Recorded as Bes, Bess, Besse, and diminutives Bessie, Beesey, Bessey, Beazey, patronymics Bessom, Besson, Bison and possibly others, this is an English surname. There are several possible origins. Firstly it may in some instances be from the metronymic name Bess, itself a nickname development of the female name Elizabeth, the most popular womans name in the English language. It is not generally known that in ancient times many women held lands and property in their own right, and quite often a son would take his mothers name as his surname when he inherited. However more likely origins and explanations are that either it derives from the French Provencal word 'bes' meaning a birch tree, and was topographical for somebody who lived by a birch wood, or it may be occupational for maker of brooms or 'besoms' from the Anglo-Saxon word 'besma,' or finally it may be a nickname from the French and Provencal word 'besson' meaning a twin.The surname is well recorded in the surviving early church registers of the city of London. Examples include Humphrey Beese at St Mathews Friday Street, on April 7th 1553, Peter Bessom at St Ann Blackfriars, on March 6th 1578, Daniell Bison who married Suxen Deble at St Dunstans in the East, Stepney, on August 25th 1737, Mordecai Bessey at St Botolphs without Aldgate, on September 10th 1755, and Benjamin Beazey at St Leonards Shoreditch, on February 14th 1852.
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