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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright 2000 - 2015

Where did the English Bledsoe family come from? What is the English Bledsoe family crest and coat of arms? When did the Bledsoe family first arrive in the United States? Where did the various branches of the family go? What is the Bledsoe family history?

The Bledsoe surname is a habitational name, originally taken on from a place named Bledisloe in Gloucestershire, derived from the Old English personal name "Bli-," and the Old English word "hlaw," meaning "a hill."


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 Bledsoe, Bletshoe, Bledshoe, Bletso, Bledshow, Bletshow, Bledso, Bletsor and many more.

First found in Bedfordshire (Old English: Bedanfordscir), located in Southeast-central England, formerly part of the Anglo-Saxon kingdom of Mercia, where they held a family seat as Lords of the Manor. 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, [1] indicating that those holders registered would hold the land until the end of time. Conjecturally, the surname is descended from the tenant of the lands of Bletsoe, Osbert de Breuil from Hugh de Beauchamp, a Norman Baron, who was recorded in the Domesday Book census of 1086.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Bledsoe research. Another 151 words (11 lines of text) covering the year 1362 is included under the topic Early Bledsoe History in all our PDF Extended History products.


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


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 Bledsoe or a variant listed above:

Bledsoe Settlers in United States in the 20th Century

  • Louis V. Bledsoe, aged 31, who emigrated to America, in 1908
  • L. V. Bledsoe, aged 37, who landed in America, in 1909
  • Mary G. Bledsoe, aged 38, who landed in America, in 1912
  • Jean Alene Bledsoe, aged 8, who settled in America, in 1912
  • William H. Bledsoe, aged 35, who emigrated to the United States, in 1913


  • Brigadier-General William Pinckney Bledsoe (1892-1972), American Chief of Staff, 25th Division, Hawaii (1945)
  • Tempestt Bledsoe (b. 1973), American actress, best known for her role on The Cosby Show
  • Samuel T. Bledsoe (1868-1939), American railroad executive, sixteenth president of Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway
  • Jules Bledsoe (1898-1943), African American singer, best known for his recording of Old Man River in Showboat
  • Jesse Bledsoe (1776-1836), American Senator from Kentucky, Secretary of State
  • Eric Bledsoe (b. 1990), American NBA basketball player
  • Drew McQueen Bledsoe (b. 1972), American former NFL football quarterback
  • Benjamin Frederick "Ben" Bledsoe (b. 1982), American pop singer
  • Woodrow Wilson "Woody" Bledsoe (1921-1995), American mathematician, computer scientist, and educator, who was a pioneer of artificial intelligence, as well as a bishop in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints


  • The Bledsoe Family by John T. Bledsoe.
  • The Bledsoe's History by Pat Mercer Stephens.

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  1. ^ Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds., Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8)

Other References

  1. Weis, Frederick Lewis, Walter Lee Sheppard and David Faris. Ancestral Roots of Sixty Colonists Who Came to New England Between 1623 and 1650 7th Edition. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0806313676).
  2. Best, Hugh. Debrett's Texas Peerage. New York: Coward-McCann, 1983. Print. (ISBN 069811244X).
  3. Holt, J.C. Ed. Domesday Studies. Woodbridge: Boydell, 1987. Print. (ISBN 0-85115-477-8).
  4. Bullock, L.G. Historical Map of England and Wales. Edinburgh: Bartholomew and Son, 1971. Print.
  5. Bowman, George Ernest. The Mayflower Reader A Selection of Articales from The Mayflower Descendent. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  6. Elster, Robert J. International Who's Who. London: Europa/Routledge. Print.
  7. Chadwick, Nora Kershaw and J.X.W.P Corcoran. The Celts. London: Penguin, 1790. Print. (ISBN 0140212116).
  8. Egle, William Henry. Pennsylvania Genealogies Scotch-Irish and German. Harrisburg: L.S. Hart, 1886. Print.
  9. Matthews, John. Matthews' American Armoury and Blue Book. London: John Matthews, 1911. Print.
  10. Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at Galveston Texas 1896-1951. National Archives Washington DC. Print.
  11. ...

The Bledsoe Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Bledsoe 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 6 August 2015 at 11:57.

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