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Our 2,744 members have registered
2,397 study surnames with us
and a further 6,089 variant names.

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About the study

My research on the Rowden surname began in the early 1980s. My late father had died a few years earlier and finding some of his family jottings, I was curious to find out more. His paternal family had its origins in Devon but I soon discovered Rowdens elsewhere and before very long a one-name study was born.

Variant names

The surname Rowden has a number of variants, the closest being Rowdon, Rowdan, Rowdin, Rawden. However other variants including Roden, Rodden, Rhoden, Roaden. The variant is registered by another member in the Guild. The variants Rowden and Rowdon have origins only in the southern counties of England and this one-name study is mainly concerned with those families. However other variants are found in these family records and are by no means excluded. More may be found here.

Name origin

There appears to be three counties in England where the surname originated, Devon, Wiltshire and Herefordshire. However being a topographical surname there may well be more than one origin in any of these counties. DNA studies have shown there is more than one Rowden ancestor.

Name frequency

There were almost 900 Rowdens in England and Wales in 1881. At this time there were a handful in Scotland and some early Rowden settlers in the USA were now growing into larger families but were still small in numbers. Other small Rowden families are found in Australia and New Zealand. Records of the surname reveal a larger than the average ratio of males to females at birth.


The Rowden One-Name study collects any relavent data. Many sources have been investigated and part of the growing database includes 5000+ parish records, 10000+ census records, 10000+ civil records. There are many other records which in total exceed 6000.


A Rowden DNA project was started in 2006 hosted by FamilyTreeDNA. The prime goal of the projct 'is to identify and unite Rowden family members with their respective DNA matches; to discover the potential links between the many known groups of Rowdens which have been found by paper trail research. From these links it is hoped that we will discover more about the origins of this surname.' For more details go to