Bolster History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The name Bolster reached English shores for the first time with the ancestors of the Bolster family as they migrated following the Norman Conquest of 1066. The Bolster family lived in Lancashire. The name, however, is a reference to the family's former residence in Boulard, in Calvados, in Normandy. [1]

Alternatively, the name could have been an occupational name for a "bowl-maker," someone who made bowls. [2]

Early Origins of the Bolster family

The surname Bolster was first found in Lancashire. They were originally from Boulard in Calvados, Normandy, and arrived in England with Duke William of Normandy at the time of the Norman Conquest in 1066. One of the first records of the name was Baldwin de Boulers, who came to England in 1105 and was granted the Lordship of Montgomery, Powys by marriage to Sybil de Falaise. Hen Domen, (Welsh: "old mound") , a medieval timber motte-and-bailey castle in Powys, Wales was the home of the de Boulers (Bowdler) family and was founded by Baldwin de Boulers. Today, a permanent exhibition can be found on the site.

The Feet of Fines for Somerset included a listing for John le Bouller in 1316 and later in Staffordshire, Robert le Bollere was listed there in the Subsidy Rolls for 1332. [3]

The Hundredorum Rolls of 1273 included John le Bolur, Oxfordshire; and Stephen le Bolur, Surrey. [4]

Early History of the Bolster family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Bolster research. Another 84 words (6 lines of text) covering the years 1066, 1459, 1437, 1450, 1450, 1453, 1453, 1459, 1320, 1587, 1659, 1911, 1865, 1710 and 1726 are included under the topic Early Bolster History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Bolster Spelling Variations

Anglo-Norman names tend to be marked by an enormous number of spelling variations. This is largely due to the fact that Old and Middle English lacked any spelling rules when Norman French was introduced in the 11th century. The languages of the English courts at that time were French and Latin. These various languages mixed quite freely in the evolving social milieu. The final element of this mix is that medieval scribes spelled words according to their sounds rather than any definite rules, so a name was often spelled in as many different ways as the number of documents it appeared in. The name was spelled Bowler, Boler, Boaler and others.

Early Notables of the Bolster family (pre 1700)

Another 27 words (2 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Bolster Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the Bolster family to Ireland

Some of the Bolster family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 271 words (19 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Bolster migration to the United States +

Because of the political and religious discontent in England, families began to migrate abroad in enormous numbers. Faced with persecution and starvation at home, the open frontiers and generally less oppressive social environment of the New World seemed tantalizing indeed to many English people. The trip was difficult, and not all made it unscathed, but many of those who did get to Canada and the United States made important contributions to the young nations in which they settled. Some of the first North American settlers with Bolster name or one of its variants:

Bolster Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Isaac Bolster, who arrived in New England in 1732 [5]
Bolster Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Oliver S Bolster, aged 19, who arrived in New York in 1812 [5]
  • Johanna M Bolster, who landed in America in 1844 [5]
  • Joh Heinr Bolster, who arrived in America in 1845 [5]
  • William Bolster, aged 28, who arrived in New York, NY in 1872 [5]

Contemporary Notables of the name Bolster (post 1700) +

  • Warren Edward Bolster (1947-2006), American skateboard photographer
  • Charles Stephen Bolster, American jurist, Judge at the Middlesex Superior Court in East Cambridge, Massachusetts, best known for overseeing one of the Boston Strangler cases
  • Henry B Bolster (1792-1859), American businessman and politician
  • Stephanie Bolster (b. 1969), Canadian poet, winner of the 1998 Governor General's Award for her collection White Stone: The Alice Poems


  1. ^ The Norman People and Their Existing Descendants in the British Dominions and the United States Of America. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1975. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0636-X)
  2. ^ Harrison, Henry, Surnames of the United Kingdom: A Concise Etymological Dictionary Baltimore: Geneological Publishing Company, 2013. Print
  3. ^ Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  4. ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  5. ^ Filby, P. William, Meyer, Mary K., Passenger and immigration lists index : a guide to published arrival records of about 500,000 passengers who came to the United States and Canada in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries. 1982-1985 Cumulated Supplements in Four Volumes Detroit, Mich. : Gale Research Co., 1985, Print (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8)


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