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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright © 2000 - 2014

Origins Available: German, Scottish

Where did the Scottish Barr family come from? What is the Scottish Barr family crest and coat of arms? When did the Barr family first arrive in the United States? Where did the various branches of the family go? What is the Barr family history?

It was in the Scottish/English Borderlands that the Strathclyde-Briton people first used the ancient name Barr. It was a name for someone who lived in Ayrshire, where the family was found since the early Middle Ages. It is generally thought to have been a habitational name, taken on from any of various place names in southwestern Scotland, in particular in Ayrshire and Renfrewshire. These place names derive from the Gaelic word barr, meaning "height," or "hill."

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Scribes in Medieval Scotland spelled names by sound rather than any set of rules, so an enormous number of spelling variations exist in names of that era. Barr has been spelled Barr, Barre and others.

First found in Ayrshire (Gaelic: Siorrachd Inbhir Àir), formerly a county in the southwestern Strathclyde region of Scotland, that today makes up the Council Areas of South, East, and North Ayrshire, where they have been found since ancient times.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Barr research. Another 141 words(10 lines of text) covering the years 1590 and 1600 are included under the topic Early Barr History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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More information is included under the topic Early Barr Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Some of the Barr family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 107 words(8 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.

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The number of Strathclyde Clan families sailing for North America increased steadily as the persecution continued. In the colonies, they could find not only freedom from the iron hand of the English government, but land to settle on. The American War of Independence allowed many of these settlers to prove their independence, while some chose to go to Canada as United Empire Loyalists. Scots played essential roles in the forging of both great nations. Among them:

Barr Settlers in the United States in the 17th Century


  • Roger Barr, who settled in Virginia in 1655
  • Roger Barr, who landed in Virginia in 1655
  • John Barr, who landed in Marblehead, Massachusetts in 1684

Barr Settlers in the United States in the 18th Century


  • Robt Barr, who came to New England in 1718
  • Gabriel Barr, who came to New Hampshire in 1720
  • Gabriel Barr, who arrived in New England in 1720
  • Samuel Barr, who landed in New England in 1720
  • John George Barr, who arrived in South Carolina in 1735


Barr Settlers in the United States in the 19th Century


  • Joseph Barr, who landed in Washington County, Pennsylvania in 1802
  • Jane Barr, who landed in America in 1805
  • Enos Barr, aged 36, landed in Maine in 1812
  • Agnes Barr, who landed in Massachusetts in 1812
  • Eleanor Barr, who arrived in New York, NY in 1812


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  • Alfred Hamilton Barr Jr. (1902-1981), American Counselor to the Trustees, Museum of Modern Art, New York
  • Anthony James Barr (b. 1940), American programming language designer, software engineer, and inventor
  • Gladys Hutchinson Barr (1904-1976), American author, lawyer, and editor
  • Howard Raymond Barr (1910-2002), prominent American twentieth-century architect in Austin, Texas
  • Robert McClelland Barr (1856-1930), American Major League Baseball player
  • Donna Barr (b. 1952), American comic book author and cartoonist
  • Roseanne Cherie Barr (b. 1952), award-winning American actress, comedienne, writer, television producer and director
  • Amelia Edith Barr (1831-1919), English-born, American author
  • Robert L Barr Jr. (b. 1948), American politician, member of the United States House of Representatives from Georgia (1995-2003)
  • Cynthia Elizabeth Barr (b. 1971), American silver medalist swimmer at the 1988 Summer Olympics

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  • The Family of Adam and Mary Claycomb/Barr by Stephan A. Barr.
  • The Family of Matthew Alexander Barr and Wife Nancy Turrentine Barr by Alma Fulton Kellum.
  • John Kendig Barr: His Ancestors and His Descendants by Mary Alice Burchfield.
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  1. Bradford, William. History of Plymouth Plantation 1620-1647 Edited by Samuel Eliot Morrison 2 Volumes. New York: Russell and Russell, 1968. Print.
  2. Bell, Robert. The Book of Ulster Surnames. Belfast: Blackstaff, 1988. Print. (ISBN 10-0856404160).
  3. Bloxham, Ben. Key to Parochial Registers of Scotland From Earliest Times Through 1854 2nd edition. Provo, UT: Stevenson's Genealogical Center, 1979. Print.
  4. Warner, Philip Warner. Famous Scottish Battles. New York: Barnes and Noble, 1996. Print. (ISBN 0-76070-004-4).
  5. Dorward, David. Scottish Surnames. Glasgow: Harper Collins, 1995. Print.
  6. Hanks, Patricia and Flavia Hodges. A Dictionary of Surnames. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988. Print. (ISBN 0-19-211592-8).
  7. Matthews, John. Matthews' American Armoury and Blue Book. London: John Matthews, 1911. Print.
  8. Bain, Robert. The Clans and Tartans of Scotland. Glasgow & London: Collins, 1968. Print. (ISBN 000411117-6).
  9. Le Patourel, John. The Norman Empire. New York: Oxford University Press, 1976. Print. (ISBN 0-19-822525-3).
  10. Browne, James. The History of Scotland it's Highlands, Regiments and Clans 8 Volumes. Edinburgh: Francis A Niccolls & Co, 1909. Print.
  11. ...

The Barr Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Barr Family Crest was drawn according to heraldic standards based on published blazons. We generally include the oldest published family crest once associated with each surname.

This page was last modified on 20 July 2014 at 21:41.

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