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Beasley Variants

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This is a listing of variations that are deemed appropriate for the Beasley Surname Study,

"Beasley" is the principle designation for the surname, the most common and most easily recognized. The variations that have been integral to the surname are historically and genealogically related are Beesley, Beazley, and Beezley in order of prevalance. Other possible variations are much more rare and are questionable whether they are, indeed, variations or deviations. In my mind, the questions are:

1. Is it in actual use, and 2. Is it historically connected in some way.

Experiences have suggested that the historical connection would be with pronunciation: beginning with the "b" sound, followed by the long "e" sound, followed by the sibilant "s" or "z" sound, concluding with the sound of "lee". The final "lee" sound would be congruent with the Old English meaning of "lea" or "meadow/clearing".

As for Etymology, the prevailing theory is the the beginning comes from the old English "beos" for "bent grass" a genus of grasses common in England. As I understand it, "beo" is also Old English for "bee". Lacking confirmation otherwise, I'll go with the common suggestion that the name was originally a place-name from, perhaps "meadow with bent grass."

As for pronunciation, I don't have historical confirmation, but I'm proceding with the presumption that "beez" is a historical and easily recognizeable pronunciation that might be, and clearly was, spelled differently from family to family and time to time.

In typical fashion, the Beasley name was variable even within families until the early 19th century with the rise of literacy and the greater attention to spelling in the English speaking cultures. At that point, family history shows more purposeful continuity with some apparently purposeful adoptions of variable spellings from one generation to another. On the whole, however, spellings beginning in the 19th century have been more consistent. Apparent variations are often a matter of spelling assumed by document recorders or transcribers, sometimes demonstrably incorrect.

That being said, what other spellings might be logically considered as possible variants? In my examination, I have so far held back from recognizing spellings beginning with the letter "a" such as "Basley", "Baisley", "Baizley", etc. These appear to be of unique origination with no apparent historical connection. Likewise, there are some who suppose a connection with Peasley, but my study suggests that is more likely related to Paisley.

The obvious initial syllable might be "bea" or "bee" or even "be" or "bei" or "bie". The following consonant would likely be either "s" or "z" with no other apparent options. The final syllable seems to be primarily "ley", secondarily "ly", "ely", "eley", "lee", or "lea". I have run tests of the variations within WikiTree and at "", Following is a talley of results from both sources. I have also looked at US and British census reports for examples.

Certain spellings that appear to be clearly transcription errors include "Busley" and "Bugley". These names do actually exist, but through handwriting comparison and historical connections, I believe it is possible to distinguish. The "u" is often the result of short closed "e's" that can be seen elsewhere in the document. An "s" can often be interpreted as "n" or "r". A "z" can often be interpreted as "g". Of course, as most genealogists would know, some documents can have such wildly off-beat transcriptions to be nearly undetectible. In my work as a Beasley Study genealogist, I typically hunt for missing records by searching for a variety of spellings and, where possible, reviewing images of the documents and historical context before deciding if it applies to any particular individual in question.

In my consideration, I have actually added the possibilty of legitimate variation arising out the addition of the "r" sound after the intial "B". This comes from a common experience among people using the Beezley spelling that we get letters addressed to "Breezley" where people, for some reason, intuit the word "Breeze" into the name. What I have discovered is that there actually exists one family actively using the name "Breezley" and I have tracked it back to a "Beasley" earlier in the 19th century. For that reason, I use the "r" variation with other possible variant combinations.

Here are my findings from WikiTree:

Beasley 4805 Beesley 580 Beazley 444 Beezley 502 Beasly 18 Beesly 8 Beazly 1 Beezly 3 Beasely 4 Beesely 1 Beazely 2 Beezely 1 Beaseley 4 Beeseley 0 Beazeley 11 Beezeley 0 Beisley 4 Beisly 23 Beisely 0 Beiseley 0 Biesley 9 Biesly 0 Biesely 9 Bieseley 1 Beizley 0 Beizly 0 Beizely 0 Beizeley 0 Biezley 0 Biezly 1 Biezely 0 Biezeley 0 Besley 98 Bezley 8 Bezely 8 Bezeley 1 Breezley 2 Breasley 18 Breezly 6 Briesly 1 Bresley 9 Total 6582



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