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

Origins Available: English-Alt, English, French


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.

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The surname Bonney 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.

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.


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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.

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

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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"

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  • 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. 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.
  2. Fairbairn. Fairbain's book of Crests of the Families of Great Britain and Ireland, 4th Edition 2 volumes in one. Baltimore: Heraldic Book Company, 1968. Print.
  3. Bowman, George Ernest. The Mayflower Reader A Selection of Articales from The Mayflower Descendent. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  4. Lennard, Reginald. Rural England 1086-1135 A Study of Social and Agrarian Conditions. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1959. Print.
  5. 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).
  6. Leeson, Francis L. Dictionary of British Peerages. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1986. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-1121-5).
  7. Humble, Richard. The Fall of Saxon England. New York: Barnes and Noble, 1975. Print. (ISBN 0-88029-987-8).
  8. 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).
  9. Skordas, Guest. Ed. The Early Settlers of Maryland an Index to Names or Immigrants Complied from Records of Land Patents 1633-1680 in the Hall of Records Annapolis, Maryland. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1968. Print.
  10. Samuelsen, W. David. New York City Passenger List Manifests Index 1820 - 1824. North Salt Lake, Utah: Accelerated Indexing Systems International, 1986. 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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