Bell records on Ancestry

Ancestry is a major source of information if you are filling out your Bell family tree. A vast range of data is available to search ranging from census records, births, deaths and marriages, military records and immigration records to name but a few. Free trials are normally available and are a good way to fill out a lot of your tree quickly.

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Origins and History

Crest

New to Family History? Check out our Getting Started page. Check out House Of Names to investigate the origins of the Bell surname or get a copy of the Bell family Crest (a great gift idea!).

"BELL. Three derivations are possible for this name: (1) as a descriptive sobriquet, Peter le Bel ('the handsome, from Old French bel, handsome, beautiful), found in the English Hundred Rolls; (2) of local origin, as Middle English 'John atte Belle' or 'Richard atte Bell' (not uncommon in Middle English registers) from the sign of his public house; (3) as a metronymic, '%obert fil. Bell,' meaning Robert, the son of Bell or Isabel. 1 and 2 are, I think, the chief parents of the name. John Bell appears as a notary in St. Andrews, 1248 (Pap. Lett., i, p. 245). A family of the name appears to have been hereditarily connected with the church of Dunkeld. Master David Bell was a canon there, 1263 (LIM., p. 77), and William Bell appears as dean, 1329-42 (Pap. Lett., i, p. 301, 557). William Bel, vicar of Lamberton, witnessed a charter to Coldingham Priory, 1271. Adam Belle and Richard Belle of Berwickshire rendered homage, 1296 (Bain, n, p. 206). Thomas Belle was juror on an inquest at Dumfries, 1304 (ibid., p. 412), and Simon dictus Bell is in Perth in the reign of David n (Scon, p. 125). Thomas dictus Bell, canon of Dunkeld, c. 1340 (ibid., p. 124). Thomas Bell and Alan Bell witnessed confirmation of Snawdoun to the Abbey of Dryburgh, c. 1350 (Dryburgh, 232), Johnne Bell was a witness in St. Andrews, 1463 (CMN., 33), and Henry Bell was a witness in Arbroath, 1528 (Laing, 369). The name was common on the Border for centuries, and the "Bellis" are included in the list of unruly clans in the West Marches, 1587 (APS., ra, p. 466). The Bells of Annandale are said to be descended from Gilbert le fiz Bel, who was deprived of his lands by Edward i (Bain, n, p. 397). Families of the name long predominated in the parish of Middlebie, insomuch that the 'Bells of Middlebie' was a current phrase throughout Dumfriesshire. In the index to REB. the name is confused with the place name Biel. Patrick de Dunbar, dominus de Bele, is indexed under Bell. Robert Bell, born in Scotland, printer of the first edition of Thomas Paine's Common sense, died in Virginia, 1784. Rev. Patrick Bell (1800-1869) was inventor of the reapingmachine and founder of mechanical harvesting. (4) In Islay and Kintyre Bell is used as an Englishing of Mac Ittinamhaoil. This is said to have arisen from the marriage of a Macmillan with a Miss Bell, who possessed property, and took her name in English, but continued the old name in Gaelic. "(The surnames of Scotland. George Fraser Black, 1866-1948)

DNA

Sometimes you can run into a brick wall in your tree and you just don't have enough evidence to make that next step back in time. A DNA test can sometimes help to make a link to a particular family name if you find you share common DNA with people who have the same or similar surnames as each other. If you are lucky then you may get a match within a few generations and discover some Bell ancestors. Additionally, the modern DNA test can give you a breakdown of your ethnic mix - you may be surprised at the results!

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Birth, Death and Marriage Records for the Bell Family Tree

Birth, Death and Marriage records are often the best method of making the links to the Bell Genealogy that will form part of your family tree. Although records vary from country to country, they are normally the most formal record of a person's relations. From the sources below you will be able to find a birth record and, from that, a birth certificate can be ordered which lists the names of the mother and father, taking you back another generation in your tree. A marriage certificate may also list the names of the respective fathers of the bride and groom which may then help you to find them earlier in life on a census record enabling you to fill out more detail in the Bell family tree.

Study Bell Parish Records at Find My Past.

Explore the UK registered births, marriages and deaths of the Bell family using the FreeBMD database.

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Research the Bell surname using fold3 Military Archives and view images of original Bell Military records.

ukDid you know that there are currently 76635 people with the Bell surname in the UK? Bell is now ranked number 48 for popularity in the UK.

Bell Family History Databases

Study WikiTree for user contributed Bell family records. Collaboration is encouraged so that accuracy of Bell data can be verified or corrected by other users.

Investigate MyTrees for information on the Bell family and people looking to contact living Bell relations.

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Bell Forums

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ukDid you know that there are currently 355475 people with the Bell surname in the USA? Bell is ranked number 52 for popularity in the USA.

Miscellaneous Bell Databases

Search the Ellis Island Database for information on the Bell family. This database contains over 25 million immigration records detailing passengers arriving in the United States of America.

Use the Surname Map project to look at the current distribution of the Bell surname in the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Spain, Italy and Romania.