Show ContentsBowser History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Bowser is an ancient Norman name, that would have been used in Britain soon after the Conquest of the island in 1066. This name was given to a person who was a person who frequently used the informal Norman greeting beu sire, which means good sir, or fine sir. [1]

Another source presumes the name could have been from the French word "bussiere," and literally meant "dweller in the place planted with bushes." [2]

"Bourcher or Bourchier are not the original form of this great name, which, derived from Boursseres in Burgundy, passed through various stages of transmutation as Berseres, Bursers, Boussers, Burcer, Bowser (as it is given by Duchesne) Burghcher, &c, &c, before it finally reached the one in which it is familiar to us. Urso de Berseres, in 1086, held Senly in Buckinghamshire [3] and Sylvester de Bursers, in 1165, was a tenant of the Honour of Clare, in Suffolk [4]. " [5]

Early Origins of the Bowser family

The surname Bowser was first found in Essex. They were originally from Bouchier in Normandy, and arrived in England with Duke William in 1066. [6]

John de Bourchier (d.circa 1330) was an English Judge of the Common Pleas and the earliest ancestor of the family. His son, Robert Bourchier or Boussier was 1st Baron Bourchier (died 1349) and held the position of Lord Chancellor of England, the first layman to hold the post. His son, John Bourchier, 2nd Baron Bourchier (d. 1400), was a soldier and diplomat. [7]

"The eldest of the sons, Henry Earl of Ewe and Essex, Lord Treasurer of England, was grandfather of Henry, the second and last Earl of Essex, a gallant courtier of his day, and captain of Henry the Eighth's body guard, who attended his royal master into France as Lieut.-General of all the Spears: and at the famous tournament which Henry held in the eighth year of his reign, the Earl of Essex, with the King himself, the Duke of Suffolk, and Nicholas Carew, answered all comers. A few years after, his lordship again attended his sovereign to France, and swelled the pageantry upon the field of the Cloth of Gold. The Earl died in consequence of a fall from his horse in 1539, and his barony of Bourchier was eventually inherited by the descendants of his sister Cicely." [8]

Early History of the Bowser family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Bowser research. Another 107 words (8 lines of text) covering the years 1066, 1400, 1409, 1400, 1409, 1405, 1467, 1533, 1587, 1654, 1643, 1595, 1660, 1491, 1551, 1535, 1605 and 1589 are included under the topic Early Bowser History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Bowser 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 Bowser, Bouchier, Boucher, Bourchier, Bowesar, Bowsher and many more.

Early Notables of the Bowser family (pre 1700)

Outstanding amongst the family at this time was John Bourchier, 2nd Baron Bourchier (d. 1400), soldier and diplomat in the service of the crown; Bartholomew Bourchier, 3rd Baron Bourchier (died 1409), member of Parliament, summoned to Parliament the first time 9 September 1400, the year of his father's death, continued to be summoned until 1409, but obtained an exemption from attended in 1405, no records of military service, unlike his father and grandfather; John Bourchier, 2nd Baron Berners (1467-1533), an English soldier, statesman and translator; General Sir...
Another 87 words (6 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Bowser Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Bowser Ranking

In the United States, the name Bowser is the 2,047th most popular surname with an estimated 14,922 people with that name. [9]

Ireland Migration of the Bowser family to Ireland

Some of the Bowser family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 47 words (3 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

United States Bowser 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 Bowser or a variant listed above:

Bowser Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Hen Bowser, who arrived in Virginia in 1666
Bowser Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • William Bowser, who settled in Boston Massachusetts in 1774
  • William Bowser, aged 22, who landed in New England in 1774 [10]
  • Henry Bowser, who arrived in Maryland in 1798 [10]
  • Henry Bowser, who settled in Maryland in 1798
  • Henry Bowser, who settled in Washington Maryland in 1798
Bowser Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Robert Bowser, who arrived in New York in 1817 [10]

Canada Bowser migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Bowser Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
  • John Bowser, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1750
  • Mary Bowser, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1750
  • Richard Bowser, aged 29, who landed in Halifax, Nova Scotia in 1774
  • Anne Bowser who settled in Nova Scotia in 1774 with her mother Anne and brother Richard
  • Ann Bowser, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1774
Bowser Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • John Bowser, who settled in Nova Scotia sometime between 1598 and 1867
  • Hannah Bowser, who settled in Ontario in 1871
  • George Bowser, who settled in Ontario in 1871
  • Charles Henry Bowser, who settled in Ontario in 1871
  • Cecilia Bowser, who arrived in Ontario in 1871

Australia Bowser migration to Australia +

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

Bowser Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Mr. Timothy Bowser, (Bolster, Bowzer), (b. 1812), aged 21, English plasterer and tiler who was convicted in Middlesex, England for 7 years for house breaking, transported aboard the "Fairlie" on 14th October 1833, arriving in New South Wales, Australia [11]

New Zealand Bowser 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:

Bowser Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • George Bowser, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "British King" in 1883

Contemporary Notables of the name Bowser (post 1700) +

  • Betty Ann Bowser (1944-2018), American journalist and correspondent for the "PBS NewsHour"
  • Yvette Denise Lee Bowser (b. 1965), American television writer and producer
  • Charles W. Bowser (1898-1989), American football head coach of the University of Pittsburgh team (1939 to 1942)
  • Charles Bowser (b. 1959), former American NFL football linebacker
  • Bill Bowser, American founder of Bowser Manufacturing, a manufacturer of model railroad equipment in 1948
  • Arda "Ard" Crawford Bowser (1899-1996), American professional NFL football player
  • Mary Elizabeth Bowser (b. 1839), American freed slave born in Richmond, Virginia who became a Union spy during the Civil War
  • Paul Forbes Bowser (1886-1960), American professional wrestling promoter
  • Muriel Bowser (b. 1972), American Democratic politician in Washington D.C., Muriel Bowser American Democratic politician in Washington, D.C
  • Sylvanus Bowser (1854-1938), American inventor from Fort Wayne, Indiana credited with inventing the automobile fuel pump
  • ... (Another 12 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Halifax Explosion
  • Mr. William Thomas  Bowser (1892-1917), Canadian resident from Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada who died in the Halifax Explosion (1917) [12]

Suggested Readings for the name Bowser +

  • The Bowsers and Claypool(e)s by Evelyn Claypoole Bracken.

  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. Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds., Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8)
  4. Liber Niger Scutarii ("Black Book of the Exchequer"), containing reports by county on feudal holdings in England in 1166 (reign of Henry II)
  5. Cleveland, Dutchess of The Battle Abbey Roll with some Account of the Norman Lineages. London: John Murray, Abermarle Street, 1889. Print. Volume 1 of 3
  6. 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)
  7. Smith, George (ed), Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1885-1900. Print
  8. Burke, John Bernard, The Roll of Battle Abbey. London: Edward Churton, 26, Holles Street, 1848, Print.
  9. "What are the 5,000 Most Common Last Names in the U.S.?".,
  10. 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)
  11. Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 21st September 2022).
  12. Halifax Explosion Book of Remembrance | Maritime Museum of the Atlantic. (Retrieved 2014, June 23) . Retrieved from on Facebook