Bush Surname Genealogy

The surname Bush is a topographical one, coming from the Old English busc or buskr, describing someone who lived
by a bushy area or thicket. The German equivalent is Busch
and Bushes in America may have German or even possibly Dutch roots.

Bush Resources on

Bush Ancestry

An early record of the surname was Richard de la Busce in the Yorkshire
pipe rolls of 1181. The Bush name did seem to have appeared in
Yorkshire first. Later it spread west and south and west.
The 19th century distribution of the name shows one cluster in the west
country around Somerset and Gloucestershire and another in London and
East Anglia.

West of England.
Bushes in Bristol were recorded from around 1490. Paul Bush
the first Bishop of Bristol and his brother John purchased the Edington
estate from church lands at the time of the dissolution of the
monasteries. It seems that these Bushes had come originally from

East Anglia.
Reynold Bush was a yeoman farmer in Messing in north Essex who
emigrated to America in the 1630’s. A William Bush was born in
the village of Pebmarsh nearby in 1764. A later Bush of this
village, a farm laborer of the early 1800’s, is believed to have been
the ancestor of the singer Kate Bush. And Bushes from Wymondham
and Attleborough in Norfolk date from the late 1600’s.

America. An early Bush in
America was of Dutch descent. Jan Bosch immigrated to what was
then New Amsterdam from Holland in 1662. These Bushes were for
many years farmers in upstate New York. It was Rufus T. Bush
made the first family fortune in the late 19th century from oil
refining. His son
Irving made
a second fortune through the Bush terminal in Brooklyn and his real
estate ventures in New York and London.

English Bushes.
Early arrivals in America were:

  • Reynold Bush who arrived in Massachusetts in the 1630’s from
    Messing in Essex. Samuel Bush of Westfield, Massachusetts was
  • and William Bush who came to Maryland in 1671 and Richard Bush to
    Virginia around the same time, from possibly related families.

Although there were connections to Jonathan Fairbanks and Thomas
Hinckley of the original Plymouth colony, the Richard Bush who came to
Massachusetts in the early 1700’s was the first Bush of the line that
extended via Obadiah Bush in the early 19th century to the President
George W. Bush of today. According to the book The Faith of George W. Bush:

“Obadiah left his home during the War
of 1812, became a schoolmaster, then caught gold fever and left for
California during the Gold Rush of 1849. Two years later he tried
to return home to reclaim his family and take them west. He
died in the attempt and was buried at sea, leaving his wife and seven
children alone in Rochester, New York.”

So the Bushes stayed East and went to Yale instead. Samuel Bush
was a close advisor to President Hoover; while Prescott Bush served as
Governor of Connecticut, and both his son and grandson became American

German Bushes. Many
more German Busches

came to America than
did English Bushes. Some like Adolphus Busch, the founder of the Anheuser Busch brewery, kept the
spelling. Others anglicized their name to Bush.

Among these Bushes were:

  • The
    line from Henrik Bosch, an early arrival
    in New York in 1661, which became Bush sometime in the 1730’s.
  • Johannes
    Busch who came to New Berks county,
    Pennsylvania in the 1730’s (his three brothers settled in Virginia). These Busches were Bushes by the time of the
    Revolutionary War.
  • Conradt

    who arrived from Germany in 1775, fought in the Revolutionary War, and
    was Conrad Bush soon afterwards.
  • Mathias
    and his
    family who came to America in 1852 as Busches. By the time of the
    census for Dane county, Wisconsin, they were Bushes.

Busch (later Bush) left Vienna for
New York after the failure of the 1848 Revolution. For a short
while he
published the first Jewish weekly newspaper in America before moving to
Louis where he developed an interest in vineyards.

Australia. Two
Bush brothers from Norfolk, Arthur and Jeremiah, came to NSW in 1835
settled in Jerrawa Creek. Their
descendants now number ten generations and they hold regular reunions. The family story was recounted in E.G.
Hazell’s 1995 book Re-Generation: A Bush
Family Genealogy.

Jacob Busch
emigrated from Germany to Australia in 1855, arriving in Sydney on the Peru and settling in the Hunter
Valley. He dropped the “c” from his
surname prior to being naturalized in 1884.

Bush Miscellany

If you would like to read more, click on the miscellany page for
further stories and accounts:

Bush Names

Irving T. Bush was the
real estate developer of the Bush terminal in Brookyn, the Bush Tower
skyscraper in New York, and Bush House in London.
George H.W. Bush was the
41st President of the United States.
George W. Bush was the 43rd
President of the United States.
Kate Bush has been a
highly popular English singer/songwriter.

Select Bushs Today

  • 16,000 in the UK (most numerous
    in Kent)
  • 28,000 in America (most numerous in Texas)
  • 8,000 elsewhere (most numerous in Australia)




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