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Home: Surnames: Porteous Family Genealogy Forum

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IMPORTANT - Origin for surname Porteous
Posted by: Pen Chisholm (ID *****3247) Date: January 22, 2012 at 10:45:24
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Are you aware that in lower Normandy, France, there is a place called Port en Bessin?

Are you aware that the names Hugue de Port and Hubert de Port or elsewhere referenced as Le Sire de Port are included on the Battle Abbey Roll and the Falaise Roll for William the Conqueror? (Note: Apparently these individuals were from Port en Bessin, Basse Normandie (Lower Normandy), France.

Are you aware that:

"Port-en-Bessin-Huppain est une petite ville française, située dans le département du Calvados et la région de Basse-Normandie. Ses habitants sont appelés les Portais et les Portaises." (From:

TRANSLATION: Port-en-Bessin-Huppain is a small French town, located in the department of Calvados and the region of Lower Normandy. Its inhabitants are called Ports and Portaises.

I spent untold hours looking everywhere on the internet to determine the ancient origin of the surname "Porteous" to no avail. It did not seem "correct" to me that the Norman name "Porteous" first appeared as late as 1400 AD associated with a clearly established Norman name such as Fraise (Fraser). I started digging, using logic, and I discovered the above information.

The surname "Porteous" loosely (and perhaps carelessly) translated may mean "carrier" or messenger" etc., but I have always suspected that it was a name associated with a place, not an occupation or an adjective. The written word as it was in those days would easily (mis)spell the term Portais or Portaises in numerous ways, especially if the surname Port became a plural also, as in "the Port descendants became numerous" thus: the Portaises.

I hope everyone will start looking into this themselves. I suspect the Porteous name is more closely connected to the time of Wm the Conqueror than previously thought. If genealogists will start looking at the family name Port and descendants of Hugh or Hubert de Port, perhaps the connection will be made. I have a bit more information regarding these two de Port names, as well as a reference to them as Le sire de Port. The earliest reference to them finds them in lands located at Seamer, Scarborough, North Ride Yorkshire, England shortly after the Conquest. The father of these individuals is named Hughes Gospatric de Port, a sister is Emma de Port, Hugh's wife is Sybil de Port, and a son is also Hugh. It is unclear to me at this time, but I believe there were two de Port sons riding with Wm the Conqueror, Hugue and Hubert, although one reference I found did note "Hugh Hubert dePort".

In kinship spirit - Penelope Chisholm

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