Bonnett History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The family name Bonnett is thought to be of Norman origins. Originally, Bonnett was a name given to a handsome person, especially one who is large or well built. The name comes from the Norman word bonnie, a common nickname for an attractive person. This word possibly derives from the Old French bon, which means good or fine, although the movement is not clear. [1]

Early Origins of the Bonnett family

The surname Bonnett was first found in Bedfordshire and Leicestershire, where they had been granted lands by King William. They were originally seated in St. Bonnet in Normandy in the arrondisement of Calvados.

"The knight of this name who accompanied Duke William from Normandy, received for his services the lordship of Penclawdd, in Gower. "Bonet or Benet, was one of such persons, as after the battle were advanced to Seigneuries in this land, Glamorgan." A descendant of the Norman, Bonet, Robert Benet, who, married Avis, daughter and heir of John Crompe, of Sanctuary, in Gower, and great grand-daughter, maternally, of Caradoc ap Ynir ap Ivor, Lord of Dyfed, is supposed to have been the "Robert Benote" whose name appears amongst the Lances attendant on the Duke of Gloucester at Azincourt. [2]

Early History of the Bonnett family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Bonnett research. Another 46 words (3 lines of text) covering the years 1620, 1688, 1718, 1702 and 1782 are included under the topic Early Bonnett History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Bonnett Spelling Variations

Spelling variations in names were a common occurrence in the eras before English spelling was standardized a few hundred years ago. In the Middle Ages, even the literate regularly changed the spellings of their names as the English language incorporated elements of French, Latin, and other European languages. Many variations of the name Bonnett have been found, including Bonnett, Bonney, Bonnet, Bonny, Bonnie and others.

Early Notables of the Bonnett family (pre 1700)

Outstanding amongst the family at this time was Henry Bonney, Archdeacon of Bedford; and Stede Bonnet (c. 1688-1718), English pirate born in the Barbados, sometimes called "The Gentleman Pirate" who frequently pirated with the infamous Edward Teach, better known as "Blackbeard." According to Forbes, he is ranked as the fifteenth wealthiest pirate with...
Another 52 words (4 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Bonnett Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Bonnett Ranking

In the United States, the name Bonnett is the 6,662nd most popular surname with an estimated 4,974 people with that name. [3]


United States Bonnett migration to the United States +

For many English families, the social climate in England was oppressive and lacked opportunity for change. For such families, the shores of Ireland, Australia, and the New World beckoned. They left their homeland at great expense in ships that were overcrowded and full of disease. Many arrived after the long voyage sick, starving, and without a penny. But even those were greeted with greater opportunity than they could have experienced back home. Numerous English settlers who arrived in the United States and Canada at this time went on to make important contributions to the developing cultures of those countries. Many of those families went on to make significant contributions to the rapidly developing colonies in which they settled. Early North American records indicate many people bearing the name Bonnett were among those contributors:

Bonnett Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Daniel Bonnett who settled in New York State in 1700
  • Jacques Bonnett, who landed in Pennsylvania in 1733 [4]
  • Jean Philipp Bonnett, who landed in Pennsylvania in 1736 [4]
  • Peter Bonnett who arrived in Pennsylvania in 1737
  • Peter Bonnett, who landed in Pennsylvania in 1737 [4]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Australia Bonnett migration to Australia +

Emigration to Australia followed the First Fleets of convicts, tradespeople and early settlers. Early immigrants include:

Bonnett Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • John Bonnett, English convict from Cambridge, who was transported aboard the "Adelaide" on August 08, 1849, settling in Van Diemen's Land and Port Phillip, Australia [5]
  • Mr. Richard Bonnett, (b. 1837), aged 19, Cornish labourer departing from Plymouth on 31st August 1856 aboard the ship "Severn" arriving in Port Phillip Bay, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia on 9th December 1856 [6]
  • Mr. Edward Bonnett, (b. 1842), aged 14, Cornish labourer departing from Plymouth on 31st August 1856 aboard the ship "Severn" arriving in Port Phillip Bay, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia on 9th December 1856 [6]
  • Mr. Theophilus Bonnett, (b. 1843), aged 13, Cornish labourer departing from Plymouth on 31st August 1856 aboard the ship "Severn" arriving in Port Phillip Bay, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia on 9th December 1856 [6]

New Zealand Bonnett migration to New Zealand +

Emigration to New Zealand followed in the footsteps of the European explorers, such as Captain Cook (1769-70): first came sealers, whalers, missionaries, and traders. By 1838, the British New Zealand Company had begun buying land from the Maori tribes, and selling it to settlers, and, after the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840, many British families set out on the arduous six month journey from Britain to Aotearoa to start a new life. Early immigrants include:

Bonnett Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Mr. George Bonnett, (b. 1863), aged Infant, British settler travelling from London, UK aboard the ship "Brothers Pride" arriving in Lyttelton, South Island, New Zealand on 8th December 1863 [7]
  • Mr. Henry Bonnett, (b. 1830), aged 33, British bricklayer travelling from London, UK aboard the ship "Brothers Pride" arriving in Lyttelton, South Island, New Zealand on 8th December 1863 [7]
  • Mrs. Eliza Bonnett, (b. 1833), aged 30, British settler travelling from London, UK aboard the ship "Brothers Pride" arriving in Lyttelton, South Island, New Zealand on 8th December 1863 [7]
  • Miss Jane Bonnett, (b. 1859), aged 4, British settler travelling from London, UK aboard the ship "Brothers Pride" arriving in Lyttelton, South Island, New Zealand on 8th December 1863 [7]

West Indies Bonnett migration to West Indies +

The British first settled the British West Indies around 1604. They made many attempts but failed in some to establish settlements on the Islands including Saint Lucia and Grenada. By 1627 they had managed to establish settlements on St. Kitts (St. Christopher) and Barbados, but by 1641 the Spanish had moved in and destroyed some of these including those at Providence Island. The British continued to expand the settlements including setting the First Federation in the British West Indies by 1674; some of the islands include Barbados, Bermuda, Cayman Island, Turks and Caicos, Jamaica and Belize then known as British Honduras. By the 1960's many of the islands became independent after the West Indies Federation which existed from 1958 to 1962 failed due to internal political conflicts. After this a number of Eastern Caribbean islands formed a free association. [8]
Bonnett Settlers in West Indies in the 17th Century
  • Thomas Bonnett, who settled in Barbados in 1680

Contemporary Notables of the name Bonnett (post 1700) +

  • Lawrence Neil Bonnett (1946-1994), American NASCAR driver
  • Robert "Bob" Bonnett (1933-2018), Australian rules footballer who played with the Port Melbourne Football Club (1952-1953)
  • Robert Noel Bonnett OBE (1916-1994), Australian politician, Member of the Australian Parliament for Herbert (1966-1977)
  • Piedad Bonnett (b. 1951), Colombian poet, playwright and novelist


Suggested Readings for the name Bonnett +

  • Recollections of Lewis Bonnett, Jr. (1778-1850) and the Bonnett and Wetzel Families by Jared C. Lobdell.

  1. ^ Smith, Eldson Coles, New Dictionary of American Family Names New York: Harper & Row, 1956. Print
  2. ^ Burke, John Bernard, The Roll of Battle Abbey. London: Edward Churton, 26, Holles Street, 1848, Print.
  3. ^ https://namecensus.com/most_common_surnames.htm
  4. ^ 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)
  5. ^ State Library of Queensland. (Retrieved 2014, November 17) Adelaide voyage to Van Diemen's Land and Port Phillip, Australia in 1849 with 303 passengers. Retrieved from http://www.convictrecords.com.au/ships/adelaide/1849
  6. ^ Cornwall Online Parish Clerks. (Retrieved 3rd May 2018). Retrieved from http://www.opc-cornwall.org/Resc/pdfs/emigration_australia_victoria.pdf
  7. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 17th October 2018). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
  8. ^ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_West_Indies


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