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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright 2000 - 2015

Where did the Scottish Bowie family come from? What is the Scottish Bowie family crest and coat of arms? When did the Bowie family first arrive in the United States? Where did the various branches of the family go? What is the Bowie family history?

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.


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.

First found in Kintyre, where they held a family seat from very early times.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Bowie research. Another 279 words (20 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Bowie History in all our PDF Extended History products.


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


Some of the Bowie family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 118 words (8 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.


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
  • John Bowie, who arrived in Virginia in 1742
  • Ann Bowie, aged 36, arrived in Carolina in 1774
  • Ann Bowie who settled in Carolina in 1774
  • Ralph Bowie, who arrived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1783

Bowie Settlers in United States in the 19th Century

  • Mrs. Bowie settled in New Orleans with three children in 1823
  • John Bowie, who arrived in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1828
  • Dr. Bowie, who landed in San Francisco, California in 1850

Bowie Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century

  • William Bowie, who landed in Halifax Nova Scotia in 1778

Bowie Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century

  • James Bowie, aged 26, arrived in South Australia in 1852 aboard the ship "Medina"
  • Agnes Bowie, aged 18, a nurse maid, arrived in South Australia in 1855 aboard the ship "Bucephalus"

Bowie Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century

  • David Bowie, aged 29, a ship wright, arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Arethusa" in 1879
  • Agnes Bowie, aged 26, arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Arethusa" in 1879
  • Euphemia Bowie, aged 1, arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Arethusa" in 1879


  • 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 (17741776)
  • 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)



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.


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  1. Donaldson, Gordon and Robert S. Morpeth. Who's Who In Scotish History. Wales: Welsh Academic Press, 1996. Print. (ISBN 186057-0054).
  2. Moncrieffe, Sir Ian of That Ilk and David Hicks. The Highland Clans The Dynastic Origins, Cheifs and Background of the Clans. New York: C.N. Potter, 1968. Print.
  3. Matthews, John. Matthews' American Armoury and Blue Book. London: John Matthews, 1911. Print.
  4. Innes, Thomas and Learney. Socts Heraldry A Practical Handbook on the Historical Principles and Modern Application of the Art of Science. London: Oliver and Boyd, 1934. Print.
  5. Hinde, Thomas Ed. The Domesday Book England's Heritage Then and Now. Surrey: Colour Library Books, 1995. Print. (ISBN 1-85833-440-3).
  6. Fulton, Alexander. Scotland and Her Tartans: The Romantic Heritage of the Scottish Clans and Families. Godalming: Bramley, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-86283-880-0).
  7. Samuelsen, W. David. New York City Passenger List Manifests Index 1820 - 1824. North Salt Lake, Utah: Accelerated Indexing Systems International, 1986. Print.
  8. Browne, James. The History of Scotland it's Highlands, Regiments and Clans 8 Volumes. Edinburgh: Francis A Niccolls & Co, 1909. Print.
  9. Papworth, J.W and A.W Morant. Ordinary of British Armorials. London: T.Richards, 1874. Print.
  10. Bolton, Charles Knowles. Scotch Irish Pioneers In Ulster and America. Montana: Kessinger Publishing. Print.
  11. ...

The Bowie Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Bowie Family Crest was drawn according to heraldic standards based on published blazons. We generally include the oldest published family crest once associated with each surname.

This page was last modified on 9 August 2015 at 19:35.

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