Bee History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The name is derived from the Old English word "beo," which is modernized as "bee." Accordingly, the name is a nickname for someone who was "busy as a bee."

Early Origins of the Bee family

The surname Bee was first found in Oxfordshire where one of the first records of the name was Walter le Be who was listed there in 1195. A few years later Robert Be was listed in the Curia Regis Rolls of Yorkshire in 1198. William le Beo was listed in the Assize Rolls of Somerset in 1243. [1]

Later, Alicia Bee was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax Rolls of 1379 and Thomas Bee was in 1447 listed in Northumberland and Durham. [2]

By 1305 they had moved north, probably in the train of Earl David of Huntingdon, who became King David of Scotland, to Dundee, where they also held estates giving birth to the Scottish Bees. There they adopted the spelling of Bie and settled in Hill in Dundee. Captain Stephen le Bie made payment of his dues in 1305. They later branched to Edinburgh, and also to Boreland of Colvend of Dumfriesshire. [3]

Early History of the Bee family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Bee research. Another 102 words (7 lines of text) covering the years 1940, 1756, 1636, 1637, 1621, 1637 and 1660 are included under the topic Early Bee History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Bee Spelling Variations

Until quite recently, the English language has lacked a definite system of spelling rules. Consequently, Anglo-Saxon surnames are characterized by a multitude of spelling variations. Changes in Anglo-Saxon names were influenced by the evolution of the English language, as it incorporated elements of French, Latin, and other languages. Although Medieval scribes and church officials recorded names as they sounded, so it is common to find one person referred to by several different spellings of his surname, even the most literate people varied the spelling of their own names. Variations of the name Bee include Bee, Bea, Bie, Bees and others.

Early Notables of the Bee family (pre 1700)

Notables of this surname at this time include: Cornelius Bee, English bookseller in London; Little Britain, 1636-1637. "He was the son of Thomas Bee, citizen and haberdasher, of London, whose will was proved May 28th, 1621. He appears to have been a man of some capital, and joined Laurence Sadler, in 1637 in the publication of the Atlas...
Another 58 words (4 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Bee Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Bee Ranking

In the United States, the name Bee is the 8,222nd most popular surname with an estimated 2,487 people with that name. [4] However, in France, the name Bee is ranked the 5,905th most popular surname with an estimated 1,315 people with that name. [5]

Ireland Migration of the Bee family to Ireland

Some of the Bee family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. More information about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

United States Bee migration to the United States +

Searching for a better life, many English families migrated to British colonies. Unfortunately, the majority of them traveled 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 ocean. For those families that arrived safely, modest prosperity was attainable, and many went on to make invaluable contributions to the development of the cultures of the new colonies. Research into the origins of individual families in North America revealed records of the immigration of a number of people bearing the name Bee or a variant listed above:

Bee Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Jo Bee, aged 17, who landed in Bermuda in 1635 [6]
  • James Bee who settled in Virginia in 1651
  • James Bee, who arrived in Virginia in 1651 [6]
  • Susanna Bee, who landed in Maryland in 1672 [6]
  • Sarah Bee, who arrived in Maryland in 1677 [6]
Bee Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Richard Bee, who landed in Virginia in 1701 [6]
  • Captain Thomas Bee, who settled in Boston Massachusetts in 1766
  • Thomas Bee, who arrived in America in 1798 [6]
Bee Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Charles Bée who settled in Philadelphia in 1828
  • A Bee, aged 52, who arrived in Baltimore, Maryland in 1847 [6]
  • Arnold Joh Bee, who arrived in St Louis, Missouri in 1848 [6]
  • Ann Bee, aged 44, who arrived in New York in 1854 [6]
  • William Bee, aged 44, who arrived in New York in 1854 [6]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Australia Bee migration to Australia +

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

Bee Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Miss Mary Bee, (b. 1817), aged 24, English nursery maid who was convicted in Lancaster, Lancashire, England for 7 years for stealing, transported aboard the "Emma Eugenia" on 16th November 1841, arriving in Tasmania (Van Diemen's Land), she died in 1852 [7]
  • John Allan Bee, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Trafalgar" in 1849 [8]
  • John Tallant Bee, aged 36, a farm labourer, who arrived in South Australia in 1849 aboard the ship "Trafalgar" [8]
  • Rosina Bee, aged 22, a domestic servant, who arrived in South Australia in 1856 aboard the ship "Navarino" [9]

New Zealand Bee 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:

Bee Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Francis Bee, who landed in Wellington, New Zealand in 1842
  • Francis Bee, aged 21, a baker, who arrived in Port Nicholson aboard the ship "London" in 1842
  • Ann Bee, aged 19, who arrived in Port Nicholson aboard the ship "London" in 1842
  • Ellen Bee, aged 10 weeks, who arrived in Port Nicholson aboard the ship "London" in 1842
  • Mr. Isaac Bee, (b. 1838), aged 25, British labourer travelling from London, UK aboard the ship "Brothers Pride" arriving in Lyttelton, South Island, New Zealand on 8th December 1863 [10]

Contemporary Notables of the name Bee (post 1700) +

  • Clair Francis Bee (1896-1983), American University basketball coach
  • Thomas Bee, American planter, lawyer, and judge, who served as Lieutenant Governor of South Carolina (1779-1780)
  • Molly Bee (1940-2009), American country singer ("I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus")
  • Keith A. Bee, American Republican politician, Member of Arizona State House of Representatives, 1991-92; Member of Arizona State Senate, 1993-96
  • James W. Bee, American Republican politician, Postmaster at Parkersburg, West Virginia, 1928-33 (acting, 1928)
  • Hamilton Prioleau Bee (1822-1897), American politician, Member of Texas State House of Representatives, 1849-59; Speaker of the Texas State House of Representatives, 1855-57
  • Ephraim Bee (1802-1888), American politician, Member of West Virginia State House of Delegates from Doddridge County, 1863, 1866-67
  • E. R. Bee, American politician, Member of Nebraska State House of Representatives, 1895
  • Charles H. Bee, American Republican politician, Delegate to Republican National Convention from Pennsylvania, 1936
  • Carlos Bee, American Democratic Party politician, Mayor of Hayward, California, 1952; Delegate to Democratic National Convention from California, 1960, 1964
  • ... (Another 5 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

  1. ^ Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  2. ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  3. ^ 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)
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^ 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)
  7. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 30th March 2022). Retrieved from
  8. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) The TRAFALGAR 1849. Retrieved from
  9. ^ South Australian Register Friday 22nd February 1856. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) Navarino 1856. Retrieved
  10. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 17th October 2018). Retrieved from on Facebook