Origin of the surname
Bowen is a Welsh name. The "B" prefix in Welsh surnames is similar in function to the Scottish "Mc" and "Mac" and the Irish "O'" - it is short for "son of". So, Bowen literally means "son of Owen".
Nevertheless, before they came to Australia, our Bowen ancestors were living in Ireland.
The story of the Bowen family migration to Australia is a sad one. It seems that, in early 1836 Mary Lahy was a twice-widowed mother struggling to raise four children alone in Kilkenny, Ireland. (After the deaths of her husbands she reverted to her maiden name.) Her children were Patrick Tobin (aged 20), Mary Tobin (18), Martin Bohen (16) and Ellen Bohan (11). The three older children were arrested and convicted of "feloniously killing a sheep" and all sentenced to be transported to Australia. Mary Lahy was herself arrested and convicted of "receiving stolen property into her house"; no doubt the mutton. She was also sentenced to transportation. She was permitted to bring he innocent 11 year old daughter (Ellen) with her to Australia.
Patrick Tobin and Martin Bohen arrived in Sydney on 5 January 1837 aboard the convict ship St Vincent. They were both assigned to work for the Australian Agricultural Company on its land in the Hunter District of NSW. Mary Lahy, their mother, arrived in Sydney about 6 months (along with Ellen) later aboard Margaret. (Her brother, Patrick Lahy, was already in the colony, having been transported 15 years earleir.) Finally, Mary Bohan arrived in Sydney a further two months later aboard Sir Charles Forbes.
All five struggled to come to terms with their new circumstances in New South Wales. There were further clashes with authority; but that is a story for another time!
At one time Mary Tobin was granted permission to marry another of my ancestors, Isaac Kemp; but the marriage did not proceed. (See Isaac Kemp elsewhere on this website).
Martin Bohen eventually married Elizabeth Seage and they raised a family of twelve children in the Bathurst area of NSW.
Our Bowen ancestors include:
The following Bowen family stories are published on this website.
The Boweh clan descends from Mary Lahy and her first husband John Bohan.