A survey of names used in the Bisson family

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Girls' names

It is remarkable that the 613 female Bissons whose baptisms are recorded up to 1842 share only 51 first names, and that reduces to 35 if spelling derivatives are excluded. Of the 51 names, 23 were used only once in the 250 years covered by parish registers before the start of central records of births, marriages and deaths. Only 79 of the Bisson girls were given second baptismal names - a fashion which started as late as 1784.

The Bisson girls' first names, and the number of times they were used are as follows

  • Amelie (2)
  • Ann (1)
  • Anne (51)
  • Betsy (9)
  • Caroline (2)
  • Caterine (2)
  • Catherine (14)
  • Charlotte (2)
  • Colette (1)
  • Collette (3)
  • Deborah (1)
  • Delina (1)
  • Douce (2)
  • Eliza (1)
  • Elizabeth (114) (the spelling Elisabeth was a later introduction)
  • Emelie (1)
  • Emilie (2)
  • Emma (1)
  • Este (1)
  • Esther (30)
  • Florence (2)
  • Francoise (1)
  • Harriet (1)
  • Helen (1)
  • Henriette (1)
  • Jane (19)
  • Jeanne (70)
  • Jeanneton (1)
  • Judith (9)
  • Julie (1)
  • Katherine (1)
  • Louisa (3)
  • Louise (1)
  • Madelaine (1)
  • Magdelaine (3)
  • Margeritte (2)
  • Marguerite (17) remarkably no Margarets
  • Marie (91) remarkably only three of these were Marie Ann(e)s, a combination which is very common in other Jersey families
  • Mary (23) of whom 14 were Mary Ann(e)s
  • Nancy (7)
  • Perronelle (1)
  • Priscilla (1)
  • Prisille (1)
  • Rachel (42)
  • Sara (20) no Sarahs. Today's common spelling must have come in after 1842
  • Sarra (4)
  • Sophia (1)
  • Sophie (3)
  • Suky (1)
  • Susanne (32) no Susans

Of the 614, 500 shared only nine first names (including spelling variations)

Boys' names

Male Bissons were slightly more numerous during this period - there were 673 of them.

  • Aaron (2)
  • Abraham (10)
  • Alexander (1)
  • Alfred (2)
  • Amice (5)
  • Amys (1)
  • Benjamin (22)
  • Biamin (1) perhaps the Rector couldn't write very well
  • Charles (43)
  • Clement (5)
  • Couteur (1)
  • Daniel (21)
  • Dumaresq (1)
  • Edouard (36) strangely no Edwards
  • Elias (1)
  • Elie (28)
  • Fitz-James (1) Yes, his father was James
  • Francis (7)
  • Francois (31)
  • Frederick (5)
  • George (28)
  • Gilles (1)
  • Guilleaume (1)
  • Henry (6)
  • Jacques (6)
  • James (8)
  • Jaque (1)
  • Jean (140)
  • Jemmy (1)
  • John (7) a spelling variant which dates back only to the 1820s
  • Joseph (1)
  • Josue (28)
  • Leonard (1)
  • Matthieu (8)
  • Michel (4) Michael was a much later introduction
  • Moise (1)
  • Nicholas (2)
  • Nicolas (16)
  • Nicollas (8)
  • Perrin (1)
  • Philippe (92)
  • Pierre (19) Peter came in much later
  • Richard (9)
  • Simeon (1)
  • Thomas (42)
  • Tom (1)
  • William (10)


A total of 48 names, 17 used just the once and seven spelling variations. Only 32 of the male Bissons were given a second baptismal name between 1595 and 1842. Of the total, 490 shared the ten most popular names.

Among the 150 Le Gros Bissons included in the above lists, the men shared only 18 first names, as did the women, and only one of the 150 had a second baptismal name. One line of Le Gros Bissons were exclusively John, Jean and Matthieu from the mid-19th century back to 1530. Three before this date were Thomas, Damian and Robin.

There was more variety in the use of given names before the parochial registers were introduced. What happened to Genette, Marthe, Noelle and Perrotine? There has certainly been much greater variety in the last 160 years of central registration of births and the French names which were dominant have all but died out and been replaced either by their English equivalents or by the multitude of names of recent introduction.

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