Jim's Genie Jottings

A history of the Fleming, Jolliffe, Kessey and Murphy families of New South Wales - and their forebears



Origin of the Bowen surname

Bowen was originally a Welsh name. The prefix "B" in Welsh surnames is similar in function to the Scottish prefixes "Mc" and "Mac", the Irish prefix "O" and the English suffix "son" - it means "son of". So, Bowen literally means "son of Owen".

Nevertheless, our earliest known Bowen ancestors came from Ireland. I have not yet been able to trace them back to their Welsh roots.

In Ireland, this family's name was usually spelt "Bohen". The change to the "Bowen" spelling came after the family migrated to Australia.

Bohen migration to Australia

The story of the Bohen family migration to Australia is a sad one. 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.

Martin Bohen eventually married Elizabeth Seage and they raised a family of twelve children in the Bathurst area of NSW.

Bowen pedigree

Our Bowen ancestors include the following people. Click on any name to access a computer-generated page of information about that person and a list of the information sources.

Notable Bowen ancestors

Click on the name of any of the notable ancestors listed below to read a short biography that I have written about them.

Bowen family memorials

For centuries families have created memorials to honour their forebears, including headstones, church monuments, memorial cards, obituaries and much more. This website is, in a way, just another innovation in this regard. Each of the links below takes you to a memorial page that is dedicated to that particular deceased ancestor.

Bowen stories

The following Bowen family stories are published on this website.

  • The Clan keeper – about Alice Clarkson Poulton (1860-1927), matriarch of the tight-knit Bowen clan
  • Scrabbling in the dirt – about Mary Tobin (1818-1856), who suffered a tragic ending to a tough life
  • An unfortunate family – The family of Mary Lahy experienced a Dickensian series of life's obstacles

Bowen Research Reports

The following Bowen research reports are published on this website.

Bohen clan

The Bohen clan descends from Mary Lahy and her second husband Cornelius Bowe.

  • Legend:
  • Subject
  • Daughter
  • Son
  • Spouse
Mary Lahy
(b. 1793)
Thomas Tobin
(b. Abt 1791, d. Abt 1818)
Patrick Tobin
(b. 1815, d. 1887)
Bridget Ryan
(b. Abt 1831)
William Tobin
(b. Abt 1851, d. Aft 1887)
Patrick Tobin
(b. 1854, d. 1916)
Mary Tobin
(b. 1817, d. 1856)
Thomas Howard
(b. Abt 1820)
Martin Howard
(b. 1841, d. 1906)
John T. Howard
(b. 1845, d. 1922)
Mary Howard
(b. 1847)
Sarah J. Howard
(b. 1849, d. 1922)
Cornelius Bowe
(b. Abt 1795, d. Abt 1828)
Martin Bohen
(b. 1819, d. 1891)
Elizabeth Seage
(b. 1834, d. 1910)
John H. Bowen
(b. 1853, d. 1902)
Alice C. Poulton
(b. 1860, d. 1927)
Thomas M. Bowen
(b. 1879, d. 1879)
Albert J. Bowen
(b. 1880, d. Bef 1927)
Ellen R. Bowen
(b. 1882, d. 1912)
George C. Murphy
(b. 1880, d. 1949)
John H. Murphy
(b. Abt 1906)
Ena R. Murphy
(b. 1908, d. 1995)
Halvar R. Kessey
(b. 1905, d. 1981)
Leila Murphy
(b. 1911)
Jack Barton
(b. 1908)
James D. Bowen
(b. 1884, d. Aft 1927)
John H. Bowen
(b. Abt 1911)
Douglas A. Bowen
(b. 1933, d. 2008)
Amy I. Stracey
(b. Abt 1909)
Patricia M. Bowen
(b. Aft 1939)
Lionel Andrewartha
(b. Abt 1962)
Norm H.
(b. Abt 1940)
Elizabeth A. Bowen
(b. 1887, d. Abt 1967)
Roland A. Thorne
(b. Abt 1885)
Arthur R. ("Mick") Thorne
(b. 1910, d. 1970)
Una M. Thorne
(b. Bef 1929, d. 1929)
Ivy M. Bowen
(b. 1889, d. 1940)
James H. Williams
(b. Abt 1888)
John B. Williams
(b. Abt 1916)
Ellen R. Williams
(b. Abt 1917, d. 1938)
Patrick B. Williams
(b. Abt 1918)
Myn B. Williams
(b. Abt 1922)
Noel B. Williams
(b. Abt 1924)
Alice M. Williams
(b. Abt 1927)
John M. Bowen
(b. 1891, d. Aft 1927)
Eric Bowen
(b. Abt 1915)
Veronica Bowen
(b. 1917, d. 1978)
Jack Bowen
(b. 1923)
Jack Bowen
(b. 1927, d. 1927)
Cecil T. Bowen
(b. 1936, d. 1970)
Lillian M. Bowen
(b. 1893, d. Bef 1927)
Thomas W. Bowen
(b. 1895, d. 1896)
Alice M. Bowen
(b. 1897, d. Aft 1927)
Cornelius P. Bowen
(b. 1899, d. Aft 1927)
May G. Guthrie
(b. Abt 1900, d. Abt 1985)
Patricia A. Bowen
(b. Abt 1935, d. Abt 1988)
Cornelius G. Bowen
(b. Abt 1939)
William B. Bowen
(b. 1900, d. Aft 1927)
Daniel Bowen
(b. Abt 1855, d. Bef 1891)
Thomas Bowen
(b. Abt 1857, d. Aft 1891)
Mary A. Bowen
(b. Abt 1859, d. Aft 1891)
Daniel Bowen
(b. Abt 1861, d. Aft 1891)
Elizabeth Bowen
(b. Abt 1861, d. Aft 1891)
Ellen Bowen
(b. 1863, d. Aft 1891)
David Fitzgerald
(b. Abt 1868)
James Brennan
(b. 1890)
James Bowen
(b. Abt 1865, d. Aft 1891)
Hannah Bowen
(b. Abt 1867, d. Aft 1891)
Cornelius Bowen
(b. Abt 1872, d. Aft 1891)
Catherine Bowen
(b. Abt 1875, d. 1875)
Second s. Bohan
(b. Abt 1822)
Ellen E. Bowe
(b. 1823, d. 1881)
John Jackson
(b. Abt 1820)
Thomas Jackson
(b. Abt 1845, d. Bef 1881)
Margaret Jackson
(b. Abt 1846, d. Aft 1881)
(b. Abt 1845)
John Jackson
(b. Abt 1847, d. 1906)
Rebecca Jackson
(b. Abt 1850, d. Aft 1881)
Elizabeth Jackson
(b. Abt 1852, d. Aft 1881)
Mary A. Jackson
(b. Abt 1854, d. Aft 1881)
Ellen Jackson
(b. Abt 1857, d. Aft 1881)
Martin Jackson
(b. Abt 1860, d. 1928)
Rachael Jackson
(b. Abt 1862, d. Aft 1881)
George M. Jackson
(b. Abt 1865, d. 1906)
Emma Jackson
(b. Abt 1867, d. Aft 1881)
John Bowe
(b. 1827, d. Aft 1837)
  • Legend:
  • Subject
  • Daughter
  • Son
  • Spouse