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What's a Boulter?

Look up 'boulter' in an unabridged dictionary and you'll find it defined as "a long stout fishing line with many hooks attached."

Originally my family thought the name Boulter was related to fishing like the dictionary definition. It appears however that the name is much older than that and the dictionary definition was made for a Boulter, rather than the other way around.

Shaun Boulter of London offered this 'other' definition of boulter:

Whilst serving in the army, our manning and records office was based in Glasgow. I had to make a few call to this office due to problems with my pay. Well on one occasion I called and the lady on the other end of the phone asked for my name. Well she became hysterical with laughter and eventually when she got her breath back explained to me what is was that she was laughing about. Boulter (Bolter) in Glasgow is the term used to define a gentleman who has got a lady pregnant and then disappears and wants nothing to do with the baby. So from that moment forward every time I called, I was the guy who did the runner! Also strangely enough my fathers descendants came from just outside of Glasgow!

Origin of the Name

My family and I went to Walt Disney World in 1992 and bought a certified history of the Boulter name. I would have thought it could have made up anything and we'd believe it, but it correctly names Nathaniel Boulter in Hampton, N.H. which I can verify from my own lineage.

(from The Historical Research Center)

"The English surname boulter is of occupational origin, belonging to that group of surnames drived from the trade or profession of the original bearer. In this case the surname traces its root to the Old French term "buletior", meaning a "sifter of meal"; the original bearer would this have been one employed at a mill to sift meal or flour prior to its being bagged. He may also have been employed at the bakehouse of a nobleman or abbey; in the cordingaces of the household of Henry VI in 1455 appears a reference to "six gromes bulters" ("size grooms-boulters") who were offices of the Bakehouse."

You can order your own HRC history online.

Name Origin Research of York, England offers some similar ideas on the origin of the name:

"This interesting English medieval surname with spellings that include Bold, Bolder, Bolt, Bolter, Boulter, Bulter and Boulder. It may be derived from a number of possible sources. Firstly, it may be of topographical origin for a person who resides at a holl or small farm. The derivation is from the pre 7th century Old Danish element "bol", and was found in areas particularly the NorthWest where the Scandinavian influence was particularly strong. Secondly the name may be occupational and demoting a sifter of meats, from the Old French "Boulter" meaning in effect a cook or chef. King Henry V1 is recorded as having "six butlers" in his household. Thirdly, it can be occupational for a maker of arrows and bolts, from the Middle English word "bolt". Finally, it may have originated as a nickname for a short but powerfully built person, from the Old Norse personal name "Boltr". Early examples of the surname include Walter Bolt in the Curia Rolls of Surrey in 1202, and John Boltor in the Somerset rolls known as "Kirby's Quest", and dated 1272. Ricardus Bultere is recorded in the poll tax rolls of Yorkshire in 1379, and Dorothy Bowlter or Boulter at St James Church, Clerkenwell in the City of London in 1573. The first recorded spelling of the family name may be that of Godine Bolt. This was dated 1086, in the rolls known as the Inquisition Commitatus Cantabrigiensis, during the reign of King William 1st Knows as The Conqueror", 1066 - 1087. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to develop often leading to astonishing variants of the origin"

The Coat of Arms

The Boulter coat of Arms hereby illustrated is officially documented in Burke's General Armory, the origin description of the arms (shield) is as follows: "Quarterly, AZ and ERM. in the first quarter a dove PPR. And in the last a bird bolt in pale or feather AR." When translated the blazon also described the original colors of the Boulter arms as: "Quartered blue and ermine, in the first quarter, a naturally colored dove and in the last quarter, a gold bird bolt placed vertically, and feathered silver."

Above the shield and helmet is the crest which is described as: "Two naturally colored bird bolts crossing diagonally, thereon a naturally coloted dove rising."

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