Origin of the Boukman name

Author : Rodney Salnave
Function : Dougan (Scribe)
Date : October 6, 2016
(Updated: Oct. 6, 2016)

If Boukman, one of the leaders at the start of the general insurrection of August 1791, was not from Jamaica; if his name wasn't "Book-Man" for a "Man" who constantly carried a "Book" ; then what's the origin of that Boukman name used on the island formerly called Saint Domingue?
This is the question that we will answer in this article. And we will rely on verifiable historical evidence so that the reader can attest their veracity or not. Because these references are what separates this article from the unproven gossip that a clique of eloquent bums has been spreading for about 20 years.
The pleasant part of this work lies in our openness to reveal where we draw our information,
and how we arrived at such information. Thus, during my research on Boukman, my attention was attracted by the strange way Garran de Coulon, a judge who investigated the cause of the insurrection of 1791, wrote the name Boukman. His spelling diverged from "Bouqueman", the most common way that name was written in the colony :
"Les esclaves de l'habitation Turpin et Flaville vinrent chercher à 10 heures du soir, ceux de l'habitation Clément. Les deux ateliers choisirent pour chefs Boukmans et Auguste, esclaves sur ces deux habitation." (1)
Translation :
"Slaves of Turpin and Flaville Estate came by 10 o'clock, to pick up those from the Clément Estate. Both plantations chose Boukmans and Auguste as leaders, slaves on both Estates."

It seemed to me that the judge did not write Boukman with an "s" at random.
So I thought to myself that someone as educated as judge de Coulon could well have known the proper spelling of the Boukman name. This is what prompted me to search for data on Boukman with an "s", ie "Boukmans".

The first finding surprised me somewhat. Because Jean Boukmans, a Catholic saint, came up :
"Le P. Ducoudray a son monument au fond de la chapelle. Il le doit à la généreuse reconnaissance des anciens élèves de l'école. Cette chapelle est spacieuse et fort belle. Près de la porte, à l'extérieur, se trouvent les statues de saint Louis de Gonzague et de saint Jean Boukmans, patrons de la jeunesse..." (2)
"Fr. Ducoudray has its monument at the back of the chapel. Which he owes to the generous recognition of former students of the school. This chapel is spacious and very beautiful. Near the door, on the outside, there are statues of St. Aloysius Gonzaga and St. John Boukmans, patrons of the youth..."
 "Saint John Boukmans"

Source : http://magnificat.ca/cal/fr/saints/saint_jean_berchmans.html

These questions followed : who was John (Jean) Boukmans? And where was he from?
Jean Boukmans was a native of Flanders (Flandre), a Flemish-speaking territory of Belgium. He was born in 1599 (or 192 years before Bois Caiman) in Diest (Flemish Belgium). He died in Rome in 1621, thus 170 years before Bois Caiman. His name, Jean Berchmans, was Flemish. He was a Catholic (Jesuit) that was sanctified after his death. He was delivered in this house:

 "Childhood home of John Berchmans in Diest"

Source: https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jean_Berchmans#/media/File:Diest,_maison_natale_de_Jean_Berchmans.JPG

Over time, the French Jesuits had distorted "Berchmans" into "Boukmans". And 170 years after the death of John Berchmans, the "Boukmans" name was well spreaded in France and elsewhere where the Jesuits have set foot. The colony of Saint Domingue was therefore just one of many places where the Jesuits were operating. For from 1704 to 1763 - date of their expulsion from the colony (3) - the Jesuits had baptized (slaves) captives (children and adults) with Catholics names. "Boukmans" was one of those names.

Now, some may require additional evidence before accepting that "Berchmans" was the origin of "Boukmans", "Boukman" or "Bouqueman" used as names in the colony.
This is understandable. One evidence that "Boukman" is related to "Berchmans" is found in a previous article. We made mentioned of Pierre Boukman, a French settler buried in Port-au-Prince in 1757. (4)

Thanks to an error in Pierre Boukman's death certificate, we found a clue of the Boukman name's origin. The priest who wrote that death certificate noted that Pierre Boukman was a native of the town of Lure, in Flandre (French Northwest region, near Flemish Belgium).

Source: https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flandre_française

In 1757, date of the death certificate delivery, "French Flanders" was a department of France. But it ceased to be, due to zoning changes resulting from the French Revolution in 1789-1790. But that's no issue. The glitch comes from the fact that the town of Lure was not located in French Flanders region. Like French Flanders (Northwest), this town is located in the North, but rather at the other end of the country, in the Northeast region, near the Swiss border (in the current department of Haute Saône - established in 1790) :

 Source: https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Haute-Saône

In our view, the priest who wrote Pierre Boukman's death certificate, recognized the 'Boukman" surname as Flemish. And though he could have been informed that Pierre Boukman hailed from the town of Lure, influenced by the Flemish strain in "Boukman", the priest, wrote that the deceased came from French Flanders.
He wasn't mistaking. Because the Belgian archives (http://www.arch.be) prove him right. In Belgium, where a portion of the population speaks Flemish, we found a significant number of individuals named "Boukman." Although the spelling of that surname varies : "Boukmans", "Bouchmans", "Boocman" etc.














Source : http://search.arch.be/fr/rechercher-des-personnes/resultats/q/persoon_achternaam_t_0/Boukman/q/persoon_voornaam_t_0/Pierre/q/zoekwijze/p/start/0?M=0&V=0&O=0&persoon_0_periode_soort=geboorte&persoon_0_periode_geen=0&sort=persoon_achternaam_s_0&direction=desc

Indeed, the evidence leads us to affirm that the name "Boukman" was Flemish (French Flanders, Belgian Flanders). That name arrived in the colony of Saint Domingue, either via the Jesuits, who attributed it to the captives who received various Christian names (such as Boukman) ; either via settlers with that surname (such as Pierre Boukman) ; or through other settlers who gave it to their captives with no specific reason other than the fact that they had knowledge of that name.
But no matter the angle at which this subject is approached, it remains a fact that Boukman was an ancient Christian name. It was found in Britain, Germany and elsewhere (without rendering Muslims those thus named; nor did anyone carry a book everywhere because of that name) (5). Moreover, in the United States, in 1760, 31 years before Bois Caiman, we spotted two
enlisted white christian men named "Boukman" :

"A.D. 1760 : To the following persons, for a detachment from Colonel Henry Hyne’s regiment, vix: (...)
Ulric Boukman, for flour, £48 08 00.
Anthony Boukman, for two head of cattle, £2333 03 00." (6)

We even came across the Boukman family coast of arms :


Source : https://www.familytreeassistant.com/surnames/Boukman-family-tree.html

Bookman : the German connection

For the sake of argument, let's say that Boukman's name was really spelled "Bookman", as proposed by the islamic revisionists, would that implied an islamic relation? Absolutely not. Because, according to the Oxford dictionary of American Family names, "Bookman" as a family name, originated from Germany :
 "Bookman Name Meaning German (Bo(o)kmann) : North German cognate of Buchmann, of which this may also be an Americanized spelling." (7)
Further analysis of the Bookman surname brings us back to medieval Germany or Prussia, as it was then called :
 "The German state of Prussia, which reached the zenith of its power in the late 19th century, is the glorious birthplace of the distinguished surname Bookman. In the medieval era, after the fall of the Roman Empire, the German lands were inhabited by a variety of Barbarian tribes. The borders of the Barbarian kingdoms changed frequently, but the region that became known as Prussia was roughly divided between the areas of Brandenburg-Prussia, West Prussia, and East Prussia.
The colorful history of Brandenburg-Prussia provides a glimpse at the oldest origins of the Bookman family." (8)
The facts are consistent. And they show that the name Boukman, no matter how it was spelled in the colony of Saint Domingue or elsewere in the Americas, was Christian-European with no link to islam whatsoever.

(1) Jean-Philippe Garran de Coulon. Rapport sur les troubles de Saint-Domingue. Tome 2. Paris, 1793. p.212.
(2) Émile Chauveau. Souvenirs de l'École Sainte-Geneviève: Notice sur ces éleves tués à l'ennemi. Paris, 1873. Quoted by Le Figaro (Paris. 1854). 08/08/1901.
(3) Mgr. J. M. Jan Les congrégations religieuses à Saint-Domingue, 1681-1793, Port-au-Prince, 1951. p.5.
(4) ANOM) Archives Nationale d’Outremer), État civil de St-Domingue, par. 33 (Port-au-Prince/Saint-Domingue), 1757, p./vue 38
(5) "Family Tree Assistant". URL: https://www.familytreeassistant.com/surnames/Boukman-family-tree.html
(6) South Carolina. Thomas Cooper. The Statutes at Large of South Carolina: Acts from 1752 to 1786. David James McCord, 1838. pp.119-120.
(7) Dictionary of American Family Names, Oxford, 2003. URL: http://www.oxfordreference.com/view/10.1093/acref/9780195081374.001.0001/acref-9780195081374-e-6220?rskey=5XXqLO&result=6220
(8) House Of Names. URL:  https://www.houseofnames.com/bookman-family-crest

How to cite this article:
Rodney Salnave. "Origin of the Boukman name". Oct. 6, 2016. Updated Oct. 6, 2016. [online] URL: http://bwakayiman.blogspot.ca/2016/10/origin-of-boukman-name.html ; Retrieved on [enter date]

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