Bentley Family Genealogy

I might be a distant descendant of Drew of Bentley, supposedly the first to take surname. As the story goes, Drew was granted land—Bentley Haye—from William the Conqueror, and took his name from the land. There are, however, indications that this is merely legend.¹

My 𝑛th‐great‐grandfather was William Bentley, the first of my line to come to the Americas. He sailed from England and arrived in Virginia in the early 17th century, and is most notorious for finagling his way out of punishment for killing his neighbor.

Those are just distant ancestors, though. Our connection, if you can call it that, is effectively a technicality at this point.

Records are somewhat fuzzy (particularly in Virginia, due to the catastrophic loss of Elizabeth City records to fire), but the general consensus is that after William, my ancestors slowly migrated south from Virginia, through North Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, and Arkansas, finally settling in Texas for about four generations.

The earliest ancestor that I have a personal connection with is my great‐great‐grandfather E.J., son of T.J. E.J. is faintly remembered by my great‐uncle George Bentley; there is certainly no one still alive who ever knew T.J.


Here I plan to collect various family history resources as I come across them.

The Tribe of Benjamin
A work describing the history of the Bentley family in Ohio. Not closely related to me, although we probably share ancestry with William.

  1. The earliest source that I can find for the story of Drew of Bentley is a 1980 manuscript by Eleanor Trismen, which makes reference to another genealogical manuscript by 19th century lawyer George F. Bentley.

    I have been unable to find George F. Bentley’s manuscript. If you have any information on this topic, please contact me.

    The Bentley Name Study has more information.