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

Origins Available: Dutch, English, French

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

Best is a name of Anglo-Saxon origin. It was a name given to a strong or resourceful man. The surname Best is derived from the Old English Old French word beste, and ultimately comes from the Latin word bestia, which means beast. The surname Best may also be a metonym referring to some one who was employed as a herdsman.


Before the last few hundred years, the English language had no fast system of spelling rules. For that reason, spelling variations are commonly found in early Anglo-Saxon surnames. Over the years, many variations of the name Best were recorded, including Best, Beste and others.

First found in Kent, where they held a family seat from very ancient times, long before the Norman Conquest in 1066.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Best research. Another 319 words(23 lines of text) covering the year 1495 is included under the topic Early Best History in all our PDF Extended History products.


More information is included under the topic Early Best Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.


Some of the Best family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 175 words(12 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.


To escape oppression and starvation at that time, many English families left for the "open frontiers" of the New World with all its perceived opportunities. In droves people migrated to the many British colonies, those in North America in particular, paying high rates for passages in cramped, unsafe ships. Although many of the settlers did not make the long passage alive, those who did see the shores of North America perceived great opportunities before them. Many of the families that came from England went on to make essential contributions to the emerging nations of Canada and the United States. Research into various historical records revealed some of first members of the Best family emigrate to North America:

Best Settlers in the United States in the 17th Century

  • Christopher Best who settled in Virginia in 1623
  • Christopher Best, who arrived in Jamestown, Va in 1624
  • John Best who settled in New England in 1634
  • Jno Best, who landed in New England in 1634
  • Thomas Best settled in Virginia in 1635

Best Settlers in the United States in the 18th Century

  • Johan Hirg Best, who landed in New York in 1709
  • Wilhelm Best, who arrived in Pennsylvania in 1738
  • Boston Best, who landed in North Carolina in 1748
  • Johan Adam Best, who arrived in Pennsylvania in 1751
  • Joh Georg Best, who arrived in Pennsylvania in 1754

Best Settlers in the United States in the 19th Century

  • Tho Best, aged 22, landed in Wiskasset (Wiscasset) in 1803
  • James Best, who arrived in Washington County, Pennsylvania in 1805
  • George Best, who arrived in New York, NY in 1811
  • Seragh Best, who arrived in New York, NY in 1811
  • Ruth Best, who landed in New York, NY in 1812


  • Rex Best, American award-winning soap opera writer
  • Steven Best (b. 1955), American animal rights activist, author, talk-show host, and associate professor of philosophy at the University of Texas at El Paso
  • David Best (b. 1945), American sculptor
  • Jacob Best Sr. (1786-1861), American brewer who founded what would later become known as the Pabst Brewing Company
  • Robert Samuel Best (1917-2002), 8th Baron Wynford, English nobleman
  • Harold Best (b. 1937), English politician, member of the UK Parliament
  • Pete Best (b. 1941), English drummer, the original drummer for the Beatles
  • Mr. Alfred Best (d. 1912), aged 38, English First Class Saloon Steward from Southampton, Hampshire who worked aboard the RMS Titanic and died in the sinking
  • William Draper Best (1767-1845), 1st Baron Wynford, British politician and judge, who served as Chief Justice of the Common Pleas (1824-1829)
  • Elsdon Best (1856-1931), New Zealand ethnographer who studied the Maori



  • The Arnold, Best, Cullison and Herron Families by Evelyn Strong.
  • A Genealogy of the Descendants of William Pinckney Best, Sr. (b. 1810 d. unknown) by Dale D. Best.

The motto was originally a war cry or slogan. Mottoes first began to be shown with arms in the 14th and 15th centuries, but were not in general use until the 17th century. Thus the oldest coats of arms generally do not include a motto. Mottoes seldom form part of the grant of arms: Under most heraldic authorities, a motto is an optional component of the coat of arms, and can be added to or changed at will; many families have chosen not to display a motto.

Motto: Libertas in legibus
Motto Translation: Liberty in the law.


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  1. Samuelsen, W. David. New York City Passenger List Manifests Index 1820 - 1824. North Salt Lake, Utah: Accelerated Indexing Systems International, 1986. Print.
  2. Library of Congress. American and English Genealogies in the Library of Congress. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1967. Print.
  3. Filby, P. William and Mary K Meyer. Passenger and Immigration Lists Index in Four Volumes. Detroit: Gale Research, 1985. Print. (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8).
  4. Shirley, Evelyn Philip. Noble and Gentle Men of England Or Notes Touching The Arms and Descendants of the Ancient Knightley and Gentle Houses of England Arranged in their Respective Counties 3rd Edition. Westminster: John Bowyer Nichols and Sons, 1866. Print.
  5. Best, Hugh. Debrett's Texas Peerage. New York: Coward-McCann, 1983. Print. (ISBN 069811244X).
  6. Bradford, William. History of Plymouth Plantation 1620-1647 Edited by Samuel Eliot Morrison 2 Volumes. New York: Russell and Russell, 1968. Print.
  7. Chadwick, Nora Kershaw and J.X.W.P Corcoran. The Celts. London: Penguin, 1790. Print. (ISBN 0140212116).
  8. Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds. Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8).
  9. Innes, Thomas and Learney. The Tartans of the Clans and Families of Scotland 1st Edition. Edinburgh: W & A. K. Johnston Limited, 1938. Print.
  10. Shaw, William A. Knights of England A Complete Record from the Earliest Time to the Present Day of the Knights of all the Orders of Chivalry in England, Scotland, Ireland and Knights Bachelors 2 Volumes. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print. (ISBN 080630443X).
  11. ...

The Best Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Best 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 17 July 2014 at 10:08.

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