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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright © 2000 - 2016

Origins Available: English-Alt, English, French

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

The Bonney family's name is derived from the ancient Norman culture that was established in Britain following the Norman Conquest of island in 1066. Their name originated with an early member who was 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.


Before English spelling was standardized a few hundred years ago, spelling variations of names were a common occurrence. Elements of Latin, Norman French and other languages became incorporated into English throughout the Middle Ages, and name spellings changed even among the literate. The variations of the surname Bonney include Bonnett, Bonney, Bonnet, Bonny, Bonnie and others.

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.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Bonney research. Another 91 words (6 lines of text) covering the years 1620, 1688, 1718, 1702 and 1782 are included under the topic Early Bonney History in all our PDF Extended History products.


Another 193 words (14 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Bonney Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.


In England at this time, the uncertainty of the political and religious environment of the time caused many families to board ships for distant British colonies in the hopes of finding land and opportunity, and escaping persecution. The voyages were expensive, crowded, and difficult, though, and many arrived in North America sick, starved, and destitute. Those who did make it, however, were greeted with greater opportunities and freedoms that they could have experienced at home. Many of those families went on to make important contributions to the young nations in which they settled. Early immigration records have shown some of the first Bonneys to arrive on North American shores:

Bonney Settlers in United States in the 17th Century

  • Henry Bonney, who came to Virginia in 1636
  • Henry Bonney, who arrived in Virginia in 1636
  • Thomas Bonney, who arrived in New England in 1645

Bonney Settlers in United States in the 18th Century

  • Joseph Bonney, who settled in Virginia in 1773

Bonney Settlers in United States in the 19th Century

  • Harriet Bonney, who landed in New York, NY in 1811
  • Samuel Bonney, who arrived in New York, NY in 1811
  • Sarah Bonney, who landed in New York, NY in 1811
  • J P Bonney, who landed in San Francisco, California in 1850
  • E B Bonney, who landed in San Francisco, California in 1851

Bonney Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century

  • Mr. Joel Bonney U.E who settled in New Brunswick c. 1783 possible of the 74th Highlanders

Bonney Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century

  • James Bonney, English convict from Lancaster, who was transported aboard the "Albion" on September 21, 1826, settling in New South Wales, Australia
  • Edward Bonney arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Glen Huntley" in 1849
  • William Bonney arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Susannah" in 1849
  • Richard Bonney, aged 24, a miner, arrived in South Australia in 1855 aboard the ship "Victoria Regia"


  • William H. Bonney (1859-1881), born William Henry McCarty, Jr., better known as Billy the Kid, an American gunman and frontier outlaw in the American Old West who claimed to have killed 21 men
  • Thérèse Bonney (1894-1978), American photographer and publicist, best known for her work during World War II on the Russian-Finnish front
  • Raymond Leroy Bonney (1892-1920), American silver medalist ice hockey player at the 1920 Summer Olympics
  • Leonard Warden Bonney (1884-1928), American pioneering aviator who flew for the Wright Exhibition Team
  • Barbara Bonney (b. 1956), American opera singer from Montclair, New Jersey
  • Henry Kaye Bonney D.D. (1780-1862), English churchman and author
  • Richard Bonney (b. 1947), English historian and priest
  • Thomas George Bonney (1833-1923), English geologist, Professor of geology at University College London (1877 to 1901), eponym of Lake Bonney, Antarctica
  • John Bonney (b. 1946), former Australian rules footballer
  • Charles Bonney (1813-1897), English-born pioneer and politician in Australia



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  1. Shaw, William A. Knights of England A Complete Record from the Earliest Time to the Present Day of the Knights of all the Orders of Chivalry in England, Scotland, Ireland and Knights Bachelors 2 Volumes. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print. (ISBN 080630443X).
  2. Hanks, Patricia and Flavia Hodges. A Dictionary of Surnames. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988. Print. (ISBN 0-19-211592-8).
  3. Colletta, John P. They Came In Ships. Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1993. Print.
  4. Samuelsen, W. David. New York City Passenger List Manifests Index 1820 - 1824. North Salt Lake, Utah: Accelerated Indexing Systems International, 1986. Print.
  5. Robb H. Amanda and Andrew Chesler. Encyclopedia of American Family Names. New York: Haper Collins, 1995. Print. (ISBN 0-06-270075-8).
  6. Matthews, John. Matthews' American Armoury and Blue Book. London: John Matthews, 1911. Print.
  7. Le Patourel, John. The Norman Empire. New York: Oxford University Press, 1976. Print. (ISBN 0-19-822525-3).
  8. Lennard, Reginald. Rural England 1086-1135 A Study of Social and Agrarian Conditions. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1959. Print.
  9. Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin . Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8).
  10. Bede, The Venerable. Historia Ecclesiatica Gentis Anglorum (The Ecclesiastical History Of the English People). Available through Internet Medieval Sourcebook the Fordham University Centre for Medieval Studies. Print.
  11. ...

The Bonney Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Bonney 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 6 January 2016 at 13:57.

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