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An excerpt from archives copyright 2000 - 2016

Bales is an ancient Norman name that arrived in England after the Norman Conquest of 1066. The Bales family lived in Norfolk, where they were found since the early Middle Ages in England from ancient times. The surname, however, derives from the area of Besle in Normandy, where they lived prior to the Norman Conquest in 1066. There is some debate as to whether this name is related to the name "Bailey", which is of occupational derivation, and refers to a Norman civil office similar to that of a sheriff or viscount.


Norman surnames are characterized by a multitude of spelling variations. The frequent changes in surnames are largely due to the fact that the Old and Middle English languages lacked definite spelling rules. The introduction of Norman French to England, as well as the official court languages of Latin and French, also had pronounced influences on the spelling of surnames. Since medieval scribes and church officials recorded names as they sounded, rather than adhering to any specific spelling rules, it was common to find the same individual referred to with different spellings. The name has been spelled Bale, Bales and others.

First found in Norfolk at Bale, a village within the civil parish of Gunthorpe which dates back to the Domesday Book of 1086 where it was listed as Bathele. [1] The place name literally means "woodland or clearing where there are springs used for bathing." [2] The All Saints parish church dates back to the middle of the 14th century.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Bales research. Another 153 words (11 lines of text) covering the years 1455, 1503, 1617, 1654, 1624, 1547, 1610, 1564 and 1590 are included under the topic Early Bales History in all our PDF Extended History products.


Another 159 words (11 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Bales Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.


Many English families emigrated to North American colonies in order to escape the political chaos in Britain at this time. Unfortunately, many English families made the trip to the New World under extremely harsh conditions. Overcrowding on the ships caused the majority of the immigrants to arrive diseased, famished, and destitute from the long journey across the stormy Atlantic. Despite these hardships, many of the families prospered and went on to make invaluable contributions to the development of the cultures of the United States and Canada. Early North American immigration records have revealed a number of people bearing the name Bales or a variant listed above:

Bales Settlers in United States in the 17th Century

  • Thomas Bales who settled in Virginia in 1635
  • Tho Bales, who landed in Virginia in 1635
  • Thomas Bales, who landed in Maryland in 1665

Bales Settlers in United States in the 18th Century

  • Francois Bales, who arrived in Louisiana in 1719

Bales Settlers in United States in the 19th Century

  • Robert Bales, who arrived in America in 1801
  • John Bales, who landed in America in 1808
  • S Bales, who arrived in San Francisco, California in 1851
  • C Bales, who landed in San Francisco, California in 1851
  • Daniel Bales, who arrived in Arkansas in 1894

Bales Settlers in United States in the 20th Century

  • Ester Bales, aged 20, who landed in America, in 1902
  • Esther Bales, aged 10, who emigrated to the United States, in 1904
  • Elizabeth Bales, aged 13, who settled in America from Liverpool, in 1904
  • Fredk. Bales, aged 36, who landed in America, in 1905
  • Harry Bales, aged 49, who settled in America from Bristol, in 1905

Bales Settlers in Canada in the 20th Century

  • Henry Bales, aged 27, who emigrated to Toronto, Canada, in 1915

Bales Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century

  • John Bales arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Caroline" in 1851


  • Steve Bales, NASA engineer and flight controller, a key figure in the Apollo 11 lunar landing
  • Wesley Owen "Lee" Bales (b. 1944), former American Major League Baseball player
  • Kevin Bales, American author and slavery expert, President of Free the Slaves
  • James David Bales (1915-1995), American Bible professor
  • Burt Bales (1917-1989), American jazz pianist
  • Barry Bales (b. 1969), American musician
  • Alison Marie Bales (b. 1985), American WBNA basketball player
  • Robert Freed Bales, American psychologist
  • Miss Alice Bales (1893-1914), Canadian Second Class Passenger from Toronto, Ontario, Canada who survived the sinking on the Empress of Ireland on May 29th 1914
  • Gerald Bales (1919-2002), Canadian organist and composer



  • Passing the Words Along: A Continuing History of the Alonzo L. Bales Family by Miriam Halbert Bales.

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  1. ^ Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds., Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8)
  2. ^ Mills, A.D., Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-19-869156-4)

Other References

  1. Burke, Sir Bernard. Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Peerage and Baronetage, The Privy Council, Knightage and Compainonage. London: Burke Publishing, 1921. Print.
  2. Holt, J.C. Ed. Domesday Studies. Woodbridge: Boydell, 1987. Print. (ISBN 0-85115-477-8).
  3. Humble, Richard. The Fall of Saxon England. New York: Barnes and Noble, 1975. Print. (ISBN 0-88029-987-8).
  4. Marcharn, Frederick George. A Constitutional History of Modern England 1485 to the Present. London: Harper and Brothers, 1960. Print.
  5. MacAulay, Thomas Babington. History of England from the Accession of James the Second 4 volumes. New York: Harper and Brothers, 1879. Print.
  6. Chadwick, Nora Kershaw and J.X.W.P Corcoran. The Celts. London: Penguin, 1790. Print. (ISBN 0140212116).
  7. Best, Hugh. Debrett's Texas Peerage. New York: Coward-McCann, 1983. Print. (ISBN 069811244X).
  8. 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.
  9. Burke, Sir Bernard. Burke's Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Landed Gentry: Including American Families with British Ancestry. (2 Volumes). London: Burke Publishing, 1939. Print.
  10. Browning, Charles H. Americans of Royal Descent. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  11. ...

The Bales Family Crest was acquired from the archives. The Bales 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 13 October 2015 at 06:47.

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