Beasley Surname Name Meaning, Origin, History, & Etymology
This Anglo-Saxon surname developed as a habitational name denoting a person from a Beasley, Lancashire, England or Beazley, Warwickshire, England, from the Old English word beos, meaning “bent grass”, and leah, meaning “woodland clearing”. One source asserts the following location: “Although it is often merely shown on most maps as "Beesley" larger scale versions reveal that it is, in fact, two places: Higher and Lower Beesley. The first is the bigger and, is linked with its counterpart by a footpath, ¼ mile long. They stand to the East of the M6 Motorway, the nearest locating-point being Inglewhite, 8 miles North of Preston. About 2½ miles West is "Beesley' Farm" a small settlement, somewhat isolated, in the vicinity of Bilsborrow and between the M6 and A6 Highways”.
A second theory is the name derives from a place called Beage’s Lea, from the Old English beag, meaning “ring or bracelet” and leah. A third theory is the name derives from the Bees’ Lea, from the Middle English bees or Old English beo, meaning a bee or bees, and leah. It may be the name denoted a person who dwelled in or near a meadow or wood where bees thrived.
One of the first known bearers, Thomas de Besleg, was recorded in the Assize Court Rolls of Lancashire in 1246 AD. It is said the family lived in England prior to the Norman Conquest of 1066 AD.
Spelling variants and last names with similar etymologies include Beasley, Beazley, Beazly, Beaseley, Beesley, Beasely, Beesely, Beisley, Bezley, and Besley. The Beasley family motto is “Labor omnia vincit”, which translates from Latin to English as “Work conquers all” or “Perseverance overcomes all”.
Popularity & Geographic Distribution
The last name Beasley ranks 679th popularity in the United Status as of the 2000 Census. The name ranks particularly high in the following four states: Georgia (186th), Alabama (219th), Mississippi (264th), Tennessee (277th), and North Carolina (288th).
The surname Beasley frequency/commonness ranks as follows in the British Isles: England (1,079th), Scotland (4,782nd), Wales (1,188th), Ireland (3,049th) and Northern Ireland (10,876th). In England, it ranks highest in Warwickshire. In Scotland, the surname ranks highest in West Lothian.
In Ireland, it ranks highest in Munster. In Wales, it ranks highest in Merthyr Tydfil.
The name is also present throughout the remainder English speaking world: Canada (5,331st), New Zealand (2,772nd), Australia (897th), and South Africa (32,475th).
Beasley Family Tree & Beasley Genealogy
Thomas de Besleg was born in 1216 AD. From him descended one Richard Beesley. From Richard descended one Francis Beesley. From Franics descended Francis Beasley, born in Goosnargh, Lancashire, England in 1550 AD. He married a woman named Jane and had a son named George. This son, George Beesley, who was born in Goosnargh, Lancashire in 1586 AD. He married twice: Ellen Drucilla and Annie Middleton. His son, Robert Beasley, was born around 1630. Robert had a son named William. William Beasley married Elizabeth Ripley and had a son with her also named William. This son, William Beasley, also spelled Beazley, of Old Rappahannock and Essex County, Virginia, was born in 1658 in Lancashire, England or Westmoreland, Virginia. He married and had the following issue: John, William II, Charles, Henry, and John II. These sons are discussed below:
1) John Beasley Sr. was born in Beasley Island, Craven, North Carolina c. 1685. He married twice: Sarah Joann Cagwell Jenkins and Elizabeth Dally. He was the father of the following issue: Solomon Sr., Oxford, William J., Simon, Winifred, Vienna, Elisha, Charles, and John Jr.
2) Benjamin Beasley was born in Essex County, Virginia c. 1682.
3) William Beasley II was born in Essex County, Virginia c. 1682. He married a woman named Mary and had a son named William III. William III was born in the same town in 1710. He married Anne Pitt and had a son with her named John Pitts Beasley. John Pitts Beasley was born in Virginia in 1740. He married Sarah Elizabeth Liles and the following children with her: Barnett, John, John Richard, and Pitts.
4) Charles Beasley was born in Essex County, Virginia in 1687.
5) Henry Beasley was born in 1690.
6) John Beasley II was born in 1719. He married Bridgett Fuqua and had a son with her name Hiram. Hiram was born in 1769. He married Elizabeth Foree and had a daughter with her named Elizabeth.
7) John Beazley or Beasley was born in Old Rappahannock County, Virginia around 1691. He married twice: Elizabeth Coghill and a woman named Winifred. He had a son named Reuben Beasley who was born in Caroline County, Virginia around 1737. He had three issue: Charles, William F., and Martha.
Robert Beasley was born in England around 1630 AD. He married three times: Sarah Loadman (or Scofield or Petit), Johanna Jenkins, and Mary UNKNOWN. He was the father of four children: Johana, James, Robert, and Sarah. He settled in North Carolina. He lived in Albemarle County, Berkley Precinct, which later was known as Perquimans Precint. According to WikiTree, “On 5 March 1687, Robert purchased from David Blake all rights to a tract of land on the north side of the Perquimans River adjoining Peter Gray’s land, with the deed witnessed by Gray and Stephen Manwaring or Mannering. The following year he recorded his crop mark for livestock at the Perquimans Precinct court on 1 April 1689, the mark being “a cropp in the left eare & a slit in the right ear”. His two sons are discussed as follows:
1) James Beasley was born in Lancashire, England in 1676. He married Mary Cropley. He was the father of the following children: James, Francis, Robert, Samuel, and William.
2) Robert (Francis) Beasley was born in Albermarle County, North Carolina in 1678. He married twice: Hannah Sutton and Mary Bentley. He had the following issue: Robert, James, Robert, and Hannah.
Marriages of Beasleys
1) Oliverus Beazley married Anne Glube in Church of Eccleston, Cronton, Lancashire, England in August 1563
2) Marye Beasley married William Landssdalle in Saint Peter, Nottingham, England January 1617
3) Benjamin Beasley married Hannah Wilton in Allhallows, London, England in August 1686
4) Thomas Beasley married Ann Ward in Stepney, Middlesex, England in 1707
5) John Beesley married Katheryn Danvers in Leicestershire, England in March 1655
6) Leah Beazley married John Gibbs in Ebrington, Gloucester, England in August 1702
7) Joseph Beasly married Elizabeth Walker in Saint Nicholas, Dublin, Ireland in October 1716
8) Betsey Beasley married Abraham Greer in Oglethorpe, Georgia in January 1798
9) Francis Beasley married Leonard Nunnally in Chesterfield, Virginia in 1799
10) Abraham Beesley married Mary Neal in Talbot, Maryland in August 1777
11) Thomas Beasley married Elizabeth Ives in Anne Arundel, Maryland in October 1720
12) William Beasley married Polino P. Tweed in Brown, Ohio in September 1818
Early American and New World Settlers
Some of the earliest settlers in colonial America bearing this name include:
1) Robert Beasley came to Virginia between 1666-1695
2) John Beasley came to Maryland in 1684
3) Isaac Beasley came to Maryland in 1725
4) John Beasley came to Maryland in 1751
5) William Basley came to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1775
6) Thomas Beesley came to Maryland in 1722
7) Samuel Beesley came to Virginia in 1726
8) William Beesley came to Virginia in 1736
9) Anna Beesley came to Virginia in 1738
10) John, Francis, and Elizabeth Beazley came to Maryland in 1650
11) John Beazley came to Maryland in 1672
12) John Beazley came to Maryland in 1775
13) George Beasly came to Virginia in 1652
14) William Beasly came to Virginia in 1658
15) Jeremiah Beasly came to Virginia in 1714
16) Bennet Beasly came to Virginia in 1757
17) Stephen Beasly came to Pennsylvania in 1779
Several thousand members of the Beasley family came to the United States through Ellis Island, during the nineteenth century, including:
1) Fred Beesley came from England aboard the Batavia in 1882
2) William Beasley came from England aboard the City of Baltimore in 1867
3) Anne Beasley came from England aboard the John Bright in 1868
4) Frank Beasley came from England aboard the City of Richmond in 1879
5) William Beasley came from Ireland aboard the City of Richmond in 1880
6) Jowett Beasley came from Ireland aboard the Celtic in 1881
7) David Beasley came from England aboard the City of Berlin in 1888
8) Henry Beesley came from England aboard the Alex Marshall in 1871
9) Jane Beasley came from England aboard the Spain in 1873
10) Thomas Beasley came from Sheffield aboard the Baltic in 1905
11) Alfred Henry Beasley came from Handsworth, England aboard the Umbria in 1910
12) James Beasley came from High Wycombe aboard the Philadelphia in 1906
Some of the earliest settlers in Canada bearing this name include:
1) Richard Beasley came in 1796
2) John Beasley (of Ireland?) came to Halifax, Nova Scotia in 1814
3) George Beasley, age 54, came to Toronto in 1871
4) Thomas Beasley, age 52, came to Ontario in 1871
5) William Beasley, age 43, came to Ontario in 1871
Some of the earliest settlers in Australia and New Zealand bearing this name include:
1) Thomas Beasley of Warwick, England came to New South Wales, Australia aboard the Agamemnon in 1820.
2) John Beasley of Leicester, England came to New South Wales, Australia aboard the Agamemnon in 1826.
3) Henry Beasley came to Bay of Islands, New Zealand aboard the Patriot in 1840.
4) Leopold H. Beasley of Staffordshire, and wife Louisa, came to Otago, NZ aboard the James Nicol Fleming in 1875
5) Eliza J. Beasley of Middlesex came to Canterbury, NZ aboard the Lancashire Witch in 1867
6) John Beasley of Warwickshire came to Canterbury, NZ aboard the Hydaspes in 1878
7) William Beesley, age 18, came from Plymouth to Adelaide, South Australia aboard in 1848
8) Joel Beazley, age 27, came from London to Adelaide in 1849
9) Percey Beasly came to Sydney aboard the Darmstadt in 1896
10) Henry Beasley, age 60, came from Liverpool to Melbourne in 1861
There are hundreds of notable people with the Beasley surname. This page will mention a handful. Famous people with this last name include:
1) Cecil A. Beasley (1876-1959) was an American lawyer and politician, born in Fayette, Alabama
2) David Muldrow Beasley (1957) was the 113th Governor of South Carolina from 1995-1999 and served in the state’s House of Representatives from 1979-1995
3) Frederick Jerome Beasley (1974) was a fullback in the NFL who played for three different teams (primarily the San Francisco 49ers) from 1998-2007, born in Montgomery, Alabama
4) John Albert "Jack" Beasley (1895-1949) was an Australian politician born in Werribee, Victoria who served as a Member of the Australian Parliament for West Sydney from 1928-1946.
5) John Rule Beasley (1960) is an American jazz pianist from Shreveport, Louisiana who has recorded and performed with numerous artists, including Miles David, James Brown, Sergio Mendes, and Steely Dan.
6) Maria E. Beasley was an American inventor and entrepreneur from Philadelphia who held fourteen different patents, including one for a life raft granted in 1880
7) Richard Beasley (1761-1842) was a soldier, farmer, businessman, and political figure in Upper Canada during the later part of the eighteenth century, born in New York, but moved to Quebec. He was elected to the 2nd Parliament of Canada in 1796 and in 1802 he became a lieutenant colonel in the York militia
8) John Walter Beasley (1945) was a professional football player in the NFL who played for the Minnesota Vikings and New Orleans Saints from 1967-1974, born in Pasadena, California
9) Lieutenant Colonel James Henry Mountiford Beasley (1876-1949) was a British Army officer born in Jhansi, India
10) Jere Locke Beasley (1935) who was an American attorney who served as the 22nd Lieutenant Governor of Alabama from 1971 to 1979, born in Tyler, Texas.
Beasley America Civil War Veterans
There were several soldiers with the last name Beasley who served in the American Civil War, including the following:
1) Francis M. Beasley of the 16th Regiment Indiana Infantry (Union)
2) William L. Beasley of the 22nd Regiment Iowa Infantry (Union)
3) Allen J. Beasley of the 40th Regiment, Indiana Infantry (Union)
4) Richard Beasley of the 40th Regiment, Indiana Infantry (Union)
5) Oliver L. Beasley of the 7th Regiment Ohio Cavalry (Union)
6) Jesse Beasley of the 24th Regiment North Carolina Infantry (Confederacy)
7) Eli W. Beasley of the 26th Regiment Georgia Infantry (Confederacy)
8) James Beasley of the 22nd Battalion Georgia Heavy Artillery (Confederacy)
9) Charles P. Beasley of Lowe’s Company Missouri Artillery (Confederacy)
10) Charles C. Beasley of the 1st Regiment Mississippi Cavalry (Confederacy)
11) Edmund Beasley of the 8th Cavalry New York Regiment (Union)
12) John W. Beasley of the 17th Regiment Kentucky Infantry (Union)
13) Carrol B. Beasley of the 13th Regiment Illinois Cavalry (Union)
14) Pearl Beasley of the 25th Regiment Wisconsin Infantry (Union)
15) John Arnold Beasley of the 20th Regiment Texas Cavalry (Confederacy)
Beasley America Revolution Veterans
There were several soldiers with the last name Beasley who served in the Revolutionary War, including the following:
1) Sergeant Cornelius Beasley
2) Private James Beasley of Virginia
3) Private Larkin Beasley of Virginia
4) Reuben Beasley of Virginia
5) Private Richard Beasley of Virginia
6) McMiam Beasley of North Carolina
7) Private Peter Beasley of South Carolina
8) Private Moses Beasle of New Jersey
9) Private Samuel Besley of New Jersey
10) Private Jamesl Besley of New Jersey
11) William Beasley of South Carolina
For marriage records, military records, wills, probates, and Bible records for the Beasley family, visit the website of the Beasley Family Association. For genealogical information about the Beasley family, visit the Beasley Genealogy Project.