Surname Saturday: Bible


This unique surname has origins in both Germany and England, according to various sources:

House of Names: This German surname is derived from the Latin verb “bibere”, which means “to drink” (as in “imbibe”).  According to this source the original bearer of the name was a member of the von Hahn family, but due to his fondness of drinking, changed his name to Bibow.  The family like that name, and when establishing the family coat of arms, used a rooster sitting upon a green cushion because von Hahn sat on a green cushion.  Probably established in the late fourteenth century, in was used by a man named Eggerd von Bibave whose seal was a rooster sitting on a cushion.  The name was originally seen in Mecklenburg, situated in northern Germany, and those bearing the surname would have been part of the “backbone of early development of Europe” and its feudal society.  Spelling various include: Bible, Bibbow, Bibo, Bibbo, Biboe, Bibboe, Bibble and others. This source cites a baptismal name which meant “son of Bibbe or Isabel” which also be spelled Bibb, Bibby, Bibbi, or Bibbey.  In the fourteenth century records show a family named Bibby, descended from Richard Bibby of the thirteenth century, who was the son of a woman named “Bibbi”.  Other records show someone in Oxford in 1200, without surname, named “Bibele”. Of English origins, the female personal name Bibel, considered a nickname of Bibb.  Also possibly a spelling variation of the German name Biebl or Biebel.

The New Dictionary of American Family Names considers it to be an English nickname of Isabel, or a descendant of little Bibb.

According to family historians, an early immigrant by the name of Johann Adam Hans Biebel arrived on a ship named “Sandwich” on November 30, 1750.  He had sailed from Rotterdam, Holland and landed in Philadelphia with his family.

Johann was believed to have been part of the great Palatine immigration to America in the mid-eighteenth century.  Upon arriving in America, Johann changed his name from Biebel to Bible and later served in the Revolutionary War as a patriot.



  1. I am a descendant of Johann Christian Bible. We have always been told the our name was Biebel which means BIBLE. Johann Adam Bible only came with his wife as they married in 1748 and there son Johann Georg Bible was born and died in 1749 before they sailed. They were all born in Alsace, France. I descend from their son Johann Christian Bible.

    The migration from Germany was actually in 1709 and 1710 as I had ancestors who left Germany for William Penn’s colony in Pennsylvania.

    • So there were other members of the Bible family before Johann Christian? Interesting. Thanks for stopping by to share!


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