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BASS Family History

This famous surname is both English and occasionally, Scottish. In the first instance it may have Olde English pre 7th century origins, or it maybe French, and as such was introduced by the Normans after the 1066 Invasion. Taking the latter first as this is the most satisfactory explanation, the derivation is from the French word 'basse' meaning somebody who was both broad and thickset. This word itself is a development of the Latin "bassus", meaning wide, as opposed to tall. As such it was a descriptive nickname, ostensibly for somebody of that description, but given the sardonic humour of the Middle ages, quite possibly the reverse! The second possibility is that the surname is a metonymic occupational name for a fishseller, as with the surname 'Herring'...

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