Recorded as Bonar, Boner, Bonner and Bonnaire, this is a surname of a number of possible origins, each with its own distinct derivation. Firstly, the surname may be English and Scottish but ultimately of pre 8th century Old French origins. As such it is derived from the phrase "de bonne aire", literally meaning "of handsome or of good bearing". It was adopted into Middle English as "bonere or bonour", and used as a nickname for someone thought to embody these qualities, or possibly given the Chaucerian humour of the period, the reverse! Thomas Boner was one of the first of the name to be recorded, being a charter witness in the city of Aberdeen in 1281. Secondly, Bonner may be Irish, and derived from the Gaelic name O'Cnaimhsighe, meaning the descendant of Cnaimhseach, a byname which apparently translates as midwife! It would seem that in ancient times midwives were usually male. Finally, the surname may be of Welsh origin, and a fused form of the patronymic "ab Ynyr", son of Ynyr, a personal name derived from the Latin "Honorius", meaning one who was honoured. James Bonner was one of the first settlers in the new American colonies, arriving in Virginia on the ship "Truelove" of London in 1623. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of John Boneyre. This was dated 1250, in the chartulary of the monastery of Ramsey, in Huntingdonshire, during the reign of King Henry 111rd, 1216 - 1272.
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