Nisbet, in its current form, dates back to the year 1072, when William the Conqueror of England, awarded land to Aldan of Nesbyth.
Within this circle of folk there exists a record of Nisbet in Berwick in the parish of Edrom. Sir Robert Nesbit was recorded as being involved with the Abbey of Kelso in 1160. From here, the clans around the north side of the border became Scottish; those on the south became English.
Despite the border, many of the clan families remained united and intermingled their territories well into the thirteenth century. As clan warfare increased between the English and Scottish clans, laws were determined for the border territories in the 1200's.
The famous King Robert the Bruce of Scotland granted land to Adam Nisbet about 1300. It was upon this land in southern Scotland, near the village of Nisbet, that the Castle of Nisbet was constructed to protect the village and surrounding area. Due to the constant wars between Scotland and England, the Borders area between the two countries was overrun and the Nisbet Castle lay in ruins.
Issues continued for centuries between the English and the Scottish. In 1603, the crowns of Scotland and England were united under James VI of Scotland, who found it expedient to dispense the unruly border clans. The Border Clans, largely the Strathclyde Britons on the western border, and the Boernicians on the Eastern Border Marches, were dispersed to England, northern Scotland and to Ireland. Some where banished directly to the colonies. Nisbets remained in Scotland.
In 1633, Sir Alexander Nisbet constructed a new structure upon the ruins of the Castle of Nisbet. The Nisbet House, built of stone and fortified with slots in the walls for firing weapons, still stands today in Duns, Scotland. Recently purchased by a private owner, it is closed to the public.
I Byde It, the Nisbet family motto, translates into "I shall endure". Since history indicates years of persecution of Nisbets by the English, this motto is appropriate.
Our Nisbet line came from Scotland to Prince Edward Island, Canada, in the mid 19th century. Robert Nisbet moved his family to Rumford, Maine. My husband's great-grandfather, Elbert Nisbet, relocated to East Rochester, New Hampshire in the 1940s.
The Nisbet/Nesbitt Society of North America is an active genealogy group.