Show ContentsBethel History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The Welsh name Bethel is a patronymic surname created from the Welsh personal name Ithel. The surname Bethel features the distinctive Welsh patronymic prefix "ab" or "ap," which mean "son of." The original form of the name was ab-Ithell, but the prefix has been assimilated into the surname over the course of time. [1]

Early Origins of the Bethel family

The surname Bethel was first found in Herefordshire, where they held a family seat from ancient times.

However, some of the family were found at Watton in the East Riding of Yorkshire at early times. "A great part of the soil belongs to Richard Bethell, Esq., whose family were long seated at Walton Abbey, a brick mansion in the Tudor style, with octagonal turrets, stone dressings and buttresses, and fine gardens attached; it is now, by permission of Mr. Bethell, the residence of the incumbent." [2]

Early History of the Bethel family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Bethel research. Another 183 words (13 lines of text) covering the years 1400, 1606, 1615, 1617, 1622, 1637, 1649, 1654, 1659, 1660, 1668, 1679, 1697 and 1820 are included under the topic Early Bethel History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Bethel Spelling Variations

There are relatively few surnames native to Wales, but they have an inordinately large number of spelling variations. Early variations of Welsh surnames can be explained by the fact that very few people in the early Middle Ages were literate. Priests and the few other literate people were responsible for recording names in official documents. And because most people could not specific how to properly record their names it was up to the individual recorder of that time to determine how a spoken name should be recorded. Variations due to the imprecise or improper recording of a name continued later in history when names originally composed in the Brythonic Celtic, language of Wales, known by natives as Cymraeg, were transliterated into English. Welsh names that were documented in English often changed dramatically since the native language of Wales, which was highly inflected, did not copy well. Occasionally, however, spelling variations were carried out according to an individual's specific design: a branch loyalty within the family, a religious adherence, or even patriotic affiliations could be indicated by minor variations. The spelling variations of the name Bethel have included Bethel, Bethell, Bithel, Bithell, Bythell, Bythel and others.

Early Notables of the Bethel family

Prominent amongst the family during the late Middle Ages was

  • Sir Walter Bethell (died 1622); Henry Bethall (c 1606-1668), an English politician who sat in the House of Commons in 1660; and Hugh Bethell (1615-1679), an English politician who sat in the House of...
  • Slingsby Bethel (1617-1697), was an English politician from Alne, North Yorkshire. He "was the third son of Sir Walter Bethel of Alne, Yorkshire, who married Mary, the second daughter of Sir Henry Sli...

Bethel Ranking

In the United States, the name Bethel is the 3,995th most popular surname with an estimated 7,461 people with that name. [3]

United States Bethel migration to the United States +

During the latter half of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th century, the people of Wales journeyed to North America to find a new life. They made major contributions to the arts, industry and commerce of both Canada and the United States, and added a rich cultural heritage to their newly adopted societies. A look at the immigration and passenger lists has shown a number of people bearing the name Bethel:

Bethel Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Hugh Bethel, who arrived in Virginia in 1690
Bethel Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Thomas Bethel, his wife Rebecca, and their daughter Rebecca, who settled in Virginia in 1714
  • Christo Bethel, who landed in Pennsylvania in 1753 [4]
Bethel Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • William Bethel, aged 16, who arrived in Key West, Fla in 1846 [4]
  • Jabez Bethel, aged 19, who landed in New York in 1854 [4]

Canada Bethel migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Bethel Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • Ann Bethel, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick in 1833
  • James Bethel, aged 25, a labourer, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick in 1833 aboard the ship "Ward" from Limerick, Ireland
  • Ann Bethel, aged 27, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick in 1833 aboard the ship "Ward" from Limerick, Ireland
  • Mary Bethel, aged 21, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick in 1833 aboard the ship "Ward" from Limerick, Ireland

Australia Bethel migration to Australia +

Emigration to Australia followed the First Fleets of convicts, tradespeople and early settlers. Early immigrants include:

Bethel Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • William Bethel, English convict from Lancaster, who was transported aboard the "Agincourt" on July 6, 1844, settling in Van Diemen's Land, Australia [5]
  • Henry Bethel, aged 23, a miner, who arrived in South Australia in 1855 aboard the ship "Bucephalus"

Contemporary Notables of the name Bethel (post 1700) +

  • Charlie Bethel, American politician, Member of the Georgia Senate from the 54th district (2001-)
  • Carrie McGowan Bethel (1898-1974), born Carrie McGowan, an American basketmaker associated with Yosemite National Park, one of her baskets fetched 216,250 US dollars in 2006
  • Brian C. Bethel (1969-2010), American actor
  • Wilson Bethel (b. 1984), American actor, known for his work on Hart of Dixie (2011), The Young and the Restless (1973) and 1968 Tunnel Rats (2008)
  • Alfred "Pepsi" Bethel (1918-2002), American jazz dancer and choreographer
  • Dawn Bethel (1933-2005), birth name of Sheree North, American two-time Primetime Emmy Award nominated actress, singer, and dancer
  • Paul D Bethel, American Republican politician from Florida [6]
  • Lieutenant L W Bethel, American Governor of Florida from 1881-85
  • Mike Bethel (b. 1990), Bahamas association footballer
  • Dr. Paulette A. Bethel, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of the Bahamas to the United Nations since 2003
  • ... (Another 1 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Prince of Wales colliery
  • Mr. Edwin Bethel (b. 1830), Welsh coal miner who was working at the Prince of Wales Colliery in Abercarn, Wales on the 11th September 1878 when there was a coal mine explosion; he died [7]

The Bethel 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: Ap Ithel
Motto Translation: Son of Ithel

  1. Lower, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  2. Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
  3. "What are the 5,000 Most Common Last Names in the U.S.?".,
  4. 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)
  5. State Library of Queensland. (Retrieved 2014, November 24) Agincourt voyage to Van Diemen's Land, Australia in 1844 with 226 passengers. Retrieved from
  6. The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2010, September 27) . Retrieved from
  7. Entombed in flood and flame (retrieved 3rd August 2021). Retrieved from on Facebook