Show ContentsBeavis History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The ancient Norman culture that was established in England after the Conquest of 1066 produced the name of Beavis. It was given to a friend, and is a somewhat nondescript form of affectionate address, somewhat like pal or mate in modern English. The name translates from the Old French root belfiz of the same meaning. The modern French meaning of the word as son in law was not in place until 1468.

Other sources claim that the name is a local surname from Beauvais in France. and there, we found that "Duke Richard II. in 1027, confirmed the gift of Ansgot de Belvai of land at Belvai to Fescamp Abbey. Fescamp (Fécamp) Abbey is a Benedictine abbey in Fécamp, Seine-Maritime, Upper Normandy, France. [1] [2] Founded in 658 by Waningus, a Merovingian count, the abbey still stands today.

As to agree with this postulation, another source weighs in on the debate by simply stating "The town of Beauvais, in France, is however a more likely source for the surname." [3] This author continues "Sir Bevys of medieval romance seems to have no place in veritable history, though Heylin claims him as a real Earl of Southampton. The first instance of the surname that I can call to mind is in Sir John Bevis, or Befs, who took Richard, brother of King Henry III., prisoner in a windmill at the battle of Lewes, in 1264. " [3]

Early Origins of the Beavis family

The surname Beavis was first found in Hampshire, where they were granted lands by King William after the Norman Conquest in 1066. They were descended from the Beauvais in Normandy, and appear on the honor roll of Battell Abbey, as accompanying Duke William at Hastings in 1066 A.D.

Early History of the Beavis family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Beavis research. Another 36 words (3 lines of text) covering the years 1254, 1693, 1771, 1731, 1693, 1715 and 1718 are included under the topic Early Beavis History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Beavis Spelling Variations

Anglo-Norman names tend to be marked by an enormous number of spelling variations. This is largely due to the fact that Old and Middle English lacked any spelling rules when Norman French was introduced in the 11th century. The languages of the English courts at that time were French and Latin. These various languages mixed quite freely in the evolving social milieu. The final element of this mix is that medieval scribes spelled words according to their sounds rather than any definite rules, so a name was often spelled in as many different ways as the number of documents it appeared in. The name was spelled Bevis, Bevys, Beavis, Beavys and others.

Early Notables of the Beavis family (pre 1700)

Outstanding amongst the family at this time was Sir Bevis of Hampshire; and John Bevis (1693-1771), an Welsh doctor and astronomer, best known for discovering the Crab Nebula in 1731. "Born 31 Oct. 1693...
Another 34 words (2 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Beavis Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

United States Beavis migration to the United States +

Because of the political and religious discontent in England, families began to migrate abroad in enormous numbers. Faced with persecution and starvation at home, the open frontiers and generally less oppressive social environment of the New World seemed tantalizing indeed to many English people. The trip was difficult, and not all made it unscathed, but many of those who did get to Canada and the United States made important contributions to the young nations in which they settled. Some of the first North American settlers with Beavis name or one of its variants:

Beavis Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Eliz Beavis, who arrived in Virginia in 1704 [4]
Beavis Settlers in United States in the 20th Century
  • Mr. Albert S. Beavis, (b. 1886), aged 19, Cornish butcher, from St. Blazey, Cornwall, UK travelling aboard the ship "Philadelphia" arriving at Ellis Island, New York in 1905 en route to Hancock, Michigan, USA [5]

Australia Beavis migration to Australia +

Emigration to Australia followed the First Fleets of convicts, tradespeople and early settlers. Early immigrants include:

Beavis Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Mr. Robert Beavis, (b. 1809), aged 21, British ploughman from Guernsey who was convicted in Dorset, England for life for stealing, transported aboard the "Burrell" on 22nd July 1830, arriving in New South Wales, he died in 1883 [6]
  • John Beavis, who arrived in Glenelg Roads aboard the ship "Pestonjee Bomanjee" in 1838 [7]
  • Margaret Beavis, who arrived in Glenelg Roads aboard the ship "Pestonjee Bomanjee" in 1838 [7]
  • William Beavis, who arrived in Glenelg Roads aboard the ship "Pestonjee Bomanjee" in 1838 [7]
  • Rebecca Beavis, who arrived in Glenelg Roads aboard the ship "Pestonjee Bomanjee" in 1838 [7]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

New Zealand Beavis migration to New Zealand +

Emigration to New Zealand followed in the footsteps of the European explorers, such as Captain Cook (1769-70): first came sealers, whalers, missionaries, and traders. By 1838, the British New Zealand Company had begun buying land from the Maori tribes, and selling it to settlers, and, after the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840, many British families set out on the arduous six month journey from Britain to Aotearoa to start a new life. Early immigrants include:

Beavis Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Mr. Henry Beavis, British settler travelling from London aboard the ship "Maori" arriving in Auckland, New Zealand on 3rd November 1859 [8]

Contemporary Notables of the name Beavis (post 1700) +

  • William D Beavis, American chief scientific officer of the National Center for Genome Resources
  • Mr. John Patrick Beavis O.B.E., British Trauma and Orthopaedic Surgeon and Founder and Chair for IDEALS, was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire on 29th December 2018 for services to Victims of War and Disaster [9]
  • Major-General Leslie Ellis Beavis (1895-1975), Master-General of the Ordnance, Army Headquarters from 1942 to 1946 [10]

  1. The Norman People and Their Existing Descendants in the British Dominions and the United States Of America. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1975. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0636-X)
  2. Barber, Henry, British Family Names London: Elliot Stock, 62 Paternoster Row, 1894. Print.
  3. Lower, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  4. 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)
  5. Cornwall Online Parish Clerks. (Retreived 3rd May 2018). Retrieved from
  6. Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 5th November 2020). Retrieved from
  7. State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) The PESTONJEE BOMANJEE 1838. Retrieved from
  8. New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 17th October 2018). Retrieved from
  9. "Birthday and New Year Honours Lists (1940 to 2019)." Issue 62507, 28 December 2018 | London Gazette, The Gazette, Dec. 2018,
  10. Generals of World War II. (Retrieved 2011, August 30) Leslie Beavis. Retrieved from on Facebook