Bedford History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The origins of the Bedford name come from when the Anglo-Saxon tribes ruled over Britain. The name Bedford was originally derived from a family having lived in the county of Bedfordshire, where the name was listed in the Domesday Book of 1086 as in "Godwidere and Osgar de Bedeford were tenants in capite, 1086. The former had held the same lands before the Conquest." [1]

Early Origins of the Bedford family

The surname Bedford was first found in Bedfordshire at Bedford, the county town and the administrative center for the wider Borough of Bedford. The place name dates back to the 9th century when it was listed as Bedanford in 880. By the Domesday Book of 1086, the place name had evolved to Bedeford and literally meant "ford of a man called Bieda," having derived from the Old English personal name + "ford." [2]

Bedfordshire (district of Bedford) is first referenced in the 11th century. Another reference claims the place name is derived the name of a Saxon chief called Beda + "ford." One of the first listings of the place name was a reference to the Anglo-Saxon King Offa of Mercia who was buried in the town in 796.

Bedford Castle was a large medieval castle in Bedford probably built after 1100 by Henry I. Today only the base of the motte survives.

Further to the south in Devon, "Bideford is generally interpreted to mean ' by the ford,' and in name, at any rate, is therefore Saxon. Bideford was a place of some importance when it belonged to Brictric, its last Saxon owner; for at the Domesday Survey, when, like most of the other manors of that unlucky thane, it passed to Matilda, it had an numerated population of 52, while, as it then had a fishery worth 255. a year, the germs of its maritime character already existed. The manor is remarkable for having remained for nearly seven centuries in one family. " [3]

By the time of the Hundredorum Rolls of 1273, the family was scattered: Jordan de Bedeford, Oxfordshire; and Robert de Bedeford in Huntingdonshire. The Yorkshire Poll Tax Rolls of 1379 had only one listing for the family, that of Johannes de Bedforth. [4]

In Scotland, there were two early entries: "Henricus de Bedeforth [who] witnessed a quitclaim by Johannes, son of Mathew Loremarius of Perth, 1240 and W. de Bedeford [who] witnessed a gift to the church of Glasgow, c. 1260." [5]

Early History of the Bedford family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Bedford research. Another 92 words (7 lines of text) covering the years 1240, 1391, 1451, 1668, 1745, 1668, 1687, 1691, 1688, 1663, 1724, 1650, 1620 and 1650 are included under the topic Early Bedford History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Bedford Spelling Variations

Before English spelling was standardized a few hundred years ago, spelling variations of names were a common occurrence. Elements of Latin, French and other languages became incorporated into English through the Middle Ages, and name spellings changed even among the literate. The variations of the surname Bedford include Bedford, Bedforde, Bedforth and others.

Early Notables of the Bedford family (pre 1700)

Distinguished members of the family include John Bedford (fl.1391), English politician, Member of Parliament for Lewes; and John Bedford (died 1451) English politician, Member of Parliament for Kingston-upon-Hull. Arthur Bedford (1668-1745), was an English miscellaneous writer, born at Tiddenham in Gloucestershire 8 Sept. 1668. "At the age of sixteen he proceeded to Brasenose College, Oxford, graduated B.A. in February 1687-8, M.A. in July 1691, and was ordained in 1688. " [6] Hilkiah Bedford (1663-1724), was a...
Another 75 words (5 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Bedford Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Bedford World Ranking

In the United States, the name Bedford is the 3,534th most popular surname with an estimated 7,461 people with that name. [7] However, in New Zealand, the name Bedford is ranked the 954th most popular surname with an estimated 784 people with that name. [8] And in the United Kingdom, the name Bedford is the 703rd popular surname with an estimated 9,530 people with that name. [9]


United States Bedford migration to the United States +

A great wave of immigration to the New World was the result of the enormous political and religious disarray that struck England at that time. Families left for the New World in extremely large numbers. The long journey was the end of many immigrants and many more arrived sick and starving. Still, those who made it were rewarded with an opportunity far greater than they had known at home in England. These emigrant families went on to make significant contributions to these emerging colonies in which they settled. Some of the first North American settlers carried this name or one of its variants:

Bedford Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Ann Bedford, who settled in Virginia in 1635
  • Nathan Bedford, who settled in Maine in 1635
  • Jane Bedford, who settled in Virginia in 1638
  • Jane Bedford, who landed in Virginia in 1638 [10]
  • Miles Bedford, who landed in Maryland in 1652 [10]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Bedford Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Hanna Bedford, who landed in Virginia in 1704 [10]
  • Eliza Bedford, who arrived in Virginia in 1714 [10]
  • Jahn Bedford, who landed in Virginia in 1716 [10]
  • Ed Bedford, who arrived in Virginia in 1717 [10]
  • Edward Bedford, who landed in Virginia in 1719 [10]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Bedford Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Hon. John Bedford, who was Judge of Vice Admiralty Court in Barbados in 1805
  • William T Bedford, aged 46, who landed in Maryland in 1812 [10]
  • Henry Bedford, who arrived in Indiana in 1854 [10]

Canada Bedford migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Bedford Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
  • Mr. Jonathan Bedford U.E. who settled in Canada c. 1783 [11]
  • Mr. Jonathan Bedford Sr., U.E. who settled in Canada c. 1783 [11]
Bedford Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • Andrew Bedford, who landed in Canada in 1831
  • Mr. Thomas Bedford, aged 1 who was emigrating through Grosse Isle Quarantine Station, Quebec aboard the ship "Ajax" departing 16th April 1847 from Liverpool, England; the ship arrived on 23rd June 1847 but he died on board [12]
  • Mr. Thomas Bedford, aged 30 who was emigrating through Grosse Isle Quarantine Station, Quebec aboard the ship "Ajax" departing 16th April 1847 from Liverpool, England; the ship arrived on 23rd June 1847 but he died on board [12]
  • Mr. Thomas Bedford, aged 2 who was emigrating through Grosse Isle Quarantine Station, Quebec aboard the ship "Ajax" departing 16th April 1847 from Liverpool, England; the ship arrived on 23rd June 1847 but he died on board [12]

Australia Bedford migration to Australia +

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

Bedford Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Mr. John Bedford who was convicted in Berkshire, England for 7 years, transported aboard the "Camden" on 21st March 1831, arriving in New South Wales, Australia [13]
  • Mr. William Bedford, British Convict who was convicted in London, England for 7 years, transported aboard the "Coromandel" on 25th June 1838, arriving in Tasmania ( Van Diemen's Land) [14]
  • Mr. Henry Bedford, British Convict who was convicted in Abingdon-on-Thames, Oxfordshire, England for 7 years, transported aboard the "Eden" on 12th March 1842, arriving in Tasmania ( Van Diemen's Island) [15]
  • Mr. Henry Bedford, (b. 1804), aged 42, English agricultural labourer who was convicted in Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, England for life for stealing, transported aboard the "China" on 21st January 1846, arriving in Norfolk Island, Australia [16]
  • Thomas Bedford, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "The Stebonheath" in 1850 [17]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

New Zealand Bedford 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:

Bedford Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • W. Bedford, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Andover" in 1843
  • Thomas Bedford, aged 31, a blacksmith, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Oliver Lang" in 1856
  • Emily Bedford, aged 29, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Oliver Lang" in 1856
  • Mr. George Bedford, (b. 1843), aged 15, British settler travelling from Gravesend aboard the ship "Mystery" arriving in Lyttelton, Christchurch, South Island, New Zealand on 29th March 1859 [18]
  • Mr. Bedford, British settler travelling from London aboard the ship "Sebastopol" arriving in Lyttelton, Christchurch, South Island, New Zealand on 21st May 1863 [19]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

West Indies Bedford migration to West Indies +

The British first settled the British West Indies around 1604. They made many attempts but failed in some to establish settlements on the Islands including Saint Lucia and Grenada. By 1627 they had managed to establish settlements on St. Kitts (St. Christopher) and Barbados, but by 1641 the Spanish had moved in and destroyed some of these including those at Providence Island. The British continued to expand the settlements including setting the First Federation in the British West Indies by 1674; some of the islands include Barbados, Bermuda, Cayman Island, Turks and Caicos, Jamaica and Belize then known as British Honduras. By the 1960's many of the islands became independent after the West Indies Federation which existed from 1958 to 1962 failed due to internal political conflicts. After this a number of Eastern Caribbean islands formed a free association. [20]
Bedford Settlers in West Indies in the 17th Century
  • Nathaniell Bedford, who settled in Barbados in 1635
  • Mr. Nathaniell Bedford, (b. 1616), aged 19, British settler travelling from London, England aboard the ship "Anne and Elizabeth" arriving in Barbados in 1635 [21]

Contemporary Notables of the name Bedford (post 1700) +

  • James Hiram Bedford (1893-1967), American psychologist, University of California psychology professor, the first person whose body was cryopreserved after legal death; in the cryonics community, the anniversary of his cryopreservation is celebrated as "Bedford Day"
  • Brian Bedford (1935-2016), English-born American Tony Award winning actor, inducted into the American Theater Hall of Fame in 1997, probably best remembered for his numerous Shakespearean roles
  • Gunning Bedford Jr. (1747-1812), American lawyer and politician, delegate to the U.S. Constitutional Convention of 1787
  • J. W. Bedford, American politician, Prohibition Candidate for Presidential Elector for West Virginia, 1928
  • Homer Franklin Bedford (1880-1968), American Democratic Party politician, Postmaster; Weld County Assessor, 1922-32; Colorado State Treasurer, 1933-34, 1937-38, 1941-42, 1945-46, 1949-50, 1953-54, 1957-58, 1963-66
  • Gunning Bedford (1742-1797), American politician, Member of Delaware State House of Representatives, 1784; Delegate to Continental Congress from Delaware, 1786; Presidential Elector for Delaware, 1789; Governor of Delaware, 1796-97
  • Ethel Bedford, American Democratic Party politician, Delegate to Democratic National Convention from New York, 1972
  • Charles E. Bedford, American Democratic Party politician, Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Colorado, 1996
  • B. F. Bedford, American Democratic Party politician, Member of Kentucky State House of Representatives 71st District, 1934-39
  • Archibald B. Bedford, American politician, Dry Candidate for Delegate to New York convention to ratify 21st amendment, 1933
  • ... (Another 36 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Halifax Explosion
  • Miss Muriel  Bedford (1903-1917), Canadian resident from Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada who died in the explosion [22]
RMS Titanic
  • Mr. William Barnet Bedford (d. 1912), aged 31, English Assistant Roast Cook from Itchen, Hampshire who worked aboard the RMS Titanic and died in the sinking [23]
USS Arizona
  • Mr. Purdy Renaker Bedford, American Fireman First Class from Kentucky, USA working aboard the ship "USS Arizona" when she sunk during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on 7th December 1941, he died in the sinking [24]


The Bedford Motto +

The motto was originally a war cry or slogan. Mottoes first began to be shown with arms in the 14th and 15th centuries, but were not in general use until the 17th century. Thus the oldest coats of arms generally do not include a motto. Mottoes seldom form part of the grant of arms: Under most heraldic authorities, a motto is an optional component of the coat of arms, and can be added to or changed at will; many families have chosen not to display a motto.

Motto: Animum fortuna sequatur
Motto Translation: Fortune follows courage.


Suggested Readings for the name Bedford +

  • New England Bedfords, State by State by Florance Belle Wight.
  • Bedfords from Virginia to Maryland and Delaware (some Pennsylvania) by Florance Belle Wight.

  1. ^ Lower, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  2. ^ Mills, A.D., Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-19-869156-4)
  3. ^ Worth, R.N., A History of Devonshire London: Elliot Stock, 62, Paternoster Row, E.G., 1895. Digital
  4. ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  5. ^ Black, George F., The Surnames of Scotland Their Origin, Meaning and History. New York: New York Public Library, 1946. Print. (ISBN 0-87104-172-3)
  6. ^ Smith, George (ed), Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1885-1900. Print
  7. ^ https://namecensus.com/most_common_surnames.htm
  8. ^ https://forebears.io/new-zealand/surnames
  9. ^ https://www.surnamemap.eu/unitedkingdom/surnames_ranking.php?p=10
  10. ^ 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)
  11. ^ Rubincam, Milton. The Old United Empire Loyalists List. Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc, 1976. (Originally published as; United Empire Loyalists. The Centennial of the Settlement of Upper Canada. Rose Publishing Company, 1885.) ISBN 0-8063-0331-X
  12. ^ Charbonneau, André, and Doris Drolet-Dubé. A Register of Deceased Persons at Sea and on Grosse Île in 1847. The Minister of Canadian Heritage, 1997. ISBN: 0-660-198/1-1997E (p. 65)
  13. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 2nd December 2020). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/camden
  14. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 19th March 2021). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/coromandel
  15. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 15th December 2021). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/eden
  16. ^ Convict Records of Australia (Retrieved 5th February 2021, retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/china)
  17. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) The STEBONHEATH 1850. Retrieved http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1850Stebonheath.htm
  18. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 17th October 2018). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
  19. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 26th March 2019). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
  20. ^ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_West_Indies
  21. ^ Pilgrim Ship Lists Early 1600's retrieved 23rd September 2021. (Retrieved from https://www.packrat-pro.com/ships/shiplist.htm)
  22. ^ Halifax Explosion Book of Remembrance | Maritime Museum of the Atlantic. (Retrieved 2014, June 23) . Retrieved from https://maritimemuseum.novascotia.ca/what-see-do/halifax-explosion/halifax-explosion-book-remembrance
  23. ^ Titanic Passenger List - Titanic Facts. (Retrieved 2016, July 13) . Retrieved from http://www.titanicfacts.net/titanic-passenger-list.html
  24. ^ Pearl Harbour: USS Arizona Casualties List Pearl Harbour December 7, 1941. (Retrieved 2018, July 31st). Retrieved from http://pearl-harbor.com/arizona/casualtylist.html


Houseofnames.com on Facebook
Shipping
Fastest Delivery Possible

Digital Products on Checkout, all other products filled in 1 business day

Money Back
Money Back Guarantee

Yes, all products 100% Guaranteed

Support
BBB A+ Rating

The Best Rating possible

Payment
Secure Online Payment

Entire site uses SSL / Secure Certificate