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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright 2000 - 2016


The ancient roots of the Bushnell family name are in the Anglo-Saxon culture. The name Bushnell comes from when the family lived in Yorkshire, in the parish of Bossall. While the surname is largely considered local, there are other possible origins of this name. It may be of patronymic origin, based on the first name of the father and would have derived as "the son of Bussell." The name may also be of occupational origin and in this latter case it was originally derived from the Old English word busshel and would probably have been used to describe one who made bushel-baskets.

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The surname Bushnell was first found in the North Riding or Yorkshire as Bossall, a parish, partly in the wapentake of Birdforth, but chiefly in that of Bulmer. [1] The parish dates back to the Domesday Book of 1086 where it was first listed as Bosciale [2] and probably meant "nook of land of a man called Bot or Botsige," from the Old English personal name + "halh." [3]

One relatively recent invention that did much to standardize English spelling was the printing press. However, before its invention even the most literate people recorded their names according to sound rather than spelling. The spelling variations under which the name Bushnell has appeared include Bushell, Bussel, Bushle, Bushel, Bussell, Buchell, Buchel, Boushell, Boushel, Bousel and many more.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Bushnell research. Another 389 words (28 lines of text) covering the years 1086, 1140, 1200, 1140, 1609, 1651, 1643, 1651, 1670, 1593, 1674 and 1701 are included under the topic Early Bushnell History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Another 205 words (15 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Bushnell Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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At this time, the shores of the New World beckoned many English families that felt that the social climate in England was oppressive and lacked opportunity for change. Thousands left England at great expense in ships that were overcrowded and full of disease. A great portion of these settlers never survived the journey and even a greater number arrived sick, starving, and without a penny. The survivors, however, were often greeted with greater opportunity than they could have experienced back home. These English settlers made significant contributions to those colonies that would eventually become the United States and Canada. An examination of early immigration records and passenger ship lists revealed that people bearing the name Bushnell arrived in North America very early:

Bushnell Settlers in United States in the 17th Century


  • Ffrancis Bushnell, aged 26, arrived in America in 1635
  • Jo Bushnell, aged 21, landed in America in 1635
  • Marie Bushnell, aged 26, landed in America in 1635
  • Martha Bushnell, aged 1, landed in New England in 1635
  • Francis Bushnell, who landed in Connecticut in 1638


Bushnell Settlers in United States in the 19th Century


  • B Bushnell, who arrived in San Francisco, California in 1851
  • J P Bushnell, who arrived in San Francisco, California in 1851
  • N Bushnell, who landed in San Francisco California in 1851

Bushnell Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century


  • Walter William Bushnell, aged 21, arrived in Nelson aboard the ship "Indus" in 1843

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  • Robert Tyng Bushnell (1896-1949), American politician, Massachusetts Attorney General from 1941 to 1945
  • David P. Bushnell (1913-2005), American entrepreneur, founder of Bushnell which is best known for their line of binoculars
  • Candace Bushnell (b. 1958), American author and columnist
  • Prudence Bushnell (b. 1946), American diplomat, former United States Ambassador to Kenya and Guatemala
  • Katharine Bushnell (1856-1946), American Christian writer, physician, medical missionary to China
  • Nolan K. Bushnell (b. 1943), American engineer and entrepreneur who founded Atari
  • Asa Bushnell, American politician, Member of Connecticut State House of Representatives from Hartland, 1825, 1829-30, 1837
  • Ambrose G. Bushnell (1863-1944), American Republican politician, Member of Michigan State House of Representatives from Branch County, 1929-32, 1935-36; Defeated in primary, 1924, 1932, 1936
  • Alvin Bushnell, American politician, Member of New York State Assembly from Greene County, 1825
  • Allen Ralph Bushnell (1833-1909), American politician, Representative from Wisconsin 3rd District, 1891-93

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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: Dum spiro spero
Motto Translation: While I have breath I hope.

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  1. ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
  2. ^ Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds., Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8)
  3. ^ Mills, A.D., Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-19-869156-4)

Other References

  1. Leeson, Francis L. Dictionary of British Peerages. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1986. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-1121-5).
  2. Innes, Thomas and Learney. The Tartans of the Clans and Families of Scotland 1st Edition. Edinburgh: W & A. K. Johnston Limited, 1938. Print.
  3. Bowman, George Ernest. The Mayflower Reader A Selection of Articales from The Mayflower Descendent. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  4. Virkus, Frederick A. Ed. Immigrant Ancestors A List of 2,500 Immigrants to America Before 1750. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1964. Print.
  5. Sanders, Joanne McRee Edition. English Settlers in Barbados 1637-1800. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  6. Foster, Joseph. Dictionary of Heraldry Feudal Coats of Arms and Pedigrees. London: Bracken Books, 1989. Print. (ISBN 1-85170-309-8).
  7. Humble, Richard. The Fall of Saxon England. New York: Barnes and Noble, 1975. Print. (ISBN 0-88029-987-8).
  8. Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at Galveston Texas 1896-1951. National Archives Washington DC. Print.
  9. Browning, Charles H. Americans of Royal Descent. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  10. Cook, Chris. English Historical Facts 1603-1688. London: MacMillan, 1980. Print.
  11. ...

The Bushnell Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Bushnell Family Crest was drawn according to heraldic standards based on published blazons. We generally include the oldest published family crest once associated with each surname.

This page was last modified on 2 February 2016 at 17:50.

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