Geneanet > Resources > Family Names > BELL

Origin and popularity of the name BELL


Bell : 1: English (northern) and Scottish (Lowlands): from the Middle English personal name Bell. As a man's name this is from Old French beu bel ‘handsome’ which was also used as a nickname. As a female name it represents a short form of Isabel.2: English (northern) and Scottish (Lowlands): from Middle English belle ‘bell’ (Old English belle) in various applications; most probably a metonymic occupational name for a bell ringer or bell maker or a topographic name for someone living ‘at the bell’ (as attested by 14th-century forms such as John atte Belle). This indicates either residence by an actual bell (e.g. a town's bell in a bell tower centrally placed to summon meetings sound the alarm etc.) or ‘at the sign of the bell’ i.e. a house or inn sign (although surnames derived from house and inn signs are rare in Scots and English).3: English: from Middle English bel ‘fair fine good’ (Old French bel ‘beautiful fair’). See also Beal 1.4: German: from Bell in Rhineland or possibly from Belle in Westphalia.5: Norwegian: habitational name from a farmstead in western Norway named Bell the origin of which is unexplained.6: Scandinavian: of English or German origin (see above).7: Americanized form of German Böhl or Böll (see Boehle Boll).8: American shortened and altered form of various Slavic names beginning with Bel- ‘white’ e.g. of Rusyn (from Slovakia) Belejčák a derivative of Belej (see Beley 3).9: Americanized form of one or more similar (like-sounding) Jewish surnames.


Source : DAFN2 : Dictionary of American Family Names 2nd edition, ©2022 by Patrick Hanks and Oxford University Press
FANBI : The Oxford Dictionary if Family Names in Britain and Ireland, ©2016, University of the West of England

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Last name frequency

Geographic distribution of the 220,933 individuals with the name BELL on Geneanet.


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