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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright 2000 - 2016

Origins Available: English, French


It was among those Anglo-Saxon tribes that once ruled over Britain that the name Basil was formed. The name was derived from Basile, which means royal. There is some disagreement about this name's origin. While the Anglo-Saxon reference is strong, there is strong evidence that the name could have been derived from the name Bezilles, from Biszeilles in Flanders. In this case, the name could have landed in England and settled in Berkshire where the local Besselsleigh was their ancient homestead.

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The surname Basil was first found in the West Riding of Yorkshire in Bashall-Eaves, a township, in the parish of Mitton, union of Clitheroe, W. division of the wapentake of Staincliffe and Ewcross. "This place has been variously designated Beckshalgh, Batsalve, Bakesholf, and Bashalll; but the first orthography is the true one, viz., Beckshalgh, or 'the hill by the brooks,' which agrees precisely with its situation: in Domesday Book it is styled Baschelf. " [1]

Until the dictionary, an invention of only the last few hundred years, the English language lacked any comprehensive system of spelling rules. Consequently, spelling variations in names are frequently found in early Anglo-Saxon and later Anglo-Norman documents. One person's name was often spelled several different ways over a lifetime. The recorded variations of Basil include Basile, Bassil, Basil, Basill, Bassal, Basall, Basilie, Basille, Bazill, Bazil and many more.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Basil research. Another 441 words (32 lines of text) covering the years 1219, 1251, 1273, 1273, 1500, 1674 and 1675 are included under the topic Early Basil History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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More information is included under the topic Early Basil Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Thousands of English families boarded ships sailing to the New World in the hope of escaping the unrest found in England at this time. Although the search for opportunity and freedom from persecution abroad took the lives of many because of the cramped conditions and unsanitary nature of the vessels, the opportunity perceived in the growing colonies of North America beckoned. Many of the settlers who survived the journey went on to make important contributions to the transplanted cultures of their adopted countries. The Basil were among these contributors, for they have been located in early North American records:

Basil Settlers in United States in the 19th Century


  • John Basil, who arrived in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1840
  • Winnefred Basil who arrived in Boston in 1849

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  • Richard Basil (b. 1967), American former head football coach at Savannah State University
  • Toni Basil (b. 1943), stage name of Antonia Christina Basilotta, an American singer-songwriter, actress, filmmaker, film director, choreographer, and dancer, best known for her multi-million selling worldwide No. 1 hit "Mickey" from 1982
  • Stephen John Basil (1893-1962), American Major League Baseball umpire who worked in the American League from 1936 to 1942


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  1. ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.

Other References

  1. Thirsk, Joan. The Agrarian History of England and Wales. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press: 7 Volumes. Print.
  2. 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.
  3. Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin . Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8).
  4. Robb H. Amanda and Andrew Chesler. Encyclopedia of American Family Names. New York: Haper Collins, 1995. Print. (ISBN 0-06-270075-8).
  5. Cook, Chris. English Historical Facts 1603-1688. London: MacMillan, 1980. Print.
  6. Dunkling, Leslie. Dictionary of Surnames. Toronto: Collins, 1998. Print. (ISBN 0004720598).
  7. Burke, Sir Bernard. Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Peerage and Baronetage, The Privy Council, Knightage and Compainonage. London: Burke Publishing, 1921. Print.
  8. Zieber, Eugene. Heraldry in America. Philadelphia: Genealogical Publishing Co. Print.
  9. Matthews, John. Matthews' American Armoury and Blue Book. London: John Matthews, 1911. Print.
  10. Burke, John Bernard Ed. The Roll of Battle Abbey. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  11. ...

The Basil Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Basil 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 15 March 2016 at 11:20.

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