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


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 referred to geographic features resembling a nose. The surname may well have arisen independently from these different place names.

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The surname Nesbitt was 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).

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.


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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, 1677 and 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
  • Joseph Nesbitt, American politician, Member of New York State Assembly from Kings County 6th District, 1861
  • John Nesbitt, American politician, Member of North Carolina State Senate from Iredell County, 1789-90
  • James M. Nesbitt, American politician, Candidate for Presidential Elector for Pennsylvania, 1920
  • Lenore Carrero Nesbitt (1932-2001), American politician, U.S. District Judge for the Southern District of Florida, 1983
  • Russell Goodwin Nesbitt, American Republican politician, Member of West Virginia Republican State Executive Committee, 1941, 1952-55
  • W. J. Nesbitt, American Democrat politician, Alternate Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Kentucky, 1920
  • Wanda L. Nesbitt (b. 1956), American politician, U.S. Ambassador to Madagascar, 2001-

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  1. Hanks, Patricia and Flavia Hodges. A Dictionary of Surnames. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988. Print. (ISBN 0-19-211592-8).
  2. Innes, Thomas and Learney. Socts Heraldry A Practical Handbook on the Historical Principles and Modern Application of the Art of Science. London: Oliver and Boyd, 1934. Print.
  3. Skene, William Forbes Edition. Chronicles of the Picts, Chronicles of the Scots and Other Early Memorials of Scottish History. Edinburgh: H.M. General Register House, 1867. Print.
  4. Moncrieffe, Sir Ian of That Ilk and David Hicks. The Highland Clans The Dynastic Origins, Cheifs and Background of the Clans. New York: C.N. Potter, 1968. Print.
  5. Barrow, G.W.S Ed. Acts of Malcom IV 1153-65 Volume I Regesta Regum Scottorum 1153-1424. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1960. Print.
  6. Filby, P. William and Mary K Meyer. Passenger and Immigration Lists Index in Four Volumes. Detroit: Gale Research, 1985. Print. (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8).
  7. Egle, William Henry. Pennsylvania Genealogies Scotch-Irish and German. Harrisburg: L.S. Hart, 1886. Print.
  8. Bolton, Charles Knowles. Bolton's American Armory. Baltimore: Heraldic Book Company, 1964. Print.
  9. Fairbairn,. Fairbain's book of Crests of the Families of Great Britain and Ireland, 4th Edition 2 volumes in one. Baltimore: Heraldic Book Company, 1968. Print.
  10. Hinde, Thomas Ed. The Domesday Book England's Heritage Then and Now. Surrey: Colour Library Books, 1995. Print. (ISBN 1-85833-440-3).
  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 18 January 2016 at 10:54.

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