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

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

The ancestral home of the Nesbitt family is in the Scottish-English border region where their ancestors lived among the clans of the Boernician tribe. They lived in any of several places in the Border region of Scotland called Nesbitt or Nisbit. There were hamlets of East Nisbet and West Nisbet in Berwickshire, a village of Nisbet in Roxburghshire, a Nesbit in Northumberland, and a township of Nesbit in County Durham. These place names derive from the Middle English words nese, meaning "nose," and bit, meaning a "piece of ground;" as such, these place names are thought to have refered to geographic features resembling a nose. The surname may well have arisen independently from these different place names.

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A lack of rules and the tendency of scribes to spell according to the sound of the word plagued medieval spelling. Not surprisingly, an enormous number of spelling variations appeared. Nesbitt has been written Nisbet, Nysbit, Nispett, Nispet, Nisbit, Nisbett, Nessbitt, Nessbit, Nesbyth, Nesbitt, Naibet, Nesbeth, Nesbet, Naisbitt, Naisbit, Nesbett, Naisbett, Naibett and many more.

First found in Berwickshire an ancient county of Scotland, presently part of the Scottish Borders Council Area, located in the eastern part of the Borders Region of Scotland where they held a family seat from early times and King David I confirmed a charter (now in the archives of Durham Cathedral) granting the lands of Nisbet to Aldan de Nisbet, the founder of the line of Nisbet in 1139. According to family lore, they descend from Gospatric, Earl of Northumbria (d. 1073).


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Nesbitt research. Another 705 words(50 lines of text) covering the years 1160, 1255, 1296, 1340, 1433, 1446, 1456, 1493, 1594, 1632, 1580, 1660, 1630, 1641, 1559, 1605, 1625, 1627, 1685, 1657, 1725, 1609, 1687, 1664 and 1677 are included under the topic Early Nesbitt History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Another 191 words(14 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Nesbitt Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Some of the Nesbitt family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 171 words(12 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Many Scots crossed the Atlantic for North America hoping to escape poverty, as well as persecution. Much of their heritage was lost along the way and overtime. This century, however, Clan societies and highland games have allowed many ancestral Scots to recover their birthright. An examination of many early immigration records reveals that people bearing the name Nesbitt arrived in North America very early:

Nesbitt Settlers in United States in the 18th Century


  • Elizabeth, Jeremiah, John, Joseph, Margaret, Samuel, Sarah, and Thomas Nesbitt, who all settled in Charles Town [Charleston], South Carolina in 1767

Nesbitt Settlers in United States in the 19th Century


  • Hugh Nesbitt, aged 26, arrived in New York in 1812
  • James Nesbitt, who landed in Charleston, South Carolina in 1812
  • Thomas Nesbitt, aged 50, landed in America in 1821
  • Henry Nesbitt, who landed in New York, NY in 1832
  • G M Nesbitt, who arrived in San Francisco, California in 1851


Nesbitt Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century


  • William Nesbitt, who settled in Halifax, Nova Scotia in 1749

Nesbitt Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century


  • Margaret Nesbitt, aged 29, arrived in Saint John, NB aboard the ship "Protector" in 1834
  • Margaret Nesbitt, aged 29, a spinster, arrived in St. John aboard the ship "Protector" in 1834

Nesbitt Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century


  • George Nesbitt, aged 27, a labourer, arrived in South Australia in 1852 aboard the ship "Sibella"
  • Anne Nesbitt, aged 21, a domestic servant, arrived in South Australia in 1855 aboard the ship "Aliquis"
  • William Nesbitt, aged 21, a miner, arrived in South Australia in 1856 aboard the ship "Fitzjames"

Nesbitt Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century


  • John Nesbitt, aged 26, a blacksmith, arrived in Nelson aboard the ship "Sir Charles Forbes" in 1842
  • Isabella Nesbitt, aged 24, arrived in Nelson aboard the ship "Sir Charles Forbes" in 1842
  • Thomas Nesbitt, aged 3, arrived in Nelson aboard the ship "Sir Charles Forbes" in 1842
  • Anne Nesbitt arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Mermaid" in 1859
  • Mary Nesbitt arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Mermaid" in 1859


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  • Kenn Nesbitt, American children's poet, named Children's Poet Laureate (2013) by the Poetry Foundation
  • Charles R. Nesbitt (1921-2007), American politician, Oklahoma Secretary of Energy (1991-1995), 9th Attorney General of Oklahoma (1963-1967)
  • Cecil James Nesbitt Ph.D., F.S.A., M.A.A.A. (1912-2001), Canadian-born, American mathematician, co-developer of the the Schuette-Nesbitt formula
  • Brian Nesbitt, American automobile designer
  • Mr. Robert Nesbitt (1917-1941), English Ordinary Seaman from Cornholme, Lancashire, England, who sailed into battle on the HMS Repulse and died during the sinking
  • Mr. Jackson Nesbitt (1919-1941), Irish Able Seaman from Belfast, Ireland, who sailed into battle aboard HMAS Sydney II on the 19th November 1941 and died during the sinking
  • James Aird Nesbitt (1907-1985), Canadian merchant and manager of Ogilvy's Department Store, Saint Catherine Street, Montreal
  • George Nesbitt (1859-1948), Irish-born Australian politician, Member for Lismore NSW (1913-1920) and for Byron (1920-1925)
  • Christine Nesbitt (b. 1985), Australian-born, Canadian nine-time gold medalist long track speed skater
  • Derren Nesbitt (b. 1935), born Derren Michael Horwitz, English actor, best known for his role as SS Major von Hapen in Where Eagles Dare

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  1. Black, George F. The Surnames of Scotland Their Origin, Meaning and History. New York: New York Public Library, 1946. Print. (ISBN 0-87104-172-3).
  2. Donaldson, Gordon and Robert S. Morpeth. Who's Who In Scotish History. Wales: Welsh Academic Press, 1996. Print. (ISBN 186057-0054).
  3. Bradford, William. History of Plymouth Plantation 1620-1647 Edited by Samuel Eliot Morrison 2 Volumes. New York: Russell and Russell, 1968. Print.
  4. Bolton, Charles Knowles. Scotch Irish Pioneers In Ulster and America. Montana: Kessinger Publishing. Print.
  5. Markale, J. Celtic Civilization. London: Gordon & Cremonesi, 1976. Print.
  6. 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.
  7. Prebble, John. The Highland Clearances. London: Secker & Warburg, 1963. Print.
  8. Fulton, Alexander. Scotland and Her Tartans: The Romantic Heritage of the Scottish Clans and Families. Godalming: Bramley, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-86283-880-0).
  9. Urquhart, Blair Edition. Tartans The New Compact Study Guide and Identifier. Secauccus, NJ: Chartwell Books, 1994. Print. (ISBN 0-7858-0050-6).
  10. Scarlett, James D. Tartan The Highland Textile. London: Shepheard-Walwyn, 1990. Print. (ISBN 0-85683-120-4).
  11. ...

The Nesbitt Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Nesbitt 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 13 January 2015 at 12:56.

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