Show ContentsBonny History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The Bonny family has descended through the lines of the ancient Normans that came to England following their Conquest of England in 1066. The Bonny name reveals that an early member 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. [1]

Early Origins of the Bonny family

The surname Bonny 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]

Henry Bonet was Warden of St Mary's College, Ottery St Mary, Devon in 1349.

Early History of the Bonny family

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

Bonny Spelling Variations

Before the advent of the printing press and the first dictionaries, the English language was not standardized. Sound was what guided spelling in the Middle Ages, so one person's name was often recorded under several variations during a single lifetime. Spelling variations were common, even among the names of the most literate people. Known variations of the Bonny family name include Bonnett, Bonney, Bonnet, Bonny, Bonnie and others.

Early Notables of the Bonny 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 Bonny Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Bonny Ranking

In France, the name Bonny is the 5,594th most popular surname with an estimated 1,000 - 1,500 people with that name. [3]

United States Bonny migration to the United States +

To escape the political and religious chaos of this era, thousands of English families began to migrate to the New World in search of land and freedom from religious and political persecution. The passage was expensive and the ships were dark, crowded, and unsafe; however, those who made the voyage safely were encountered opportunities that were not available to them in their homeland. Many of the families that reached the New World at this time went on to make important contributions to the emerging nations of the United States and Canada. Research into various historical records has revealed some of first members of the Bonny family to immigrate North America:

Bonny Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Andrew Bonny, who arrived in Virginia in 1657 [4]
  • Mr Bonny, aged 16, who arrived in Virginia in 1658 [4]
Bonny Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • J. Bonny, who arrived in San Francisco in 1750
  • Thomas Bonny, who arrived in Boston, Massachusetts in 1775 [4]
Bonny Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Samuel Bonny, who arrived in New York, NY in 1811 [4]

Contemporary Notables of the name Bonny (post 1700) +

  • Miles Bonny (b. 1980), American record producer, singer-songwriter and trumpeter
  • Jan Bonny (b. 1979), German film director and screenwriter
  • Anne Bonny (1702-1782), born Anne Cormac, an Irish woman who became a famous female pirate
  • Bonny "Mack" Rice (1933-2016), also known as Sir Mack Rice, an American songwriter and singer

  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.
  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) on Facebook