Nesbitt History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

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. [1] 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.

Early Origins of the Nesbitt family

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).

The family is "from the old barony of Nesbit in the parish of Edrom, Berwickshire. William de Nesebite witnessed a confirmation of the town lands of Nesbite to the Priory of Coldingham by Patrick, first Earl of Dunbar (Raine, 116), Dominus Robert de Nesbit, miles, witnessed a charter by William de Horuirden to the Abbey of Kelso, c. 1160-1200." [2]

Early History of the Nesbitt family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Nesbitt research. Another 308 words (22 lines of text) covering the years 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 and printed products wherever possible.

Nesbitt Spelling Variations

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.

Early Notables of the Nesbitt family (pre 1700)

Notable amongst the family name during their early history was Murdoch Nisbet (d. 1559) of Ayrshire, a notary public in the diocese of Glasgow, best known for his Scots translations of the Bible. Philip Nesbit, of that Ilk was knighted in March 1605 by the Earl of Dunfermline, Lord Chancellor of Scotland; he represented Berwickshire...
Another 53 words (4 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Nesbitt Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the Nesbitt family to Ireland

Some of the Nesbitt family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 92 words (7 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Nesbitt migration to the United States +

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, who settled in Charles Town [Charleston], South Carolina in 1767
Nesbitt Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Hugh Nesbitt, aged 26, who arrived in New York in 1812 [3]
  • James Nesbitt, who landed in Charleston, South Carolina in 1812 [3]
  • Thomas Nesbitt, aged 50, who landed in America in 1821 [3]
  • Henry Nesbitt, who landed in New York, NY in 1832 [3]
  • G M Nesbitt, who arrived in San Francisco, California in 1851 [3]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Canada Nesbitt migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

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, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick aboard the ship "Protector" in 1834
  • Margaret Nesbitt, aged 29, a spinster, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick aboard the ship "Protector" in 1834

Australia Nesbitt migration to Australia +

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

Nesbitt Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • George Nesbitt, aged 27, a labourer, who arrived in South Australia in 1852 aboard the ship "Sibella" [4]
  • Anne Nesbitt, aged 21, a domestic servant, who arrived in South Australia in 1855 aboard the ship "Aliquis"
  • William Nesbitt, aged 21, a miner, who arrived in South Australia in 1856 aboard the ship "Fitzjames"

New Zealand Nesbitt 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:

Nesbitt Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • John Nesbitt, aged 26, a blacksmith, who arrived in Nelson, New Zealand aboard the ship "Sir Charles Forbes" in 1842
  • Isabella Nesbitt, aged 24, who arrived in Nelson, New Zealand aboard the ship "Sir Charles Forbes" in 1842
  • Thomas Nesbitt, aged 3, who arrived in Nelson, New Zealand aboard the ship "Sir Charles Forbes" in 1842
  • Mr. John Nesbitt, British settler travelling from London aboard the ship "Martaban" arriving in Auckland, New Zealand on 8th October 1856 [5]
  • Mrs. Nesbitt, British settler travelling from Liverpool aboard the ship 'Mermaid' arriving in Auckland, New Zealand on 19th October 1859 [5]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Contemporary Notables of the name Nesbitt (post 1700) +

  • Cecil James Nesbitt Ph.D., F.S.A., M.A.A.A. (1912-2001), Canadian-born, American mathematician, co-developer of the Schuette-Nesbitt formula
  • 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)
  • Brian Nesbitt, American automobile designer
  • Joseph Nesbitt, American politician, Member of New York State Assembly from Kings County 6th District, 1861 [6]
  • John Nesbitt, American politician, Member of North Carolina State Senate from Iredell County, 1789-90 [6]
  • James M. Nesbitt, American politician, Candidate for Presidential Elector for Pennsylvania, 1920 [6]
  • James Clark Nesbitt, American politician, Member of New York State Assembly from Delaware County, 1918 [6]
  • Frank Watterson Nesbitt (b. 1870), American Republican politician, Ohio County Prosecuting Attorney, 1901-04; Circuit Judge in West Virginia for the 1st Judicial Circuit, 1905-13 [6]
  • Charles Nesbitt, American Republican politician, Delegate to Republican National Convention from New York, 2004 [6]
  • ... (Another 13 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

HMAS Sydney II
  • Mr. Jackson Nesbitt (1919-1941), Irish Able Seaman from Belfast, Ireland, who sailed into battle aboard HMAS Sydney II and died in the sinking [7]
HMS Repulse
  • Mr. Robert Nesbitt (b. 1917), English Ordinary Seaman from Cornholme, Lancashire, England, who sailed into battle on the HMS Repulse and died in the sinking [8]


  1. ^ Lowe, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  2. ^ 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)
  3. ^ 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)
  4. ^ South Australian Register Tuesday 3 February 1852. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) SIBELLA 1852. Retrieved http://www.theshipslist.com/ships/australia/sibella1852.shtml.
  5. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 17th October 2018). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
  6. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2016, January 18) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html
  7. ^ HMAS Sydney II, Finding Sydney Foundation - Roll of Honour. (Retrieved 2014, April 24) . Retrieved from http://www.findingsydney.com/roll.asp
  8. ^ HMS Repulse Crew members. (Retrieved 2014, April 9) . Retrieved from http://www.forcez-survivors.org.uk/biographies/listrepulsecrew.html


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