One Name Study

This website is a One Name Study to collect together in one place everything about the surname Bodman and its variants in England and worldwide. The family name Bodman also occurs in the following countries: Germany, England (and Wales), Scotland, France, the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and Sweden. Where we have information, we will also include it on this site.

There are two main historic concentrations of the Bodman name: in England, with a strong historic focus on the counties of Wiltshire and Somerset; and in the south-west of what is now Germany, with a strong focus on the small town of Bodman.

The Bodman history in England has been extensively researched by the following people: Mr Martin Bodman (an historian of the milling industry ); Professor Charles Bodman Rae (who has produced an unpublished booklet on Bodman Families of North Wiltshire, circulated to family members and deposited in the archives in Chippenham and Bodman); and Dr Roger Hancock (who traces his Bodman line back to the Somerset village of Farleigh Hungerford).For the period since the introduction of parish registers (in the mid sixteenth century) the two main concentrations of Bodmans in Wiltshire have been in and around Calne (researched by Martin Bodman and Charles Bodman Rae), and Keevil  and Farleigh Hungerford (researched by Roger Hancock and Paul Bodman).

One of the earliest records of a Bodman in England relates to the seventh Augustinian Prior of Stavordale in Somerset, who died in 1361. In the primary source his name is recorded as ˜Johannis Bodman” (not “John Bodman”). It is not yet known whether he came from England or from Germany.

In the first marriage register for the parish church of St Mary the Virgin, Calne, there is a marriage of 6 November 1568 between a Johannes [Johes] Bodman and Joane Prowte. It is from this couple that many of the English Bodmans descend.The other area of concentration in Wiltshire is on the parish of Keevil, where the Bodman records also go back to the mid sixteenth century. An interesting genealogical challenge that presents itself is the task of documenting a link between the Bodmans of Calne and the Bodmans of Keevil. It is highly likely that there was such a link, but the task is made awkward due to the religious upheavals of the Tudor period and their effect on the keeping of church records.

The Bodman history in the United States has also been well researched and documented. Four Bodman authors collaborated in the 1970s to research, write and publish a hard-bound volume entitled: The Bodman Chronicle (Evanston, Illinois; Unigraphic Inc., 1979). In this handsomely produced 367-page study the joint authors trace their line back to a single couple, John and Sarah Bodman, who migrated from England as part of the “Great Puritan Migration” in the early seventeenth century and who settled in the Massachusetts Bay Colony. Most Bodmans in the United States stem from that line, although there have been subsequent migrations, both from England and from various parts of Germany. The joint authors of The Bodman Chronicle were: Ellen-Fairbanks Diggs Bodman, Professor Herbert Luther Bodman Jr., Professor Richard Wainwright Bodman, and Robert Edgar Bodman. As at 2017 the only surviving member of that group is Emeritus Professor Richard Wainwright Bodman. An important piece of unfinished genealogical business is tracing the link from John and Sarah Bodman back to England.

As one might expect, the migration of Bodmans to Canada, Australia, and New Zealand, was from the English roots. The Bodmans in Sweden are likely to trace their origins to Germany, but this has not yet been properly researched.

The hope is that other researchers like you will join our study to help make it a valuable reference point for people studying lines that cross or intersect.Please contact us if you have any queries. All contributions to our Bodman heritage are most welcome. We look forward to hearing from you.

Please contact Roger Hancock at roger@bodman.uk for further information