Show ContentsBess History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The name Bess is an old Languedoc name. It comes from when the family lived in Languedoc included the southeastern portion of the Massif Central, a plateau in the south of France, and ran from the province of Rousillon, in the west, to the Rhône River, forming the border with Provence, in the east. Its capital was Toulouse. It was formed around the county of Toulouse. It was named after the language in use in the region. Langue d'oc means "the language that uses oc for yes," as opposed to the northern dialect, langue d'oïl, which means "the language that uses oïl for yes."

Early Origins of the Bess family

The surname Bess was first found in Languedoc, where the family were formerly seated.

"This great Norman house was divided into two branches, that gave their name to Bec-Crespin and Bec-en Caux, and claimed to descend from Duke Rollo's daughter Crispina, the wife of Grimaldi, Prince of Monaco. Other authorities derive them from Amfrid the Dane, whose son Turstin Goz is given as the common ancestor of the house of Avranches, Earls of Chester, and the Barons of Bec-Crespin, hereditary Constables of Normandy, and Castellans of Tillieres. " [1]

Early History of the Bess family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Bess research. Another 429 words (31 lines of text) covering the years 1234, 1271, 1292, 1307, 1529 and 1700 are included under the topic Early Bess History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Bess Spelling Variations

History has changed the spelling of most surnames. During the early development of the French language in the Middle Ages, a person gave his version of his name, phonetically, to a scribe, a priest, or a recorder. Some variables were adopted by different branches of the family name. Hence, there spelling variations of the name Bess, some of which include Bes, Bès, Besse, Bèse, Bez, Bec, Bèce, Bècce, Besses, Bess, Best, Beste, Bèze, Baiz, Baize, Baise, Baisse, Baisses, Le Bes, Le Bès, Le Besse, Le Bèse, Le Bez, Le Bec, Le Bèce, Le Bècce, Le Besses, Le Bess, Le Best, Le Beste, Le Bet, Le Bett, Le Bette, De Bèze, De Baiz, De Baize, De Baise, De Baisse, De Baisses, De Bes, De Bès, De Besse, De Bèse, De Bez, De Bec, De Bèce, De Bècce, De Besses, De Bess, De Best, De Beste, De Bet, De Bett and many more.

Early Notables of the Bess family (pre 1700)

More information is included under the topic Early Bess Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Bess Ranking

In the United States, the name Bess is the 2,697th most popular surname with an estimated 12,435 people with that name. [2]

United States Bess migration to the United States +

Immigration to New France was slow; therefore, early marriage was desperately encouraged amongst the immigrants. The fur trade attracted migrants, both noble and commoner. 15,000 explorers left Montreal in the late 17th and 18th centuries. By 1675, there were 7000 French in Quebec. By the same year the Acadian presence in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island had reached 500. In 1755, 10,000 French Acadians refused to take an oath of allegiance to England and were deported to Louisiana. The French founded Lower Canada, thus becoming one of the two great founding nations of Canada. The distinguished family name Bess has made significant contributions to the culture, arts, sciences and religion of France and New France. Amongst the settlers in North America with this distinguished name Bess were

Bess Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Mr Bess, who arrived in Virginia in 1663 [3]
  • William Bess, who arrived in Virginia in 1695 [3]
Bess Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Philip Bess, who landed in Pennsylvania in 1738 [3]
  • Christian Bess, who landed in Pennsylvania in 1754 [3]
  • James Bess, who settled in America in 1768
  • Simon Jacob Bess, who arrived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1772 [3]
Bess Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Edward Bess, aged 71, who arrived in Washington County, Pennsylvania in 1820 [3]
  • Leopold Bess, aged 42, settled in Philadelphia in 1822
  • Guntraus Bess, aged 17, who landed in New York in 1854 [3]
  • Juan De Bess, who arrived in Florida in 1863 [3]
  • Anna Bess, aged 15, settled in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in 1878
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Contemporary Notables of the name Bess (post 1700) +

  • Gerald D. Bess (b. 1958), former professional American NFL football cornerback from Pensacola, Florida
  • Gordon C. Bess (1929-1989), American cartoonist from Richfield, Utah, best known for the comic strip Redeye
  • Daniel Luke Bess (b. 1977), American television and film actor
  • Davone Atrayo Bess (b. 1985), American NFL football wide receiver for the Miami Dolphins
  • Georges Bess (b. 1947), French comics artist and comic book creator
  • Brandon Jeremy Bess (b. 1987), Guyan-born, international cricketer
  • Ardon Bess, Canadian Gemini Award nominated actor
  • Bess Chudoff, American Democratic Party politician, Alternate Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Pennsylvania, 1960 [4]
  • Bess Wallace Truman (1885-1982), American First Lady, wife of President Truman
  • Bess Streeter Aldrich (1871-1954), American author

The Bess 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: Animi viam monstrat eis
Motto Translation: Just for fun way to show them

  1. Cleveland, Dutchess of The Battle Abbey Roll with some Account of the Norman Lineages. London: John Murray, Abermarle Street, 1889. Print. Volume 1 of 3
  2. "What are the 5,000 Most Common Last Names in the U.S.?".,
  3. 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)
  4. The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2016, January 25) . Retrieved from on Facebook