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Cowgill History Research & Sources

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Research Overview

The first known general history of Cowgills to be published was Beatrice Eleanora Cowgill's Cowgill History (1986, Gateway Press), which covered all known Cowgills in the US. The Descendants of Ellin Cowgill: 1682-1800, by H. G. Stuebing and Carole J. Cowgill-Stuebing, (1994, Gateway Press), covered early Cowgills and provided more in-depth coverage of their personal history and circumstances. The only known earlier attempt at a general history of Cowgills in America was a curious initiative by Joseph Ewing Cowgill, a Civil War veteran, who set up "The Cowgill Bureau of Biography and Genealogy" in Indianapolis in the early 1900s. His stated intent was to compile and publish a History of the Cowgill Family. Copies of his four-page brochure (an original is held in the library in Cambridge, OH) include sample biographical sketches with photos. A number of the letters he sent out to various Cowgills seeking input for his project also survive. Unfortunately, he ran into marital difficulties and the location of his material, if it survives, is unknown.

There are several Cowgill histories that cover one particular family line in America, but also usually try to link that line back to Ellen Cowgill and her UK origins. The earliest known of these was published in 1905. Similar sketches, some lengthy, appear in other family histories or genealogical publications such as Colonial and Revolutionary Families of Pennsylvania in 1911.

The earliest known serious effort to identify the Cowgill roots in the UK was by the Rev J. B. Turner, who wrote to parishes and government officials for information, and then traveled to Yorkshire in the early 1900s to conduct research and examine documents first-hand. His letters and findings are on file in the Delaware Archives, Dover. The value of his findings is that several of the original source documents he transcribed during his visit have since degraded to the point they are illigible.

Since Rev Turner's time a number of Cowgills, individually and in groups, have visited England to trace their roots. The Cowgill Cousins organization has sponsored two such trips, the most recent in 2006. Dr George Redmonds, the well known place name/surname specialist in Yorkshire, acted as guide and instructor. See the Photos link above for some images from that trip of Cowgill places of interest, as well as other Cowgill-related images.

There is no known general history of Cowgills outside America.

Some of the more important sources of information in building our family tree and learning about our ancestors are listed below.

Currently there are a number of websites by Cowgills or related families tracing their roots. Also, has a number of Cowgill family trees posted on their website (unfortunately, some with questionable data). See Links below for some of the sites. The Cowgill Cousins DNA project is another ongoing research effort. If you are doing or plan on doing Cowgill family research we'd like to hear from you!

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Primary Source Documents

Published Cowgill Histories:
Important Reference Documents:
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Links: Following are some known sites with Cowgill or related family histories. Did we miss one? Please let us know:   ---  The Cowgill Family Genealogy Forum by GenWeb - free source for Cowgill-related queries.  ---  The web site of the Tarvin Family - numerous Cowgill linkages beginning in the early 1800s.  ---  The web site of the Austin Family - several Cowgill linkages beginning in the mid-1800s.  ---  The Cowgell/Cowgill family web home, a branch originally in Kentucky. --- This site covers "later arrival" Cowgills who settled in Canada and the US in the late 1800s. Many old photos.

Cowgills in Fiction: There are several known works of fiction either featuring Cowgills directly or based on the family's history:
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