Besser History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The German state of Prussia, which reached the zenith of its power in the late 19th century, is the glorious birthplace of the distinguished surname Besser. In the medieval era, after the fall of the Roman Empire, the German lands were inhabited by a variety of Barbarian tribes. The borders of the Barbarian kingdoms changed frequently, but the region that became known as Prussia was roughly divided between the areas of Brandenburg-Prussia, West Prussia, and East Prussia. The colorful history of Brandenburg-Prussia provides a glimpse at the oldest origins of the Besser family.

Early Origins of the Besser family

The surname Besser was first found in Brandenburg, where this family became a prominent contributor to the development of the district from ancient times.

Important Dates for the Besser family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Besser research. Another 189 words (14 lines of text) covering the years 1690, 1711, 1732, and 1768 are included under the topic Early Besser History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Besser Spelling Variations

Many cultural groups lived in the German states in medieval times. Each had its own dialect and traditions, and unique variations of popular names. Low German, which is similar to contemporary Dutch, was spoken in Westphalia. German names are characterized by additions such as regional suffixes and phrases that tell something about the origin or background of its original bearer. Further contributing to the variation in German names was the fact that there were no spelling rules in medieval times: scribes recorded names according to their sound. The recorded spelling variations of Besser include Beser, Besser, Besserr, Bessere, Beserre, Bessers and many more.

Early Notables of the Besser family (pre 1700)

More information is included under the topic Early Besser Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Besser migration to the United States

Much of German history has been shaped by the state of Prussia. It was an enduring military power until after the Second World War. At that time, the state was abolished altogether and its land divided between the Soviet Union, Poland, East Germany and West Germany. While some Prussians were content to remain in those countries, others moved away, many of them migrating to North America. They entered the United States mostly through Philadelphia, moving on to Ohio, Texas, Illinois, California, New York, and Maryland. Others went to Canada, settling on the prairies and in the province of Ontario. Among those of this surname listed in various historical records were:

Besser Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Johan Peter Besser, who arrived in New York in 1709 [1]
  • Niklaas Besser, who landed in New York in 1709 [1]
  • Christopher Besser, who arrived in Philadelphia in 1732
  • Christopher Besser, who settled in Philadelphia in 1732
  • Benddeck Besser, who settled in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1739
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Besser Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Edward Besser, who settled in Philadelphia in 1856
  • Gus A Besser, who landed in Mississippi in 1898 [1]

Contemporary Notables of the name Besser (post 1700)

  • Matthew Gregory "Matt" Besser (b. 1967), American actor and comedian
  • Stuart Besser, American film producer
  • Joe Besser (1907-1988), American comedic actor, briefly part of the "Three Stooges"
  • Howard Russel Besser (b. 1941), American lawyer
  • Astrid Besser (b. 1989), Italian tennis player
  • Chaskel Besser (1923-2010), Orthodox rabbi
  • Richard E. Besser MD (b. 1959), ABC News Medical editor


  1. ^ Filby, P. William, Meyer, Mary K., Passenger and immigration lists index : a guide to published arrival records of about 500,000 passengers who came to the United States and Canada in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries. 1982-1985 Cumulated Supplements in Four Volumes Detroit, Mich. : Gale Research Co., 1985, Print (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8)
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