Below History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms
The name Below was carried to England in the enormous movement of people that followed the Norman Conquest of 1066. The Below 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. 
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. 
Early Origins of the Below family
The surname Below 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." 
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. 
Another source claims the name "is an old, though now a rare, Devonshire name."  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 Below family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Below 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 Below History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Below Spelling Variations
Endless spelling variations are a prevailing characteristic of Norman surnames. Old and Middle English lacked any definite spelling rules, and the introduction of Norman French added an unfamiliar ingredient to the English linguistic stew. French and Latin, the languages of the court, also influenced spellings. Finally, Medieval scribes generally spelled words according to how they sounded, so one person was often referred to by different spellings in different documents. The name has been spelled Bellew, Belew, Below, Bella and others.
Early Notables of the Below 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 Below Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the Below family to Ireland
Some of the Below 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.
| Below migration to the United States ||+|
To escape the political and religious persecution within England at the time, many English families left for the various British colonies abroad. The voyage was extremely difficult, though, and the cramped, dank ships caused many to arrive in the New World diseased and starving. But for those who made it, the trip was most often worth it. Many of the families who arrived went on to make valuable contributions to the emerging nations of Canada and the United States. An inquiry into the early roots of North American families reveals a number of immigrants bearing the name Below or a variant listed above:
Below Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
- Francis Below, who arrived in New York in 1795 
Below Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
- Frederick Below, aged 24, who landed in Delaware Bay in 1805 
- W. C. Below, who arrived in San Francisco in 1850
- Max Below, who settled in Texas in 1859
- Max Below, who settled in Texas in 1859 at the age of 19
- William Below, who settled in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1866
|Contemporary Notables of the name Below (post 1700) ||+|
- Fred Below (1926-1988), American blues drummer
- Otto Ernst Vinzent Leo von Below (1857-1944), Prussian general officer in the Imperial German Army during the First World War
- Gerd-Paul Valerian Georg Heinrich von Below (1892-1953), German World War II general, recipient of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross
- Fritz Theodor Carl von Below (1853-1918), Prussian general in the German Army during the First World War; he commanded troops during the Battle of the Somme, the Second Battle of the Aisne, and the German spring offensive in 1918
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.
- Arthur, William , An Etymological Dictionary of Family and Christian Names. London: 1857. Print
- 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)
- Lower, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
- Burke, John Bernard, The Roll of Battle Abbey. London: Edward Churton, 26, Holles Street, 1848, Print.
- Guppy, Henry Brougham, Homes of Family Names in Great Britain. 1890. Print.
- 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)