Nisbet Name Study

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Surnames/tags: Nisbet_Nisbett_Nesbit_Nesbitt Nesbitt Nesbit
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About the Project

The Nisbet Name Study project serves as a collaborative platform to collect information on the Nisbet name. The hope is that other researchers like you will join the study to help make it a valuable reference point for other genealogists who are researching or have an interest in the Nisbet name.

As a One Name Study, this project is not limited to persons who are related biologically. Individual team studies can be used to branch out the research into specific methods and areas of interest, such as geographically (England Nisbets), by time period (18th Century Nisbets), or by topic (NisbetDNA, Nisbet Occupations, Nisbet Statistics). These studies may also include a number of family branches which have no immediate link with each other. Some researchers may even be motivated to go beyond the profile identification and research stage to compile fully sourced, single-family histories of some of the families they discover through this name study project.

Name Variations

Naibett, Naisbet, Naisbett, Naisbit, Naisbitt, Naiset, Nechisbet, Neebith, Neisbayt, Neisbit, Neisbitt, Nesbeit, Nesbert, Nesbet, Nesbeth, Nesbett, Nesbit, Nesbite, Nesbith, Nesbitishill, Nesbitt, Nesbut, Nesbuth, Nesbutt, Nesbyt, Nesbyte, Nesbyth, Nesbythe, Nes-Dret, Nesebeht, Nesebite, Nesebith, Nesebyte, Nessbitt, Nesyt, Nezebet, Nezebeth, Nezebuth, Nisbert, Nisbet, Nisbett, Nisbit, Nisbite, Nisbitt, Nisbythe, Nispitt, Nizbet, Nysbet, Nysbett, Nysbit, Nysit, Nyspet, Nyzbet

How to Join

To join the Nisbet Name Study, first start out by browsing our current teams to see if there is a specific study ongoing that fits your interests. If so, feel free to add your name to the Membership list below, post an introduction comment on the specific team page, and then dive right in!

If a team does not yet exist for your particular area of interest, please contact the Name Study Coordinator: Jean Skar for assistance.

... ... ... is a member of the Nisbet Name Study Project.

Once you are ready to go, you can also show your project affiliation with the ONS Member Sticker:



  • We try and avoid using links but transcribe the information --this prevents errors in links in the future
  • when using pre 1855 indexs Scotland
    • Births/Baprisms" baptized 28 Sep 1837 at Edinburgh"(since we do not know from index if it is a baptism and birth
    • He "passed away or was buried 17 Apr 1839 at Edinburgh" (since we do not know from index if it is a death or burial
  • we do not use numbering (#) but use (*) for listing children as the mother is the only person or very few, that actually know if the order is correct or not. (missing registrations, given up for adoption at birth, raised by a relative etc)
  • we use heading children not family as family can be understood as other family members other than children
  • we try and avoid using the buttons for birth/deaths when it is unknown if it is birth/baptism death/burial or the selection doesn't fit

Teams / Research Pages


  • P Jean Skar Nesbitt/Nisbet DNA YDNA coordinator world wide Nesbitt/Nisbet Society and Genealogist for the UK Nesbitt/Nisbet Society
  • Graham Nisbet has produced the UK Nesbitt/Nisbet Society newsletter 3 / 4 times a year since 2001
  • James A. NisbetUK Nesbitt/Nisbet Society member at large.

  • Example: Name - I am interested in the SRNMs of Europe during the 18th Century. I am hoping that this research will help me break down one of my brick walls!


see : Category:Nisbet_Name_Study

ORIGIN Supposedly from the Northern Middle English "nese", nose plus either the Old English pre 7th Century word "bita" meaning mouthful, or piece of ground, or "byht", a bend (in a river). The place names could therefore mean either a piece of raised land shaped like a nose, or a bend in a river shaped like a nose. Interesting Nes and Bit in Norwegian would have a very similar meaning

The surname probably also arose independently from numerous Scottish and Northern English location named Nesbit(t)/Nisbet(t) some were:

  • Nisbet in Berwickshire 1139
  • Township of Nesbit place name dates back to 1250 in County Durham.
  • Hamlets East and West Nisbet Berwickshire
  • Nisbet Lanarkshire mentioned as early as 1367
  • West Nisbet in the barony of Pencaitland, Haddingtonshire 1474&77
  • Village of Nisbet Roxburghshire
  • Nesbit, a township in the parish of Stamfordham, county Northumberland


Image:Nisbet Name Study-1.jpg
The boars
The families of Swinton, Gordon, Ridpath and Dunse, derive their names from baronies contiguous to that of Nisbet ; and all five families bear the same arms, viz. three boars' heads, erased, but each of a different colour ; the arms of Nisbet being argent, three boars' heads erased, sable ; of Swinton, sable and argent, with a chevron or ; of Gordon, azure and or ; of Ridpath, argent and gules, with a chevron engrailed, also gules ; and Dunse, sable and or, with a chevron or.
The case seems to have had some analogy with that of the Teutonic tribes, who adopted some animal as their ensign, much in the same way as the Indians of North America did their " totem ", such animals, when coats of arms came into use, were displayed on their bearings.
The White Boar was the personal device or badge of the English King Richard III of England (1452—1485, reigned from 1483), and is an early instance of the use of boars in heraldry.
That the boar should have been so employed is not surprising. The bravest and strongest wild animal which inhabited the woods of the North is frequently mentioned in Anglo-Saxon literature, and its image was the frequent ornament of the helmet of the Northern warrior.
According to Norse Mythology, the god Freyr possessed a great boar Gullibursti (Golden Bristles) on which he rode. His sister Freyja had a similar boar Hildisvíni (Battle Swine).
Swintons claim--The Swintons are an ancient family who are reported  to have been given the name Swinton for their achievement in clearing the area of wild boar. The creature is prominently portrayed in the coat of arms with the motto j' espere - je pense. 
Cockburns claim---In King Malcolm's days the denizens of this district slew many wild boars, for the forests swarmed with them; and being the favourite objects of the chase, the boar's head was assumed as their device of arms by the Gordons, the Swintons, and the families of Nisbet, Redpath, and Duns, &c., who took name from their respective territories, which lay contiguous in the shire of Berwick, "and carried three boars heads of different tinctures, by which it seems that the tradition is probable that they were ^mfd originally of one stock or gens, and afterwards An explanation for the use of Boars on the arms of Nisbet and others from this area.

The forests swarmed with wild boars, and being the favourite objects of the chase, the boar's head was assumed as their device of arms




FTDNA Results see [2]

  • Nisbets of Dean Dirleton and Craigentinnie have no proven connections to Nisbet of that Ilk. So far we have not been able to find a paternal line descendant to test.
  • Nesbitt of Lismore Ireland descendants can be found but none are tested
  • Greenholm consists of 2 older branches and at present we do not know for sure how they connect.
    • What can be called the "older branch" descends from Murdoch Nisbet who seems to be the first Nisbet of Greenholm in Ayrshire. I would expect most other Ayrshire branches connect to him. Documentation is the problem!!!
    • PROBABLY ancestors of:
      • Nisbets of Hag
      • Nisbets of Braidley
      • Nisbets of Hardhill
      • Nisbets of Carfin/Carphin
      • Nisbets of Ladytown
      • Nisbets of Feoch
      • Nisbets of Trokersyde
      • Nisbets in Ireland-Ballyhaise, Aughry, Derrycairn
    • What could be called the "younger branch" when the daughter of the older branch Margaret Nisbet of Greenholm married John Nisbet of Braidley son of Hugh Nisbet of the Haig. It was their son Alexander Nisbet who was married Margaret Lockhart that took over Greenholm.

YDNA Main branches Shared paternal line ancestor by SNP mutation

  • A SNP mutation is a mutation that happened in a paternal ancestor and is passed down to his descendants. These are found by advanced Y DNA testing.
  • There are numerous that are not R and the connection to a common ancestor would be before R line.

R-P312 rough estimate ca. 3155 BC (3898 BC—2568 BC).

  • Nisbet of that Ilk
  • Nisbet of Greenholm -last common ancestor shared with Nisbet of that Ilk-so not a cadet branch of Nisbet of that Ilk, as claimed.

Nisbet of that Ilk R-R-Z43691

  • R-BY19316 one know branch split-waiting for updated information and time estimate.

Nisbet of Greenholm R-Z372 rough estimate ca.1583 BC (2194 BC — 1054 BC)

  • Nisbet of Greenholm-includes many other branches
  • shared ancient common paternal line ancestor with some descendants of Gospatric - includes Earls of Dunbar also some Cockburn, Riddell & Preston branches
    • SNP ZP74 rough estimate ca. 1380 AD(1079 AD — 1604 AD)
      • Divides Greenholm line in 2 branches, those that have this mutation and those that don't. More testing is needed before we know more about those that don't, it is possible the split was before this branch came to Ayrshire.
      • Those that have SNP ZP74:
        • Nisbet of Greenholm
        • Nisbet of Carfin/Carphin
        • Nisbet of Auchnairn John Nisbet
        • Alexander Nisbet "born at sea"
        • Nisbet of Sumpter NC
    • 2 later known splits of Nisbet of Greenholm
        • SNP R-BY2644/ZP65 rough estimate ca. 1657 AD( 1352 AD — 1875 AD)
          • Nisbet of Greenholm that descends from Nisbet of Braidley and Nisbet of Hag mutation.
          • known to be present in descendants of Robert Nisbet and Barbara Nisbet . At this time it is unknown if Robert ca 1650-1736 was the first to have this mutation, or if he inherited it.
        • R-BY16484 rough estimate ca 1590 AD (1286 AD — 1848 AD)
          • Nisbet of Carfin/Carphin
          • Nisbet of Ladytown
          • Nisbet of Feoch
          • Nisbet of Ballyhaise Ireland
          • Nisbet of Derrycairn Ireland



Space:Publications_Nisbet_name_study Many have some incorrect conclusions printed within, accurate in parts and fatally wrong in other parts. Therefore, please use them merely as a hand-drawn road map and not as a 'bible'. Nisbet of Hardhill is very prone to errors.

Known lines with errors in publications

  • Ancient line of Nisbet of that Ilk
  • Connections to John the Martyr and his son James
  • John Nisbet and Sarah Brevard
  • Nisbet of Dirleton

Task List

Learn how to do this Check ZP74 SNP name used at FTDNA Nisbet-461 and Nesbit 147

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