Bowler History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The name Bowler came to England with the ancestors of the Bowler family in the Norman Conquest of 1066. The Bowler family lived in Lancashire. The name, however, is a reference to the family's former residence in Boulard, in Calvados, in Normandy. [1]

Alternatively, the name could have been an occupational name for a "bowl-maker," someone who made bowls. [2]

Early Origins of the Bowler family

The surname Bowler was first found in Lancashire. They were originally from Boulard in Calvados, Normandy, and arrived in England with Duke William of Normandy at the time of the Norman Conquest in 1066.

Stephen de Boularia in 1096, witnessed a charter of Manasses, Bishop of Cambrai, and joined in the first Crusade. Baldwin de Bollers, his son, received from Henry I the barony of Montgomery, with the hand of Sybil de Falaise, his niece. [1]

"It was this Baldwin, the first castellan of Montgomery, who gave the town its Welsh name of Tre Faldwin, the town of Baldwin. 'In the year 1121, as Baldwin de Boilers, he affixed his signature and attestation to Henry I.'s great Charter to Shrewsbury Abbey.' He was a second time married, and left children by each of his wives ; but the succession is shrouded in mystery." [3]

Hen Domen, (Welsh: "old mound") , a medieval timber motte-and-bailey castle in Powys, Wales was the home of the de Boulers (Bowdler) family and was founded by Baldwin de Boulers. [1] Today, a permanent exhibition can be found on the site.

The Feet of Fines for Somerset included a listing for John le Bouller in 1316 and later in Staffordshire, Robert le Bollere was listed there in the Subsidy Rolls for 1332. [4]

The Hundredorum Rolls of 1273 included John le Bolur, Oxfordshire; and Stephen le Bolur, Surrey. [5]

Early History of the Bowler family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Bowler research. Another 84 words (6 lines of text) covering the years 1066, 1459, 1437, 1450, 1450, 1453, 1453, 1459, 1320, 1587, 1659, 1911, 1865, 1710 and 1726 are included under the topic Early Bowler History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Bowler Spelling Variations

Multitudes of spelling variations are a hallmark of Anglo Norman names. Most of these names evolved in the 11th and 12th century, in the time after the Normans introduced their own Norman French language into a country where Old and Middle English had no spelling rules and the languages of the court were French and Latin. To make matters worse, medieval scribes spelled words according to sound, so names frequently appeared differently in the various documents in which they were recorded. The name was spelled Bowler, Boler, Boaler and others.

Early Notables of the Bowler family (pre 1700)

Another 27 words (2 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Bowler Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Bowler Ranking

In the United States, the name Bowler is the 4,977th most popular surname with an estimated 4,974 people with that name. [6]

Ireland Migration of the Bowler family to Ireland

Some of the Bowler family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 271 words (19 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Bowler migration to the United States +

Because of this political and religious unrest within English society, many people decided to immigrate to the colonies. Families left for Ireland, North America, and Australia in enormous numbers, traveling at high cost in extremely inhospitable conditions. The New World in particular was a desirable destination, but the long voyage caused many to arrive sick and starving. Those who made it, though, were welcomed by opportunities far greater than they had known at home in England. Many of these families went on to make important contributions to the emerging nations of Canada and the United States. Analysis of immigration records indicates that some of the first North American immigrants bore the name Bowler or a variant listed above:

Bowler Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • William Bowler, who settled in Virginia in 1635
  • William Bowler, aged 14, who landed in Virginia in 1635 [7]
  • Tho Bowler, who landed in Virginia in 1655 [7]
  • Deborah Bowler, who settled in Nevis in 1663 along with her husband John
  • John Bowler, who arrived in Virginia in 1665-1666 [7]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Bowler Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Alex Bowler, who arrived in Virginia in 1706 [7]
  • Charles Bowler who settled in Georgia in 1733
  • John Bowler, who landed in Boston, Massachusetts in 1766 [7]
Bowler Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Maria Bowler, who settled in Boston in 1849
  • Martha Bowler, aged 34, who arrived in New York in 1862 [7]
  • Thomas Bowler, who landed in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1876 [7]

Canada Bowler migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Bowler Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
  • William Bowler, who landed in Anapolis (Annapolis), Nova Scotia in 1760
  • Mr. John Bowler U.E. who settled in New Brunswick c. 1783 member of the Penobscot Association [8]

Australia Bowler migration to Australia +

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

Bowler Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Jesse Bowler, a bricklayer, who arrived in New South Wales, Australia sometime between 1825 and 1832
  • Mr. George Bowler, English convict who was convicted in Sussex, England for life, transported aboard the "Captain Cook" on 2nd May 1833, arriving in New South Wales, Australia [9]
  • Mr. George Bowler, English convict who was convicted in Buckinghamshire, England for life, transported aboard the "Aurora" on 18th June 1835, arriving in Tasmania (Van Diemen's Land) [10]
  • Mr. William Bowler, English convict who was convicted in Oxford, Oxfordshire, England for life, transported aboard the "Emma Eugenia" on 2nd November 1837, arriving in New South Wales, Australia, he was killed in 1847 [11]
  • Thomas Bowler, English convict from London, who was transported aboard the "Anson" on September 23, 1843, settling in Van Diemen's Land, Australia [12]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

New Zealand Bowler 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:

Bowler Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Samuel Bowler, who landed in Wellington, New Zealand in 1840
  • William Bowler, who landed in Wellington, New Zealand in 1840
  • E Bowler, who landed in Wellington, New Zealand in 1840 aboard the ship Sir John Falstaff
  • Charles Bowler, who landed in Wellington, New Zealand in 1841 aboard the ship Sir John Flagstaff
  • Eden Bowler, who landed in Wellington, New Zealand in 1843
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Contemporary Notables of the name Bowler (post 1700) +

  • J Andrew Bowler (1862-1935), American educator and Baptist minister
  • Jeff Bowler (b. 1975), American actor
  • Metcalfe Bowler, American politician, Speaker of the Rhode Island House of Deputies, 1767, 1767-76 [13]
  • Madison C. Bowler, American Democratic Party politician, Alternate Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Minnesota, 1916 [13]
  • Kathleen K. Bowler, American Democratic Party politician, Delegate to Democratic National Convention from California, 2000 [13]
  • Joseph F. Bowler, American Republican politician, Clare County Prosecuting Attorney, 1915-16; Alternate Delegate to Republican National Convention from Michigan, 1924 [13]
  • John Bowler, American Democratic Party politician, Alternate Delegate to Democratic National Convention from South Dakota, 1928 [13]
  • James Bernard Bowler (1875-1957), American Democratic Party politician, Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Illinois, 1916, 1936, 1940, 1944, 1948; U.S. Representative from Illinois 7th District, 1953-57 [13]
  • Gertrude Bowler, American Democratic Party politician, Member of Democratic National Committee from Wisconsin, 1920; Delegate to Wisconsin convention to ratify 21st amendment, 1933 [13]
  • Burley Bowler, American Republican politician, Delegate to Republican National Convention from Montana, 1948 [13]
  • ... (Another 17 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)


  1. ^ 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)
  2. ^ Harrison, Henry, Surnames of the United Kingdom: A Concise Etymological Dictionary Baltimore: Geneological Publishing Company, 2013. Print
  3. ^ 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
  4. ^ Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  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. ^ https://namecensus.com/most_common_surnames.htm
  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. ^ 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
  9. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 17th December 2020). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/captain-cook
  10. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 20th August 2020). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/aurora
  11. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 29th March 2022). https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/emma-eugenia
  12. ^ State Library of Queensland. (Retrieved 2015, January 8) Anson voyage to Van Diemen's Land, Australia in 1843 with 499 passengers. Retrieved from http://www.convictrecords.com.au/ships/anson/1843
  13. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, November 16) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html


Houseofnames.com on Facebook