Show ContentsBowne History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

From the Celtic land of Wales came the name of Bowne. The Welsh name Bowne is a patronymic surname created from the Welsh personal name Owen, or Owein. The surname Bowne 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 Bowne family

The surname Bowne 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 Bowne family

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

Bowne Spelling Variations

Compared to other ancient cultures found in the British Isles, the number of Welsh surnames are relatively few, but there are an inordinately large number of spelling variations. These spelling variations began almost as soon as surname usage became common. People could not specify how to spell their own names leaving the specific recording up to the individual scribe or priest. Those recorders would then spell the names as they heard them, causing many different variations. Later, many Welsh names were recorded in English. This transliteration process was extremely imprecise since the Brythonic Celtic language of the Welsh used many sounds the English language was not accustomed to. Finally, some variations occurred by the individual's design: a branch loyalty within a family, a religious adherence, or even patriotic affiliations were indicated by spelling variations of one's name. The Bowne name over the years has been spelled Bowen, Bowne, Bowan, Bowin, Bowene, Bowane and many more.

Early Notables of the Bowne 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 Bowne Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Bowne Ranking

In the United States, the name Bowne is the 17,433rd most popular surname with an estimated 2,487 people with that name. [3]

Ireland Migration of the Bowne family to Ireland

Some of the Bowne 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 Bowne 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 Bowne:

Bowne Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • William Bowne, who landed in Salem, Massachusetts in 1629 [4]
  • Mr. William Bowne, who arrived in Dorchester, Massachusetts in 1633 aboard the ship "Recovery" [5]
  • John Bowne (1627–1695), an English immigrant with his father and sister from Matlock, Derbyshire to Boston in 1648
  • John Bowne, who arrived in New York in 1649 [4]
Bowne Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Thomas Bowne, aged 19, who arrived at Ellis Island, New York in 1826 aboard the ship "Panthia"
  • Richard Bowne, aged 2, who arrived at Ellis Island, New York in 1826 aboard the ship "Panthia"
  • Mary Bowne, aged 38, who arrived at Ellis Island, New York in 1826 aboard the ship "Panthia"
  • Wm Bowne, aged 2, who arrived at Ellis Island, New York in 1826 aboard the ship "Panthia"
  • Wm Bowne, aged 21, who arrived at Ellis Island, New York in 1826 aboard the ship "Panthia"
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

West Indies Bowne migration to West Indies +

The British first settled the British West Indies around 1604. They made many attempts but failed in some to establish settlements on the Islands including Saint Lucia and Grenada. By 1627 they had managed to establish settlements on St. Kitts (St. Christopher) and Barbados, but by 1641 the Spanish had moved in and destroyed some of these including those at Providence Island. The British continued to expand the settlements including setting the First Federation in the British West Indies by 1674; some of the islands include Barbados, Bermuda, Cayman Island, Turks and Caicos, Jamaica and Belize then known as British Honduras. By the 1960's many of the islands became independent after the West Indies Federation which existed from 1958 to 1962 failed due to internal political conflicts. After this a number of Eastern Caribbean islands formed a free association. [6]
Bowne Settlers in West Indies in the 17th Century
  • Mr. John Bowne, aged 20, British settler travelling from Gravesend, UK aboard the ship "Hopewell" arriving in Barbados on 17th February 1634 [4]

Contemporary Notables of the name Bowne (post 1700) +

  • Fabien Alfranso Bowne (b. 1972), former professional American football wide receiver
  • Obadiah Bowne (1822-1874), United States Representative from New York
  • Samuel Smith Bowne (1800-1865), U.S. Representative from New York
  • Hugh Henry Bowne (1920-2003), long-serving American federal judge
  • Alan Bowne (1945-1989), American playwright and author
  • Walter Bowne (1770-1846), American politician, four term Mayor of New York
  • John Bowne (1627-1695), English immigrant residing in the Dutch colony of New Netherland, who is honored today as a pioneer in the American struggle for religious liberty
  • Hugh H. Bowne, American Republican politician, Delegate to Republican National Convention from New Jersey, 1856, 1860 [7]
  • Hugh H. Bowne, American politician, Member of New Jersey State House of Assembly from Essex County, 1848-49 [7]
  • George L. Bowne, American Democratic Party politician, Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Florida, 1860 [7]
  • ... (Another 12 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

The Bowne 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. Pilgrim Ship's of 1600's Retrieved January 6th 2023, retrieved from
  7. The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, December 11) . Retrieved from on Facebook