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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright 2000 - 2016


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The first dictionaries that appeared in the last few hundred years did much to standardize the English language. Before that time, spelling variations in names were a common occurrence. The language was changing, incorporating pieces of other languages, and the spelling of names changed with it. Bitter has been spelled many different ways, including Bitterley, Bitterly, Biterley, Biterley and others.

First found in Sussex where they held a family seat as Lords of the Manor. The Saxon influence of English history diminished after the Battle of Hastings in 1066. The language of the courts was French for the next three centuries and the Norman ambience prevailed. But Saxon surnames survived and the family name was first referenced in the year 13th century.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Bitter research. Another 139 words (10 lines of text) covering the years 1455 and 1487 are included under the topic Early Bitter History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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More information is included under the topic Early Bitter Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Thousands of English families in this era began to emigrate the New World in search of land and freedom from religious and political persecution. Although the passage was expensive and the ships were dark, crowded, and unsafe, those who made the voyage safely were rewarded with opportunities unavailable to them in their homeland. Research into passenger and immigration lists has revealed some of the very first Bitters to arrive in North America:

Bitter Settlers in United States in the 18th Century


  • Johannes Bitter, who arrived in America in 1750
  • Lucia Bitter, who landed in Pennsylvania in 1750
  • Johan Jacob Bitter, who landed in Pennsylvania in 1751
  • Lawrence Bitter, who landed in Pennsylvania in 1761

Bitter Settlers in United States in the 19th Century


  • Heinrich Bitter, who landed in Texas in 1845
  • Ferdinand Franz Bitter, who arrived in America in 1846
  • John Bitter, who arrived in St Clair County, Illinois in 1860

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  • William Benz "Billy" Bitter (b. 1988), American lacrosse player
  • Karl Theodore Francis Bitter, American ( Austria born) sculptor
  • Johannes Bitter (b. 1982), German team handball player and goalkeeper
  • Theodorus "Theo" Bitter (1916-1994), Dutch graphic artist


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  1. Bowman, George Ernest. The Mayflower Reader A Selection of Articales from The Mayflower Descendent. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  2. Crozier, William Armstrong Edition. Crozier's General Armory A Registry of American Families Entitled to Coat Armor. New York: Fox, Duffield, 1904. Print.
  3. Leeson, Francis L. Dictionary of British Peerages. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1986. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-1121-5).
  4. Hanks, Hodges, Mills and Room. The Oxford Names Companion. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002. Print. (ISBN 0-19-860561-7).
  5. Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin . Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8).
  6. Robb H. Amanda and Andrew Chesler. Encyclopedia of American Family Names. New York: Haper Collins, 1995. Print. (ISBN 0-06-270075-8).
  7. Skordas, Guest. Ed. The Early Settlers of Maryland an Index to Names or Immigrants Complied from Records of Land Patents 1633-1680 in the Hall of Records Annapolis, Maryland. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1968. Print.
  8. Burke, Sir Bernard. Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Peerage and Baronetage, The Privy Council, Knightage and Compainonage. London: Burke Publishing, 1921. Print.
  9. Holt, J.C. Ed. Domesday Studies. Woodbridge: Boydell, 1987. Print. (ISBN 0-85115-477-8).
  10. Burke, Sir Bernard. General Armory Of England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales. Ramsbury: Heraldry Today. Print.
  11. ...

The Bitter Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Bitter Family Crest was drawn according to heraldic standards based on published blazons. We generally include the oldest published family crest once associated with each surname.

This page was last modified on 5 January 2016 at 12:35.

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