Early Origins of the Bestnay family
The surname Bestnay 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
Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds., Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8)
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 Bestnay family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Bestnay research.Another 209 words (15 lines of text) covering the years 1510, 1600 and 1504 are included under the topic Early Bestnay History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Bestnay Spelling Variations
A multitude of spelling variations
characterize Norman surnames. Many variations occurred because Old and Middle English lacked any definite spelling rules. The introduction of Norman French to England
also had a pronounced effect, as did the court languages of Latin and French. Therefore, one person was often referred to by several different spellings in a single lifetime. The various spellings include Bestney, Bestnee, Bestknee, Bestnie, Besny, Besnie, Besnee, Bester and many more.
Early Notables of the Bestnay family (pre 1700)
More information is included under the topic Early Bestnay Notables in all our PDF Extended History products
and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the Bestnay family to the New World and Oceana
Many English families left England
, to avoid the chaos of their homeland and migrated to the many British colonies abroad. Although the conditions on the ships were extremely cramped, and some travelers arrived diseased, starving, and destitute, once in the colonies, many of the families prospered and made valuable contributions to the cultures of what would become the United States and Canada. Research into the origins of individual families in North America has revealed records of the immigration of a number of people bearing the name Bestnay or a variant listed above: Andreas F. Bester, aged 37, who arrived at Ellis Island
from Colesburg, S. Africa, in 1912; and Andrew James Bester, aged 34, who arrived at Ellis Island
from London, in 1903..