Bowdoin History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The name Bowdoin originated during the Dark Ages in France, in that southern region known as Languedoc. This family name is derived from the Germanic personal name Baldwin, which is composed of the elements "bald", which means bold or brave, and "wine", which means friend.

Early Origins of the Bowdoin family

The surname Bowdoin was first found in Brittany where the family held a family seat from ancient times.

By the 1400's they had branched into Maine where they spelt their name Beaudouin, and to Lorraine where they established their seat at Bozières and appear in the census lists in 1490, 1571 and 1710. During the 16th century they branched to Dauphiné and founded another branch in Lorraine where they held a family seat in 1542. In 1696, the family were confirmed in their nobility as Lords of Brittany with letters of patent, and a heraldic cap of nobility added to their coat of arms.

Jean Beaudoin, born in 1638, travelled from Tasdon, France to Montreal, Quebec. He was a member of the Seventh Squad of the Sainte-Famille Militia and was involved in several battles. Jean married Charlotte Chavin on 27th November 1663 and passed away in 1713. He was buried at Pointe-aux-Trembles, Quebec and has many descendants in Canada. [1]

"Four Baudoins are at all events enumerated in the great gathering of the Ordre de Noblesse of the province in 1789; De Baudoin, Seigneur d'Avenel; De Baudoin, Seigneur du fief des Pins; Baudoin d'Espins; and Baudoin de Gouzeville." [2]

Early History of the Bowdoin family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Bowdoin research. Another 136 words (10 lines of text) covering the years 1400, 1490, 1542, 1571, 1696, and 1710 are included under the topic Early Bowdoin History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Bowdoin Spelling Variations

Changes of spelling have occurred in most surnames. The earliest explanation is that during the early development of the French language, names were not yet fixed in spelling. Usually a person gave his version of his name, phonetically, to a scribe, a priest, or a recorder. This depended on accent, and local accents frequently changed the spelling of a name. Some variables were adopted by different branches of the family name. Hence, there are some spelling variations of the name Bowdoin, including Beaudoin, Beaudoins, Beaudouin, Beauduin, Beauduoin, Beaudiun, Beauddoin, Beauddoins, Beauddouin, Beaudduin, Beaudduoin, Beauddiun, Bodoin, Bodoins, Bodouin, Boduin, Boduoin, Bodiun, Boddoin, Boddoyn, Boddoins, Boddouin, Bodduin, Bodduoin, Boddiun, Baudoin, Baudoins, Baudouin, Bauduoin, Baudiun, Bauddoin, Bauddoins, Bauddouin, Baudduin, Baudduoin, Bauddiun, Beudoin, Beudoins, Beudouin, Beuduin, Beuduoin, Beudiun, Beuddoin, Beuddoins and many more.

Early Notables of the Bowdoin family (pre 1700)

Notable amongst this name at this time was Jean Baudoin (1662-1698), born in Nantes, France, he was ordained a priest in 1685 and traveled to New France in 1687 where he was pastor of Beaubassin in 1689. Gervais Baudouin (c. 1645 - 1700) was a French surgeon who emigrated to New...
Another 51 words (4 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Bowdoin Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Bowdoin migration to the United States +

Migration from France to New France or Quebec as it was now more popularly called, continued from France until it fell in 1759. By 1675, there were 7000 French in Quebec. By the same year the Acadian presence in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island had reached 500. In the treaty of Utrecht, the Acadians were ceded by France to Britain in 1713. In 1755, 10,000 French Acadians refused to take an oath of allegiance to England and were deported. They found refuge in Louisiana. In 1793, the remaining French in these provinces came under British rule. Meanwhile, in Quebec, the French race flourished, founding in Lower Canada, one of the two great solitudes which became Canada. Many of this distinguished family name Bowdoin were prominent in social, cultural, religious and political affairs in France and New France. Amongst the settlers in North America with this distinguished name Bowdoin were

Bowdoin Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Pierre Bowdoin, who arrived in Maine in 1686 [3]
Bowdoin Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Richard Bowdoin, who settled in New Orleans in 1822

Contemporary Notables of the name Bowdoin (post 1700) +

  • James Bowdoin II (1726-1790), American political and intellectual leader from Boston, 2nd Governor of Massachusetts (1785-1787), he collaborated with Benjamin Franklin in his pioneering research on electricity, eponym of Bowdoin College, Maine
  • Temple Bowdoin (1863-1914), American associate of J.P. Morgan & Company who was elected a member of the New York Stock Exchange in 1909
  • Jim Bowdoin (1904-1969), American NFL football player who played from 1928 to 1933
  • James III Bowdoin (1752-1811), American politician, Member of Massachusetts State Legislature, 1776-77; Delegate to Massachusetts State Constitutional Convention, 1779-80 [4]
  • James Bowdoin (1726-1790), American politician, Delegate to Massachusetts State Constitutional Convention, 1779-80; Governor of Massachusetts, 1785-87; Delegate to Massachusetts convention to ratify U.S. constitution, 1788 [4]
  • J. W. Bowdoin, American Democratic Party politician, Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Virginia, 1912 [4]
  • J. P. Bowdoin, American Democratic Party politician, Alternate Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Georgia, 1908 [4]
  • E. G. Bowdoin, American Republican politician, Delegate to Republican National Convention from Iowa, 1860 [4]
  • Clara Bowdoin Winthrop (1876-1969), American philanthropist, art collector, daughter of Robert and Elizabeth Winthrop and a descendant of John Winthrop
  • Jack Bowdoin Ray, American Democratic Party politician, Member of Georgia State House of Representatives from Warren County, 1943-44, 1945-56; Alternate Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Georgia, 1948, 1952 [5]


The Bowdoin 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: Ubi crux, Ibi patria
Motto Translation: Where there is a cross, there is a country.


  1. ^ Olivier, Reginald L. Your Ancient Canadian Family Ties. Logan: The Everton Publishers, Inc., P.O. Box 368, 1972. Print
  2. ^ Cleveland, Dutchess of The Battle Abbey Roll with some Account of the Norman Lineages. London: John Murray, Abermarle Street, 1889. Print. Volume 1 of 3
  3. ^ 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)
  4. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2016, January 29) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html
  5. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, November 9) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html


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