Bowan History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms
From the Celtic land of Wales came the name of Bowan. The Welsh name Bowan is a patronymic surname created from the Welsh personal name Owen, or Owein. The surname Bowan was originally ab-Owen: the distinctive Welsh patronymic prefix "ab" or "ap," means "son of," but the prefix has been assimilated into the surname over the course of time. 
Early Origins of the Bowan family
The surname Bowan was first found in Pembrokeshire (Welsh: Sir Benfro), a county in south-west Wales, anciently part of the Welsh kingdom of Deheubarth. However, the family are also numerous in Shropshire. 
Early census records for Wales are rare so we should not be surprised to find that one of the first records was found as late as 1487, where Lewis ap-Owen, was listed in County of Cardigan. 
Early History of the Bowan family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Bowan research. Another 64 words (5 lines of text) covering the years 1761, 1797, 1704, 1575, 1624 and 1590 are included under the topic Early Bowan History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Bowan Spelling Variations
Welsh surnames are relatively few in number, but they have an inordinately large number of spelling variations. There are many factors that explain the preponderance of Welsh variants, but the earliest is found during the Middle Ages when Welsh surnames came into use. Scribes and church officials recorded names as they sounded, which often resulted in a single person's name being inconsistently recorded over his lifetime. The transliteration of Welsh names into English also accounts for many of the spelling variations: the unique Brythonic Celtic language of the Welsh had many sounds the English language was incapable of accurately reproducing. It was also common for members of a same surname to change their names slightly, in order to signify a branch loyalty within the family, a religious adherence, or even patriotic affiliations. For all of these reasons, the many spelling variations of particular Welsh names are very important. The surname Bowan has occasionally been spelled Bowen, Bowne, Bowan, Bowin, Bowene, Bowane and many more.
Early Notables of the Bowan family (pre 1700)
Prominent amongst the family during the late Middle Ages was Robert Ap John Ap Thomas Ap Owein, son of the Lord of Ynysdderne; and Richard Bowen (1761-1797) was a British naval commander. He died during the failed storming of Santa Cruz de Tenerife as he captained HMS Terpsichore. Because of the failure, a memorial to him to be erected in Westminster Abbey was denied. He appears in the...
Another 67 words (5 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Bowan Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the Bowan family to Ireland
Some of the Bowan family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 58 words (4 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Bowan migration to Australia +
Emigration to Australia
followed the First Fleets
of convicts, tradespeople and early settlers. Early immigrants include:
Bowan Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
- Elizabeth Bowan, aged 20, a servant, who arrived in South Australia in 1850 aboard the ship "Agincourt" 
- William Bowan, aged 26, a labourer, who arrived in South Australia in 1852 aboard the ship "Amazon" 
Related Stories +
The Bowan 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: Esse quam videri
Motto Translation: To be, rather than to seem.