Bisset History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The earliest forms of hereditary surnames in Scotland were the patronymic surnames, which are derived from the father's given name, and metronymic surnames, which are derived from the mother's given name. Scottish patronymic names emerged as early as the mid-9th century. The patronyms were derived from a variety of given names that were of many different origins. The surname Bisset is derived from the ancient Teutonic personal name Biset, whose meaning is now lost.

Early Origins of the Bisset family

The surname Bisset was first found in Ross-shire (Gaelic: Siorrachd Rois) a former county, now part of the Council Areas of Highland and Western Isles in Northern Scotland, which emerged from the Gaelic lordship of the Earl of Ross.

One of the first records of the family was Baldred Bisset or Bissait ( fl. 1303), a native of the county of Stirling who became Rector of Kinghorn, in the diocese of St. Andrews. "When in 1300 and 1301 a discussion arose between the pope Boniface VIII, King Edward of England, and the Scottish government, with regard to the independence of Scotland, Bisset was appointed one of the commissioners to the Pope to represent the claims of Scotland. " [1]

Early History of the Bisset family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Bisset research. Another 113 words (8 lines of text) covering the years 1066, 1174, 1198, 1242, 1568, 1679, 1758, 1834, 1782, 1758, 1771, 1775, 1779 and 1782 are included under the topic Early Bisset History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Bisset Spelling Variations

The frequent translations of surnames from and into Gaelic, accounts for the multitude of spelling variations found in Scottish surnames. Furthermore, the spelling of surnames was rarely consistent because medieval scribes and church officials recorded names as they sounded, rather than adhering to any specific spelling rules. The different versions of a surname, such as the inclusion of the patronymic prefix "Mac", frequently indicated a religious or Clan affiliation, or even a division of the family. Moreover, a large number of foreign names were brought into Scotland, accelerating accentuating the alterations to various surnames. The name Bisset has also been spelled Bissett, Bisset, Bisside, Bisseth, Bizet, Biseth and others.

Early Notables of the Bisset family (pre 1700)

Notable among the family at this time was Peter Bisset, Bissat or Bissart (d. 1568), Professor of Canon Law in the University of Bologna, Italy. He was a native of the county of Fife, and a descendant by a previous marriage of Sir Thomas Bisset...
Another 45 words (3 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Bisset Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the Bisset family to Ireland

Some of the Bisset family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 118 words (8 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Bisset migration to the United States +

Some of the first North American settlers with Bisset name or one of its variants:

Bisset Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Elly Bisset who settled in Carolina in 1695
Bisset Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • James Bisset, who settled in New England in 1752
Bisset Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • George Bisset, aged 32, who arrived in New York in 1812 [2]
  • Robert Bisset, aged 34, who landed in Mobile, Ala in 1874 [2]

Australia Bisset migration to Australia +

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

Bisset Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century

New Zealand Bisset migration to New Zealand +

Emigration to New Zealand followed in the footsteps of the European explorers, such as Captain Cook (1769-70): first came sealers, whalers, missionaries, and traders. By 1838, the British New Zealand Company had begun buying land from the Maori tribes, and selling it to settlers, and, after the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840, many British families set out on the arduous six month journey from Britain to Aotearoa to start a new life. Early immigrants include:

Bisset Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Mr. Christopher Bisset, (b. 1834), aged 28, Scottish shepherd, from Stirlingshire travelling from London aboard the ship "Queen of Mersey" arriving in Lyttelton, Christchurch, Southland, South Island, New Zealand on 20th October 1862 [4]
  • Mrs. Ann Bisset, (b. 1835), aged 27, Scottish shepherd, from Stirlingshire travelling from London aboard the ship "Queen of Mersey" arriving in Lyttelton, Christchurch, Southland, South Island, New Zealand on 20th October 1862 [4]
  • Mr. William Bisset, (b. 1842), aged 32, Scottish farm labourer, from Aberdeen travelling from Greenock aboard the ship "Nelson" arriving in Port Chalmers, Dunedin, Otago, South Island, New Zealand on 31st December 1874 [5]
  • Mrs. Bisset, (b. 1843), aged 31, Scottish settler, from Aberdeen travelling from Greenock aboard the ship "Nelson" arriving in Port Chalmers, Dunedin, Otago, South Island, New Zealand on 31st December 1874 [5]
  • Miss Margaret Bisset, (b. 1871), aged 3, Scottish settler, from Aberdeen travelling from Greenock aboard the ship "Nelson" arriving in Port Chalmers, Dunedin, Otago, South Island, New Zealand on 31st December 1874 [5]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Contemporary Notables of the name Bisset (post 1700) +

  • Jack Bisset (1900-1966), Australian rules footballer
  • Jacqueline Bisset (b. 1944), English four-time Golden Globe nominated and Emmy Award nominated actress, recipient of the Légion d'honneur in 2010
  • Sir James Gordon Partridge Bisset KT, CBE, RD, RNR, LL.D (1883-1967), British merchant sea captain who served as Commodore of the Cunard White Star Line (1944–47)
  • Donald Bisset (1910-1995), British children's book writer, artist, stage director and actor
  • Andrew Bisset (1953-2005), Australian author, music educator and singer


The Bisset 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: Reviresco
Motto Translation: I flourish again.


  1. ^ Smith, George (ed), Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1885-1900. Print
  2. ^ 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)
  3. ^ State Library of Queensland. (Retrieved 2014, November 18) Aboukir voyage to Van Diemen's Land and Norfolk Island. [These convicts appear to have all landed in Van Diemen's Land], Australia in 1851 with 280 passengers. Retrieved from http://www.convictrecords.com.au/ships/aboukir/1851
  4. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 26th March 2019). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
  5. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 17th October 2018). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html


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