to Ireland. I have not pursued the link
Any further information anyone may have would be greatly appreciated.