Bonsall History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The present generation of the Bonsall family is only the most recent to bear a name that dates back to the ancient Anglo-Saxon culture of Britain. Their name comes from having lived in or around the manor of Bonsall in the county of Derbyshire.

Early Origins of the Bonsall family

The surname Bonsall was first found in Derbyshire at Bonsall, a parish, in the hundred of Wirksworth. [1] The parish dates back to the Domesday Book of 1086 when it was first listed as Bunteshale. [2] At that time, it was shown as "the King's land." "This parish, anciently called Bonteshall, comprises by computation 2338 acres." [1] Literally, the place name means "nook of land of a man called Bunt," from the Old English personal name + "halh." [3] It is noted for its lead mining and there is evidence that the town has been populated since 2000 B.C., one of the few early records of the ancient Britons.

Early History of the Bonsall family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Bonsall research. Another 43 words (3 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Bonsall History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Bonsall Spelling Variations

Until the dictionary, an invention of only the last few hundred years, the English language lacked any comprehensive system of spelling rules. Consequently, spelling variations in names are frequently found in early Anglo-Saxon and later Anglo-Norman documents. One person's name was often spelled several different ways over a lifetime. The recorded variations of Bonsall include Bonsall, Bonzall, Bonsale and others.

Early Notables of the Bonsall family (pre 1700)

More information is included under the topic Early Bonsall Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Bonsall migration to the United States +

Thousands of English families boarded ships sailing to the New World in the hope of escaping the unrest found in England at this time. Although the search for opportunity and freedom from persecution abroad took the lives of many because of the cramped conditions and unsanitary nature of the vessels, the opportunity perceived in the growing colonies of North America beckoned. Many of the settlers who survived the journey went on to make important contributions to the transplanted cultures of their adopted countries. The Bonsall were among these contributors, for they have been located in early North American records:

Bonsall Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Richard Bonsall and his wife Mary, and his five children, Obadiah, Elizabeth, Rachel, Anne, and Abigail, who settled in Philadelphia in 1682
  • Richard Bonsall, who arrived in Pennsylvania in 1683 [4]
  • Obadiah Bonsall, who arrived in Pennsylvania in 1698 [4]
Bonsall Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Benjamin Bonsall, who landed in Pennsylvania in 1731 [4]
  • Joseph Bonsall, who arrived in Pennsylvania in 1733 [4]
  • Enoch Bonsall, who landed in Pennsylvania in 1755 [4]
Bonsall Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Edward, George, and James Bonsall, who arrived in Philadelphia between 1850 and 1864

Canada Bonsall migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Bonsall Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
  • Mr. Richard Bonsall U.E. who settled in Canada c. 1783 [5]
  • Mr. Richard Bonsall U.E. who settled in Saint John, New Brunswick c. 1783 [5]

Contemporary Notables of the name Bonsall (post 1700) +

  • Joseph Sloan "Joe" Bonsall Jr. (b. 1948), American singer, member of the Oak Ridge Boys
  • William Hartshorn Bonsall (1846-1905), American politician, acting mayor of Los Angeles (1892)
  • Brian Eric Bonsall (b. 1981), American child actor, best known for his role as Alexander Rozhenko, the son of Worf, on Star Trek: The Next Generation
  • James Belton Bonsall (1926-1999), American painter
  • Sir Arthur Wilfred "Bill" Bonsall KCMG CBE (b. 1917), English Director of the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), of the British Intelligence Agency
  • Frank Featherstone Bonsall, Professor Mathematics at the University of Edinburgh


The Bonsall Motto +

The motto was originally a war cry or slogan. Mottoes first began to be shown with arms in the 14th and 15th centuries, but were not in general use until the 17th century. Thus the oldest coats of arms generally do not include a motto. Mottoes seldom form part of the grant of arms: Under most heraldic authorities, a motto is an optional component of the coat of arms, and can be added to or changed at will; many families have chosen not to display a motto.

Motto: Pro patria
Motto Translation: For my country.


  1. ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
  2. ^ Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds., Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8)
  3. ^ Mills, A.D., Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-19-869156-4)
  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. ^ Rubincam, Milton. The Old United Empire Loyalists List. Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc, 1976. (Originally published as; United Empire Loyalists. The Centennial of the Settlement of Upper Canada. Rose Publishing Company, 1885.) ISBN 0-8063-0331-X


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