Early Origins of the Billens family
Yorkshire in the West Riding where they held a family seat as Lords of the Manor of Bilham. 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, CITATION[CLOSE]
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 of Bilham, held by a steward of the Count of Mortain, half brother of Duke William of Normandy who was recorded in the Domesday Book census of 1086.
Early History of the Billens family
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Billens Spelling Variations
Spelling variations were common, even among the names of the most literate people. Known variations of the Billens family name include Bilham, Billem, Billam, Billame, Billom and others.
Early Notables of the Billens family (pre 1700)
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Migration of the Billens family to the New World and Oceana
To escape the political and religious chaos of this era, thousands of English families began to migrate to the New World in search of land and freedom from religious and political persecution. The passage was expensive and the ships were dark, crowded, and unsafe; however, those who made the voyage safely were encountered opportunities that were not available to them in their homeland. Many of the families that reached the New World at this time went on to make important contributions to the emerging nations of the United States and Canada. Research into various historical records has revealed some of first members of the Billens family to immigrate North America: Auguste Billon, aged 32, who arrived at Ellis Island from Grenoble, in 1904; and Herve Billon, aged 49, who arrived at Ellis Island from Houlgate, in 1903..
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