The term variant is often used loosely, but it's helpful to distinguish between variants and deviants.
  • A variant arises where a branch of a family assumes a new spelling of the surname that is then used consistently by its descendants, or where a person uses the spelling in an original signature, say on a Will.
  • A deviant is a spelling by an official or transcriber based on what they thought they heard or read. Deviants are more common the further back you go in records, before surname spellings and variants stabilized.
For clarification I am including pages on some similar names in countries outside England and Ireland that either: 
  1. are not variants of English or Irish Bowes but rather have separate origins within their region (eg. Norway), or 
  2. may have some connection to English Bowes to be discovered (eg. Germany and Denmark).

Variants Registered with the Guild of One-Name Studies

These may change with growing knowledge of these surnames: 

Bowes, Bows, Bowe, Bow, Boe

Variants Covered in the DNA Project at FTDNA

Our DNA Project casts a wider net for the following reasons:

  • On the off-chance that early renderings seen in historical documents are still used somewhere, even though we don't expect to find them in modern use (eg. Bowige).
  • A diverse group may help us discover variants that might not turn up in documentary research or that might have been considered just a transcription error in a family's early documents. 
  • We include phonetically similar names for which there is not a separate DNA project. If our project develops a substantial subgroup for a clearly unrelated name, it can spin off into its own DNA project (eg. Boaz). A couple early inclusions have already spun off.
  • When a similar sounding name or close spelling has its own DNA project, if any turn out to be variants and match our participants, it will come to our attention through FTDNA and those individuals can then be added to our project (eg. Bowers).
  • To include possibilities from countries outside England and Ireland (eg. Germany).
Our DNA Project variants are:

Boas, Boase, Boaz, Boe, Boehler, Boes, Boetius, Boewe, Boey, Bohig, Bohill, Bohler, Böhler, Booe, Bouse, Bow, Bowe, Böwe,

Bowes, Bowige, Bows, Bowse, Bowz, Boye, Boyes, Buo, Buoey, Buoy, Bwee, Bwoy, de Bowes, MacNaboe, McNaboe