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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright 2000 - 2014

Origins Available: Borderlands, English, French

Where did the English Bell family come from? What is the English Bell family crest and coat of arms? When did the Bell family first arrive in the United States? Where did the various branches of the family go? What is the Bell family history?

The Bell surname arose independently from several different sources. In some instances, it comes from the Old English word "belle" meaning "bell," and was most likely an occupational name for a bell ringer. It may have also been a name for someone who lived near a bell. Bell is also known to have arisen from the English and Scots given name Bel, which derived from the Old French "beu" or "bel," meaning "handsome."


The name, Bell, occurred in many references, and from time to time, it was spelt Bell, Belle and others.

First found in Dumfriesshire, where they held a family seat from ancient times, long before the Norman Conquest in 1066. Early references to the name in England include Ailuuardus filius Bell listed in the Domesday Book of 1086 in Suffolk; Ricardus filius Bell in 1279 in the Rotuli Hundredorum in Huntingdonshire; Hugo Bel who was in Winton, Hampshire in 1148; Serlo Belle listed in the Pipe Rolls of Yorkshire in 1190; as well as Roger del Bel, who was in the Pipe Rolls of Norfolk of 1209.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Bell research. Another 243 words(17 lines of text) covering the years 1069, 1587, 1603, 1896, 1590, 1618, 1577, 1668, 1640, 1648, 1562, 1607, 1647, 1711 and are included under the topic Early Bell History in all our PDF Extended History products.


Another 165 words(12 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Bell Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.


Some of the Bell family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 109 words(8 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.


The New World beckoned settlers from the Scottish-English borders. They sailed aboard the armada of sailing ships known as the "White Sails" which plied the stormy Atlantic. Some called them, less romantically, the "coffin ships." Among the early settlers bearing the Bell surname who came to North America were:

Bell Settlers in the United States in the 17th Century

  • James Bell, who settled in Barbados in 1635
  • John Bell who settled in Virginia in 1638
  • George Bell, who came to Virginia in 1638
  • Christian Bell, who landed in Virginia in 1650
  • Alexander Bell who settled in Virginia in 1654

Bell Settlers in the United States in the 18th Century

  • Anne Bell, who landed in Virginia in 1713
  • Chr Bell, who arrived in Virginia in 1714
  • Christopher Bell, who arrived in Virginia in 1716
  • Aaron Bell, who arrived in New England in 1719
  • Simon Bell, who landed in Pennsylvania in 1734

Bell Settlers in the United States in the 19th Century

  • Agnus Bell, who came to Philadelphia in 1802
  • Abraham Bell, who landed in New York, NY in 1816
  • Anna Bell, aged 5, arrived in Key West, Fla in 1838
  • D Bell, aged 24, landed in Key West, Fla in 1838
  • Catharine J Bell, who arrived in New York, NY in 1847


  • Alexander Melville Bell (1819-1905), American teacher of elocution and father of Alexander Graham Bell
  • Lawrence Dale Bell (1895-1956), American aircraft designer
  • Technical Sergeant Bernard Pious Bell (1911-1971), Army soldier and a recipient of the Medal of Honor, for his actions in World War II
  • Brigadier-General Marcus Brenneman Bell (1893-1981), American Commanding Officer 10th Mountain Division (1951)
  • Wallace Robert "Wally" Bell (1965-2013), American Major League Baseball umpire
  • Alphonzo Bell (1875-1945), American sliver and bronze Olympic medalist for tennis at the 1904 games
  • Graham Arthur Charlton Bell (b. 1949), English academic, writer, and evolutionary biologist
  • Arthur Clive Howard Bell (1881-1964), English critic of art and literature
  • Gertrude Margaret Lowthian Bell (1868-1926), English archaeologist
  • Sir Isaac Lowthian Bell (1816-1904), English industrialist and metallurgist



  • Ancestral Lines and Descendants of Frances Emily (Botsfor, Morse and Jean) (Botsford) Bell by Doreen Potter Hanna.
  • Backward Glimpse by Iris Bell.
  • Sir Robert Bell and His Early Virginia Colony Descendants. by James Elton Bell and Frances Jean Bell. Wheatmark, January 2007.


  1. Burke, Sir Bernard. General Armory Of England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales. Ramsbury: Heraldry Today. Print.
  2. Markale, J. Celtic Civilization. London: Gordon & Cremonesi, 1976. Print.
  3. Hinde, Thomas Ed. The Domesday Book England's Heritage Then and Now. Surrey: Colour Library Books, 1995. Print. (ISBN 1-85833-440-3).
  4. Mills, A.D. Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-19-869156-4).
  5. Holt, J.C. Ed. Domesday Studies. Woodbridge: Boydell, 1987. Print. (ISBN 0-85115-477-8).
  6. Browning, Charles H. Americans of Royal Descent. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  7. Dunkling, Leslie. Dictionary of Surnames. Toronto: Collins, 1998. Print. (ISBN 0004720598).
  8. Sanders, Joanne McRee Edition. English Settlers in Barbados 1637-1800. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  9. Bullock, L.G. Historical Map of England and Wales. Edinburgh: Bartholomew and Son, 1971. Print.
  10. Best, Hugh. Debrett's Texas Peerage. New York: Coward-McCann, 1983. Print. (ISBN 069811244X).
  11. ...

The Bell Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Bell Family Crest was drawn according to heraldic standards based on published blazons. We generally include the oldest published family crest once associated with each surname.

This page was last modified on 16 October 2014 at 04:13.

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