The name Bowditch apparently originates in Chardstock, county Dorset, England, in about the first half of the twelfth century. The Chardstock line is recorded through sixteen generations in the Visitation of Dorset in 1632 [Publ. Harl. Soc. Vol. XX, 1885]. The earliest spelling of the family name heads the Chardstock pedigree: Osmerus de Bunedich. It is believed that the name means bourn or boundary-ditch, and in fact Bowditch Farm, Bowditch Common, Bowditch Manor, etc., places all close together and evidently the cradle of the family, near Chardstock, lie near to a large prehistoric ditch which separated the hostile tribes in Dorset and in Somerset. Nathaniel Bowditch, author of The New American Practical Navigator, is descended from this line.