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

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

The ancestral home of the Nesbitt family is in the Scottish-English border region where their ancestors lived among the clans of the Boernician tribe. They lived in any of several places in the Border region of Scotland called Nesbitt or Nisbit. There were hamlets of East Nisbet and West Nisbet in Berwickshire, a village of Nisbet in Roxburghshire, a Nesbit in Northumberland, and a township of Nesbit in County Durham. These place names derive from the Middle English words nese, meaning "nose," and bit, meaning a "piece of ground;" as such, these place names are thought to have refered to geographic features resembling a nose. The surname may well have arisen independently from these different place names.

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A lack of rules and the tendency of scribes to spell according to the sound of the word plagued medieval spelling. Not surprisingly, an enormous number of spelling variations appeared. Nesbitt has been written Nisbet, Nysbit, Nispett, Nispet, Nisbit, Nisbett, Nessbitt, Nessbit, Nesbyth, Nesbitt, Naibet, Nesbeth, Nesbet, Naisbitt, Naisbit, Nesbett, Naisbett, Naibett and many more.

First found in Berwickshire an ancient county of Scotland, presently part of the Scottish Borders Council Area, located in the eastern part of the Borders Region of Scotland where they held a family seat from early times and King David I confirmed a charter (now in the archives of Durham Cathedral) granting the lands of Nisbet to Aldan de Nisbet, the founder of the line of Nisbet in 1139. According to family lore, they descend from Gospatric, Earl of Northumbria (d. 1073).


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Nesbitt research. Another 705 words(50 lines of text) covering the years 1160, 1255, 1296, 1340, 1433, 1446, 1456, 1493, 1594, 1632, 1580, 1660, 1630, 1641, 1559, 1605, 1625, 1627, 1685, 1657, 1725, 1609, 1687, 1664 and 1677 are included under the topic Early Nesbitt History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Another 191 words(14 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Nesbitt Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Some of the Nesbitt family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 171 words(12 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Many Scots crossed the Atlantic for North America hoping to escape poverty, as well as persecution. Much of their heritage was lost along the way and overtime. This century, however, Clan societies and highland games have allowed many ancestral Scots to recover their birthright. An examination of many early immigration records reveals that people bearing the name Nesbitt arrived in North America very early:

Nesbitt Settlers in the United States in the 18th Century


  • Elizabeth, Jeremiah, John, Joseph, Margaret, Samuel, Sarah, and Thomas Nesbitt, who all settled in Charles Town [Charleston], South Carolina in 1767

Nesbitt Settlers in the United States in the 19th Century


  • Hugh Nesbitt, aged 26, arrived in New York in 1812
  • James Nesbitt, who landed in Charleston, South Carolina in 1812
  • Thomas Nesbitt, aged 50, landed in America in 1821
  • Henry Nesbitt, who landed in New York, NY in 1832
  • G M Nesbitt, who arrived in San Francisco, California in 1851


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  • Brian Nesbitt, American automobile designer
  • Cecil James Nesbitt Ph.D., F.S.A., M.A.A.A. (1912-2001), Canadian-born, American mathematician, co-developer of the the Schuette-Nesbitt formula
  • Charles R. Nesbitt (1921-2007), American politician, Oklahoma Secretary of Energy (1991-1995), 9th Attorney General of Oklahoma (1963-1967)
  • Kenn Nesbitt, American children's poet, named Children's Poet Laureate (2013) by the Poetry Foundation
  • Derren Nesbitt (b. 1935), born Derren Michael Horwitz, English actor, best known for his role as SS Major von Hapen in Where Eagles Dare
  • Arthur James Nesbitt (1880-1954), Canadian businessman and philanthropist, cofounder of Nesbitt, Thomson and Company stockbrokerage
  • Cathleen Nesbitt CBE (1888-1982), born Kathleen Mary Nesbitt, an English stage and film actress
  • Group Captain Arthur Dean Nesbitt OBE, DFC, CdeG (1910-1978), Canadian aviator awarded the Croix de Guerre during WWII
  • Christine Nesbitt (b. 1985), Australian-born, Canadian nine-time gold medalist long track speed skater
  • George Nesbitt (1859-1948), Irish-born Australian politician, Member for Lismore NSW (1913-1920) and for Byron (1920-1925)

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Nesbitt Clan Badge
Nesbitt Clan Badge

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A clan is a social group made up of a number of distinct branch-families that actually descended from, or accepted themselves as descendants of, a common ancestor. The word clan means simply children. The idea of the clan as a community is necessarily based around this idea of heredity and is most often ruled according to a patriarchal structure. For instance, the clan chief represented the hereditary "parent" of the entire clan. The most prominent example of this form of society is the Scottish Clan system...

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  1. Leyburn, James Graham. The Scotch-Irish A Social History. Chapel Hill: UNC Press, 1962. Print. (ISBN 0807842591).
  2. Black, George F. The Surnames of Scotland Their Origin, Meaning and History. New York: New York Public Library, 1946. Print. (ISBN 0-87104-172-3).
  3. Moncrieffe, Sir Ian of That Ilk and Don Pottinger. Clan Map Scotland of Old. Edinburgh: Bartholomew and Son, 1983. Print.
  4. Le Patourel, John. The Norman Empire. New York: Oxford University Press, 1976. Print. (ISBN 0-19-822525-3).
  5. Adam, Frank. Clans Septs and Regiments of the Scottish Highlands 8th Edition. London: Bacon (G.W.) & Co, 1970. Print. (ISBN 10-0717945006).
  6. Bell, Robert. The Book of Ulster Surnames. Belfast: Blackstaff, 1988. Print. (ISBN 10-0856404160).
  7. Hanks, Patricia and Flavia Hodges. A Dictionary of Surnames. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988. Print. (ISBN 0-19-211592-8).
  8. Fairbairn,. Fairbain's book of Crests of the Families of Great Britain and Ireland, 4th Edition 2 volumes in one. Baltimore: Heraldic Book Company, 1968. Print.
  9. Barrow, G.W.S Ed. The Charters of David I The Written Acts of David I King of Scots, 1124-53 and of His Son Henry, Earl of Northumerland, 1139-52. Woodbridge: The Boydell Press, 1999. Print.
  10. Samuelsen, W. David. New York City Passenger List Manifests Index 1820 - 1824. North Salt Lake, Utah: Accelerated Indexing Systems International, 1986. Print.
  11. ...

The Nesbitt Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Nesbitt 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 April 2014 at 17:04.

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