This interesting name of English origin, but generally accepted as being Scottish, is the diminutive form of the name Biss, the suffix 'ett' denoting 'little' or 'son of'. Biss is a nickname surname for someone with a pallid complexion, maybe from indoor occupation. The derivation is from the Middle English, Old French 'bis', dingy and murky. William the Lion in 1174, on his return from captivity in Falaise and in England, brought back one Henricus Byset, whose son, John Byset was granted extensive lands, in the North. The Bissets of Lessendrum are among the oldest families in Aberdeenshire, and are still flourishing there and in Moray. Recorded marriages in St. Nicholas, Aberdeen, are between Alexander Bissett and Kattrin Cultis in 1591, and Elspee Bissett and Alexander Stewart on May 5th 1611. One of the early variant forms is Bissatt, James Bissatt being recorded as Burgess of Aberdeen in 1579. The early link forms are Bissaite (1468) and Bissait (1529). Thomas Bysatte who held a tenement in Glasgow in 1486 is also a "link" spelling. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Ernulf Biset, which was dated 1155, The Abbey of Bury St. Edmunds, Suffolk, during the reign of King Henry 11, known as 'The Builder of Churches', 1154-1189. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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