Bester History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Early Origins of the Bester family

The surname Bester 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, [1] 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 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.


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
  • 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. ^ Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds., Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8)


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