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About the study
The variants I have come across in my research appear mainly to be as a result of spelling differences rather than true variants. However the name Besenden was clearly recorded over a period of more than 50 years in Sanderstead, Surrey.
The spelling variants I have come across include:
History of the name
I have not come across any Blissendens who have achieved particular notoriety so far.
One of the earliest references I've come across is in the 1633 will of Edmund Wilson of St Mary Bowe, London where it says 'I remit to my cousin Blissenden the five pounds he oweth unto me and I give unto her five pounds more.'* Source: New England Historical and Genealogical Register V42
In The Oxinden Letters 1607-1642 it notes: 'the summ of fowre pounds to be paid to Mr Frauncis Blissenden of St John's Colledge in Cambridge for the use of Mr James Oxinden his pupill'
In 1664 a Thomas Blissenden endorsed the claim that Alice Rasell of Newington, widow bewitched*16 year old John Brown. Source: Witch Hunting and Witch Trails In 1875 in Queenstown, Co. Cork, Eliza Lessenden alias Blessenden, was found guilty of having 'Abused complainant (Margaret Frake) called her improper names & (made) threats of violence & menaces put her in bodily fear.' Eliza was fined five pounds and required to give two surities of ten pounds ten shillings or face 14 days in jail
According to FindmyPast there were 28 Blissenden/Besendens recorded in the 1841 census, 13 of which were in Deal, Kent. By the 1911 census 25 Blissendens were recorded in the UK evenly spread in Kent, Yorkshire and Surrey.
According to an ONS database there are 11 Blissendens as of September 2002. This makes it the joint 134,717th most common name in England and Wales.
In the records of Ancestry.co.uk and FindmyPast there are records available in non-UK countries:
Distribution of the name
In the UK Census records the distribution is as follows:
|On a Vessel||6%|
There are several records in:
- Newtownards, Ireland
- Philadelphia & New York, USA
- Ontario, Canada
- NSW, Australia