This is a Middle English derivation from an Olde French word "Bis", meaning "dark" although in Medieval English, the meaning changes slightly to brownish or dark grey. In this case, the name is a diminutive and means "The Son of Bis". The ending being a variant of the French "Petit" meaning "little". The modern name spellings include Biss, Bissett, Bissitt and Bissex. The latter two, being dialetcual transpositions from the original East Anglian dialect. All early recordings being from that area, as in William Byss, 1327, Suffolk. 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 II, the Builder, 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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