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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright 2000 - 2014

Where did the Scottish Boswell family come from? What is the Scottish Boswell family crest and coat of arms? When did the Boswell family first arrive in the United States? Where did the various branches of the family go? What is the Boswell family history?

The prestigious surname Boswell came to Britain with the Norman invasion of 1066. It is thought that the surname originated in Beauzeville, France, and that Elias de Boesevilla of this region was the first Norman settler to Britain. Many of these Norman families moved north, into Scotland in the period following the Norman Conquest of England.


Spelling variations of this family name include: Boswell, Boswall, Boseville, Boswald, Bosswald, Bosville, Boeseille, Bosvile, Bovill, Bowelle and many more.

First found in Yorkshire, where Sir Ralph Boswell of Guntwaite, a descendant of Elias de Boesevilla, the first settler from Normandy, held lands. In the 12th century Sir Ralph lost his Yorkshire estates to the Earls of Warenne. The family moved north to Scotland at the invitation of David, Earl of Huntingdon, where they settled in Berwickshire at Edenham.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Boswell research. Another 302 words(22 lines of text) covering the years 1296 and 1740 are included under the topic Early Boswell History in all our PDF Extended History products.


Another 30 words(2 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Boswell Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.


Some of the Boswell family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 63 words(4 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.


Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Boswell Settlers in the United States in the 17th Century

  • John Boswell settled in Salem, Massachusetts in 1630
  • Jonathan Boswell, who arrived in Cambridge Massachusetts in 1632
  • Jo Boswell, aged 17, landed in St Christopher in 1635
  • Samuel Boswell settled in Virginia in 1635
  • Samuel Boswell, aged 23, arrived in Virginia in 1635

Boswell Settlers in the United States in the 18th Century

  • David Boswell, who landed in Maryland in 1700
  • Richd Boswell, who landed in Virginia in 1703
  • John Boswell settled in Maryland in 1720
  • Letitia Boswell, who landed in America in 1740
  • Charles Boswell settled in New England in 1740


  • James Griffin Boswell (1882-1952), American founder of the J. G. Boswell Company, the world's largest privately owned farm
  • Vet Boswell (1909-1988), American blues singer
  • David Wilson Boswell (1945-2012), American Major League Baseball pitcher
  • Robert Allen "Bobby" Boswell (b. 1983), American soccer player
  • John Eastburn Boswell (1947-1994), American historian and a professor at Yale University
  • Lewis Archer Boswell (1834-1909), American early aviation pioneer who some claim made the first powered heavier-than-air flight, before the Wright Brothers
  • James Boswell (1740-1795), 9th Laird of Auchinleck, Scottish lawyer, diarist, and author, his surname became a term as in when Sherlock Holmes says of Dr. Watson, "I am lost without my Boswell"
  • Timothy Eric Boswell (b. 1942), British member of Parliament for Daventry
  • Ronald Leslie Doyle "Ron" Boswell (b. 1940), Australian politician, member of the Australian Senate
  • Mark Boswell (b. 1977), Jamaican-born, Canadian high jumper



  • The Boswells of Shelby County, Kentucky by Eula Richardson Hasskarl.
  • Descendants of Edward Boswell: Prince William County, Virginia and Orange County, North Carolina by Jean Boswell Pippenger.

The motto was originally a war cry or slogan. Mottoes first began to be shown with arms in the 14th and 15th centuries, but were not in general use until the 17th century. Thus the oldest coats of arms generally do not include a motto. Mottoes seldom form part of the grant of arms: Under most heraldic authorities, a motto is an optional component of the coat of arms, and can be added to or changed at will; many families have chosen not to display a motto.

Motto: Vraye Foi
Motto Translation: True faith.


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  1. Adam, Frank. Clans Septs and Regiments of the Scottish Highlands 8th Edition. London: Bacon (G.W.) & Co, 1970. Print. (ISBN 10-0717945006).
  2. Colletta, John P. They Came In Ships. Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1993. Print.
  3. Bolton, Charles Knowles. Bolton's American Armory. Baltimore: Heraldic Book Company, 1964. Print.
  4. Browne, James. The History of Scotland it's Highlands, Regiments and Clans 8 Volumes. Edinburgh: Francis A Niccolls & Co, 1909. Print.
  5. Skene, William Forbes Edition. Chronicles of the Picts, Chronicles of the Scots and Other Early Memorials of Scottish History. Edinburgh: H.M. General Register House, 1867. Print.
  6. Bloxham, Ben. Key to Parochial Registers of Scotland From Earliest Times Through 1854 2nd edition. Provo, UT: Stevenson's Genealogical Center, 1979. Print.
  7. Catholic Directory For Scotland. Glasgow: Burns Publications. Print.
  8. Egle, William Henry. Pennsylvania Genealogies Scotch-Irish and German. Harrisburg: L.S. Hart, 1886. Print.
  9. Bolton, Charles Knowles. Scotch Irish Pioneers In Ulster and America. Montana: Kessinger Publishing. Print.
  10. Moncrieffe, Sir Ian of That Ilk and Don Pottinger. Clan Map Scotland of Old. Edinburgh: Bartholomew and Son, 1983. Print.
  11. ...

The Boswell Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Boswell Family Crest was drawn according to heraldic standards based on published blazons. We generally include the oldest published family crest once associated with each surname.

This page was last modified on 7 August 2014 at 12:17.

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