Boone Surname Meaning, History & Origin

Boone Surname Meaning

Boon in England has two likely origins:

  • either it is a Norman import from the French word bon meaning “a good person” or from the place-name Bohon in Normandy (Humphrey de Bohun had fought with William the Conqueror at the Battle of Hastings)
  • or, if the name occurs in the north of England, it is a variant of bain and describes a tall lean person. The northern dialects preserved the long “a” sound, while in the south the “o” pronunciation was usual.

Boon or Boone? The English have preferred Boon, the Americans Boone. Boone in America could also have Dutch origins. Here the Dutch root was bone meaning “bean” and Boone would be a bean grower.

Boone Surname Resources on The Internet

Boon and Boone Surname Ancestry

  • from Western England and from Holland
  • to America and Australia

England. One early spelling was Bone or Bohun, such as the Roger Bone who was recorded in the Kent hundred rolls of 1273. Another was Bohun, found in the west country. A Bohun or Boone family was recorded in Taunton in Somerset during the 1400’s.

Some of these Boones made it to America.:

  • a Boone family in Taunton gave rise to the 17th century London merchants John and Christopher Boone and the Boones of Calvert county, Maryland.
  • the line from George Boone, born near Exeter in Devon around 1636, led to the frontiersman Daniel Boone.
  • a third family from Dartmouth produced John and Thomas Boone, early immigrants to South Carolina, and the London merchant Charles Boone. Charles’s son Thomas Boone was a colonial governor in America in the 1760’s.

But the principal British spelling has been Boon. The main Boon numbers in the 19th century were to be found in London and in the west country, in the southwest around Devon and in the northwest in Staffordshire, Cheshire, and Lancashire.

Boon is a present-day British TV series which ironically got its inspiration from Richard Boone in the 1950’s American TV series Have Gun, Will Travel. To make the show British the producers dropped the “e” in its title.

America. Thomas Boon came to Virginia around 1663. His descendant General Daniel Boon, born in North Carolina in 1786, was one of the founders of Wake Forest College and a wealthy landowner with plantations in North Carolina and Mississippi.

John Boone was onboard one of the ships that came to found the Charleston settlement in South Carolina in 1670. He too prospered. His family story was narrated in Mary Long’s 1990 book Fair Were Their Dreams.

The frontiersman Daniel Boone was born in 1734 into a Quaker family in Reading, Pennsylvania. His father Squire Boone had been a weaver from Devon who had come to America in 1713, seeking religious toleration in Penn’s Pennsylvania. Daniel Boone’s later frontier exploits – as recounted in William Bogart’s 1858 book Daniel Boone and the Hunters of Kentucky.– made him one of America’s first folk heroes.

Daniel’s grandson Alphonso migrated west to Oregon in 1847 and many Boone descendants are to be found there.

More recently, three well-known American entertainers have claimed a kinship with Daniel Boone – the singer Pat Boone and his actor cousins Richard Boone of the TV series Have Gun, Will Travel and Randy Boone of the Western series The Virginian. Blind Boone was a ragtime composer born to a slave owned by a descendant of Daniel Boone. And the baseball-playing family of Ray Boone were said to have come from a line via Daniel’s son, Daniel Morgan Boone.

Johannes Bohn came to Philadelphia with his family from Holland in 1742 and later, as Boon, received a land grant in Virginia. Frederick Boon was recorded as making the same voyage in 1803. His descendants moved onto Kahoka, Missouri.

Australia. Nathaniel Boon, aged just 18, was convicted of theft in London in 1809 and transported two years later on the Admiral Gambier to Australia. After he received his freedom, he ended up in 1830 in Leumeah, NSW as a publican at The Three Brothers hotel which he named after his triplet sons.

Richard and James Boon, brothers from Shropshire, were transported on the Mangles 3 in 1824. James received his conditional pardon in 1837, married and made his home in Sydney where he worked as an ordinary laborer. His descendants generally stayed in the Sydney area, working either as laborers or in the butcher’s trade.

Boon and Boone Surname Miscellany

Humphrey de Bohun.  Humphrey de Bohun was said to have accompanied William the Conqueror to England.  He was named as a witness at the court of King William in a charter dated 1081.  And a charter dated 1092 recorded the claim by “Richard de Mereio son of Humfrey de Bohonio” for a field near the monastery at Bohun in Normandy.

A later Humphrey de Bohun was associated with the Lanthony Abbey near Gloucester, held the title of the Earl of Hereford, and served as Constable of England.  He also held the title of the Bearer of the Swan Badge, a heraldic device that was passed down in the Bohun family.  For a time he was the third most powerful man in England.

The Bohun male line died out with the death of Humphrey, the 7th Earl of Hereford, at a young age in 1373. 

Boon or Boone?  The English have preferred Boon, the Americans Boone.  The following are the approximate numbers today.

Numbers (000’s)   Boon   Boone
UK    5     1
America    1    14

Boon in England in 1891

County Numbers (000’s) Percent
London    0.4    15
Staffordshire    0.3   10
Lancashire    0.2     8
Devon    0.2     7
Cheshire    0.2     6
Elsewhere    1.5    54
Total    2.8   100

John Boone and Boone Hall Plantation.  John Boone, identified as a servant to Paul Smith, was among the members of the first fleet that landed in Charleston in 1670 for the purpose of settlement.  He was soon listed there as Major John Boone, having become an Indian interpreter for the colonial government.

He was also developing his business as a merchant.  The colony numbered some 1,200 persons by 1680.  However, during the politically polarized time between 1685 and 1690 Boone was expelled from the Council of Governor James Colleton from Barbados for “conspiring with pirates.”  This was, however, apparently standard practice for merchants at that time.

John Boone prospered and married Elizabeth Patey from a well-to-do family.  It is believed that her father Theophilus Patey gave the couple about 400 acres as a wedding gift.  This land became known as Boone Hall Plantation.  The plantation house there stayed in Boone family hands until 1811.  John Boone himself died in 1711.

Boone County, Arkansas.  Boone county, Arkansas was formed from the eastern portion of Carroll county.  Contrary to popular belief, it was not named for Daniel Boone.  Its original name was Boon, so named because the residents believed it would be a “boon” to all who settled there.  The final e was added later.

The Boone Baseball Family.  What set the Boones apart was their success.  All four were All-Stars (Ray twice, Bob four times, Bret three times, and Aaron once) and all four played in the World Series.  Additionally, Bob and Bret were one of only two father-son tandems to win Gold Gloves.

Ray Boone broke into the major leagues as an infielder in 1948 and had a thirteen year career there.  He was followed by his son Bob Boone who a catcher from 1972 to 1990 and by his grandsons Bret Boone, who played from 1992 to 2005, and Aaron Boone, who played from 1997 to 2009.

Boon and Boone Names

  • Daniel Boone was an early American frontiersman, one of America’s first folk-heroes.
  • Pat Boone was a well-known American popular singer of the 1950’s.
  • Ray Boone is the father of the baseball-playing Boones.

Boon and Boone Numbers Today

  • 6,000 in the UK (most numerous in Gloucestershire)
  • 18,000 in America (most numerous in North Carolina)
  • 3,000 elsewhere (most numerous in Australia)

Boone and Like Surnames

The Norman Conquest brought new rulers to England and they brought their names and language, a form of French, with them.  Over time their names became less French and more English in character.  Thus Hamo became Hammond, Reinold Reynolds and Thierry Terry and so forth.  The names Allen, Brett, Everett, and Harvey were probably Breton in origin as Bretons also arrived, sometimes as mercenaries.

The new Norman lords often adopted new last names, sometimes from the lands they had acquired and sometimes from places back in Normandy.  Over time the name here also became more English.  Thus Saint Maur into Seymour, Saint Clair into Sinclair, Mohun into Moon, and Warenne into Warren.

Here are some of these Norman and Breton originating names that you can check out.



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Written by Colin Shelley

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