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Welsh Proverb
Unwaith yn ddyn, dwywiaith yn blentyn.
One time a man, two times a child.

Ancient Wales:MapThe origin of the Bowen family name is from the Pembrokeshire area of Wales, arriving in America from England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland.

It has always been the tradition that our clan was "Scot-Irish" this may however have come from the Phillips side of the family.

The name of Bowen is derived
From the Welsh ap /ab Owain ( english variant : owen)
Popular since the early 1400s because it perpetuated the name of Owain Gl�ndwr, the Welsh leader who sought to unite Wales and end English domination. This form has been revived in the 1900s, but colloquially it became Owen [O-wen]. The reduction of the diphthong ai (historiically ei) to e in the final syllable in usual in colloquial Welsh. Owen is the form over most of Wales, but in the north-western (counties of Gw�nedd, M�n, Conw�) and south-eastern corners (former regions of Morgannwg and Gwent) a final 'e' becomes 'a'. Hence colloquial forms in such areas such as W^an (with the circumflex over the W) [U-an] [ Historical references to ap Owen / ap Owain ]

The Welsh word for their country is Cymru (Kumree), the land of the Comrades; the people are known as Cymry (Kumree) and the language as Cymraeg (Kumrige).

One tradition is that Evan, gd. son of Owen, Lord and owner of the estate of Pentre Even or Ponte Evan which is locaterd near the Nevern and Newport in Wales, assumed the name of Bowen by contracting the _ap_ and _ah_ to Owen and it thus became Bowen; Evan Bowen married Margaret Cubbertson and among their issue was son Gwylym / William Bowen, Gwylym's son was Owen Bowen who's son was( Sir) James Bowen who's son was Mathias Bowen. Mathias' son was James Bowen of Llwyngwair who married Elearnor Griffith, The second son of James Bowen and Eleanor Griffith was Owen Bowen who married Ellen Lloyd, Owen's second son, Griffith Bowen is conjectured by some to be the first Bowen to emigrate to America, the eighth son of Owen Bowen is conjectured by some to be Richard Bowen of Llyngwair Wales and then Rehoboth Mass.Though many claim that the documentation proves otherwise ( See Richard Bowen of Rehoboth. )

Richard Bowen born in Pembrokeshire, Wales at Llyngwair then removed to Kittle Hill, in Pennard on the Gower Peninsula of Glamorganshire, Wales, settled in the Massachusetts Bay Colony in the year of1634;( Seekonk, then Rehoboth ), he took a second wife named Elizabeth Marsh, in Weymouth, Norfolk Co., Ma. his first wife who some claim to be named Ann Bourne had died in ca. 1645.

While Wales seems to be the origin of the name of Bowen, some emigration to America with the Bowen surname or variations such as Boen, Bowan, Bohan etc. came also from Ireland, Scotland, and some from Germany .

For those that might be researching their irish roots : [ Your Irish Roots: Irish Genealogy, Irish Surname & Irish Coat of Arms ]

The Irish variant on the name according to Edward MacLysaght's books Surnames of Ireland, Dublin, 1985 is From Dublin, Cork, Ulster. Ireland. Bowen names is derived from � Buach�in, but the name is usually of Welsh origin i.e. Ap Owen.
It may sometimes stand for Bohan(e) .


[ The Bowen's of Camrose, Pembrokeshire County Wales Contributed by Jon Hudson ] [ Bowens of Wales ]


[ About Welsh Surnames by J.B Davies ]


[Welsh son of] it is used before a vowell, which a is used before a consonant. 'Ab Owen' becomes the surname 'Bowen'. "Ap" or "ab" is not related to the Latin "ab", but is rather from the British "*mapos" meaning "son" and is a cognate of Irish "mac". The word becomes "map" in Old Welsh and "mab" in Modern Welsh. When following a personal name the "m" lenites in a v-sound, still spelled "m" in Old Welsh, but increasingly spelled "v" and "f" later on. The v-sound tends to be rather weak in Welsh (cf. "tref" becoming "tre"), and in the highly formulaic nature of these names is lost.


[Welsh son of] It is used before a consonant; ab is used before a vowell. 'Ap Hywell' becomes 'Powell'. "Ap" or "ab" is not related to the Latin "ab", but is rather from the British 'mapos' meaning 'son' and is a cognate of Irish "mac". The word becomes ' map' in Old Welsh and 'mab' in Modern Welsh. When following a personal name the "m" lenites in a v-sound, still spelled "m" in Old Welsh, but increasingly spelled "v" and "f" later on. The v-sound tends to be rather weak in Welsh (cf. "tref" becoming "tre"), and in the highly formulaic nature of these names is lost. "Moricantos maposTotorigos" (genitive of Totorix) -> Old Welsh "Morcant map Tutur" -> Modern Welsh "Morgan ap Tudur".

The encyclopedia Britannica as well as other sources states that owen is the English spelling of the celtic or welsh of owain. so ap owen or ap owain are interchangeable.

Map variation by Ben Bowen


Emigration from Wales to America. from data wales

The early emigrants that left Wales many years ago in search of a better life faced a sea journey fraught with danger and they suffered discomfort difficult to imagine today. What motivated these pioneers? It has been said that poverty, persecution and ambition were the main motives. taxes,tolls and tithes were a constant source of annoyance to the welch peoples.

Tolls. At the beginning of the 18th century the system of "road trusts" was formalised. The 17th century had seen a revival of road tolls and the setting up of gates or "turnpikes" at which tolls were collected but now local gentlemen could obtain private acts of parliament to enable them to borrow money on the security of turnpike tolls and to use this to improve the roads. The system spread quickly and country people disliked the tolls enough to attack and destroy some of the toll houses in the period of the Rebecca Riots.

Tithes. Tithes were traditionally a tax of one tenth of the produce of land, designed to support the church and clergy. In 1836 the Tithe Commutation Act provided for the substitution of an annual tithe rent charge. The collection of tithes (and the extortionate practices of individual tithe owners) caused great anger in an era of economic depression and religious dissent. Tithe maps of parishes were drawn up to apportion responsibility for payment and these maps are amongst the earliest highly detailed maps of Wales.

Royal Standard of Owain Glyndwr (� Stephen Jones)

The Welsh in America

From National Geographic

by Simon Worrall

The Italians have Columbus, the English, Sir Francis Drake, and the Portuguese can boast of Vasco da Gama. Raise your hand if you have heard of Madog ap Owain Gwynedd, aka Prince Madoc, a Welsh prince who, according to legend, left the town of Rhos, near Llandudno, in northern Wales, in A.D. 1170 and sailed across the Atlantic to America. Somewhere out in the briny deep, Madoc evidently got blown off course. As a result, he did not land in Newfoundland, or Plymouth Rock, or Roanoke Island, or any of the other addresses generally favored by early explorers. Madoc washed up in the Deep South. Prince Madoc sailed from here to Mobile, Alabama, records a plaque in Rhos. An ancient Welsh chronicle, known as a triad, calls him, mysteriously, one of the Three Who Made a Total Disappearance From the Isle of Britain.

Real immigration began in the 18th century and accelerated in the 19th.

Unlike the Irish, who tended to settle in urban areas like New York and Boston, the Welsh, most of whom were miners or farmers, preferred rural communities or small towns, like Remsen, in upstate New York. Others went to Wisconsin, Vermont, or California. The Welsh have also left their mark on Philadelphias prestigious Main Line, as evidenced by place-names like Bryn Mawr and St. Davids. In the late 19th century the population of Scranton, Pennsylvania, is estimated to have been 30 percent Welsh.

Wherever they went, the Welsh took with them a love of singing and a zeal for nonconformist religion. An estimated 700 churches in America, mostly Congregational and Presbyterian, owe their foundation to Welsh Americans. In the 19th century converts to Mormonism, mostly from the mining town of Merthyr Tydfil in southern Wales, emigrated to Salt Lake City, Utah, where they helped found the famous Mormon Tabernacle Choir. Some Welsh Americans even dreamed of founding their own, separate state. In the mid-19th century an idea was floated to create a Welsh colony in Brynffynnon, Tennessee. Other colonies were proposed for Wisconsin, Oregon, and Vancouver. But it would be in South, not North, America that these dreams would finally come closest to fruition, with the creation of Y Wladfa Gymreig (The Welsh Colony) in Patagonia, in the middle of the 19th century.

Today, there are an estimated 2.5 million Welsh Americans, compared with 40 million Irish Americans and 14 million Scots Americans. The Welsh did not immigrate in the same numbers because they did not need to. Though Wales has always been one of the poorest parts of the U.K., it has escaped economic catastrophes like the Highland Clearances or the Irish Potato Famine, which drove millions of Scots and Irish across the Atlantic. If there was work, the Welsh preferred to stay home. And for most of the 19th century, when migration from the British Isles was at its peak, there was. In fact, the booming coal-mining industry of southern Wales drew people from all over Europe and the world in the opposite direction, to Wales.

Once in America, the Welsh tended to keep a lower profile than their Celtic cousins. As a result, though most Americans are familiar with symbols of Scottish and Irish national identity, like the kilt and the shamrock, Welsh icons, like the red dragon and the leek, enjoy little of what market researchers call brand recognition. In keeping with their temperament and religious convictions, Welsh Americans prefer celebrating their ancestry quietly, and in private, rather than noisily, and in public. The rivers of Guinness and Scotch that flow on St. Patricks Day or Robbie Burns Night are absent in traditional St. Davids Day celebrations, which take place each year on March 1st. We drink tea, says Dr. Arturo Roberts, editor of Ninnau, a magazine devoted to maintaining and extending ties between Wales and North America. And someone might sing a song or two, or a hymn. Then we usually have a dinner. I have never seen anyone wearing a leek. He paused. What few people know, though, is that St. Patrick was a Welshman.

That claim can be contested. More certain is that Frank Lloyd Wright, the architect, D.W. Griffith, the filmmaker, J.P. Morgan, the banker, and William Randolph Hearst, the newspaper tycoon, were all of Welsh origin. Today, though not as visible as the Scots or Irish, the Welsh contribution to American life continues to percolate quietly beneath the surface. There are more than a hundred St. Davids Societies in the United States. A former church in Oak Hill, Ohio, now houses a Welsh Heritage Museum. In Edwardsville, Pennsylvania, each year, an eisteddfodd is held. Recently, even Hollywood succumbed to the Welsh connection, with the arrival of Swansea-born actress Catherine Zeta-Jones.

And the Three Who Made a Total Disappearance From the Isle of Britain? When I called the Mobile Chamber of Commerce asking for information, the lady who answered the phone said, in a lilting southern accent: Prince Madoc? Ive never heard of him. I did finally find someone who knew about him, though.

Theres no proof, said Gordon Tatum, Jr., a history buff who works at the Mobile Convention & Visitors Corporation. But we do have a marker on the eastern shore of Mobile Bay. And we have a river called the Dog River, which people say was named for Madoc. At some Mardi Gras parades and balls there are Madoc tableaus, as well. The legend lives on.

Read : [ A Welsh history synopsis by David Fortin ] - [ A Short history of Wales by Owen M. Edwards ]

The Bowen Origins Reference Guide:
By the Bowen family Web.

The intent of this page is to supply links to specific sources of research materials and information related to the area(s) concerning the origins of Bowen family line and name, specifically in England & Wales.

If you have any insight or a link to a site that does please contribute it to the Bowen Origins page.
Add you links to our Bo-Links Page

Sites I have visited so far

The Kingdom of Cymru Celts

The history and status of the Welsh language.

Welsh Proverbs

Welsh-American Genealogical Society :
A Society of North Americans dedicated to aiding those researching their Welsh ancestry .

Dyfed Family Society research in Western Wales

Gwynedd Family Historical Society

The Vale of Glamorgan

Association of Family History Societies in Western Wales

National Welsh-American Foundation
A society dedicated to serving all people of Welsh descent and anyone interested in the land, the language, the culture, and the traditions of Wales.

Guide to Welsh record offices on the world wide web.

The Immigrant ship transcribers Guild.
Very well done, hosted by RootsWeb.

The National library of Wales.

West Wales Web
Discover everything related to Western Wales.

Pembrokeshier County Council
The Pembrokeshier County Council.

North Wales Online
The Web index for Northern Wales.

Connections to Wales
Portal to all things Welsh:

Network Wales

Individuals & personal Bowen web sites:

Bowen Lineage : This page has more names of original Bowen's from England & Wales including the Owen, AP Owen explanation, as well as other information/names of early American Bowens'.

Bowen Family Coat of Arms : This page has some information concerning the Bowen Coats of Arms, general rules and information concerning coats of arms in general as well as his own coat of arms!

Speculations,History, Myths,Folklore,& modern Wales :Tourisim etc.

Genealogical & historical research often turns up some interesting tales and folklore, as lots of information from ancient times was passed down by word of mouth in tall tales and almost certainly would contain the slant or views of the storyteller or historian.Sometimes it is impossible to tell the difference between fact,myth and actual events. My family for example was always told that we came from "Royalty" on Both sides on the Bowen side claiming to be related to King Henry the Eighth thru Anne Bolyn ..when i asked what the proof was..well it was always just "passed down". It is also very tempting to accept a ready made genealogy to ancient royalty in England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales.there are many lineages posted on the web concerning Griffith Bowen, Dr.Griffith Owen,Richard Bowen of Rehoboth etc.It is often a "hook" by sometimes unsrcupulous genealogical researchers to sell a royal lineage to a person who is usually more than willing to belive they are of "royal blood". More than likely however it is my belief that most of our ancestors were farmers or labourers, and left their beloved homelands because of oppression of various types by these royal persons, boarding a ship to the new world seeking a better life and embarking on a great and adventurous journey to a new and unknown land that promised a new beginning for themselves their families and future generations to come.

references found to ap owen

The vale of the Gronwy, about a mile above Pont Escob, there is a wood called Coed Dial, or the Wood of Revenge. Here again, by the modern name of the place, we are enabled to fix the very spot on which Richard de Clare was murdered. The Welsh Chronicle informs us, that "in 1135, Morgan ap Owen, a man of considerable quality and estate in Wales, remembering the wrong and injury he had received at the hands of Richard Fitz-Gilbert, slew him, together with his son Gilbert." The first of this great family, Richard de Clare, was the eldest son of Gislebert, surnamed Crispin, earl of Brion, in Normandy. This Richard Fitz-Gilbert came into England with William the Conqueror, and received from him great advancement in honour and possessions. On the death of the Conqueror, favouring the cause of Robert Curthose, he rebelled against William Rufus, but when that king appeared in arms before his castle at Tunbridge, he submitted; after which, adhering to Rufus against Robert, in 1091, he was taken prisoner, and shortly after the death of king Henry I., was assassinated, on his journey through Wales, in the manner already related.

The encyclopaedia of the Celts:
A very well done site with much info.

Britania :
Very informative site on the histories of England & Wales:
Timelines,History, Literature,Welsh Royalty,Myths & Folklore & lots more including a pub guide!
If you are a history buff you could spend some time here!Was America named after a welshman? Was Pennsylvania named after William Penn...Were there Indian descendants of early welsh settlers that arrived before Columbus? Is St.Patrick Irish

Brecon Cathedral
One of the six Anglican cathedrals in Wales

Castles of Wales
A non-profit site designed with the purpose of supplying information about Welsh castles. Includes photos, maps, etc. Very extensive and well done!

Llys Arthur
A site exploring the documentary support for and Welsh literary manifestations of the Arthurian legend.

Events and Attractions in Wales
A searchable listing of places to go and things to do in when you are in Wales.

Wales Tourist Board
The official government guide to Wales and its attractions.

Wales General Information
Area, population Etc.

Daily Weather in Wales

Green Mountain College Welsh Heritage program.
Located in Vermont where there was an extensive Welsh settlemen.

The Prince, the Poet the Patriot Pub
Online Welsh "pub". was not working well when I went there..the page had one to many I presume !!

Snell and Sons
Traditional Welsh music.


Map county division names and boundries from re-design by ben bowen.

ap ab Owen name information provided by (KenR-J)

national geographic online magazine


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Updated 7-2003


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