Boswell History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The prestigious surname Boswell came to Britain with the Norman invasion of 1066. It is thought that the surname originated in Beauzeville, France, and that Elias de Boesevilla of this region was the first Norman settler to Britain. Many of these Norman families moved north, into Scotland in the period following the Norman Conquest of England. [1]

Early Origins of the Boswell family

The surname Boswell was first found in Yorkshire, where Sir Ralph Boswell of Guntwaite, a descendant of Elias de Boesevilla, the first settler from Normandy, held lands. In the 12th century Sir Ralph lost his Yorkshire estates to the Earls of Warenne. "The family were in England in 1136, and probably from the period of the Conquest." [2]

The Hundredorum Rolls of 1273 included: John de Bosevil, Yorkshire; and Henry de Bosevil, Northamptonshire while the Yorkshire Poll Tax Rolls of 1379 included Agnes Bosseuill as holding lands there at that time. [3]

In Norfolk, record there show Robert de Bosewill, or Bosville, 1360; Walkcline de Bosevile, 1199; Isabell Boswel, 1464; and William Boswell, 1620. [4]

The family moved north to Scotland at the invitation of David, Earl of Huntingdon, where they settled in Berwickshire at Edenham. "The first of the name in Scotland was Robert de Boseuille, who witnessed several charters in the earlier part of the reign of William the Lion, and is said to have held land in Berwickshire. He was witness to a charter by Walter de Berkeley to the Abbey of Aberbrothoc c. 1170 and to the king's confirmation of same. Between 1178-80 he witnessed gift by William the Lion of a salina in Kars to the same abbey, and last appears c. 1204 when he witnessed grant of a toft in Forfar. Paganus de Bosseuilla before 1200 gave a bovate of land in Ede nlum to the Abbey of Kelso. Henry de Boysuill witnessed a charter by John, earl of Huntingdon to Norman, son of Malcolm c. 1225. Walter de Boseville was taken prisoner at Dunbar, 1296, and William de Boseville of Berwickshire and William de Boseville of Roxburghshire rendered homage, in same year. Noteworthy, too, is the fact that the names are alike spelled 'Boyville.' William de Boswill received payment of money for Sir Alexander de Seton, 1329, and Roger de Bosseuyll or Bosvyll was custumar and burgess of Edinburgh, 1368-9. Roger de Boswell married Marietta, daughter and co-heiress of Sir William Lochore of that Ilk, about middle of fourteenth century and was first of the family settled in Fife. " [5]

Early History of the Boswell family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Boswell research. Another 63 words (4 lines of text) covering the years 1296, 1740, 1795, 1572, 1698, 1756, 1698, 1649, 1606 and 1633 are included under the topic Early Boswell History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Boswell Spelling Variations

Spelling variations of this family name include: Boswell, Boswall, Boseville, Boswald, Bosswald, Bosville, Boeseille, Bosvile, Bovill, Bowelle and many more.

Early Notables of the Boswell family (pre 1700)

Notable among the family at this time was Macdonald Bosville of Sleat, Chief of the MacDonalds; and James Boswell (1740-1795), famous biographer of "The Life of Dr. Johnson," the great lexicographer. John Bossewell ( fl. 1572), was an English "heraldic writer, was, according to his own statement, a northern man, and probably a member of the family of Bosvile, established for many generations in the neighbourhood of Doncaster. " [6] John Boswell (1698-1756), was an English author, descended...
Another 75 words (5 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Boswell Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Boswell Ranking

In the United States, the name Boswell is the 1,344th most popular surname with an estimated 22,383 people with that name. [7]

Ireland Migration of the Boswell family to Ireland

Some of the Boswell family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. More information about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Boswell migration to the United States +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Boswell Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • John Boswell, who settled in Salem, Massachusetts in 1630
  • Jonathan Boswell, who arrived in Cambridge Massachusetts in 1632 [8]
  • Samuel Boswell, who settled in Virginia in 1635
  • Samuel Boswell, aged 23, who arrived in Virginia in 1635 [8]
  • Thomas Boswell, who landed in Virginia in 1637 [8]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Boswell Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • David Boswell, who landed in Maryland in 1700 [8]
  • Richard Boswell, who landed in Virginia in 1703 [8]
  • John Boswell, who settled in Maryland in 1720
  • Charles Boswell, who settled in New England in 1740
  • Bush Boswell, who arrived in America in 1740 [8]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Boswell Settlers in United States in the 20th Century
  • Mr. Edward Boswell, (b. 1889), aged 16, Cornish sailer, from Mullion, Cornwall, UK travelling aboard the ship "Cedric" arriving at Ellis Island, New York on 7th October 1905 en route to Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, USA [9]

Canada Boswell migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Boswell Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
  • Edward Boswell, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1749

Australia Boswell migration to Australia +

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

Boswell Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Mr. Thomas Boswell, English convict who was convicted in Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, England for 7 years, transported aboard the ""Blenheim"" on 24th July 1850, arriving in Tasmania ( Van Diemen's Land) and Norfolk Island, Australia [10]
  • Miss Isabella Boswell, (Nimmo), (b. 1807), aged 44, Scottish midwife and nurse who was convicted in Edinburgh, Scotland for 7 years for theft, transported aboard the "Aurora" on 22nd April 1851, arriving in Tasmania ( Van Diemen's Land), she died in 1852 [11]
  • Isabella Boswell, aged 19, a domestic servant, who arrived in South Australia in 1854 aboard the ship "James Fernie" [12]

New Zealand Boswell 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:

Boswell Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • J Boswell, who landed in Auckland, New Zealand in 1842
  • Mr. Boswell, British settler travelling from London, UK aboard the ship "Bosworth" arriving in Dunedin, South Island, New Zealand on 24th November 1857 [13]
  • Mrs. Boswell, British settler travelling from London, UK aboard the ship "Bosworth" arriving in Dunedin, South Island, New Zealand on 24th November 1857 [13]
  • Miss Mary Boswell, (b. 1841), aged 23, British settler travelling from Gravesend aboard the ship "Indian Empire" arriving in Lyttelton, Christchurch, South Island, New Zealand on 24th March 1864 [13]
  • Mr. Benjamin Boswell, (b. 1844), aged 20, British farm labourer travelling from Gravesend aboard the ship "Indian Empire" arriving in Lyttelton, Christchurch, South Island, New Zealand on 24th March 1864 [13]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

West Indies Boswell 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. [14]
Boswell Settlers in West Indies in the 17th Century
  • Jo Boswell, aged 17, who landed in St Christopher in 1635 [8]
  • Mr. John Boswell, (b. 1618), aged 17, British settler traveling aboard the ship "Matthew" arriving in St Christopher (Saint Kitts) in 1635 [15]
Boswell Settlers in West Indies in the 18th Century
  • Anthony Boswell who settled in Barbados in 1769

Contemporary Notables of the name Boswell (post 1700) +

  • John Eastburn Boswell (1947-1994), American historian and a full professor at Yale University, born in Boston, Massachusetts
  • Lewis Archer Boswell (1834-1909), American early aviation pioneer who some claim made the first powered heavier-than-air flight, before the Wright Brothers
  • John Eastburn Boswell (1947-1994), American historian and a professor at Yale University
  • Robert Allen "Bobby" Boswell (b. 1983), American soccer player
  • David Wilson Boswell (1945-2012), American Major League Baseball pitcher
  • James Griffin Boswell (1882-1952), American founder of the J. G. Boswell Company, the world's largest privately owned farm
  • Vet Boswell (1909-1988), American blues singer
  • David E. Boswell (b. 1949), American Democratic Party politician, Member of Kentucky State House of Representatives 7th District, 1978-83; Member of Kentucky State Senate 8th District, 1991- [16]
  • Charles H. Boswell (1909-2006), American Democratic Party politician, Candidate for U.S. Representative from Indiana 11th District, 1954; Mayor of Indianapolis, Indiana, 1959-62; Postmaster at Indianapolis, Indiana, 1962-75 [16]
  • B. B. Boswell, American politician, Member of South Dakota State House of Representatives 17th District, 1889-92 [16]
  • ... (Another 29 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Senghenydd colliery
  • Mr. Harry Boswell (b. 1864), Welsh coal miner from Senghenydd, Caerphilly, Wales who was working at the Senghenydd colliery when there was an explosion on the 14th October 1913; he died


The Boswell 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: Vraye Foi
Motto Translation: True faith.


Suggested Readings for the name Boswell +

  • The Boswells of Shelby County, Kentucky by Eula Richardson Hasskarl.
  • Descendants of Edward Boswell: Prince William County, Virginia and Orange County, North Carolina by Jean Boswell Pippenger.

  1. ^ 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)
  2. ^ Lower, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  3. ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  4. ^ Rye, Walter, A History of Norfolk. London: Elliot Stock, 62, Paternoster Row, 1885. Print
  5. ^ Black, George F., The Surnames of Scotland Their Origin, Meaning and History. New York: New York Public Library, 1946. Print. (ISBN 0-87104-172-3)
  6. ^ Smith, George (ed), Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1885-1900. Print
  7. ^ https://namecensus.com/most_common_surnames.htm
  8. ^ 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)
  9. ^ Cornwall Online Parish Clerks. (Retreived 3rd May 2018). Retrieved from http://www.opc-cornwall.org/Resc/pdfs/emigration_ellis_island_1892_on.pdf
  10. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 25th October 2020). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/blenheim
  11. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 20th August 2020). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/aurora
  12. ^ South Australian Register Friday 17th November 1854. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) James Fernie 1854. Retrieved http://www.theshipslist.com/ships/australia/jamesfernie1854.shtml
  13. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 17th October 2018). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
  14. ^ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_West_Indies
  15. ^ Pilgrim Ship's of 1600's (Retrieved October 4th 2021, retrieved from https://www.packrat-pro.com/ships/shiplist.htm)
  16. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2016, January 7) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html


Houseofnames.com on Facebook
Shipping
Fastest Delivery Possible

Digital Products on Checkout, all other products filled in 1 business day

Money Back
Money Back Guarantee

Yes, all products 100% Guaranteed

Support
BBB A+ Rating

The Best Rating possible

Payment
Secure Online Payment

Entire site uses SSL / Secure Certificate