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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright 2000 - 2015

Where did the English Bushnell family come from? What is the English Bushnell family crest and coat of arms? When did the Bushnell family first arrive in the United States? Where did the various branches of the family go? What is the Bushnell family history?

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 Bossal. 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.


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.

First found in Somerset where they held a family seat from very ancient times.


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, 1670, 1593, 1674 and 1701 are included under the topic Early Bushnell History in all our PDF Extended History products.


Another 139 words(10 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Bushnell Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.


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


  • Nolan K. Bushnell (b. 1943), American engineer and entrepreneur who founded Atari
  • Katharine Bushnell (1856-1946), American Christian writer, physician, medical missionary to China
  • Prudence Bushnell (b. 1946), American diplomat, former United States Ambassador to Kenya and Guatemala
  • Candace Bushnell (b. 1958), American author and columnist
  • David P. Bushnell (1913-2005), American entrepreneur, founder of Bushnell which is best known for their line of binoculars
  • Robert Tyng Bushnell (1896-1949), American politician, Massachusetts Attorney General from 1941 to 1945
  • Bertram "Bert" Harold Thomas Bushnell (1921-2010), British gold medalist rower at the 1948 Summer Olympics
  • Alix Bushnell, New Zealand actress and singer


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. Dunkling, Leslie. Dictionary of Surnames. Toronto: Collins, 1998. Print. (ISBN 0004720598).
  2. Zieber, Eugene. Heraldry in America. Philadelphia: Genealogical Publishing Co. Print.
  3. 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).
  4. Bolton, Charles Knowles. Bolton's American Armory. Baltimore: Heraldic Book Company, 1964. Print.
  5. Burke, John Bernard Ed. The Roll of Battle Abbey. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  6. Colletta, John P. They Came In Ships. Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1993. Print.
  7. Shirley, Evelyn Philip. Noble and Gentle Men of England Or Notes Touching The Arms and Descendants of the Ancient Knightley and Gentle Houses of England Arranged in their Respective Counties 3rd Edition. Westminster: John Bowyer Nichols and Sons, 1866. Print.
  8. Bardsley, C.W. A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6).
  9. Samuelsen, W. David. New York City Passenger List Manifests Index 1820 - 1824. North Salt Lake, Utah: Accelerated Indexing Systems International, 1986. Print.
  10. Matthews, John. Matthews' American Armoury and Blue Book. London: John Matthews, 1911. 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 30 July 2014 at 10:58.

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