The surname of NESBITT was a locational name 'of Nesbit' in County Durham. Local surnames, by far the largest group, derived from a place name where the man held land or from the place from which he had come, or where he actually lived. These local surnames were originally preceded by a preposition such as "de", "atte", "by" or "in". The names may derive from a manor held, from working in a religious dwelling or from literally living by a wood or marsh or by a stream. The earliest of the name on record appears to be NESEBIT (without surname) who was documented in Northumberland in the year 1262, and NESEBITE (without surname) appears in 1311 in County Durham Following the Crusades in Europe a need was felt for a family name. This was recognized by those of noble blood, who realised the prestige and practical advantage it would add to their status. Surnames as we know them today were first assumed in Europe from the 11th to the 15th Century. The employment in the use of a second name was a custom that was first introduced from the Normans. They themselves had not long before adopted them. It became, in course of time, a mark of gentler blood, and it was deemed a disgrace for gentlemen to have but one single name, as the meaner sort had. At first the coat of arms was a practical matter which served a function on the battlefield and in tournaments. With his helmet covering his face, and armour encasing the knight from head to foot, the only means of identification for his followers, was the insignia painted on his shield and embroidered on his surcoat, the flowing and draped garment worn over the armour.
Other records of the name mention William de Nesebit, during the reign of Edward I (1272-1307). Thomas Garbrand married Anne Nisbett at St. Antholin, London in 1716. Colebrooke Nesbitt married Elizabeth Sneyd, St. George's, Hanover Square, London in 1789. The name is also spelt Nesbit, Nisbet and Nesbett.
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