Show ContentsBown History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

From the Celtic land of Wales came the name of Bown. The Welsh name Bown is a patronymic surname created from the Welsh personal name Owen, or Owein. The surname Bown was originally ab-Owen: the distinctive Welsh patronymic prefix "ab" or "ap," means "son of," but the prefix has been assimilated into the surname over the course of time. [1]

Early Origins of the Bown family

The surname Bown was first found in Pembrokeshire (Welsh: Sir Benfro), a county in south-west Wales, anciently part of the Welsh kingdom of Deheubarth. However, the family are also numerous in Shropshire. [2]

Early census records for Wales are rare so we should not be surprised to find that one of the first records was found as late as 1487, where Lewis ap-Owen, was listed in County of Cardigan. [1]

Early History of the Bown family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Bown research. Another 64 words (5 lines of text) covering the years 1761, 1797, 1704, 1575, 1624 and 1590 are included under the topic Early Bown History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Bown Spelling Variations

Although there are comparatively few Welsh surnames, they have a great many spelling variations. Variations of Welsh names began almost immediately after their acceptance within Welsh society. In the Middle Ages, it was up to priests and the few other people that recorded names in official documents to decide how to spell the names that they heard. Variations that occurred because of improper recording increased dramatically as the names were later transliterated into English. The Brythonic Celtic language of Wales, known by natives as Cymraeg, featured many highly inflected sounds that could not be properly captured by the English language. Spelling variations were, however, also carried out according to an individual's design: a branch loyalty within the family, a religious adherence, or even patriotic affiliations were all indicated by the particular variation of one's name. The spelling variations of the name Bown have included Bowen, Bowne, Bowan, Bowin, Bowene, Bowane and many more.

Early Notables of the Bown family (pre 1700)

Prominent amongst the family during the late Middle Ages was Robert Ap John Ap Thomas Ap Owein, son of the Lord of Ynysdderne; and Richard Bowen (1761-1797) was a British naval commander. He died during the failed storming of Santa Cruz de Tenerife as he captained HMS Terpsichore. Because of the failure, a memorial to him to be erected in Westminster Abbey was denied. He appears in the...
Another 67 words (5 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Bown Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Bown Ranking

In the United States, the name Bown is the 16,241st most popular surname with an estimated 2,487 people with that name. [3]

Ireland Migration of the Bown family to Ireland

Some of the Bown family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 58 words (4 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

United States Bown migration to the United States +

Many Welsh joined the great migrations to North America in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Like their Scottish and Irish neighbors, many Welsh families left their homeland hoping to find hope and prosperity in a land that the English did not exercise a tight rule over. Those Welsh immigrants that successfully traveled to North America went on to make significant contributions to the rapid development of both Canada and the United States in terms of the settling of land and the establishment of industry. They also added to the rich cultural heritage of both countries. An examination into the immigration and passenger lists has discovered a number of people bearing the name Bown:

Bown Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • John Bown, who landed in Pennsylvania in 1706 [4]
Bown Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Benjamin Bown, who landed in New York in 1822 [4]
  • Benjamin E Bown, who arrived in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1835 [4]
  • William T Bown, who arrived in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1835 [4]
  • David Bown, who arrived in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1838 [4]
  • Charles Bown, aged 25, who landed in Pennsylvania in 1844 [4]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Australia Bown migration to Australia +

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

Bown Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • William Bown, English convict from Derby, who was transported aboard the "Albion" on May 29, 1828, settling in New South Wales, Australia [5]
  • Thomas Bown, who arrived in Glenelg Roads aboard the ship "Pestonjee Bomanjee" in 1838 [6]
  • Robert Bown, aged 25, who arrived in South Australia in 1853 aboard the ship "Olivia" [7]

Contemporary Notables of the name Bown (post 1700) +

  • Ralph Bown (1891-1971), American radio pioneer, recipient of the IEEE Morris N. Liebmann Memorial Award (1926), President of the Institute of Radio Engineers in 1927
  • Jim Bown (b. 1960), American retired NASCAR driver
  • Heather Bown (b. 1978), American two-time silver medalist volleyball player
  • Richard Charles "Chuck" Bown (b. 1954), American NASCAR champion from Portland, Oregon
  • Andrew H. Bown, American Republican politician, Alternate Delegate to Republican National Convention from New York, 1916 [8]
  • Stuart Bown (b. 1978), Australian rules footballer from Broken Hill, New South Wales
  • Paul Bown (b. 1957), British actor from Fenton, Staffordshire
  • John Young Bown (1821-1890), English-born, Canadian physician and politician
  • Jane Bown (1925-1949), British portrait photographer who has worked for The Observer newspaper since 1949
  • Archie Bown (1882-1958), English football striker from Highworth
  • ... (Another 1 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

HMS Prince of Wales
  • Mr. Edgar George Bown, British Petty Officer Supply, who sailed into battle on the HMS Prince of Wales (1941) and died in the sinking [9]

The Bown 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: Esse quam videri
Motto Translation: To be, rather than to seem.

  1. Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  2. Guppy, Henry Brougham, Homes of Family Names in Great Britain. 1890. Print.
  3. "What are the 5,000 Most Common Last Names in the U.S.?".,
  4. 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)
  5. State Library of Queensland. (Retrieved 2014, November 24) Albion voyage to New South Wales, Australia in 1828 with 192 passengers. Retrieved from
  6. State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) The PESTONJEE BOMANJEE 1838. Retrieved from
  7. South Australian Register Tuesday 15 November 1853. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) Olivia 1857. Retrieved
  8. The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, December 11) . Retrieved from
  9. HMS Prince of Wales Crew members. (Retrieved 2014, April 9) . Retrieved from on Facebook