Show ContentsBesse History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The name Besse 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 Besse family

The surname Besse 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 Besse family

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

Besse Spelling Variations

One can encounter great variation in the spelling of French surnames; in part, as spelling, and the spelling names was not yet standardized during the early development of the written French language. Later, there was much branching and movement of families, and spellings would change according to region. Variations of the name Besse 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 Besse family (pre 1700)

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

Besse Ranking

In France, the name Besse is the 373rd most popular surname with an estimated 11,226 people with that name. [2]

United States Besse migration to the United States +

In 1643, 109 years after the first landings by Cartier, there were only about 300 people in Quebec. Migration was slow. The fur trade attracted migrants, both noble and commoner. By 1675, there were 7000 French in Quebec. By the same year the French Acadian presence in the Maritimes had reached 500. The French founded Lower Canada, thus becoming one of the two great founding nations of Canada. The family name Besse has made many distinguished contributions in France and New France to the world of science, culture, religion, and education. Amongst the settlers in North America with this distinguished name Besse were

Besse Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Mrs. Besse, who arrived in Virginia in 1623 [3]
  • William Besse, who arrived in Virginia in 1623 [3]
  • William Besse, who landed in Virginia in 1652 [3]
  • Mr Besse, who landed in Virginia in 1658 [3]
  • Elizabeth Besse, who landed in Maryland in 1663 [3]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Besse Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Bertrand Besse, who arrived in Louisiana in 1718 [3]
Besse Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • August Besse, aged 23, who landed in New York, NY in 1852 [3]
  • Henrietta Besse, aged 21, who arrived in New York, NY in 1852 [3]
  • Johannes Besse, aged 5, who landed in New York in 1854 [3]
  • Conrad Besse, aged 11, who arrived in New York in 1854 [3]
  • Josephine Besse, aged 33, who landed in New York in 1854 [3]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Canada Besse migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Besse Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • Bryant Besse, who landed in Canada in 1828

Contemporary Notables of the name Besse (post 1700) +

  • Martial Besse, French soldier, who fought in the American civil and later became a General in the French army
  • Herman Besse (1911-1972), American baseball player
  • Ralph Moore Besse (b. 1905), American lawyer
  • Martial Besse, French Brigadier General during the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars from 1789 to 1815 [4]
  • Brigadier-General Jean Besse (1884-1954), French General Officer Commanding March Division Besse [5]
  • Jacques-Joseph-Marie Besse, French Priest and Legislator
  • Pierre-Alexandre-Charles Besse de la Romiguière, Magistrate and Legislator, Knight of the Legion of Honour, France

The Besse 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
  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. Generals Who Served in the French Army during the Period 1789-1815. (Retrieved 2015, February 11) Martial Besse. Retrieved from
  5. Generals of World War II. (Retrieved 2011, October 3) Jean Besse. Retrieved from on Facebook