Bester History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Early Origins of the Bester family

The surname Bester was first found in Huntingdonshire, where J. le Bestere was listed in the Hundredorum Rolls of 1279. A few years later, R. Bestare was listed at Colchester in 1311. The name is generally believed to be derived from the Middle English word beste, meaning a herdsman. [1]

Another source notes that name could have originated 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. 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. [2]

Early History of the Bester family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Bester research. Another 105 words (8 lines of text) covering the years 1510, 1600 and 1504 are included under the topic Early Bester History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Bester Spelling Variations

It is only in the last few hundred years that the English language has been standardized. For that reason, Anglo-Norman surnames like Bester are characterized by many spelling variations. Scribes and monks in the Middle Ages spelled names they sounded, so it is common to find several variations that refer to a single person. As the English language changed and incorporated elements of other European languages such as Norman French and Latin, even literate people regularly changed the spelling of their names. The variations of the name Bester include Bestney, Bestnee, Bestknee, Bestnie, Besny, Besnie, Besnee, Bester and many more.

Early Notables of the Bester family (pre 1700)

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

Bester Ranking

In the United States, the name Bester is the 12,895th most popular surname with an estimated 2,487 people with that name. [3] However, in South Africa, the name Bester is ranked the 234th most popular surname with an estimated 28,813 people with that name. [4]


United States Bester migration to the United States +

Faced with the chaos present in England at that time, many English families looked towards the open frontiers of the New World with its opportunities to escape oppression and starvation. People migrated to North America, as well as Australia and Ireland in droves, paying exorbitant rates for passages in cramped, unsafe ships. Many of the settlers did not make the long passage alive, but those who did see the shores of North America were welcomed with great opportunity. Many of the families that came from England went on to make essential contributions to the emerging nations of Canada and the United States. Some of the first immigrants to cross the Atlantic and come to North America carried the name Bester, or a variant listed above:

Bester Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Nora Bester, aged 11, who settled in America from Elfkarleby, in 1895
Bester Settlers in United States in the 20th Century
  • Andrew James Bester, aged 34, who immigrated to the United States from London, in 1903
  • Mrs. John D. Bester, aged 73, who landed in America from England, in 1905
  • Andreas F. Bester, aged 37, who landed in America from Colesburg, S. Africa, in 1912
  • William A. Bester, aged 21, who landed in America from Pretoria, S. Africa, in 1921

Contemporary Notables of the name Bester (post 1700) +

  • Rolly Goulko Bester (1917-1984), American actress, wife of science fiction author Alfred Bester, probably best known for her voice role as Lois Lane on The Adventures of Superman
  • Alfred Bester (1913-1987), American science fiction author, winner of the first Hugo Award in 1953 for his novel The Demolished Man
  • Lieb Bester (1949-2021), South African actor and musician, best known for his role as Fritz Retief in kykNET's soap opera, Villa Rosa
  • Marinus Bester (b. 1969), retired German football striker
  • Allan Bester (b. 1964), retired Canadian professional NHL ice hockey goaltender from Hamilton, Ontario
  • Rudolf Bester (b. 1983), Namibian football striker
  • Philip Bester (b. 1988), Canadian professional tennis player from North Vancouver, British Columbia


  1. ^ Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  2. ^ Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds., Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8)
  3. ^ https://namecensus.com/most_common_surnames.htm
  4. ^ https://forebears.io/south-africa/surnames


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