Bowie History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

In ancient Scotland, the ancestors of the name Bowie lived in the Kingdom of Dalriada. In those days the name Bowie was used to indicate a person who person with fair hair. The surname Bowie is derived from the Gaelic word buidhe, which was used to describe a person with blonde hair. The surname Bowie is also derived from the Scottish Gaelic personal name Bowen, which refers to the son of Owen.

Early Origins of the Bowie family

The surname Bowie was first found in Kintyre, where they held a family seat from very early times.

Early History of the Bowie family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Bowie research. Another 144 words (10 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Bowie History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Bowie Spelling Variations

The translation of Gaelic names in the Middle Ages was not a task undertaken with great care. Records from that era show an enormous number of spelling variations, even in names referring to the same person. Over the years Bowie has appeared as Bowie, Bowey, Bowy, Bouwie, Bouwey, Bouwy, Bouwy, Bawie, Bawey and many more.

Early Notables of the Bowie family (pre 1700)

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

Ireland Migration of the Bowie family to Ireland

Some of the Bowie family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. More information about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Bowie migration to the United States +

The descendants of the Dalriadan families who made the great crossing of the Atlantic still dot communities along the east coast of the United States and Canada. In the American War of Independence, many of the settlers traveled north to Canada as United Empire Loyalists. Clan societies and highland games have allowed Canadian and American families of Scottish descent to recover much of their lost heritage. Investigation of the origins of family names on the North American continent has revealed that early immigrants bearing the name Bowie or a variant listed above include:

Bowie Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • John Bowie (1688-1759), Scottish-born, settler to Nottingham, Prince George's County, Maryland between 1705 and 1706, considered to be the progenitor of the Bowie family in America [1]
  • John Bowie, who arrived in Virginia in 1742 [1]
  • Ann Bowie, aged 36, who arrived in Carolina in 1774 [1]
  • Ann Bowie who settled in Carolina in 1774
  • Ralph Bowie, who arrived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1783 [1]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Bowie Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Mrs. Bowie, who settled in New Orleans with three children in 1823
  • John Bowie, who arrived in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1828 [1]
  • Dr. Bowie, who landed in San Francisco, California in 1850 [1]

Canada Bowie migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Bowie Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
  • William Bowie, who landed in Halifax Nova Scotia in 1778

Australia Bowie migration to Australia +

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

Bowie Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • James Bowie, aged 26, who arrived in South Australia in 1852 aboard the ship "Medina" [2]
  • Agnes Bowie, aged 18, a nurse maid, who arrived in South Australia in 1855 aboard the ship "Bucephalus"

New Zealand Bowie 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:

Bowie Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Mr. John Bowie, (b. 1838), aged 24, British schoolmaster travelling from London aboard the ship "Queen of Mersey" arriving in Lyttelton, Christchurch, Southland, South Island, New Zealand on 20th October 1862 [3]
  • Mr. John Bowie, (b. 1814), aged 48, Scottish farm labourer from Ayrshire travelling from London aboard the ship "Zealandia" arriving in Lyttelton, Christchurch, South Island, New Zealand on 23rd May 1862 [3]
  • Mrs. Mary Bowie, (b. 1814), aged 48, Scottish settler from Ayrshire travelling from London aboard the ship "Zealandia" arriving in Lyttelton, Christchurch, South Island, New Zealand on 23rd May 1862 [3]
  • Miss Helen Bowie, (b. 1844), aged 18, Scottish domestic servant from Ayrshire travelling from London aboard the ship "Zealandia" arriving in Lyttelton, Christchurch, South Island, New Zealand on 23rd May 1862 [3]
  • Miss Agnes Bowie, (b. 1846), aged 16, Scottish domestic servant from Ayrshire travelling from London aboard the ship "Zealandia" arriving in Lyttelton, Christchurch, South Island, New Zealand on 23rd May 1862 [3]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Contemporary Notables of the name Bowie (post 1700) +

  • William Bowie B.S., C.E., M.A (1872-1940), American geodetic engineer
  • Walter Bowie (1748-1810), American politician, member of the Maryland House of Delegates from 1780 to 1800
  • Captain William Bowie (1721-1774), American early colonist in the Province of Maryland, American Revolutionary, member of the Assembly of Freemen, delegate to the Annapolis Convention (1774–1776)
  • John Ross Bowie (b. 1971), American actor and comedian best known for playing Barry Kripke in The Big Bang Theory
  • Anthony Lee Bowie (b. 1963), American NBA basketball player
  • Micah Andrew Bowie (b. 1974), American left-handed Major League Baseball relief pitcher
  • Lester Bowie (1941-1999), American jazz trumpet player and composer
  • Oden Bowie, American politician, Governor of Maryland (1869-1872)
  • James "Jim" Bowie (1796-1836), American adventurer and folk hero, after whom the "Bowie knife" is named
  • Robert Bowie (1750-1818), American politician, 11th Governor of Maryland (1803-1806, and 1811-1812)
  • ... (Another 4 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Hillcrest Coal Mine
HMS Hood
  • Mr. Duncan Bowie (b. 1918), Scottish Able Seaman serving for the Royal Navy Volunteer Reserve from Glasgow, Scotland, who sailed into battle and died in the sinking [5]
HMS Prince of Wales
  • Mr. Andrew Malcolm Peter Bowie, British Marine, who sailed into battle on the HMS Prince of Wales and survived the sinking [6]


The Bowie 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: Coelestia seqor
Motto Translation: I follow heavenly things.


  1. ^ 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)
  2. ^ South Australian Register Tuesday 3 February 1852. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) MEDINA 1852. Retrieved http://www.theshipslist.com/ships/australia/medina1852.shtml
  3. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 26th March 2019). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
  4. ^ List Of Miners - Hillcrest Mine Disaster Data. (Retrieved 2014, June 24) . Retrieved from http://www.hillcrestminedisaster.com/data/index.php?title=List_Of_Miners
  5. ^ H.M.S. Hood Association-Battle Cruiser Hood: Crew Information - H.M.S. Hood Rolls of Honour, Men Lost in the Sinking of H.M.S. Hood, 24th May 1941. (Retrieved 2016, July 15) . Retrieved from http://www.hmshood.com/crew/memorial/roh_24may41.htm
  6. ^ HMS Prince of Wales Crew members. (Retrieved 2014, April 9) . Retrieved from http://www.forcez-survivors.org.uk/biographies/listprincecrew.html


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