Dowie Family History



Martha Jane Jenkins portrait


Jenkins is a surname that originated in Cornwall, England, but came to be popular in southern Wales. The name “Jenkin” originally meant “little John” or “son of John”. The “kin” portion is of Flemish origin, which then gained a certain popularity in England. Later the “s” was added to mean the son of a Jenkin.

Jenkins Roots

The Jenkins clan have been traced back to Perth Scotland with surname variants being Junkens, Jonkins, and Junkine. The earliest record is James Jenkins marriage to Cathron McQueen in 1705 and the multitude of children that followed.
One of the later descendants, John Jenkins married Joanna Stewart Graham in 1816. Joanna I believe to be the result of a marriage between the Stewarts and Grahams in Scotland. They evidently owned Buchanan Castle (near Drymen and Loch Lomond Scotland). Joanna was disinherited because she married outside the family. This family line (Graham’s) had the title of Earl of Montrose.
John Jenkins was a bit of a rouge, a stone mason by trade however his favourite past time was whiskey smuggling. He use to row out to the boats and bring the whiskey back, hidden in coffins.
Numerous people have researched this side of the family and from other stories it would appear Johanna was disinherited as she eloped. John Jenkins worked for the Grahams aged 28 and Johanna was only 18 years old when they ran away to be married. Many other stories exist about the Grahams, all told by my Grandmother as she associated herself with this family more from a lost family fortune and status of the peerage.
The Jenkins roots are very much Scottish however the family is believed to have originated from Flanders (Northern France, Belgium and the Netherlands). Thanks to my Grandmother and her relatives, the family tree goes back to 1680.

My Grandmother

She was born in Dunedin New Zealand in 1882. My Grandmother was very much into her family history and had been investigating her Scottish ancestry for some time. She had traveled between New Zealand and Australia and married her husband in Sydney and gave birth to my dad in Rose Bay Sydney Australia in 1924. At some stage after his birth they both returned to Dunedin New Zealand.
When she was in her 90’s I convinced my Dad to tape her storey one Sunday lunch however only a fraction was captured. Sad to say I wish that I had perused this to gather more information than what I have today.
Granny died in 1979 when I was in the USA with my Mum and Dad, she was aged 96 and was hanging out for a telegram from the Queen when she reached the age of 100.

Future Research

Many loose ends exist around the various generations that lived in both New Zealand and Australia that have proved to be difficult to track down. I will continue to explore the Scottish ancestry however earlier records may not exist.