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

Origins Available: Borderlands, English, French

Where did the French Bell family come from? What is the French 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 surname Bell was first used as a surname by the people of ancient French region of Gascogne. It was a name for a person distinguished by great physical beauty. Interestingly, the name Bell was originally derived from the Old French words la belle, which means beautiful.


French surnames were subject to numerous alterations in spelling because of the various cultural groups that inhabited specific regions. Eventually, each region possessed its own local dialect of the French language. The early development of the French language, however, was also influenced by other languages. For example, Old French was infused with Germanic words and sounds when barbarian tribes invaded and settled in France after the fall of the Roman Empire. Middle French also borrowed heavily from the Italian language during the Renaissance. As a result of these linguistic and cultural influences, the name Bell is distinguished by a number of regional variations. The many spelling variations of the name include Lebel, LeBel, LaBelle, Belle, Bell, Labelle, Label, LaBell, LaBel, LeBelle, LeBaile, LaBaile, Lebaile and many more.

First found in Gascony (French: Gascogne), an area of southwest France bordering Spain, that was part of the "Province of Guyenne and Gascony" prior to the French Revolution, where they held a family seat in the honor of the seigneurie of De Labels, a village in the Basses-Pyrénées in the arrondisement of de Mauléon.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Bell research. Another 141 words(10 lines of text) covering the years 1650, 1573, 1674, 1734 and 1703 are included under the topic Early Bell History in all our PDF Extended History products.


Another 59 words(4 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Bell Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.


In 1643, 109 years after the first landings by Cartier, there were only about 300 people in Quebec. Migration was slow. The fur trade attracted migrants, both noble and commoner. By 1675, there were 7000 French in Quebec. By the same year the French Acadian presence in the Maritimes had reached 500. The French founded Lower Canada, thus becoming one of the two great founding nations of Canada. The family name Bell has made many distinguished contributions in France and New France to the world of science, culture, religion, and education. Amongst the settlers in North America with this distinguished name Bell 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
  • Alexander Graham Bell (1847-1922), Scottish inventor of the telephone, born in Edinburgh, Scotland, emigrated to the United States in 1870, where he was a Professor of Physiology at Boston University, and exhibited his telephone invention in 1870
  • William E. Bell (b. 1945), award winning Canadian Young Adult fiction author
  • Brigadier General George Gray Bell OC, MBE, CD (1920-2000), Canadian soldier, civil servant, and academic awarded the Officer of the Order of Canada in 1988
  • Graham Arthur Charlton Bell (b. 1949), English academic, writer, and evolutionary biologist



  • 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. Rupp, Daniel L. A Collection of Upwards of Thirty Thousand Names of German, Swiss, Dutch, French and Other Immigrants to Pennsylvania from 1727 to 1776. Baltimore. Print.
  2. Samuelsen, W. David. New York City Passenger List Manifests Index 1820 - 1824. North Salt Lake, Utah: Accelerated Indexing Systems International, 1986. Print.
  3. Browning, Charles H. Americans of Royal Descent. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  4. Vaillancourt, Emile. La Conquete du Canada par les Normands. Biographie de la premiere generation Normande du Canada. Montreal: G. Ducharme, 1930. Print.
  5. Robb H. Amanda and Andrew Chesler. Encyclopedia of American Family Names. New York: Haper Collins, 1995. Print. (ISBN 0-06-270075-8).
  6. Rasmussen, Louis J. . San Francisco Ship Passenger Lists 4 Volumes Colma, California 1965 Reprint. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1978. Print.
  7. Bentley, Elizabeth P. Passenger Arrivals at the Port of New York 1820-1829. Baltimore, Maryland: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1999. Print.
  8. Egle, William Henry. Pennsylvania Genealogies Scotch-Irish and German. Harrisburg: L.S. Hart, 1886. Print.
  9. Annuaire Général Héraldique Universel. Paris: Institut Héraldique, 1901. 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 15 January 2014 at 11:04.

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