Nathaniel Bowditch

Nathaniel Bowditch (1773 - 1838)

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Nathaniel Bowditch
Born in Salem, Essex, Massachusettsmap
Ancestors ancestors
[sibling(s) unknown]
Husband of — married (to ) in Salem, Essex, Massachusettsmap
Husband of — married in Danvers, Essex, Massachusettsmap
Descendants descendants
Died in Boston, Suffolk, Massachusetts, United Statesmap
Profile last modified | Created 11 Apr 2014
This page has been accessed 692 times.


"Nathaniel Bowditch was the fourth of seven children of Habakkuk and Mary (nee Ingersoll) Bowditch." page 158

He taught himself the mathematics and practice of navigation, then made several voyages as a member of the crew, typically involved in navigation. He soon recognized that many of the published resources for navigation were filled with errors. He began to work on procedures and techniques to improve navigational accuracy, eventually leading to the publishing of 'The New American Practical Navigator' with Bowditch as the author. page 158

He put his actuarial skills to use professionally as an executive of the Essex Fire and Marine Insurance Company in Salem. page 158

He continued to be interested in Astronomy, particularly logging observations of comets and calculating their trajectories. page 158-9

"Bowditch's best-known work is a translation of Laplace's monumental 'Mechanique celeste' into English. But Bowditch did much more than translate Laplace. He added a great deal of commentary to make the work more comprehensible, and paid for it's publication at his own expense." page 159[1]

Harvard College awarded Nathaniel Bowditch an honorary Master's Degree


Mount Auburn Cemetery, Cambridge, Middlesex, Massachusetts
Find A Grave Memorial# 1766


  1. Nathaniel Bowditch entry by Jeff Suzuki: Biographical Encyclopedia of Astronomers; Thomas Hockey, Katherine Bracher, Marvin Bolt, Virginia Trimble, Richard Jarrell, JoAnn Palmeri, Jordan D. Marché, Thomas Williams, F. Jamil Ragep; Springer, Sep 18, 2007; Digital Image, Google Books:

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DNA Connections
It may be possible to confirm family relationships with Nathaniel by comparing test results with other carriers of his Y-chromosome or his mother's mitochondrial DNA. However, there are no known yDNA or mtDNA test-takers in his direct paternal or maternal line. It is likely that these autosomal DNA test-takers will share DNA with Nathaniel:

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Images: 1
Nathaniel Bowditch Image 1
Nathaniel Bowditch Image 1


On 27 Jun 2017 at 10:37 GMT Debi (McGee) Hoag wrote:

“Episode 140: Tamara Thornton, Nathaniel Bowditch: 19th-Century Man of Business, Science, and the Sea - Ben Franklin’s World” ( : Accessed 27 June 2017).

Nathaniel is 25 degrees from Sharon Caldwell, 18 degrees from Burl Ives and 13 degrees from Victoria of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland on our single family tree. Login to find your connection.

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