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Origins Available: Borderlands, English, French


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."

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The surname Bell was 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.

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


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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 and printed products wherever possible.

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Notable amongst the family name during their early history was The Blessed Arthur Bell (1590-1618), also known as Francis Bell, who was a Franciscan and English martyr; Sir Robert Bell (d. 1577) of Beaupre Hall, Norfolk, Speaker of the House of Commons; William Bell (died ca. 1668)...

Another 46 words (3 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Bell Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

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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 and printed products wherever possible.

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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 Atlanti c. 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 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 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
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Bell Settlers in 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
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Bell Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century

  • Ann Bell, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1750
  • Elizabeth Bell, who settled in Nova Scotia in 1765
  • Robert Bell, who was a laborer in St. John's, Newfoundland, in 1779
  • Mr. Derick Bell U.E. who settled in Home District, [Niagara], Lincoln County, Ontario c. 1783 [1]CITATION[CLOSE]
    Rubincam, Milton. The Old United Empire Loyalists List. Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc, 1976. (Originally published as; United Empire Loyalists. The Centennial of the Settlement of Upper Canada. Rose Publishing Company, 1885.) ISBN 0-8063-0331-X
  • Mr. Duncan Bell U.E. who settled in Fredericksburgh, Cataraqui township, [Greater Napanee], Ontario c. 1783 [1]CITATION[CLOSE]
    Rubincam, Milton. The Old United Empire Loyalists List. Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc, 1976. (Originally published as; United Empire Loyalists. The Centennial of the Settlement of Upper Canada. Rose Publishing Company, 1885.) ISBN 0-8063-0331-X
  • ...

Bell Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century

  • Andrew Bell, who landed in Canada in 1819
  • Agnes Bell, aged 55, arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick in 1833 aboard the ship "Pacific" from Liverpool, England
  • John Bell, aged 20, a tailor, arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick in 1833 aboard the schooner "Sarah" from Belfast, Ireland
  • Thomas Bell, aged 30, a labourer, arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick aboard the ship "Bartley" in 1833
  • James Bell, aged 30, a labourer, arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick aboard the ship "Neptune" in 1834
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Bell Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century

  • John Bell, English convict from Middlesex, who was transported aboard the "Asia" on September 3rd, 1820, settling in New South Wales, Austraila
  • Thomas Bell, English convict from Middlesex, who was transported aboard the "Asia" on April 1st, 1822, settling in New South Wales, Austraila
  • William Bell, English convict from Essex, who was transported aboard the "Asia" on October 22nd, 1824, settling in New South Wales, Australia
  • John Bell, a carpenter, arrived in New South Wales, Australia sometime between 1825 and 1832
  • George Bell, a weaver, arrived in New South Wales, Australia sometime between 1825 and 1832
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Bell Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century

  • George Bell landed in Island of Mana, New Zealand in 1832 aboard the ship Minerva
  • George Bell landed in Dundee, New Zealand in 1832
  • F Dillon Bell landed in Wellington & Nelson, New Zealand in 1840 aboard the ship Ursula
  • H Gordon Bell landed in Wellington, New Zealand in 1840 aboard the ship Lady Lilford
  • James Bell landed in Wellington, New Zealand in 1840
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  • John Oscar Bell (1912-2000), American Democrat politician, Foreign Service officer; U.S. Ambassador to Guatemala, 1961-65
  • Wilson Bell (1897-1947), American Democrat politician, Missouri State Treasurer, 1941-45; Secretary of State of Missouri, 1945-47
  • Alphonzo Bell (1875-1945), American sliver and bronze Olympic medalist for tennis at the 1904 games
  • Wallace Robert "Wally" Bell (1965-2013), American Major League Baseball umpire
  • Brigadier-General Marcus Brenneman Bell (1893-1981), American Commanding Officer 10th Mountain Division (1951)
  • Clarence C. Vam Bell (b. 1910), American Republican politician, Candidate for New York State Assembly from New York County 3rd District, 1942, 1944, 1954, 1955, 1956, 1957
  • Roy Bell, American Republican politician, Delegate to Republican National Convention from Montana, 1952
  • Russell R. Bell, American Republican politician, Candidate for West Virginia State Auditor, 1948
  • Sam C. Bell, American politician, Mayor of San Antonio, Texas, 1917-21
  • Sam H. Bell, American Republican politician, Alternate Delegate to Republican National Convention from Ohio, 1964
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Bell Historic Events



Empress of Ireland

  • Mr. Robert William Bell, British Deck Boy from United Kingdom who worked aboard the Empress of Ireland and died in the sinking on May 29th 1914
  • Mr. Dan Bell, American Third Class Passenger from Detroit, Michigan, United States who was traveling aboard the Empress of Ireland and died in the sinking on May 29th 1914

Halifax Explosion

  • Mr. John Francis  Bell (1854-1917), Canadian resident from Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada who died in the Halifax Explosion on 6th December 1917
  • Master Stanley  Bell (1912-1917), Canadian resident from Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada who died in the Halifax Explosion on 6th December 1917
  • Mrs. Jessie  Bell (1880-1917), Canadian resident from Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada who died in the Halifax Explosion on 6th December 1917
  • Master Gerald Francis  Bell (1914-1917), Canadian resident from Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada who died in the Halifax Explosion on 6th December 1917
  • Mrs. Geraldine  Bell (1890-1917), Canadian resident from Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada who died in the Halifax Explosion on 6th December 1917
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HMS Hood

  • Mr. William Bell (b. 1917), Scottish Able Seaman serving for the Royal Navy Volunteer Reserve from Edinburgh, Scotland, who sailed into battle on the HMS Hood and died on 24th May 1941 in the sinking
  • Mr. Cyril Kemp Bell (b. 1923), English Ordinary Signalman serving for the Royal Navy from Bardney, Lincolnshire, England, who sailed into battle on the HMS Hood and died on 24th May 1941 in the sinking

HMS Prince of Wales

  • Mr. Thomas William Bell (b. 1915), "Bill" English Able Bodied Seaman from England, who sailed in to battle on the HMS Prince of Wales and survived the sinking
  • Mr. Leonard Hammersley Bell, British Captain, who sailed in to battle on the HMS Prince of Wales and survived the sinking
  • Mr. Charles Bell, British Able Bodied Seaman, who sailed in to battle on the HMS Prince of Wales and survived the sinking

HMS Repulse

  • Mr. Walter Bell, British Able Bodied Seaman, who sailed into battle on the HMS Repulse and survived the sinking
  • Mr. James Bell, British Able Bodied Seaman, who sailed into battle on the HMS Repulse and survived the sinking

Pan Am Flight 103 (Lockerbie)

  • Jean Mary Bell (1944-1988), English Passenger from Berkshire, England, who flew aboard the Pan Am Flight 103 from Frankfurt to Detroit, known as the Lockerbie bombing in 1988 and died

RMS Titanic

  • Mr. Joseph Bell (d. 1912), aged 50, English Chief Engineer from Southampton, Hampshire who worked aboard the RMS Titanic and died in the sinking
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  • 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.
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Citations



  1. ^ Rubincam, Milton. The Old United Empire Loyalists List. Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc, 1976. (Originally published as; United Empire Loyalists. The Centennial of the Settlement of Upper Canada. Rose Publishing Company, 1885.) ISBN 0-8063-0331-X

Other References

  1. Hitching, F.K and S. Hitching. References to English Surnames in 1601-1602. Walton On Thames: 1910. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0181-3).
  2. Mills, A.D. Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-19-869156-4).
  3. Crozier, William Armstrong Edition. Crozier's General Armory A Registry of American Families Entitled to Coat Armor. New York: Fox, Duffield, 1904. Print.
  4. Bradford, William. History of Plymouth Plantation 1620-1647 Edited by Samuel Eliot Morrison 2 Volumes. New York: Russell and Russell, 1968. Print.
  5. Dunkling, Leslie. Dictionary of Surnames. Toronto: Collins, 1998. Print. (ISBN 0004720598).
  6. Matthews, John. Matthews' American Armoury and Blue Book. London: John Matthews, 1911. Print.
  7. The Norman People and Their Existing Descendants in the British Dominions and the United States Of America. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1975. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0636-X).
  8. Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at Galveston Texas 1896-1951. National Archives Washington DC. Print.
  9. Le Patourel, John. The Norman Empire. New York: Oxford University Press, 1976. Print. (ISBN 0-19-822525-3).
  10. 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.
  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 29 August 2016 at 00:03.

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