Show ContentsBowdon History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The roots of the Bowdon surname reach back to the language of the Viking settlers who populated the rugged shores of Scotland in the Medieval era. The Bowdon surname comes from someone having lived on the lands of Bowden, in Roxburghshire where the family held lands since the early Middle Ages.

Early Origins of the Bowdon family

The surname Bowdon was first found in Bowden, in Roxburghshire."For a period of about two hundred years various persons of the same surname are witnesses to a number of charters These are not mentioned as holding lands in the parish, but would appear to have been kindly tenants of the monastery who took their name from the barony. The monks of different periods were in the practice of sub-letting the lands of the barony, and some of the lands, on whatever condition originally let, came at length to be held by the parties in hereditary right". Between c, 1200 and c. 1240 one or more individuals named Richard de Boulden witnessed charters by Cecilia de Molle, Symon Maulverer, etc. Master Richard de Bouldone, parson of the parish of Edilstone, rendered homage to King Edward I of England in 1296. William de Bolden was Abbot of Kelso in 1370, and in 1399 we have mention of the tenement of John de Bolden in Westerkelsow.' [1]

Gilbert Boddane who witnessed an instrument of sasine at Bordland of Laik, Kirkcudbrightshire in 1552. Later, John Bodane in Meiklehalf, 1686 (Kirkcudbright), and John Boddane and Williame Boddane were recorded as masters of families in the parish of Buittle, 1684. [1]

Early History of the Bowdon family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Bowdon research. Another 140 words (10 lines of text) covering the years 1150, 1296, 1450 and 1890 are included under the topic Early Bowdon History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Bowdon Spelling Variations

Spelling variations are extremely common among Scottish names dating from this era because the arts of spelling and translation were not yet standardized. Spelling was done by sound, and translation from Gaelic to English was generally quite careless. In different records, Bowdon has been spelled Bowden, Bouden, Boulden, Bouldene, Bolden, Boldane, Boldan, Boden, Bodden and many more.

Early Notables of the Bowdon family

More information is included under the topic Early Bowdon Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the Bowdon family to Ireland

Some of the Bowdon 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 Bowdon migration to the United States +

Those who made the voyage were greeted with ample opportunity to acquire land and a political climate far away from the oppressive monarchy of the old country. They settled along the east coast of what would become Canada and the United States. In the American War of Independence, those who remained loyal to England traveled north to Canada as United Empire Loyalists. In this century, many Scots living in North America have begun to recover their rich heritage through festivals, highland games, and Clan societies. An examination of passenger and immigration lists has shown early immigrants bearing the name Bowdon:

Bowdon Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Robert Bowdon, who settled in Maryland in 1731

Contemporary Notables of the name Bowdon (post 1700) +

  • Franklin Welsh Bowdon (1817-1857), American politician, Member of the Alabama Congress (1846 –1851), eponym of Bowdon, Georgia
  • Dorris Estelle Bowdon (1914-2005), American actress, best known for her role as Rosasharn in The Grapes of Wrath (1940)
  • William George Bowdon Jr. (1921-2005), American politician, Mayor of Alexandria, Louisiana (1953–1969)
  • W. George Bowdon Jr., American Democratic Party politician, Member of Louisiana State House of Representatives, 1950; Mayor of Alexandria, Louisiana, 1954-55 [2]
  • Franklin Welsh Bowdon (1817-1857), American Democratic Party politician, Member of Alabama State Legislature; U.S. Representative from Alabama 7th District, 1846-51 [2]

  1. 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)
  2. The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2016, January 29) . Retrieved from on Facebook