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Origins of the Bell surname

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What does the name Bell mean?

The Bell surname has a number of origins, but is most popular in English-speaking countries. Bell is an old surname, found in records dating back to the 1100s, most commonly arriving through Middle English, used as an occupational name of someone who made or rang bells. Less often, the surname Bell arises from someone with the given name 'Bel', or was particularly beautiful (from the Old French 'beu' or 'bel').

Alternative variations of the name Bell

Bell, Bel, Belle, Le Bel, Bele

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Where do most Bells live?

In 1921, most Bells lived in North East.

Census records trace your ancestors through each generation, so you can follow where your relatives lived through each decade.

Interesting facts about Bells

How common is your surname?

46th most common surname in the UK

We have 548,000 records for the Bell surname. The oldest one dates back to 1220.

Who were Bells most likely to marry?




Our Marriage record sets tell us which families married Bells.

What are the most common Bell first names?

  • John
  • William
  • Mary
  • Elizabeth

Our birth record sets tell us the names of Bell family members

Common jobs for Bells

Men and women often performed different types of jobs, so these are displayed by gender to maintain their historical accuracy.

Common Female occupations for Bells in 1921


Domestic Servant




House Servant


General Servant Domestic


Common Male occupations for Bells in 1921
Coal Miner






Agricultural Labourer


General Labourer


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