Bissett History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

One of the most common classes of Scottish surnames is the patronymic surname, which arose out of the vernacular and religious naming traditions. The vernacular or regional naming tradition is the oldest and most pervasive type of patronymic surname. According to this custom, names were originally composed of vocabulary elements from the local language. Patronymic surnames of this type were usually derived from the personal name of the original bearer's father. The surname Bissett is derived from the ancient Teutonic personal name Biset, whose meaning is now lost.

Early Origins of the Bissett family

The surname Bissett 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]

Important Dates for the Bissett family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Bissett 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 Bissett History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Bissett Spelling Variations

Scottish surnames are distinguished by a multitude of spelling variations because, over the centuries, the names were frequently translated into and from Gaelic. 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 Bissett has also been spelled Bissett, Bisset, Bisside, Bisseth, Bizet, Biseth and others.

Early Notables of the Bissett 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 Bissett Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Migration of the Bissett family to Ireland

Some of the Bissett 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.

Bissett migration to the United States

Some of the first immigrants to cross the Atlantic and come to North America carried the name Bissett, or a variant listed above:

Bissett Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • George Bissett, who landed in America in 1786 [2]
Bissett Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • James George Bissett, who arrived in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1845 [2]

Bissett migration to Canada

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Bissett Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
  • Rev. George Bissett U.E. born in Newport, Rhode Island, USA from New York, USA who settled in Saint John, New Brunswick c. 1783 was the Rector for Trinity Church, New York [3]

Bissett 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:

Bissett Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Mr. Alexander Bissett, British settler travelling from London via Cobh aboard the ship "Sir George Pollock" arriving in Auckland, New Zealand on 5th September 1859 [4]
  • Mr. John Bissett, Scottish settler travelling from Glasgow aboard the ship "Robert Henderson" arriving in Bluff, Southland, South Island, New Zealand on 18th November 1863 [4]
  • Mrs. Bissett, Scottish settler travelling from Glasgow with 3 children aboard the ship "Peter Denny" arriving in Port Chalmers, Dunedin, Otago, South Island, New Zealand on 3rd September 1873 [4]

Contemporary Notables of the name Bissett (post 1700)

  • Josie Bissett (b. 1970), born Jolyn Christine Heutmaker, an American actress best known for her role as Jane Mancini on the television series Melrose Place
  • Phillip Douglas "Phil" Bissett (b. 1956), American politician, Member of the Maryland House of Delegates (1991-1999)
  • Alan Bissett (b. 1975), Scottish novelist and educator
  • William Davidson Bissett (1893-1971), Scottish recipient of the Victoria Cross for deeds in WWI, who later achieved the rank of major
  • George Finlay Bissett (1905-1965), South African cricketer who played in four Test matches in the 1927-28 season
  • David Bissett (b. 1954), Canadian gold and two-time silver medalist field hockey player
  • David Bissett (b. 1979), Canadian silver and bronze medalist bobsledder from Lethbridge, Alberta
  • Bill Bissett (b. 1939), Canadian poet, winner of the Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize (1993)

Historic Events for the Bissett family

Pan Am Flight 103 (Lockerbie)
  • Kenneth John Bissett (1967-1988), American Student from Hartsdale, New York, America, who flew aboard the Pan Am Flight 103 from Frankfurt to Detroit, known as the Lockerbie bombing in 1988 and died [5]


  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. ^ 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
  4. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 26th March 2019). Retrieved from
  5. ^ Pan Am Flight 103's victims: A list of those killed 25 years ago | (Retrieved 2014, April 9) . Retrieved from
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