Bessak History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms
The earliest forms of hereditary surnames in Scotland were the patronymic surnames, which are derived from the father's given name, and metronymic surnames, which are derived from the mother's given name. Scottish patronymic names emerged as early as the mid-9th century. The patronyms were derived from a variety of given names that were of many different origins. The surname Bessak is derived from the name "Byset or Bisset, a baronial name well known both in England and Normandy, and though not written in Domesday, to be met with as early as the reign of Henry I. William Biset, in 1130, held lands in Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire." 
"Sir Thomas Gray in his Scalacronica states that William the Lion in 1174, on his return from captivity in Falaise and in England, brought back young Englishmen of family to seek their fortune in the Scottish Court; and among these were named the "Biseys". The first of the name recorded in Scotland is Henricus Byset, who witnessed a charter by William the Lion granted before 1198. His son, John Byset, who witnessed a charter by Henry de Graham in 1204, was the individual who obtained from the king the grant of lands in the north." 
Early Origins of the Bessak family
The surname Bessak was first found in Ross-shire (Gaelic: Siorrachd Rois) a former county, now part of the Council Areas of Highland and Western Isles in Northern Scotland, which emerged from the Gaelic lordship of the Earl of Ross.
One of the first records of the family was Baldred Bisset or Bissait ( fl. 1303), a native of the county of Stirling who became Rector of Kinghorn, in the diocese of St. Andrews. "When in 1300 and 1301 a discussion arose between the pope Boniface VIII, King Edward of England, and the Scottish government, with regard to the independence of Scotland, Bisset was appointed one of the commissioners to the Pope to represent the claims of Scotland. " 
Thomas de Bessat witnessed a Paisley charter a. 1204, and in 1224 William Bisseth witnessed confirmation by Alexander II of a yar super Leven. Walter Biset witnessed a charter by Alexander II concerning the levying of tulls at the Cross of Schedenestun (Shettleston) in 1226, and in 1232 Walter Byseth and William Byset witnessed a charter by Alexander II to Gylandris MacLod in Brechin. 
Further south in England, Manser or Manasser Bisset, Lord of Kidderminster in Worcestershire, was Sewer to King Stephen, and in 1165 held a fee at Chaucy in the bailifry of Coutances. He was "one of the Witnesses to the Accord made betwixt that King and Henry Duke of Normandy, touching the Succession of the said Henry to the Crown of this Realm." Henry had no heir, and was succeeded by another Henry, his nephew, and then by John Biset, Chief Forester of England under Henry III., mentioned "at the great Tournament held at Northampton in 1241, occasioned by Peter de Savoy, Earl of Richmond, against Earl Roger Bigod." 
Early History of the Bessak family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Bessak research. Another 138 words (10 lines of text) covering the years 1066, 1174, 1198, 1242, 1395, 1486, 1568, 1679, 1758, 1834, 1782, 1758, 1771, 1775, 1779 and 1782 are included under the topic Early Bessak History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Bessak Spelling Variations
The frequent translations of surnames from and into Gaelic, accounts for the multitude of spelling variations found in Scottish surnames. Furthermore, the spelling of surnames was rarely consistent because medieval scribes and church officials recorded names as they sounded, rather than adhering to any specific spelling rules. The different versions of a surname, such as the inclusion of the patronymic prefix "Mac", frequently indicated a religious or Clan affiliation, or even a division of the family. Moreover, a large number of foreign names were brought into Scotland, accelerating accentuating the alterations to various surnames. The name Bessak has also been spelled Bissett, Bisset, Bisside, Bisseth, Bizet, Biseth and others.
Early Notables of the Bessak family (pre 1700)
Notable among the family at this time was Peter Bisset, Bissat or Bissart (d. 1568), Professor of Canon Law in the University of Bologna, Italy. He was a native of the county of Fife, and a descendant by a previous marriage of Sir Thomas Bisset...
Another 45 words (3 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Bessak Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the Bessak family to Ireland
Some of the Bessak family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 118 words (8 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the Bessak family
Some of the first North American settlers with Bessak name or one of its variants: Elly Bisset who settled in Carolina in 1695; James Bisset settled in New England in 1752.
Related Stories +
The Bessak 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 Translation: I flourish again.
- ^ 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
- ^ 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)
- ^ Smith, George (ed), Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1885-1900. Print