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Interesting Facts About Bests

  1. English, northern Irish, and French: from Middle English, Old French beste ‘animal’, ‘beast’ (Latin bestia), applied either as a metonymic occupational name for someone who looked after beasts—a herdsman— or as a derogatory nickname for someone thought to resemble an animal, i.e. a violent, uncouth, or stupid man. It is unlikely that the name is derived from best, Old English betst, superlative of good. By far the most frequent spelling of the French surname is Beste, but it is likely that in North America this form has largely been assimilated to Best.
  2. German: from a short form of Sebastian.


German, Spanish (Sebastián), and southern French (Sébastian): from the personal name Sebastian, Latin Sebastianus. This was originally an ethnic name meaning ‘man from Sebastia’, a city in Pontus named from Greek sebastos ‘revered’ (the Greek equivalent of Augustus). This surname is also sometimes born by Jews, presumably as an adoption of the German surname.

Dictionary of American Family Names, Oxford University Press, ISBN 0-19-508137-4



Top Places of Origin for Best
Place of
Best Immigrants
England 261
Germany 153
Ireland 148
Great Britain 44
Hesse 16
Bavaria 14
Compiled by from the New York Passenger Lists



Ports of Departure for Best
Port Best Immigrants
Liverpool, England and Queenstown, Ireland 285
Liverpool, England 195
Bremen, Germany 77
London, England 42
Bremen, Germany and Southampton, England 39
Hamburg, Germany 39
Compiled by from the New York Passenger Lists



Top Occupations for Best in 1880

Compiled by for head of households from the 1880 US



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