Bownes History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

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

The surname Bownes 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 Bownes family

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

Bownes 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 Bownes name over the years has been spelled Bowen, Bowne, Bowan, Bowin, Bowene, Bowane and many more.

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

Ireland Migration of the Bownes family to Ireland

Some of the Bownes 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 Bownes 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 Bownes:

Bownes Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • J B Bownes, who arrived in San Francisco, California in 1851 [3]
  • Ann Bownes, aged 38, who immigrated to America, in 1894
Bownes Settlers in United States in the 20th Century
  • Mary Bownes, who immigrated to America, in 1906
  • Bridget Bownes, aged 28, who immigrated to the United States from Batley, England, in 1908
  • Clara Bownes, aged 20, who settled in America, in 1909
  • Mrs. H. E. Bownes, aged 50, who landed in America, in 1909
  • Patrick Bownes, aged 18, who immigrated to the United States from Dunmore, Ireland, in 1909
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Contemporary Notables of the name Bownes (post 1700) +

  • Irja C. Bownes, American Democratic Party politician, Alternate Delegate to Democratic National Convention from New Hampshire, 1960 [4]
  • Hugh Henry Bownes (b. 1920), American Democratic Party politician, Member of Democratic National Committee from New Hampshire, 1963; Mayor of Laconia, New Hampshire, 1963-65; Superior Court Judge in New Hampshire, 1966-68 [4]


The Bownes 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. ^ 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)
  4. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, December 11) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html


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