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Origins Available: Irish, Welsh


From the Celtic land of Wales came the name of Bowen. The Welsh name Bowen is a patronymic surname created from the Welsh personal name Owen, or Owein. The surname Bowen was originally ab-Owen: the distinctive Welsh patronymic prefix "ab" or "ap," means "son of," but the prefix has been assimilated into the surname over the course of time.

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The surname Bowen was first found in Pembrokeshire (Welsh: Sir Benfro), a county in south-west Wales, anciently part of the Welsh kingdom of Deheubarth, where they held a family seat from very ancient times, long before the Norman Conquest in 1066 A.D.

The Welsh have an extremely large amount of spelling variations of their native surnames to their credit. It was up to the priest or the scribe taking the official records to determine how the spoken name was to be made literal. As time progressed, the old Brythonic names of Wales were recorded in English, which was especially problematic since the English language had extreme difficulty recording the highly inflected sounds of Cymraeg. Spelling variations were, however, also carried out according to an individual's design: a branch loyalty within the family, a religious adherence, or even patriotic affiliations could be indicated by spelling variations of one's name. The spelling variations of the name Bowen have included Bowen, Bowne, Bowan, Bowin, Bowene, Bowane and many more.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Bowen research. Another 127 words (9 lines of text) covering the years 1761, 1797 and 1704 are included under the topic Early Bowen History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

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Prominent amongst the family during the late Middle Ages was Robert Ap John Ap Thomas Ap Owein, son of the Lord of Ynysdderne; and Richard Bowen (1761-1797) was a British naval commander. He died during the failed storming of Santa Cruz de Tenerife as he captained HMS Terpsichore. Because of the...

Another 56 words (4 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Bowen Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

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Some of the Bowen family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 105 words (8 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

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During the latter half of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th century, the people of Wales journeyed to North America to find a new life. They made major contributions to the arts, industry and commerce of both Canada and the United States, and added a rich cultural heritage to their newly adopted societies. A look at the immigration and passenger lists has shown a number of people bearing the name Bowen:

Bowen Settlers in United States in the 17th Century

  • Morris Bowen, who landed in Virginia in 1638
  • Griffith Bowen, who arrived in Boston, Massachusetts in 1639
  • Sarah Bowen, who arrived in Weymouth, Massachusetts in 1640
  • Anna Bowen, who arrived in Weymouth, Massachusetts in 1642
  • Phillip Bowen, who arrived in Virginia in 1643
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Bowen Settlers in United States in the 18th Century

  • Edward Bowen, who arrived in Virginia in 1701-1702
  • Peter Bowen, who landed in New England in 1716
  • Lewis Bowen settled in Georgia in 1733
  • James Bowen settled in Maryland in 1774

Bowen Settlers in United States in the 19th Century

  • Susanna Bowen, who arrived in New York, NY in 1811
  • N. W. Bowen settled in Providence Rhode Island in 1823
  • Patrick Bowen, who arrived in New York in 1832
  • Eli A Bowen, who landed in Texas in 1835
  • Robert Bowen, who arrived in New York in 1835
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Bowen Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century

  • Samuel Bowen, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1750
  • John Bowen settled in St. John's, Newfoundland in 1755
  • Thomas Bowen, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1760
  • Mr. Abraham Bowen U.E. who settled in Fredericksburgh, Cataraqui township, [Greater Napanee], Ontario c. 1783 [1]CITATION[CLOSE]
    Rubincam, Milton. The Old United Empire Loyalists List. Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc, 1976. (Originally published as; United Empire Loyalists. The Centennial of the Settlement of Upper Canada. Rose Publishing Company, 1885.) ISBN 0-8063-0331-X
  • Mr. Ansell Bowen U.E. who settled in Saint John, New Brunswick c. 1783 [2]CITATION[CLOSE]
    Rubincam, Milton. The Old United Empire Loyalists List. Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc, 1976. (Originally published as; United Empire Loyalists. The Centennial of the Settlement of Upper Canada. Rose Publishing Company, 1885.) ISBN 0-8063-0331-X
  • ...

Bowen Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century

  • John Bowen settled in Red Cliff Island (Bonavista) in 1851

Bowen Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century

  • Robert George Bowen arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Hooghly" in 1839
  • Mary Ann Bowen arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Hooghly" in 1839
  • Charles Bowen arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Hooghly" in 1839
  • Ann Bowen arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Hooghly" in 1839
  • Robert Bowen arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Hooghly" in 1839
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Bowen Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century

  • Michael Bowen, aged 27, a blacksmith, arrived in Nelson aboard the ship "Sir Charles Forbes" in 1842
  • Hannah Bowen, aged 28, arrived in Nelson aboard the ship "Sir Charles Forbes" in 1842
  • David Bowen, aged 3, arrived in Nelson aboard the ship "Sir Charles Forbes" in 1842
  • David Bowen, aged 32, a blacksmith, arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Jessie Osborne" in 1867
  • Robert Bowen, aged 33, a mechanic, arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Queen of Nations" in 1874
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  • Rooney L. Bowen Jr. (1933-2016), American politician, Member of the Georgia State Senate (1980-2004)
  • Major-General Frank Sayles Jr. Bowen (1905-1976), American Commanding General XII Corps (1958-1960)
  • Brigadier-General Charles Francis Bowen (1889-1977), American Adjutant-General of New Hampshire (1939-1947)
  • Captain Stephen G. Bowen (b. 1964), NASA Astronaut with over 27 days in space and the first to ever fly on two consecutive missions (STS-132 and STS-133)
  • Ira Sprague Bowen (1898-1973), American astronomer who served as director of both the Mount Wilson Observatory and the Palomar Observatory
  • Dr. Otis Ray Bowen (1918-2013), American politician and physician, Governor of Indiana (1972-1980)
  • Catherine Drinker Bowen (1897-1973), American writer of semi fictional biographies and winner of the National Book Award in 1958
  • Andrea Lauren Bowen (b. 1990), Award-winning American actress
  • Grahame Bowen (d. 2016), Australian rugby league player from the 1960s and 1970s
  • Humphry Bowen (1929-2001), British botanist and chemist
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Bowen Historic Events



Arrow Air Flight 1285

  • Mr. Robert Bowen (b. 1948), American Warrant Officer Class III from Whytheville, Virginia, USA who died in the crash of Arrow Air Flight 1285 on December 12, 1985 in Gander, Newfoundland, Canada
  • Mr. John P Bowen (b. 1964), American Sergeant from Las Vegas, Nevada, USA who died in the crash of Arrow Air Flight 1285 on December 12, 1985 in Gander, Newfoundland, Canada

Halifax Explosion

  • Mrs. Ethel F. D.  Bowen (1876-1917), Canadian resident from Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada who died in the Halifax Explosion on 6th December 1917
  • Master Alfred Dewand  Bowen (1914-1917), Canadian resident from Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada who died in the Halifax Explosion on 6th December 1917
  • Miss Clara  Bowen (1906-1917), Canadian resident from Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada who died in the Halifax Explosion on 6th December 1917

HMS Prince of Wales

  • Mr. Reginald A Bowen, British Stoker, who sailed in to battle on the HMS Prince of Wales and survived the sinking

HMS Repulse

  • Mr. Hubert J Bowen, British Ordinary Seaman, who sailed into battle on the HMS Repulse and survived the sinking
  • Mr. Fred Bowen, British Ordinary Telegraphist, who sailed into battle on the HMS Repulse and survived the sinking

RMS Lusitania

RMS Titanic

  • Mr. David John "Dai" Bowen (d. 1912), aged 26, Welsh Third Class passenger from Treherbert, Glamorgan who sailed aboard the RMS Titanic and died in the sinking
  • Miss Grace Scott Bowen, aged 45, American First Class passenger from Cooperstown, New York who sailed aboard the RMS Titanic and survived the sinking escaping in life boat 4
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  • Bowens of Virginia and Tennessee: Descendants of John Bowen and Lily McIlhaney by Jamie Ault Grady.
  • Ancestry and Descendants (including the Bowen Family) of Isaac Applin Sheppard and Caroline Mary Holmes, His Wife by Walter Lee Sheppard.
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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: Esse quam videri
Motto Translation: To be, rather than to seem.

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Citations



  1. ^ Rubincam, Milton. The Old United Empire Loyalists List. Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc, 1976. (Originally published as; United Empire Loyalists. The Centennial of the Settlement of Upper Canada. Rose Publishing Company, 1885.) ISBN 0-8063-0331-X
  2. ^ Rubincam, Milton. The Old United Empire Loyalists List. Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc, 1976. (Originally published as; United Empire Loyalists. The Centennial of the Settlement of Upper Canada. Rose Publishing Company, 1885.) ISBN 0-8063-0331-X

Other References

  1. Hanks, Patricia and Flavia Hodges. A Dictionary of Surnames. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988. Print. (ISBN 0-19-211592-8).
  2. Burke, Sir Bernard. Burke's Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Landed Gentry: Including American Families with British Ancestry. (2 Volumes). London: Burke Publishing, 1939. Print.
  3. Zieber, Eugene. Heraldry in America. Philadelphia: Genealogical Publishing Co. Print.
  4. Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at Galveston Texas 1896-1951. National Archives Washington DC. Print.
  5. Filby, P. William and Mary K Meyer. Passenger and Immigration Lists Index in Four Volumes. Detroit: Gale Research, 1985. Print. (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8).
  6. Crozier, William Armstrong Edition. Crozier's General Armory A Registry of American Families Entitled to Coat Armor. New York: Fox, Duffield, 1904. Print.
  7. Browning, Charles H. Americans of Royal Descent. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  8. MacAulay, Thomas Babington. History of England from the Accession of James the Second 4 volumes. New York: Harper and Brothers, 1879. Print.
  9. Le Patourel, John. The Norman Empire. New York: Oxford University Press, 1976. Print. (ISBN 0-19-822525-3).
  10. Bradsley C.W. A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print.
  11. ...

The Bowen Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Bowen 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 31 March 2016 at 14:43.

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