Bowfort History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms
The Bowfort surname is derived from a place name. As such it is categorized as a local surname, first used where the original bearer of the name lived, held land, or was born. In France, hereditary surnames were adopted according to fairly general rules and during the late Middle Ages, names that were derived from localities became increasingly widespread. The place name Beaufort is derived from the Old French words "beau," which means "beautiful," and "fort," which means "strong," but which also refers to a military fort.
Early Origins of the Bowfort family
The surname Bowfort was first found in Savoy (French: Savoie) in the Rhône-Alpes region of the French Alps, where the family has held a family seat since ancient times.
Actually "there are several other places in France from which it may be derived, such as Beaufort in Champagne, the fief of the De Broyes, Beaufort-en-Santerre, Beaufort-sur-Meuse (Froissart dedicated the first volume of his Chronicles to Robert de Namur, Sire de Beaufort-sur-Meuse), and the Comte of Beaufort, confiscated from Jacques d'Armagnac, Due de Nemours, by Louis XI. in 1470, In the seventeenth century Jean Gaspard de Beaufort-Canillac was Marquis de Montboissier." 
However, we must look to ancient England to find the first record of the family.
There are but few traces of it to be found in England. "Ralph Fitz Richard held Rochinges, Kent, from Hugh, Baron de Montfort, in 1086  and appears to have been the son of Richard, Sire de Beaufort in Anjou, whose daughter married Hugh, Baron de Montfort (Des Bois, Diet. de la Noblesse), ancestor of the Montforts of Beaudesert." 
Obviously of Norman ancestry, John de Beaufort, 1st Earl of Somerset was born illegitimately between 1371 and 1373. He was the son of John of Gaunt. He was appointed Knight, Order of the Garter c. 1397. In February 1397 his illegitimate birth was legitimated by Parliament and Papal decree. He was the progenitor of the Beaufort family in England.
Early History of the Bowfort family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Bowfort research. Another 271 words (19 lines of text) covering the years 1403, 1404, 1405, 1413, 1422, 1426, 1431, 1462, 1470, 1471, 1597, and 1616 are included under the topic Early Bowfort History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Bowfort Spelling Variations
Spelling variations of this family name include: Beaufort, Beaufor, Beaufors, Beauford, Beaufore, Beauforte, Baufort, Baufor, Baufors, Bauford, Baufore, Bauforte, Bofort, Bofor, Bofors, Boford, Bofore, Boforte, Beufort, Beufor, Beufors, Beufore, Beuforte and many more.
Early Notables of the Bowfort family (pre 1700)
Notable in the family name at this time was John Beaufort (1373-1410), 1st Marquess of Somerset, 1st Marquess of Dorset, later only 1st Earl of Somerset, first of the four illegitimate children of John of Gaunt, 1st Duke of Lancaster, and his mistress Katherine Swynford, later his wife, Constable...
Another 49 words (4 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Bowfort Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the Bowfort family
Some of the first settlers of this family name or some of its variants were: Gaspar Beaufort who settled in Philadelphia in 1775; Philip Beaufort settled in Philadelphia in 1834; Rich. Beaufort, aged 18; settled in Virginia in 1635.
- Cleveland, Dutchess of The Battle Abbey Roll with some Account of the Norman Lineages. London: John Murray, Abermarle Street, 1889. Print. Volume 3 of 3
- Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds., Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8)
- 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)