Bishop Family History
Bishop Name Meaning
English: from Middle English bissop biscop Old English bisc(e)op ‘bishop’ which comes via Latin from Greek episkopos ‘overseer’. The Greek word was adopted early in the Christian era as a title for an overseer of a local community of Christians and has yielded cognates in every European language: French évêque Italian vescovo Spanish obispo Russian yepiskop German Bischof etc. The word came to be applied as a surname for a variety of reasons among them a supposed resemblance in bearing or appearance to a bishop and selection as the ‘boy bishop’ on Saint Nicholas's Feast Day. In some instances the surname is from the rare Middle English (Old English) personal name Biscop ‘bishop’. As an Irish surname it is adopted for Mac Giolla Easpaig meaning ‘servant of the bishop’ (see Gillespie ). In North America this surname has absorbed by assimilation and translation at least some of continental European cognates e.g. German Bischoff Polish Rusyn Czech and Slovak Biskup Slovenian Škof (see Skoff ).
Source: Dictionary of American Family Names ©2013, Oxford University Press