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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright 2000 - 2015

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

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.


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

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 moved north to Scotland at the invitation of David, Earl of Huntingdon, where they settled in Berwickshire at Edenham.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Boswell research. Another 302 words (22 lines of text) covering the years 1296 and 1740 are included under the topic Early Boswell History in all our PDF Extended History products.


Another 30 words (2 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Boswell Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.


Some of the Boswell family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 63 words (4 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.


Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Boswell Settlers in United States in the 17th Century

  • John Boswell settled in Salem, Massachusetts in 1630
  • Jonathan Boswell, who arrived in Cambridge Massachusetts in 1632
  • Jo Boswell, aged 17, landed in St Christopher in 1635
  • Samuel Boswell settled in Virginia in 1635
  • Samuel Boswell, aged 23, arrived in Virginia in 1635

Boswell Settlers in United States in the 18th Century

  • David Boswell, who landed in Maryland in 1700
  • Richd Boswell, who landed in Virginia in 1703
  • John Boswell settled in Maryland in 1720
  • Letitia Boswell, who landed in America in 1740
  • Charles Boswell settled in New England in 1740

Boswell Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century

  • Edward Boswell, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1749

Boswell Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century

  • Isabella Boswell, aged 19, a domestic servant, arrived in South Australia in 1854 aboard the ship "James Fernie"

Boswell Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century

  • J Boswell landed in Auckland, New Zealand in 1842
  • W. John Boswell, aged 23, arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Chile" in 1873
  • Lizzie Boswell, aged 25, arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Chile" in 1873
  • Caroline Boswell, aged 22, a nurse, arrived in Hawkes Bay aboard the ship "Queen of the North" in 1874
  • J. Boswell arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Abernyte" in 1876


  • 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
  • James Boswell (1740-1795), 9th Laird of Auchinleck, Scottish lawyer, diarist, and author, his surname became a term as in when Sherlock Holmes says of Dr. Watson, "I am lost without my Boswell"
  • Stewart Boswell (b. 1978), Australian two-time gold, four-time silver and three-time bronze medalist squash player Canberra, Australian Capital Territory
  • James Edward Buchanan Boswell (1906-1971), New Zealand-born, British painter and socialist
  • Mark Boswell (b. 1977), Jamaican-born, Canadian high jumper



  • 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.

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.


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  1. Skene, William Forbes Edition. Chronicles of the Picts, Chronicles of the Scots and Other Early Memorials of Scottish History. Edinburgh: H.M. General Register House, 1867. Print.
  2. Markale, J. Celtic Civilization. London: Gordon & Cremonesi, 1976. Print.
  3. Innes, Thomas and Learney. Socts Heraldry A Practical Handbook on the Historical Principles and Modern Application of the Art of Science. London: Oliver and Boyd, 1934. Print.
  4. Colletta, John P. They Came In Ships. Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1993. Print.
  5. Urquhart, Blair Edition. Tartans The New Compact Study Guide and Identifier. Secauccus, NJ: Chartwell Books, 1994. Print. (ISBN 0-7858-0050-6).
  6. Hanks, Patricia and Flavia Hodges. A Dictionary of Surnames. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988. Print. (ISBN 0-19-211592-8).
  7. Leyburn, James Graham. The Scotch-Irish A Social History. Chapel Hill: UNC Press, 1962. Print. (ISBN 0807842591).
  8. Bell, Robert. The Book of Ulster Surnames. Belfast: Blackstaff, 1988. Print. (ISBN 10-0856404160).
  9. Egle, William Henry. Pennsylvania Genealogies Scotch-Irish and German. Harrisburg: L.S. Hart, 1886. Print.
  10. Fulton, Alexander. Scotland and Her Tartans: The Romantic Heritage of the Scottish Clans and Families. Godalming: Bramley, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-86283-880-0).
  11. ...

The Boswell Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Boswell 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 9 November 2015 at 15:44.

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