Early Origins of the Besney family
The surname Besney was first found in Hertfordshire
where they held a family seat
as Lords of the Manor. After the Battle of Hastings in 1066, William, Duke of Normandy
, having prevailed over King Harold, granted most of Britain to his many victorious Barons. It was not uncommon to find a Baron
, or a Bishop, with 60 or more Lordships scattered throughout the country. These he gave to his sons, nephews and other junior lines of his family and they became known as under-tenants. They adopted the Norman system of surnames which identified the under-tenant with his holdings so as to distinguish him from the senior stem of the family. After many rebellious wars between his Barons, Duke William, commissioned a census of all England
to determine in 1086, settling once and for all, who held which land. He called the census the Domesday Book
Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds., Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8)
indicating that those holders registered would hold the land until the end of time. Hence, conjecturally, the surname is descended from the tenant
of the lands at St.Albans, held by a steward of St.Albans Church who was recorded in the Domesday Book
census of 1086.
Early History of the Besney family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Besney research.Another 209 words (15 lines of text) covering the years 1510, 1600 and 1504 are included under the topic Early Besney History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Besney Spelling Variations
Multitudes of spelling variations
are a hallmark of Anglo Norman names. Most of these names evolved in the 11th and 12th century, in the time after the Normans
introduced their own Norman French language into a country where Old and Middle English had no spelling rules and the languages of the court were French and Latin. To make matters worse, medieval scribes spelled words according to sound, so names frequently appeared differently in the various documents in which they were recorded. The name was spelled Bestney, Bestnee, Bestknee, Bestnie, Besny, Besnie, Besnee, Bester and many more.
Early Notables of the Besney family (pre 1700)
More information is included under the topic Early Besney Notables in all our PDF Extended History products
and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the Besney family to the New World and Oceana
Because of this political and religious unrest within English society, many people decided to immigrate to the colonies. Families left for Ireland
, North America, and Australia
in enormous numbers, traveling at high cost in extremely inhospitable conditions. The New World in particular was a desirable destination, but the long voyage caused many to arrive sick and starving. Those who made it, though, were welcomed by opportunities far greater than they had known at home in England
. Many of these families went on to make important contributions to the emerging nations of Canada and the United States. Analysis of immigration records indicates that some of the first North American immigrants bore the name Besney or a variant listed above: Andreas F. Bester, aged 37, who arrived at Ellis Island
from Colesburg, S. Africa, in 1912; and Andrew James Bester, aged 34, who arrived at Ellis Island
from London, in 1903..