The surname of BORNMAN was derived from the Old English word Bowyere. An occupational name, a maker of bows. The small villages of Europe, or royal and noble households, even large religious dwellings and monastries, gave rise to many family names, which reflected the occupation or profession of the original bearer of the name. Following the Crusades in Europe in the 11th, 12th and 13th centuries a need was felt for an additional name. This was recognized by those of gentle birth, who realised that it added prestige and practical advantage to their status. At first the coat of arms was a practical matter which served a function on the battlefield and in tournaments. With his helmet covering his face, and armour encasing the knight from head to foot, the only means of identification for his followers, was the insignia painted on his shield, and embroidered on his surcoat, the draped and flowing garment worn over the armour. Early records of the name mention Ailwardus le Boyiere, 1130 London. Agnes del Bowre was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379. Baptised. William Anthony Bowyer, St. James's, Clerkenwell, London in 1613.
Bearers of this name are descended from Thomas Bowra, born in 1654 at East Grinstead, Sussex, the surgeon. This spelling was used in this area in the early seventeenth century. Most of the European surnames in countries such as England, Scotland and France were formed in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. The process had started somewhat earlier and had continued in some places into the 19th century, but the norm is that in the tenth and eleventh centuries people did not have surnames, whereas by the fifteenth century most of the population had acquired a second name.
Martin Van Buren (1782-1862), President of the United States of America (1837-41) and one of the founders of the Democratic Party, was born in Old Kinderhook, New York, the descendant of a certain Cornelius Vam Buran who settled in America in the year 1631. The name is also spelt BOWYER.
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