Show ContentsBliss History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The ancestors of the Bliss family brought their name to England in the wave of migration after the Norman Conquest of 1066. They lived in Leicestershire and Worcestershire. The family name, however, is not a reference to either of those locations, but to the area of the family's residence prior to the Norman Conquest, Blois, in the Loir-et-Cher region of France. [1]

Another source claims that the "name seems to be connected with the Anglo-Saxon verb blissian, laetificare, to make glad or joyous." [2]

Early Origins of the Bliss family

The surname Bliss was first found in Leicestershire and Worcestershire. The Hundredorum Rolls of 1273 had two early entries for the family: John Blisse, Buckinghamshire; and John Blisse, Kent. [3]

Early History of the Bliss family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Bliss research. Another 124 words (9 lines of text) covering the years 1119, 1525, 1530, 1647, 1698, 1702, 1704, 1708 and 1721 are included under the topic Early Bliss History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Bliss Spelling Variations

Before the last few hundred years the English language had no fixed system of spelling rules. For that reason, spelling variations occurred commonly in Anglo Norman surnames. Over the years, many variations of the name Bliss were recorded, including Bliss, Bleys, Blois, Bloys, Bloiss and others.

Early Notables of the Bliss family

Outstanding amongst the family at this time was

  • Thomas Bliss (ca. 1647-1721), was an English Tory politician, Member of Parliament for Maidstone (1698-1702) and (1704-1708); and Reverend Phillip Bliss, hailed from Oxford University

Bliss Ranking

In the United States, the name Bliss is the 1,942nd most popular surname with an estimated 17,409 people with that name. [4]

United States Bliss migration to the United States +

The unstable environment in England at this time caused numerous families to board ships and leave in search of opportunity and freedom from persecution abroad in places like Ireland, Australia, and particularly the New World. The voyage was extremely difficult, however, and only taken at great expense. The cramped conditions and unsanitary nature of the vessels caused many to arrive diseased and starving, not to mention destitute from the enormous cost. Still opportunity in the emerging nations of Canada and the United States was far greater than at home and many went on to make important contributions to the cultures of their adopted countries. An examination of many early immigration records reveals that people bearing the name Bliss arrived in North America very early:

Bliss Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Thomas Bliss, who settled in Boston Massachusetts in 1620
  • Thomas Bliss, who landed in Braintree, Massachusetts in 1635 [5]
  • George Bliss, who landed in Lynn, Massachusetts in 1637 [5]
  • Thomas Bliss, who arrived in New England in 1642 [5]
  • John Bliss, who arrived in Northampton, Massachusetts in 1658 [5]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Bliss Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Enoch Bliss, who arrived in New York in 1709 [5]
  • Enrich Bliss, who landed in New York in 1715 [5]
  • Anne Bliss, who settled in Georgia in 1735
  • Ann Bliss, who arrived in Georgia in 1735 [5]
  • Thomas Bliss of Green Court Gloucester, England, who settled in New Jersey in 1738
Bliss Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • James Bliss, who arrived in America in 1801 [5]
  • Mr D Bliss, aged 17, who arrived in America in 1821 [5]
  • William H Bliss, who landed in Mobile, Ala in 1822 [5]
  • Theodore C Bliss, who arrived in New York, NY in 1836 [5]
  • Master Bliss, who arrived in San Francisco, California in 1850 [5]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Canada Bliss migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Bliss Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
  • William Bliss, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1749
  • Mr. Daniel Bliss U.E. who settled in Canada c. 1783 [6]
  • Hon. Daniel Bliss U.E. born in Concord, Massachusetts, USA who settled in Lincoln, New Brunswick c. 1783 he graduated from Harvard was a Court Judge [6]
  • Mr. John Murray Bliss U.E. born in Concord, Massachusetts, USA who settled in Saint John, New Brunswick c. 1783 [6]
  • Mr. Jonathan Hon Bliss U.E. born in Springfield, Massachusetts, USA who settled in Fredericton, New Brunswick c. 1783 [6]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Bliss Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • Willliam Bliss, who landed in Canada in 1831

Australia Bliss migration to Australia +

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

Bliss Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century

New Zealand Bliss 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:

Bliss Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Minnie Bliss, aged 16, a servant, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Tongariro" in 1888

West Indies Bliss migration to West Indies +

The British first settled the British West Indies around 1604. They made many attempts but failed in some to establish settlements on the Islands including Saint Lucia and Grenada. By 1627 they had managed to establish settlements on St. Kitts (St. Christopher) and Barbados, but by 1641 the Spanish had moved in and destroyed some of these including those at Providence Island. The British continued to expand the settlements including setting the First Federation in the British West Indies by 1674; some of the islands include Barbados, Bermuda, Cayman Island, Turks and Caicos, Jamaica and Belize then known as British Honduras. By the 1960's many of the islands became independent after the West Indies Federation which existed from 1958 to 1962 failed due to internal political conflicts. After this a number of Eastern Caribbean islands formed a free association. [12]
Bliss Settlers in West Indies in the 17th Century
  • Owen Bliss, aged 30, who landed in Barbados in 1635 aboard the ship "Falcon" [5]
  • William Bliss, who settled in Jamaica in 1684

Contemporary Notables of the name Bliss (post 1700) +

  • Major-General Raymond Whitcomb Bliss (1888-1965), American Surgeon-General of the Army (1947-1951) [13]
  • Robert Bliss (b. 1921), American architect, educator and furniture designer, Associate Professor at the University of Minnesota (1958-1963)
  • Kathleen Bliss, American lawyer with the U.S Attorneys Office in New Mexico and Nevada (1997-)
  • Gilbert Ames Bliss (1876-1951), American mathematician and educator, Professor at several universities
  • Tasker Howard Bliss, American Army officer and statesman, chief of staff and General of the U.S. army (1917-)
  • Aaron Thomas Bliss (1837-1906), American politician, U.S. Representative from and Governor of Michigan
  • George Bliss (1813-1868), American politician, member of the United States House of Representatives for Ohio
  • Philip Paul Bliss (1838-1876), American evangelist
  • Albert Asahel Bliss (b. 1812), American politician, Member of Ohio State House of Representatives, 1839-43; Ohio Treasurer of State, 1847-52 [14]
  • Albert Bliss (1811-1876), American politician, Member of Rhode Island State House of Representatives; Member of Rhode Island State Senate [14]
  • ... (Another 54 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

RMS Titanic
  • Mrs. Emma Bliss, (née Junod), aged 45, English First Class Stewardess from London, England who worked aboard the RMS Titanic and survived the sinking by escaping in life boat 15 [15]

The Bliss 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: Virtus sola felicitas
Motto Translation: Virtue is the only happiness

Suggested Readings for the name Bliss +

  • Genealogy of the Bliss Family in America by Aaron Tyler Bliss.
  • Genealogy of the Bliss Family in America, From About the Year 1550 to 1880 by John Homer Bliss.

  1. The Norman People and Their Existing Descendants in the British Dominions and the United States Of America. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1975. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0636-X)
  2. Lower, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  3. Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  4. "What are the 5,000 Most Common Last Names in the U.S.?".,
  5. 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)
  6. 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
  7. Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 9th December 2020). Retrieved from
  8. Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 30th November 2020). Retrieved from
  9. Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 17th August 2021). Retrieved from
  10. State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) MARINER 1847. Retrieved from
  11. State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) POICTIERS 1848. Retrieved from
  13. Generals of World War II. (Retrieved 2011, October 6) Raymond Bliss. Retrieved from
  14. The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, October 19) . Retrieved from
  15. Titanic Passenger List - Titanic Facts. (Retrieved 2016, July 13) . Retrieved from on Facebook