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About the study
This study continues the work of Brenda Davis who worked on her research for at least 20 years. Brenda's roots are in the south west of England with the surname spelling Bessant, my roots are in Norfolk and Suffolk with the name spelling Bezant.
The most common variants are:
Bessant, Beasant, Besant, Bassant, Bessent, Beszant, Bezzant
Bessant, Beasant, Besant, Bezant occur most frequently both in the family tree database (over 1000 instances of the surname) and the 2002 Office of National Statistics database.
Bassant, Bessent, Beszant, Bezzant are the next most frequent occurrences in the family tree data base (over 400 instances of the surname) and the 2002 ONS database.
Distribution of the name
The 1881 census frequencies for the 4 main variants are:
Bessant - 599 entries - Hampshire 235 and Somerset 101
Beasant - 342 entries -Wiltshire 153 and Middlesex 52
Besant - 271 entries - Middlesex 54, Hampshire 47 and Wiltshire 45
Bezant - 114 entries - 32 Suffolk, 17 Surrey, 15 Middlesex
This data is the legacy of Brenda Davis.
The majority of birth, marriage and death entries from the General Register for England & Wales (since 1837). More than 9000 births, more than 6000 marriages and more than 6000 deaths. The data is held as spread sheets and for the majority there are copies of the actual certificates contained in 20 large lever arch folders.
The majority of census entries from 1841 to 1911.
There are also entries from parish registers.