Show ContentsBella History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Bella is one of the many names that the Normans brought with them when they conquered England in 1066. The Bella family lived in Yorkshire. The name, however, refers to the region of Belleau or Bella Aqua in France, both of which translate as good water or clear water. [1]

The name also stretched north into Scotland where "Gilbert de Beleawe witnessed gift of the 'eschalingas i Lambremore' to the church of Kelso by William de Vyerpunt c. 1160. [2]

Early Origins of the Bella family

The surname Bella was first found in Yorkshire, where the name is "probably of Norman origin, meaning bel-eau, in Latin, Bella-aqua, the fair water; the designation of some locality. John be Bellew was a Baron of Parliament temp. Edward I." [3]

The family claim that the founder of the Bellews was a marshal in the army of the Conqueror. Some of the eighteen knights who were in direct succession settled in Ireland at Bellewstown, in the county of Meath and in Louth in the 13th century. [4]

Another source claims the name "is an old, though now a rare, Devonshire name." [5] This source also notes that the family had been lords of the manor of Stockleigh-English for more than 150 years.

Early History of the Bella family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Bella research. Another 77 words (6 lines of text) covering the years 1720, 1805, 1585, 1585, 1575, 1585, 1848, 1798 and 1866 are included under the topic Early Bella History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Bella 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 Bellew, Belew, Below, Bella and others.

Early Notables of the Bella family (pre 1700)

Outstanding amongst the family at this time was Richard Bellew (fl. 1585), English legal reporter, "published in 1585 an abridgment of the reports of Statham Fitzherbert and Brooke, described by...
Another 30 words (2 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Bella Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Bella Ranking

In the United States, the name Bella is the 15,273rd most popular surname with an estimated 2,487 people with that name. [6]

Ireland Migration of the Bella family to Ireland

Some of the Bella family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 87 words (6 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

United States Bella 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 Bella name or one of its variants:

Bella Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • John Bella, who landed in Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania in 1763 [7]
  • Philip Bella, who landed in New York in 1796 [7]
  • Sophie Bella, who arrived in Pennsylvania in 1797 [7]
Bella Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Marino Bella, aged 16, who arrived in New Orleans, La in 1825 [7]
  • Fe Bella, aged 30, who landed in New Orleans, La in 1825 [7]
  • Gerquina Bella, aged 30, who landed in New Orleans, La in 1837 [7]
  • Mauricio Bella, who landed in San Francisco, California in 1851 [7]
  • Charles Bella, who arrived in St Clair County, Illinois in 1856 [7]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Contemporary Notables of the name Bella (post 1700) +

  • Joseph Di Bella, American politician, Mayor of Howell Township, New Jersey, 2007 [8]
  • Mahjoub Ben Bella (1946-2020), Algerian-born French painter and designer
  • Bella Emberg (1937-2018), born Sybil Dyke, an English comedy actress from Brighton, Sussex, known for her work on The Benny Hill Show, The Russ Abbot Show and Bear Behaving Badly
  • Bella Bellow (1945-1973), Togolese singer
  • Bella Freud (b. 1961), London-based fashion designer
  • Bella Abzug (b. 1920), American feminist/lawyer/politician
  • Bella Waldman, American politician, Candidate for Justice of New York Supreme Court 2nd District, 1935 [9]
  • Bella Torrillo, American Republican politician, Presidential Elector for New York, 1972; Presidential Elector for New York, 1972 [10]
  • Bella Meese, American Republican politician, Delegate to Republican National Convention from California, 1988 [11]
  • Bella C. Westfall, American Democratic Party politician, Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Washington, 1916 [12]

The Bella 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: Tout d'en haut
Motto Translation: All from above.

  1. Arthur, William , An Etymological Dictionary of Family and Christian Names. London: 1857. Print
  2. 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)
  3. Lower, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  4. Burke, John Bernard, The Roll of Battle Abbey. London: Edward Churton, 26, Holles Street, 1848, Print.
  5. Guppy, Henry Brougham, Homes of Family Names in Great Britain. 1890. Print.
  6. "What are the 5,000 Most Common Last Names in the U.S.?".,
  7. 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)
  8. The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, December 10) . Retrieved from
  9. The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, December 1) . Retrieved from
  10. The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, November 12) . Retrieved from
  11. The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2016, January 14) . Retrieved from
  12. The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, November 4) . Retrieved from on Facebook