Early Origins of the Bettenay family
The surname Bettenay 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 Bettenay family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Bettenay research.Another 209 words (15 lines of text) covering the years 1510, 1600 and 1504 are included under the topic Early Bettenay History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Bettenay Spelling Variations
Before the last few hundred
years the English language had no fixed system of spelling rules. For that reason, spelling variations
occurred commonly in Anglo Norman surnames. Over the years, many variations of the name Bettenay were recorded, including Bestney, Bestnee, Bestknee, Bestnie, Besny, Besnie, Besnee, Bester and many more.
Early Notables of the Bettenay family (pre 1700)
More information is included under the topic Early Bettenay Notables in all our PDF Extended History products
and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the Bettenay family to the New World and Oceana
The unstable environment in England
at this time caused numerous families to board ships and leave in search of opportunity and freedom from persecution abroad in places like Ireland
, and particularly the New World. The voyage was extremely difficult, however, and only taken at great expense. The cramped conditions and unsanitary nature of the vessels caused many to arrive diseased and starving, not to mention destitute from the enormous cost. Still opportunity in the emerging nations of Canada and the United States was far greater than at home and many went on to make important contributions to the cultures of their adopted countries. An examination of many early immigration records reveals that people bearing the name Bettenay arrived in North America very early: 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..