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Bess Family History

Bess Name Meaning

English: unexplained. Apparently a metronymic from the female personal name Bess, pet form of Elizabeth. German: short form of Betz. In some cases it is probably an altered spelling of French Besse.

Source: Dictionary of American Family Names ©2013, Oxford University Press


Similar surnames: Boss, Best, Buss, Ness, Gess, Ress, Hess, Wess, Bass, Beas

Search for a relative to learn more about your family history.

Hint: Try searching for a relative alive in 1940.

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Where is the Bess family from?

You can see how Bess families moved over time by selecting different census years. The Bess family name was found in the USA, the UK, Canada, and Scotland between 1840 and 1920. The most Bess families were found in the USA in 1880. In 1840 there were 12 Bess families living in Missouri. This was about 17% of all the recorded Bess's in the USA. Missouri had the highest population of Bess families in 1840.
Use census records and voter lists to see where families with the Bess surname lived. Within census records, you can often find information like name of household members, ages, birthplaces, residences, and occupations.

What did your Bess ancestors do for a living?

In 1940, Laborer and Maid were the top reported jobs for men and women in the US named Bess. 25% of Bess men worked as a Laborer and 11% of Bess women worked as a Maid. Some less common occupations for Americans named Bess were Farm Laborer and Housewife.

View Census data for Bess | Data not to scale

*We display top occupations by gender to maintain their historical accuracy during times when men and women often performed different jobs.

Top Male Occupations in 1940

  • Laborer
    25%
  • Farmer
    15%
  • Salesman
    5%
  • Farm Laborer
    4%

Top Female Occupations in 1940

  • Maid
    11%
  • Housekeeper
    10%
  • Cook
    9%
  • Housewife
    8%
Black & white image of two construction labourers

What Bess family records will you find?

Census Records

There are 51,000 census records available for the last name Bess. Like a window into their day-to-day life, Bess census records can tell you where and how your ancestors worked, their level of education, veteran status, and more.

Search US census records for Bess

Passenger Lists

There are 2,000 immigration records available for the last name Bess. Passenger lists are your ticket to knowing when your ancestors arrived in the USA, and how they made the journey - from the ship name to ports of arrival and departure.

View all Bess immigration records

Draft Cards

There are 7,000 military records available for the last name Bess. For the veterans among your Bess ancestors, military collections provide insights into where and when they served, and even physical descriptions.

View all Bess military records

You've only scratched the surface of Bess family history.

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What is the average Bess lifespan?

Between 1943 and 2004, in the United States, Bess life expectancy was at its lowest point in 1943, and highest in 2004. The average life expectancy for Bess in 1943 was 19, and 76 in 2004.

View Social Security Death Index (SSDI) for Bess

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