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

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

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


  • Robert Freed Bales, American psychologist
  • Alison Marie Bales (b. 1985), American WBNA basketball player
  • Barry Bales (b. 1969), American musician
  • Burt Bales (1917-1989), American jazz pianist
  • James David Bales (1915-1995), American Bible professor
  • Kevin Bales, American author and slavery expert, President of Free the Slaves
  • Wesley Owen "Lee" Bales (b. 1944), former American Major League Baseball player
  • Steve Bales, NASA engineer and flight controller, a key figure in the Apollo 11 lunar landing
  • Christopher Bales (1564-1590), English Catholic priest and martyr
  • Peter Bales (1547-1610), English calligraphist



  • 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. Holt, J.C. Ed. Domesday Studies. Woodbridge: Boydell, 1987. Print. (ISBN 0-85115-477-8).
  2. Sanders, Joanne McRee Edition. English Settlers in Barbados 1637-1800. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  3. Library of Congress. American and English Genealogies in the Library of Congress. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1967. Print.
  4. 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.
  5. Thirsk, Joan. The Agrarian History of England and Wales. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press: 7 Volumes. Print.
  6. Shirley, Evelyn Philip. Noble and Gentle Men of England Or Notes Touching The Arms and Descendants of the Ancient Knightley and Gentle Houses of England Arranged in their Respective Counties 3rd Edition. Westminster: John Bowyer Nichols and Sons, 1866. Print.
  7. Egle, William Henry. Pennsylvania Genealogies Scotch-Irish and German. Harrisburg: L.S. Hart, 1886. Print.
  8. Colletta, John P. They Came In Ships. Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1993. Print.
  9. Hitching, F.K and S. Hitching. References to English Surnames in 1601-1602. Walton On Thames: 1910. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0181-3).
  10. MacAulay, Thomas Babington. History of England from the Accession of James the Second 4 volumes. New York: Harper and Brothers, 1879. Print.
  11. ...

The Bales Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com 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 21 December 2014 at 23:51.

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