Show ContentsBowker History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The name Bowker arrived in England after the Norman Conquest of 1066. It is a name for a person who was a butcher. [1] So as to confirm this, we found "Rogerus filius Johannis de Burton, de Eton in le Clay, boucher (1343)" [2]

However, the name could also be derived the family's original place of residence, Beaucir, in Calvados, Normandy. [3]

Early Origins of the Bowker family

The surname Bowker was first found in Essex where Robert, John de Burser, Bousser 1285, 1303, Burghcher 1349. These entries were recorded at Bourchier's alias Bouchier's Hall in Aldham, Essex. Continuing early Essex entries, we found: John de Bourchier 1311; Bouchier's Grange in Great Coggeshall (Essex), John de Bousser 1326; Bouchiers Chapel in Tollesbury (Essex), John de Bousser 1328; Bourchier's Hall in Messing (Essex), and John de Busser 1309; Boarstye Farm and Bowser's Hall in Rivenhall (Essex).

"The Bouchers were well-known Bristol merchants in the 16th and 17th centuries, and frequently filled the offices of mayor and sheriff of the city; they were intrepid Royalists, and suffered death in the cause." [4]

Other records of the family were found in the Writs or Parliament of 1300 where Elias le Borcher was listed at that time. The same rolls but listed later included John le Bocher, temp. 1500. The Yorkshire Poll Tax Rolls of 1379 listed the Bocher spelling as being more popular at that time as Adam Bocher and Richard Bocher were listed in that rolls. [5]

Early History of the Bowker family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Bowker research. Another 49 words (4 lines of text) covering the years 1066, 1330, 1306, 1312, 1314, 1315, 1317, 1319, 1320, 1467, 1533, 1471, 1632, 1455, 1474, 1461, 1454, 1486, 1660, 1620, 1642, 1648, 1660, 1643, 1642 and 1643 are included under the topic Early Bowker History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Bowker Spelling Variations

Norman surnames are characterized by a multitude of spelling variations. The frequent changes in surnames are largely due to the fact that the Old and Middle English languages lacked definite spelling rules. The introduction of Norman French to England, as well as the official court languages of Latin and French, also had pronounced influences on the spelling of surnames. Since medieval scribes and church officials recorded names as they sounded, rather than adhering to any specific spelling rules, it was common to find the same individual referred to with different spellings. The name has been spelled Bowker, Bowcher, Boucher and others.

Early Notables of the Bowker family (pre 1700)

Outstanding amongst the family at this time was John de Bourchier or Boussier (d. 1330) the English judge, first mentioned as deputed by Robert de Vere, Earl of Oxford, to represent him in the parliament summoned in 1306 for the purpose of granting an aid on the occasion of the Prince of Wales receiving knighthood. In 1312 he was permitted to postpone the assumption of the same rank for three years in consideration of paying a fine of 100s. In 1314-1315 he appears as one of the justices of assize for the counties of Kent, Surrey, and Sussex, and his name...
Another 451 words (32 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Bowker Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Bowker Ranking

In the United States, the name Bowker is the 8,219th most popular surname with an estimated 2,487 people with that name. [6]

United States Bowker migration to the United States +

Many English families emigrated to North American colonies in order to escape the political chaos in Britain at this time. Unfortunately, many English families made the trip to the New World under extremely harsh conditions. Overcrowding on the ships caused the majority of the immigrants to arrive diseased, famished, and destitute from the long journey across the stormy Atlantic. Despite these hardships, many of the families prospered and went on to make invaluable contributions to the development of the cultures of the United States and Canada. Early North American immigration records have revealed a number of people bearing the name Bowker or a variant listed above:

Bowker Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Robert Bowker, who landed in Salem, Massachusetts in 1637 [7]
  • Edmund Bowker, who landed in New England in 1646 [7]
  • Edward Bowker, who arrived in Maryland in 1650 [7]
Bowker Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Abraham Bowker who settled in Virginia in 1700
  • James Bowker, who landed in Virginia in 1704 [7]
  • Ralph Bowker, who landed in Virginia in 1704 [7]
Bowker Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • John Bowker, who arrived in Philadelphia in 1848 along with William, Thomas, and James
  • T. Bowker, who arrived in San Francisco in 1850
  • A Bowker, who arrived in San Francisco, California in 1851 [7]
  • O F Bowker, who arrived in San Francisco, California in 1851 [7]
  • Abraham Bowker, who arrived in Philadelphia in 1858

Australia Bowker migration to Australia +

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

Bowker Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Mr. George Bowker, English convict who was convicted in Knutsford (Nether Knutsford), Cheshire, England for 7 years transported aboard the "Forfarshire" on 24th June 1843, arriving in Tasmania (Van Diemen's Land) [8]
  • Mr. Adam Bowker, English convict who was convicted in Manchester, England for 7 years, transported aboard the ""Blenheim"" on 24th July 1850, arriving in Tasmania (Van Diemen's Land) and Norfolk Island, Australia [9]
  • Mr. William Bowker, (Charles, Dawson), (b. 1829), aged 21, English shoe maker who was convicted in Liverpool, Merseyside, England for 7 years for burglary, transported aboard the ""Blenheim"" on 24th July 1850, arriving in Tasmania (Van Diemen's Land) and Norfolk Island, Australia [9]

New Zealand Bowker 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:

Bowker Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Mr. Bowker, British settler travelling from London aboard the ship "Zealandia" arriving in Lyttelton, Christchurch, South Island, New Zealand on 8th December 1863 [10]

Contemporary Notables of the name Bowker (post 1700) +

  • Horace Bowker (1877-1954), American farm economist and businessman, CEO of the American Agricultural Chemical Company from 1918 to 1937
  • Geoffrey C. Bowker, American Professor of Informatics at the University of California, Irvine
  • Albert Hosmer Bowker (1919-2008), American educator, Chancellor of the University of California, Berkeley (1971-1980)
  • Richard Rogers Bowker (1848-1933), American journalist, editor of Publishers Weekly and Harper's Magazine, founder of the R.R. Bowker Company in 1868
  • Gordon Bowker, American entrepreneur, writer, one of the founders of Starbucks
  • Fred E. Bowker, American fighter pilot and flying ace in the U.S. Army Air Forces, during World War II, credited with 5 aerial victories
  • Silas Bowker, American politician, Member of New York State Assembly from Cayuga County, 1813-15, 1824; Member of New York State Senate 7th District, 1823 [11]
  • Robert E. Bowker, American Republican politician, Member of New Hampshire State House of Representatives from Littleton; Elected 1938; Delegate to New Hampshire State Constitutional Convention from Littleton, 1948 [11]
  • Philip G. Bowker, American Republican politician, Delegate to Republican National Convention from Massachusetts, 1944 [11]
  • L. Stanley Bowker, American Republican politician, Mayor of Malone, New York, 1940 [11]
  • ... (Another 16 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

RMS Titanic
  • Miss Ruth Bowker, aged 27, English Cashier from London, England who worked aboard the RMS Titanic and survived the sinking escaping on life boat 6 [12]

  1. Smith, Eldson Coles, New Dictionary of American Family Names New York: Harper & Row, 1956. Print
  2. Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  3. 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)
  4. Guppy, Henry Brougham, Homes of Family Names in Great Britain. 1890. Print.
  5. Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  6. "What are the 5,000 Most Common Last Names in the U.S.?".,
  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. Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 20th October 2022).
  9. Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 25th October 2020). Retrieved from
  10. New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 26th March 2019). Retrieved from
  11. The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, November 16) . Retrieved from
  12. Titanic Passenger List - Titanic Facts. (Retrieved 2016, July 13) . Retrieved from on Facebook