Bowen History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

From the Celtic land of Wales came the name of Bowen. The Welsh name Bowen is a patronymic surname created from the Welsh personal name Owen, or Owein. The surname Bowen 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. [1]

Early Origins of the Bowen family

The surname Bowen 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. [2]

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. [1]

Early History of the Bowen family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Bowen research. Another 64 words (5 lines of text) covering the years 1761, 1797, 1704, 1575, 1624 and 1590 are included under the topic Early Bowen History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Bowen Spelling Variations

The Welsh have an extremely large amount of spelling variations of their native surnames to their credit. It was up to the priest or the scribe taking the official records to determine how the spoken name was to be made literal. As time progressed, the old Brythonic names of Wales were recorded in English, which was especially problematic since the English language had extreme difficulty recording the highly inflected sounds of Cymraeg. Spelling variations were, however, also carried out according to an individual's design: a branch loyalty within the family, a religious adherence, or even patriotic affiliations could be indicated by spelling variations of one's name. The spelling variations of the name Bowen have included Bowen, Bowne, Bowan, Bowin, Bowene, Bowane and many more.

Early Notables of the Bowen 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 Bowen Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Bowen World Ranking

In the United States, the name Bowen is the 333rd most popular surname with an estimated 82,071 people with that name. [3] However, in Australia, the name Bowen is ranked the 481st most popular surname with an estimated 7,867 people with that name. [4] And in New Zealand, the name Bowen is the 816th popular surname with an estimated 895 people with that name. [5] The United Kingdom ranks Bowen as 379th with 16,850 people. [6]

Ireland Migration of the Bowen family to Ireland

Some of the Bowen 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.


United States Bowen migration to the United States +

During the latter half of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th century, the people of Wales journeyed to North America to find a new life. They made major contributions to the arts, industry and commerce of both Canada and the United States, and added a rich cultural heritage to their newly adopted societies. A look at the immigration and passenger lists has shown a number of people bearing the name Bowen:

Bowen Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Morris Bowen, who landed in Virginia in 1638 [7]
  • Griffith Bowen, who arrived in Boston, Massachusetts in 1639 [7]
  • Sarah Bowen, who arrived in Weymouth, Massachusetts in 1640 [7]
  • Anna Bowen, who arrived in Weymouth, Massachusetts in 1642 [7]
  • Phillip Bowen, who arrived in Virginia in 1643 [7]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Bowen Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Edward Bowen, who arrived in Virginia in 1701-1702 [7]
  • Peter Bowen, who landed in New England in 1716 [7]
  • Lewis Bowen, who settled in Georgia in 1733
  • James Bowen, who settled in Maryland in 1774
Bowen Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Susanna Bowen, who arrived in New York, NY in 1811 [7]
  • N. W. Bowen, who settled in Providence Rhode Island in 1823
  • Patrick Bowen, who arrived in New York in 1832 [7]
  • Robert Bowen, who arrived in New York in 1835 [7]
  • Eli A Bowen, who landed in Texas in 1835 [7]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Canada Bowen migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Bowen Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
  • Samuel Bowen, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1750
  • John Bowen, who settled in St. John's, Newfoundland in 1755 [8]
  • Thomas Bowen, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1760
  • Mr. Abraham Bowen U.E. who settled in Fredericksburgh, Cataraqui township, [Greater Napanee], Ontario c. 1783 [9]
  • Mr. Ansell Bowen U.E. who settled in Saint John, New Brunswick c. 1783 [9]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Bowen Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • John Bowen, who settled in Red Cliff Island (Bonavista) in 1851

Australia Bowen migration to Australia +

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

Bowen Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Mr. Ebenezer Bowen, (b. 1795), aged 25, British Convict who was convicted in Middlesex, England for life for breaking and entering, transported aboard the "Earl St Vincent" on 6th April 1820, arriving in New South Wales, Australia, he died in 1864 [10]
  • Mr. Joseph Bowen, (Bown, Brown, Joe), English convict who was convicted in Coventry, England for life, transported aboard the "Caledonia" in 19th June 1822, arriving in Tasmania ( Van Diemen's Land) [11]
  • Mr. Samuel Bowen, (b. 1797), aged 26, British blacksmith who was convicted in Monmouth, Monmouthshire, England for life for breaking and entering, transported aboard the "Competitor"18th March 1823, arriving in Tasmania ( Van Diemen's Land), he died in 1870 [12]
  • Mr. John Bowen, British convict who was convicted in Warwick, England for life, transported aboard the "Asia" on 29th September 1831, settling in New South Wales, Australia [13]
  • Mr. John Bowen, British Convict who was convicted in Stafford, Staffordshire, England for 10 years, transported aboard the "Coromandel" on 25th June 1838, arriving in Tasmania ( Van Diemen's Land) [14]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

New Zealand Bowen 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:

Bowen Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Michael Bowen, aged 27, a blacksmith, who arrived in Nelson, New Zealand aboard the ship "Sir Charles Forbes" in 1842
  • Hannah Bowen, aged 28, who arrived in Nelson, New Zealand aboard the ship "Sir Charles Forbes" in 1842
  • David Bowen, aged 3, who arrived in Nelson, New Zealand aboard the ship "Sir Charles Forbes" in 1842
  • Mr. Bowen, British settler travelling from London aboard the ship "Hamilla Mitchell" arriving in Auckland, New Zealand on 30th November 1853 [15]
  • Miss Sarah A. Bowen, (b. 1841), aged 24, British cook travelling from London aboard the ship 'Mermaid' arriving in Lyttelton, Christchurch, South Island, New Zealand on 1st January 1866 [15]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

West Indies Bowen 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. [16]
Bowen Settlers in West Indies in the 17th Century
  • Bridget Bowen, who settled in Barbados in 1670
  • Jinkin Bowen, who settled in St. Christopher (Saint Kitts) in 1670

Contemporary Notables of the name Bowen (post 1700) +

  • William Gordon Bowen (1933-2016), American academic, President of Princeton University (1972-1988)
  • Rooney L. Bowen Jr. (1933-2016), American politician, Member of the Georgia State Senate (1980-2004)
  • Major-General Frank Sayles Jr. Bowen (1905-1976), American Commanding General XII Corps (1958-1960) [17]
  • Brigadier-General Charles Francis Bowen (1889-1977), American Adjutant-General of New Hampshire (1939-1947) [18]
  • Captain Stephen G. Bowen (b. 1964), NASA Astronaut with over 27 days in space and the first to ever fly on two consecutive missions (STS-132 and STS-133) [19]
  • Ira Sprague Bowen (1898-1973), American astronomer who served as director of both the Mount Wilson Observatory and the Palomar Observatory
  • Dr. Otis Ray Bowen (1918-2013), American politician and physician, Governor of Indiana (1972-1980)
  • Catherine Drinker Bowen (1897-1973), American writer of semi fictional biographies and winner of the National Book Award in 1958
  • Andrea Lauren Bowen (b. 1990), Award-winning American actress
  • Wilbur L. Bowen, American fighter pilot and flying ace in the U.S. Army Air Forces, during World War II, credited with 5 aerial victories
  • ... (Another 15 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Arrow Air Flight 1285
  • Mr. Robert Bowen (b. 1948), American Warrant Officer Class III from Whytheville, Virginia, USA who died in the crash [20]
  • Mr. John P Bowen (b. 1964), American Sergeant from Las Vegas, Nevada, USA who died in the crash [20]
Halifax Explosion
  • Mrs. Ethel F. D.  Bowen (1876-1917), Canadian resident from Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada who died in the explosion [21]
  • Master Alfred Dewand  Bowen (1914-1917), Canadian resident from Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada who died in the explosion [21]
  • Miss Clara  Bowen (1906-1917), Canadian resident from Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada who died in the explosion [21]
HMS Cornwall
  • Geoffrey Day Bowen, British Lieutenant aboard the HMS Cornwall when she was struck by air bombers and sunk; he survived the sinking [22]
HMS Prince of Wales
  • Mr. Reginald A Bowen, British Stoker, who sailed into battle on the HMS Prince of Wales and survived the sinking [23]
HMS Repulse
  • Mr. Hubert J Bowen, British Ordinary Seaman, who sailed into battle on the HMS Repulse and survived the sinking [24]
  • Mr. Fred Bowen, British Ordinary Telegraphist, who sailed into battle on the HMS Repulse and survived the sinking [24]
HMS Royal Oak
  • Jack Bowen (1920-1939), British Seaman with the Royal Navy aboard the HMS Royal Oak when she was torpedoed by U-47 and sunk; he died in the sinking [25]
RMS Lusitania
RMS Titanic
  • Mr. David John "Dai" Bowen (d. 1912), aged 26, Welsh Third Class passenger from Treherbert, Glamorgan who sailed aboard the RMS Titanic and died in the sinking [27]
  • Miss Grace Scott Bowen, aged 45, American First Class passenger from Cooperstown, New York who sailed aboard the RMS Titanic and survived the sinking escaping in life boat 4 [27]
Senghenydd colliery
  • Mr. Griffith Bowen (b. 1875), Welsh coal miner from Senghenydd, Caerphilly, Wales who was working at the Senghenydd colliery when there was an explosion on the 14th October 1913; he died
USS Arizona
  • Mr. Andrew J. Bowen Jr., American Chief Machinist's Mate working aboard the ship "USS Arizona" when she sunk during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on 7th December 1941, he survived the sinking [28]


The Bowen 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.


Suggested Readings for the name Bowen +

  • Bowens of Virginia and Tennessee: Descendants of John Bowen and Lily McIlhaney by Jamie Ault Grady.
  • Ancestry and Descendants (including the Bowen Family) of Isaac Applin Sheppard and Caroline Mary Holmes, His Wife by Walter Lee Sheppard.

  1. ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  2. ^ Guppy, Henry Brougham, Homes of Family Names in Great Britain. 1890. Print.
  3. ^ https://namecensus.com/most_common_surnames.htm
  4. ^ https://forebears.io/australia/surnames
  5. ^ https://forebears.io/new-zealand/surnames
  6. ^ https://www.surnamemap.eu/unitedkingdom/surnames_ranking.php?p=10
  7. ^ 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)
  8. ^ Seary E.R., Family Names of the Island of Newfoundland, Montreal: McGill's-Queen's Universtity Press 1998 ISBN 0-7735-1782-0
  9. ^ Rubincam, Milton. The Old United Empire Loyalists List. Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc, 1976. (Originally published as; United Empire Loyalists. The Centennial of the Settlement of Upper Canada. Rose Publishing Company, 1885.) ISBN 0-8063-0331-X
  10. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 10th September 2021). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/earl-st-vincent
  11. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 30th November 2020). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/caledonia
  12. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 5th March 2021). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/competitor
  13. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 12th January 2020). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/asia/1831
  14. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 19th March 2021). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/coromandel
  15. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 17th October 2018). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
  16. ^ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_West_Indies
  17. ^ Generals of World War II. (Retrieved 2011, October 22) Frank Bowen. Retrieved from http://generals.dk/general/Bowen/Frank_Sayles_Jr./USA.html
  18. ^ Generals of World War II. (Retrieved 2011, October 22) Charles Bowen. Retrieved from http://generals.dk/general/Bowen/Charles_Francis/USA.html
  19. ^ NASA Astronauts Homepage. (Retrieved 2010, September 27) Stephen Bowen. Retrieved from http://www.jsc.nasa.gov/Bios/htmlbios/bowen-sg.html
  20. ^ American War Memorials - Flight 1285. (Retrieved 2016, August 24) . Retrieved from http://www.uswarmemorials.org/html/monument_details.php?SiteID=317&MemID=550
  21. ^ Halifax Explosion Book of Remembrance | Maritime Museum of the Atlantic. (Retrieved 2014, June 23) . Retrieved from https://maritimemuseum.novascotia.ca/what-see-do/halifax-explosion/halifax-explosion-book-remembrance
  22. ^ Force Z Survivors Crew List HMS Cornwall (Retrieved 2018, February 13th) - Retrieved from https://www.forcez-survivors.org.uk/biographies/listcornwallcrew.html#A
  23. ^ HMS Prince of Wales Crew members. (Retrieved 2014, April 9) . Retrieved from http://www.forcez-survivors.org.uk/biographies/listprincecrew.html
  24. ^ HMS Repulse Crew members. (Retrieved 2014, April 9) . Retrieved from http://www.forcez-survivors.org.uk/biographies/listrepulsecrew.html
  25. ^ 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
  26. ^ Lusitania Passenger List - The Lusitania Resource. (Retrieved 2014, March 6) . Retrieved from http://www.rmslusitania.info/lusitania-passenger-list/
  27. ^ Titanic Passenger List - Titanic Facts. (Retrieved 2016, July 13) . Retrieved from http://www.titanicfacts.net/titanic-passenger-list.html
  28. ^ Pearl Harbour: USS Arizona Casualties List Pearl Harbour December 7, 1941. (Retrieved 2018, July 31st). Retrieved from http://pearl-harbor.com/arizona/casualtylist.html


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