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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright 2000 - 2015

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."

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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.


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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.

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

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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.

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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 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 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


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


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
  • Mr. Duncan Bell U.E who settled in Fredericksburgh, Cataraqui township, [Greater Napanee], Ontario c. 1783


Bell Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century


  • Andrew Bell, who landed in Canada in 1819
  • Agnes Bell, aged 55, arrived in Saint John, NB in 1833 aboard the ship "Pacific" from Liverpool
  • John Bell, aged 20, a tailor, arrived in Saint John, NB in 1833 aboard the schooner "Sarah" from Belfast
  • Thomas Bell, aged 30, a labourer, arrived in Saint John, NB aboard the ship "Bartley" in 1833
  • James Bell, aged 30, a labourer, arrived in Saint John, NB aboard the ship "Neptune" in 1834


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


Bell Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century


  • George Bell landed in Island of Mana, New Zealand in 1832 aboard the ship Minerva
  • 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
  • John Bell landed in Wellington, New Zealand in 1840


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  • Mr. Dan Bell (d. 1914), 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
  • 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)
  • Technical Sergeant Bernard Pious Bell (1911-1971), Army soldier and a recipient of the Medal of Honor, for his actions in World War II
  • Lawrence Dale Bell (1895-1956), American aircraft designer
  • Alexander Melville Bell (1819-1905), American teacher of elocution and father of Alexander Graham Bell
  • 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
  • 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. 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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  1. Bowman, George Ernest. The Mayflower Reader A Selection of Articales from The Mayflower Descendent. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  2. Humble, Richard. The Fall of Saxon England. New York: Barnes and Noble, 1975. Print. (ISBN 0-88029-987-8).
  3. Crispin, M. Jackson and Leonce Mary. Falaise Roll Recording Prominent Companions of William Duke of Normandy at the Conquest of England. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  4. Bardsley, C.W. A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6).
  5. Burke, Sir Bernard. General Armory Of England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales. Ramsbury: Heraldry Today. Print.
  6. Mills, A.D. Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-19-869156-4).
  7. Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at Galveston Texas 1896-1951. National Archives Washington DC. Print.
  8. Weis, Frederick Lewis, Walter Lee Sheppard and David Faris. Ancestral Roots of Sixty Colonists Who Came to New England Between 1623 and 1650 7th Edition. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0806313676).
  9. Bradford, William. History of Plymouth Plantation 1620-1647 Edited by Samuel Eliot Morrison 2 Volumes. New York: Russell and Russell, 1968. Print.
  10. 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).
  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 24 August 2015 at 12:15.

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