American Bodmans

The Bodman name is not a common one in the United States, yet some 200 households bearing this surname are scattered across the country. A few are recent immigrants from England; others find their ancestors in Germany, Poland and Sweden and may use such variant spellings as Bodeman or Bodmann.

Early Bodmans in America. Most of the Bodmans of America can trace their origins back to John Bodman, a shoemaker, and his wife Sarah, who arrived in Boston in one of the many unknown ships bringing passengers from England at some time during the Great Puritan Migration of 1629-1640.

In addition to the immigrant John Bodman there are scattered references to other Bodmans in early colonial records and these include the following:-

On the 19th of October 1635 Richard Bodman, aged twenty three, sailed away from a place presently unknown on the ship Amitie, George Downs, Master bound for St. Christopher’s.

Andrew Bodman in 1638 was brought by Christopher Burrough tp Lower Norfolk County, Virginia. He is mentioned in the records of Virginia Lands Patents and Grants, 21st February 1638 and later in 1660.

In November of 1643 a daughter Rebecca was born to William and Frances Bodman of Watertown, Massachusetts. This Francis may well be the Frances (daughter of Elizabeth Bodman) issued with the Licence to Pass From England beyond the Seas in London in 1632 to Middelburg. Middelburg in Holland was the site of settlement of the English Brownists and Separatists, many who later sailed to New England.

Edward Bodman about 1650 joined Captain Southey in the transfer of 2,264 acres in Accomac County, Virginia.

Another Edward Bodman of Westerleigh Gloucestershire, England sailed on the Lamb on 6th November 1684 from Bristol to Barbados.

An inventory of the estate of Thomas Bodman was filed in 1713 in Princess Anne County, Viginia and further references to a William Bodman suggests that William was Thomas’s son.

Finally there is a William Bodman of Boston, ship chandler and captain who might be the son or grandson of the William and Frances Bodman of Watertown. He married Abiah or Abiel Sprague on May 17, 1708 and then Katherine Tredaway on 24th March 1726 at Christchurch.

Reference: A Bodman Chronicle – 1979 by Ellen-Fairbanks Diggs Bodman, Richard Wainwright Bodman and Robert Edgar Bodman (privately published).