Bowden History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The Bowden surname is derived from one of several places names; such as Bowden in Derbyshire and Bowdon in Cheshire. The place names are thought to derive from the Old English words "boga," or "bow" and "dùn," or "hill;" thus, a curved hill.

However, two sources point to a Norman origin. The first states: "They have a tradition that they are of Norman descent, and that the name was originally Bodin" [1] and the second notes "Petrus Bodin occurs in Normandy, 12th century." [2]

Early Origins of the Bowden family

The surname Bowden was first found in Cheshire, Leicestershire and Northamptonshire. The Hundredorum Rolls of 1273 point to a scattered early reference of the family: Bodin de Langehull, Oxfordshire; Boyedinus de Gaunt, Lincolnshire; Bodyn de Kant (London citizen); and Walter Bodin, Oxfordshire. [3]

"Bowden is frequent but often represents an older Bowdon. (i) John de Boghedon 1333. There are 17 places called Bowden in Devon and one Bowdin, all 'curved hill'; Bowden Edge (Derby) has the same origin; (ii) Thomas Bovedon in the Hundredorum Rolls of 1279; OE bufan dune '(dweller) above the hill' " [4]

Bowden or Bowdon, a parish in the union of Altrincham, hundred of Bucklow, N. division of the county of Chester was once held by the Bowden family having been granted by Hamon de Massey. [5]

"The Bowdens were of Bowdon Hall, co. Derby, in the XV. cent. Yet they have a tradition that they are of Norman descent, and that the name was originally Bodin." [1]

Early History of the Bowden family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Bowden research. Another 189 words (14 lines of text) covering the years 1150, 1296, 1279, 1333, 1583, 1568, 1504, 1694, 1733, 1761, 1733, 1735, 1761, 1778, 1750 and are included under the topic Early Bowden History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Bowden Spelling Variations

Spelling variations of this family name include: Bowden, Bouden, Boulden, Boden, Bodden, Bodin and others.

Early Notables of the Bowden family (pre 1700)

Distinguished members of the family include Samuel Bowden ( fl. 1733-1761), a physician at Frome, Somersetshire, the author of two volumes of poems published 1733-1735. "Neither the date of his birth nor that of his death has been ascertained, though it appears from the 'Gentleman's Magazine,' to which he was an occasional contributor, that he was living in 1761, while a passing mention of him in 1778 is in the past tense. The writer adds...
Another 73 words (5 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Bowden Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Bowden World Ranking

In the United States, the name Bowden is the 1,293rd most popular surname with an estimated 24,870 people with that name. [6] However, in Australia, the name Bowden is ranked the 446th most popular surname with an estimated 8,430 people with that name. [7] And in New Zealand, the name Bowden is the 473rd popular surname with an estimated 1,448 people with that name. [8] The United Kingdom ranks Bowden as 547th with 11,886 people. [9]

Ireland Migration of the Bowden family to Ireland

Some of the Bowden family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 61 words (4 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Bowden migration to the United States +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Bowden Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Ambrose Bowden who settled in Maine in 1620
  • Joan Bowden, aged 24, who landed in Virginia in 1635 [10]
  • Philip Bowden, who settled in Virginia in 1636
  • Jane Bowden, who landed in Virginia in 1642 [10]
  • Phillip Bowden, who arrived in Virginia in 1646 [10]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Bowden Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Samuel Bowden, who landed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1745 [10]
Bowden Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • William Bowden, who arrived in America in 1810 [10]
  • William Bowden, aged 56, who landed in America in 1821 [10]
  • Alexander Bowden, aged 24, who arrived in America in 1821 [10]
  • Margaret Bowden, aged 45, who arrived in America in 1821 [10]
  • Miss Grace Bowden, (b. 1828), aged 12, English settler departing from England aboard the ship "Royal Adelaide" arriving in the United States on 21st April 1840 [11]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Bowden Settlers in United States in the 20th Century
  • Mr. John Bowden, (b. 1858), aged 42, Cornish miner travelling aboard the ship "St Louis" arriving at Ellis Island, New York on 18th February 1900 en route to Hancock, Michigan, USA [12]
  • Ms. Elizabeth M. Bowden, (b. 1838) aged 65, Cornish labourer, from Bodmin, Cornwall, UK travelling aboard the ship "Etruria" arriving at Ellis Island, New York on 8th August 1903 en route to Brooklyn, New York, USA [12]
  • Mr. Richard Bowden, (b. 1882), aged 21, Cornish miner travelling aboard the ship "New York" arriving at Ellis Island, New York on 3rd May 1903 en route to Calumet, Michigan, USA [12]
  • Mr. Samuel Bowden, (b. 1884), aged 19, Cornish labourer travelling aboard the ship "St Paul" arriving at Ellis Island, New York on 15th August 1903 en route to Chicago, Illinois, USA [12]
  • Mr. Joseph Henry Bowden, (b. 1874), aged 31, Cornish stone mason, from Redruth, Cornwall, UK travelling aboard the ship "New York" arriving at Ellis Island, New York on 4th June 1905 en route to Concord, New Hampshire [12]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Canada Bowden migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Bowden Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
  • Robert Bowden, who landed in Halifax, Nova Scotia in 1749-1752
  • Edward Bowden, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1749-1752
  • John Bowden, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1750
Bowden Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • William Bowden, aged 32, a gentleman, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick in 1833 aboard the barque "Alchymist" from Falmouth, Cornwall, England
  • George Bowden, aged 24, a labourer, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick aboard the ship "Billow" in 1833
  • Mr. Joseph Bowden, (b. 1832), aged 23, English labourer, from South Molton, Devon, England, UK departing from Falmouth destined for Quebec, Canada aboard the ship "Barque John" on 3rd May 1855 which sank after striking the reef, he survived the sinking [13]

Australia Bowden migration to Australia +

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

Bowden Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Miss Mary Bowden, British Convict who was convicted in Devon, England for 7 years, transported aboard the "Earl Cornwallis" in August 1800, arriving in New South Wales, Australia [14]
  • Mr. George Bowden, English convict who was convicted in Devon, England for life, transported aboard the "Dromedary" on 11th September 1819, arriving in Tasmania ( Van Diemen's Land) [15]
  • William Bowden, a glazier, who arrived in Van Diemen’s Land (now Tasmania) sometime between 1825 and 1832
  • Mr. Samuel Bowden, English convict who was convicted in Devon, England for life, transported aboard the "Claudine" on 19th August 1829, arriving in New South Wales, Australia [16]
  • Mr. Richard Hanbury Bowden, English convict who was convicted in Devon, England for 14 years, transported aboard the "Atlas" on 27th April 1833, arriving in Tasmania ( Van Diemen's Land) [17]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

New Zealand Bowden 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:

Bowden Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • William Bowden, who landed in Stoke's Valley, New Zealand in 1840
  • Mrs. Bowden, Australian settler travelling from Hobart, Tasmania, Australia aboard the ship "Bandicoot" arriving in New Zealand in 1846 [18]
  • Child Bowden, Australian settler travelling from Hobart, Tasmania, Australia aboard the ship "Bandicoot" arriving in New Zealand in 1846 [18]
  • Mrs. Bowden, Australian settler travelling from Hobart, Tasmania, Australia aboard the ship "Bandicoot" arriving in New Zealand in 1846 [18]
  • Child Bowden, Australian settler travelling from Hobart, Tasmania, Australia aboard the ship "Bandicoot" arriving in New Zealand in 1846 [18]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

West Indies Bowden 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. [19]
Bowden Settlers in West Indies in the 17th Century
  • Michaell Bowden, aged 27, who landed in St Christopher in 1633 [10]
  • Michael Bowden, aged 27, who landed in St Christopher in 1633 [10]
  • John Bowden, who settled in Jamaica in 1661
  • Richard Bowden, who settled in Barbados in 1664
  • Martha Bowden, who settled in Barbados in 1664

Contemporary Notables of the name Bowden (post 1700) +

  • Robert Cleckler "Bobby" Bowden (1929-2021), American college football coach for the Florida State Seminoles of Florida State University (FSU) from 1976 to 2009, inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2006
  • Jim Bowden, American SCUBA diver, and an elite technical diver, one of only eight people who have dived below a depth of 800 feet
  • Blake Sperry Bowden (b. 1967), American psychologist, playwright, and actor
  • Lemuel Jackson Bowden (1815-1864), American lawyer and politician, mayor of Williamsburg, Virginia (1862-1863) and US Senator
  • Henry Bowden, American Republican politician, Candidate for Presidential Elector for Virginia, 1932 [20]
  • George Edwin Bowden (1852-1908), American Republican politician, U.S. Collector of Customs, 1881; U.S. Representative from Virginia 2nd District, 1887-91; Member of Republican National Committee from Virginia, 1896 [20]
  • Francis C. Bowden, American politician, Mayor of Anchorage, Alaska, 1946-48 [20]
  • F. Judson Bowden, American Democratic Party politician, Alternate Delegate to Democratic National Convention from California, 1952 [20]
  • Daniel V. Bowden, American Libertarian politician, Candidate for Presidential Elector for Alabama, 2000 [20]
  • D. P. Bowden, American politician, Member of South Dakota State House of Representatives 19th District, 1913-14 [20]
  • ... (Another 24 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

HMAS Sydney II
  • Mr. Laurence Bowden (1922-1941), Australian Stoker 2nd Class from Langwarrin, Victoria, Australia, who sailed into battle aboard HMAS Sydney II and died in the sinking [21]
HMS Prince of Wales
  • Mr. Eric Sidney James Bowden, British Marine, who sailed into battle on the HMS Prince of Wales and died in the sinking [22]
HMS Royal Oak
  • Reginald Charles Bettis Bowden (1915-1939), British Able Seaman with the Royal Navy aboard the HMS Royal Oak when she was torpedoed by U-47 and sunk; he died in the sinking [23]
RMS Lusitania


  1. ^ Lower, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  2. ^ 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)
  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. ^ Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  5. ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
  6. ^ https://namecensus.com/most_common_surnames.htm
  7. ^ https://forebears.io/australia/surnames
  8. ^ https://forebears.io/new-zealand/surnames
  9. ^ https://www.surnamemap.eu/unitedkingdom/surnames_ranking.php?p=10
  10. ^ 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)
  11. ^ Cornwall Online Parish Clerks. (Retrieved 2018, April 30). Emigrants to New York 1820 - 1891 [PDF]. Retrieved from http://www.opc-cornwall.org/Resc/pdfs/emigration_new_york_1820_1891.pdf
  12. ^ Cornwall Online Parish Clerks. (Retreived 3rd May 2018). Retrieved from http://www.opc-cornwall.org/Resc/pdfs/emigration_ellis_island_1892_on.pdf
  13. ^ Cornwall Online Parish Clerks. (Retrieved 3rd May 2018). Retrieved from http://www.opc-cornwall.org/Resc/pdfs/wreck_of_emigrant_ship_john_1855.pdf
  14. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 13th August 2021). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/earl-cornwallis
  15. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 16th July 2021). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/dromedary
  16. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 18th February 2021). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/claudine
  17. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 14th July 2020). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/atlas
  18. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 17th October 2018). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
  19. ^ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_West_Indies
  20. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2016, January 29) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html
  21. ^ HMAS Sydney II, Finding Sydney Foundation - Roll of Honour. (Retrieved 2014, April 24) . Retrieved from http://www.findingsydney.com/roll.asp
  22. ^ HMS Prince of Wales Crew members. (Retrieved 2014, April 9) . Retrieved from http://www.forcez-survivors.org.uk/biographies/listprincecrew.html
  23. ^ Ships hit by U-boats crew list HMS Royal Oak (08) - (Retrieved 2018 February, 9th) - retrieved from https://uboat.net/allies/merchants/crews/ship68.html
  24. ^ Lusitania Passenger List - The Lusitania Resource. (Retrieved 2014, March 7) . Retrieved from http://www.rmslusitania.info/lusitania-passenger-list/


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