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Beebe Surname Study

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Location: Leicestershire, Englandmap
Surnames/tags: Beebe Beeby Beebee
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First Beginnings

The name Beebe was derived from a place name in Leicestershire called Beeby. The place name is derived from the Old English "beo", meaning "bee", and "bry", or "settlement". That is, it was "the place where they kept bees."

Beebe Early Origins

Sound was what guided spelling essentially pre-literate Middle Ages, so one person's name was often reported under several variations during a single lifetime. Also, before the advent of the printing press and the first dictionary, the English language was not standardized. Therefore, spelling variations were common, even among the names of the most literate people. Known variations of the Beebe Family include: Beeby, Beebee, Bebe, Beebey and many others.

They were first found in Leicestershire where they had been settled since ancient times before the Norman Conquest of England by Duke William in 1066 A.D.


In most cases, if you turn back the clock less than a century, you will find, perhaps more examples of a spelling change in a surname.

Many illustrious people frequently used the spelling of their name in various ways including William Shakespeare who spelled his name Shakespeare, Shakespere, Shakespear, Shakespere, and Shaxspere. Over the centuries names have changed greatly.

The Domesday Book gives insight to the drastic way how people have changed names. Note: It is hard or rare to find a current spelling of a surname in the Domesday Book.

To confuse things more, it was common in 11th & 12th centuries to Latinize names in official records. Fulford became de Turpi Vado.

Throughout the Middle Ages surnames were constantly changing. William Tyndal was known as Huchyns when living in Glocestershire. Oliver Cromwell was a Williams. David Livingstone was a McLeay...The modern form of many of our surnames is comparatively recent, often preserving a phonetic spelling found in the seventeenth-or eighteenth century parish register.

Passenger Lists

Names have often been changed to make it easier for people to spell upon their arrival in the Americas. The name Schneider is often changed to Snider. Some names are Anglicized because while spelling in their homeland is commonplace, in Americas, it would be very confusing and difficult to record. Schroder is often changed to Schroeder or Schroder.

It should be remembered that names of emigrants were often recorded as they were heard, that many emigrants could not spell their own names, and authorities were not as literate as one would wish. Thus variations of spelling of names occur, and members if the same family arriving at different times or places may be found under more than one spelling. [In using PILIPassenger and Immigration Lists Index]. The researcher should search for every conceivable spelling of the name sought.

Today & Spelling Variations DONT DISCARD ANY SPELLINGS DIFFERENT THAN YOURS. Spelling changes are still frequent today & often found in government's registries. In your search, always keep every possible record of a name that sounds like yours. Many registries in the US provide Soundex searches for surnames. This is the key to your research, particularly for names that have been found in North America for sometime. If, in the end, one of these phonetic variations is found to be of no use, then that information can be discarded. <colour blue>Its much easier to discard such reference than having to rediscover the reference again.<colour blue />

The Great Migration

For political, religious, and economic reasons, thousands of English families boarded ships for Ireland, Canada, the American Colonies, and many of smaller tropical colonies in hope of finding better lives abroad. Although the passage on the cramped, dark ships caused many to arrive in the New World diseased and starving, those families that survived the trip often went on to make valuable contributions to those new societies to which they arrived.

Early immigrants bearing the Beebe surname or a spelling variation of the name include: Beebe Settlers in the United States in the 19th century

  • James Beebe, who arrived in New England in 1668
  • Mrs. Beebe, aged 24, landed in Key West, Fla., in 1840
  • A. M. Beebe, who arrived in San Francisco, Cal., in 1860
  • H. H. Beebe, who landed in San Francisco, Cal., in 1860

Some Noteworthy People of the Name of Beebe

  • William Beebe (1877-1962), American Ornithologist, explorer, and author
  • Charles William Beebe (1877-1962), American Naturalist, explorer, and author
  • Don Beebe (b.1964), American NFL football player
  • Michael Dale Beebe (b.1946), American politician, 45th Governor of Arkansas
  • Lucius Morris Beebe (1902-1966), American author, gourmand and photographer
  • Brigadier-General Eugene Harold Beebe (1906-1992), American Acting Commanding General of Continental Air Forces (1944-1945)
  • Major-General Lewis Charles Beebe (1891-1951), American Commandant of Warzburg, Germany (1948-1950)
  • Major-General Royden Eugene Beebe, Jr. (1908-1959), American Director of the Office of North Atlantic Treaty Affairs. (1951-1953)


  • The Beebe Family Crest and Name History: [[1]]
Suggested Readings for the name Beebe:

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My great-great-grandfather, Pierce B. Bissell (1816-1870) was the son of David Bissell (1791-1840) and Lois Beebe (1798?-1817?). She is presumed to be the eldest child of Gideon Beebe and Delina Rogers who lived in Connecticut before moving about 1800 to Susquehanna Co., Pennsylvania.
posted by Roger Bissell
This Beebe one name study already exists: https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Category:Beebe_Name_Study; is this something different or is it a duplication?
posted by Randy Beebe
Are Free - Space Profiles suppose to have a ID# like other profiles? Do we type up a Table of Contents? I thought Contents were automatically listed when you had four or more subheadings. My Sources didn't show up under sources or references. I went ahead and added them to the Sources. So what did I do wrong on these? This is my first Surname_Study! Can someone guide me through this process? Barbara Jean Duren formerly Beebe-655