Show ContentsBissell History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Bissell is a name whose history on English soil dates back to the wave of migration that followed the Norman Conquest of England in 1066. The name Bissell comes from a person involved in the measuring and trading of corn. The name springs from the Old English root bushel, which is a measure of volume which is still in use today. [1]

Another derivation of the name suggests that it stems from the Norman French root bichelle, which means hind or deer. Which derivation is applicable depends on the geographic roots of the particular family group in question.

Alternatively the name could have originated at Bossall, a parish, partly in the wapentake of Birdforth, but chiefly in that of Bulmer, North Riding of Yorkshire. "The village was formerly large, but at present consists of only three or four houses: foundations of buildings have been discovered in an adjoining field, thence called 'Old Bossall.' "[2]

There is good reason to believe the family originated in Devon. [3] Here the chapelry, and formerly a market-town of Newton-Bushell is found in the hundred of Teignbridge. "This place received its distinguishing appellation from Robert Bussell or Bushell, foster-child and kinsman of Theobald de English Ville; he was made lord of the manor by Henry III., in 1246, and granted to the inhabitants a charter for a market." [2]

Early Origins of the Bissell family

The surname Bissell was first found in Somerset where Roger Buissel was listed in the Domesday Book of 1086. [4] Years later, Alan Buscel was a Yeoman of Cheshire c. 1140 and Richard Bussell was listed in the Pipe Rolls of Bedfordshire in 1200. The Assize Rolls for Somerset in 1243 included Richard Buschel. [1]

The Hundredorum Rolls of 1273 included: Geoffrey Buscel, Norfolk; Reginald Buscel, Norfolk; William Bushel, Huntingdonshire; and John Bussel, Cambridgeshire. [5]

Another source notes that "Stephan Bussel man (i.e. the servant of Bussel)" was registered in Somerset, 1 Edward III (during the first year of the reign of King Edward III) as was Robert Busshel. [6]

The Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379 includes: Margareta Bosell; Johannes Bussell; Laurencius Bossell; and Johanna Bossell. [5]

Early History of the Bissell family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Bissell research. Another 115 words (8 lines of text) covering the years 1793 and 1807 are included under the topic Early Bissell History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Bissell Spelling Variations

Norman surnames are characterized by a multitude of spelling variations. The frequent changes in surnames are largely due to the fact that the Old and Middle English languages lacked definite spelling rules. The introduction of Norman French to England, as well as the official court languages of Latin and French, also had pronounced influences on the spelling of surnames. Since medieval scribes and church officials recorded names as they sounded, rather than adhering to any specific spelling rules, it was common to find the same individual referred to with different spellings. The name has been spelled Bissell, Bichell and others.

Early Notables of the Bissell family (pre 1700)

More information is included under the topic Early Bissell Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Bissell Ranking

In the United States, the name Bissell is the 6,883rd most popular surname with an estimated 4,974 people with that name. [7]

United States Bissell migration to the United States +

Many English families emigrated to North American colonies in order to escape the political chaos in Britain at this time. Unfortunately, many English families made the trip to the New World under extremely harsh conditions. Overcrowding on the ships caused the majority of the immigrants to arrive diseased, famished, and destitute from the long journey across the stormy Atlantic. Despite these hardships, many of the families prospered and went on to make invaluable contributions to the development of the cultures of the United States and Canada. Early North American immigration records have revealed a number of people bearing the name Bissell or a variant listed above:

Bissell Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • John Bissell, who landed in New England in 1640 [8]
  • Thomas Bissell who settled in Virginia in 1663
  • John Bissell who arrived in west New Jersey in 1664
Bissell Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Josias Bissell, who arrived in Virginia in 1703 [8]
  • William Bissell, who arrived in Virginia in 1711 [8]
  • William Bissell, who landed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1715 [8]
  • Samuel Bissell, who arrived in New England in 1717 [8]
  • Josiah Bissell, who landed in Virginia in 1717 [8]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Bissell Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Charles Bissell, who arrived in New York City in 1822
  • G W P Bissell, who landed in San Francisco, California in 1850 [8]
  • Capt. Bissell, who landed in San Francisco, California in 1851 [8]
  • Captain Bissell, who arrived in San Francisco, California in 1851 [8]
  • C F Bissell, who landed in San Francisco, California in 1851 [8]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Canada Bissell migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Bissell Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
  • Mr. David Bissell, "Bijsle" U.E. from Vermont, USA who settled in Augusta Township, Grenville County, Ontario c. 1783 married to Sarah Goodrich they had 11 children who traveled with him, he settled in an area that became known as Bisselltown in 1785 was known to help Thomase in the community to be less fortunate than them with free food during the famine of 1787 [9]

Contemporary Notables of the name Bissell (post 1700) +

  • Franklin Gene Bissell (1926-2016), American football player and coach
  • Tom Bissell (b. 1974), American journalist, critic, video game advocate and fiction writer
  • Wilson Shannon Bissell (1847-1903), American politician, 36th United States Postmaster General (1893-1895)
  • Richard Pike Bissell (1913-1977), American Tony award winning author of short stories and novels
  • Daniel Perez Bissell (1802-1874), American physician and politician in New York from Randolph, Orange County, Vermont
  • General Daniel Bissell (1768-1833), American soldier and administrator during the War of 1812
  • Daniel Bissell (1754-1824), American soldier and spy for the Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War who posed as a deserter in New York under direct orders of General George Washington
  • Walter Patrick Bissell (1957-1987), American leading principal dancer with the American Ballet Theatre
  • Anna Sutherland Bissell (1846-1934), Canadian-born, American wife of Melville Bissell, president and later chair of the board of the Bissell Corporation
  • Richard Mervin Bissell Jr. (1909-1994), American Central Intelligence Agency officer responsible for the Bay of Pigs Invasion
  • ... (Another 10 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

  1. Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  2. Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
  3. Lower, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  4. Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds., Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8)
  5. Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  6. Dickinson, F.H., Kirby's Quest for Somerset of 16th of Edward the 3rd London: Harrison and Sons, Printers in Ordinary to Her Majesty, St, Martin's Lane, 1889. Print.
  7. "What are the 5,000 Most Common Last Names in the U.S.?".,
  8. 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)
  9. Rubincam, Milton. The Old United Empire Loyalists List. Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc, 1976. (Originally published as; United Empire Loyalists. The Centennial of the Settlement of Upper Canada. Rose Publishing Company, 1885.) ISBN 0-8063-0331-X on Facebook