Is your Surname registered?

Our 2,745 members have registered
2,397 study surnames with us
and a further 6,089 variant names.

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About the study

I took over the BLISS ONS at the beginning of December 2017. Previously Tom Bliss had been the holder and the chair of the BLISS Family History Society having taken over from the late Bob Bliss in 1998. Tom handed over the chair to me in April 2005, but did continue to maintain the BLISS FHS records. Our files include a database of BLISS records and events in Australia, the 3 vol record of BLISS pedigrees in America by A T Bliss and Tom's my own extensive database of BLISS records and events in Great Britain (mainly England and Wales).

Variant names

BLESS is a recognised transcription and pronunciation error for people and families whose correct name is BLISS. BLESSE, BLISSE and BLYSSE are archaic spelling variants. It is believed that the name Blease derives from a common root along the Welsh Marches with our name but has grown up as an entirely distinct surname.

Name origin

Richard 'callyd BLISSE' was a tenant at Parndon in Essex mentioned in a charter of the Knights Hospitallers during the reign of Henry II 1154-1189. He was probably native Anglo Saxon and a very early representative of that branch of the BLISS family which derives its name from the Middle English noun blisse meaning joy or gladness. Another branch of BLISSES descends from a Norman family originating from Blaye in Normandy who held knight's fees from the honour of Radnor in the Welsh Marches during the 12/14th centuries. their name was originally written as de BLEZ (Latin Bladis) but became corrupted through de Bles and de Blees to Bliss (vide Stoke Bliss the village which adopted their name). The name Bliss has also been adopted by families with similar names of foreign origin such as the Germany Blees. 

Historical occurrences of the name

Dr Nathaniel BLISS MA FRS 1700 - 1764, son of a Gloucestershire clothier was the fourth Astronomer Royal.

Sir Arthur BLISS, composer and conductor, was Master of the Queen's Musick 1953 - 75. His widow Lady Trudi is still a member of the BLISS Family History Society. see

Cornelius BLISS, a financier and politician of New York, refused the invitation to stand for the Vice Presidency in 1900 and so missed the opportunity of becoming President of the United States when President McKinley was gunned down in 1901.

Name frequency

About 2,248 people named BLISS or one of its variants were enumerated in the 1901 Census of England and Wales. Whilst not a major English language surname, it probably ranks in the lower half among the middle-ranking One Name Studies.

Distribution of the name

The name BLISS is found in all the old 'white' dominions of the British Commonwealth as well as the United States. I believe it may also still be found in some islands of the old British West Indies. As well as British origins, the name is also found in parts of Germany and the old German colonised parts of Eastern Europe. Some American BLISSES have this European ancestry.


A large amount of BLISS family history data in Australia has been collected in recent years. We are lucky to have a 3 volume book of BLISS genealogy in America published in 1989 by A T Bliss which gives some detail about the lives of some 25,000 BLISSES going back to 1638. Our own British database contains all known Census records for BLISSES 1841 - 1901, a large number of BLISS marriage, baptism and burial entries in parish registers post 1538, BLISS births, marriages and deaths in the General Registry Office from 1837, various BLISS probate records and marriage licence allegations going back to early times, BLISS service records of soldiers in Victorian times, WWI BLISS soldiers' records and campaign medals, CWGC records of BLISS memorials, some records of BLISS events in India, BLISS passengers and emigrants arriving at overseas ports and a large collection of miscellaneous records from directories, school registers university alumni etc..