A Scottish and Irish surname, McDowell, comes from the Gaelic term ‘dubhghall’ which meant a dark stranger. Variations in spelling for McDowell include MacDowall, Dowler, MacDill, MacDugaid and MacDowell. In England the McDowell surname is mostly in the northern region in Durham, Cumberland, Lancashire and also in the city of London and Kent to the south. A few coastal counties in Wales have McDowell families. In Scotland several areas have higher populations with the McDowell surname. The highest being in Lanarkshire, Renfrewshire, Midlothian, Angus, Ayrshire and Perthshire. Within the United States the McDowell surname is very common. The higher concentrations are in the states of New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, North Carolina, South Carolina, Illinois, Kentucky, Missouri, California, Oregon, Colorado, Texas and Indiana. Famous: Jack McDowell (professional baseball player), Ephraim McDowell (early 19th century medical physician who was first successful in removing an ovarian tumor), Irvin McDowell (Civil War Union Army General), Johnny McDowell (race car driver), Malcolm McDowell (actor), Sam McDowell (professional baseball player) and Graeme McDowell (professional golfer from Northern Ireland).