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

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

Blair was first used as a surname in the Scottish/English Borderlands by the Strathclyde-Briton. The first Blair family lived in the village of Blair, in the county of Ayrshire.


Medieval Scottish names are rife with spelling variations. This is due to the fact that scribes in that era spelled according to the sound of words, rather than any set of rules. Blair has been spelled Blair, Blayr, Blare, Blaire 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, One of the earliest recorded instances of this Clan name are of Stephen de Blare, who was a recorded witness of a document about the monastery of Arbroath between 1204 and 1211, and of Brice de Blair and Alexander del Blair, who witnessed an agreement between the burgh of Irvine and Brice de Eglustone in 1205. The aforementioned William Blare is probably the same man as Sir William de Blar, who was Seneschal of Fife in 1235. His son, Sir Bryce Blair,was known as "the gallant knight." He fought with Sir William Wallace and was eventually taken prisoner, and executed at Ayr. In another connection to Wallace, John Blair was chaplain to William Wallace, and wrote an account of the travels and adventures, which is said to be the source for the famed verse written in the late 1400s, Schir William Wallace by Blind Harry.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Blair research. Another 239 words(17 lines of text) covering the years 1699, 1746, 1650, 1593, 1666, 1634, 1646, 1699, 1746 and 1743 are included under the topic Early Blair History in all our PDF Extended History products.


Another 71 words(5 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Blair Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.


Some of the Blair 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.


Many Scots were left with few options other than to leave their homeland for the colonies across the Atlantic. Some of these families fought to defend their newfound freedom in the American War of Independence. Others went north to Canada as United Empire Loyalists. The ancestors of all of these families have recently been able to rediscover their roots through Clan societies and other Scottish organizations. Among them:

Blair Settlers in the United States in the 18th Century

  • Dugall Blair, who arrived in Virginia in 1700
  • Sohn Blair, who arrived in West Indies in 1702
  • Alexander Blair who settled in New England in 1718
  • Abraham Blair, who landed in New England in 1718

Blair Settlers in the United States in the 19th Century

  • Archibald Blair, who arrived in Richmond, Va in 1800
  • James Blair, who landed in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1803
  • Margt Blair, who arrived in America in 1804
  • William Blair, who arrived in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1809
  • Samuel Blair, who arrived in New York, NY in 1811


  • Francis Preston Blair (1791-1876), American journalist and politician, Union Army general during the American Civil War
  • Linda Denise Blair (b. 1959), American actress best known for her role as the possessed child, Regan, in the 1973 acclaimed blockbuster The Exorcist
  • Dennis Cutler Blair (b. 1947), former United States Director of National Intelligence and retired United States Navy admiral
  • John Blair Jr. (1732-1800), American politician, American Founding Father and jurist
  • William Allen "Willie" Blair (b. 1965), American Major League Baseball right-handed pitcher
  • Eugene Blair (1908-1942), United States Navy Chief Machinist's Mate of World War II, eponym of the USS Blair (DE-147), an Edsall-class destroyer escort
  • David Blair (1967-2011), known as Blair, an American musician and poet
  • Robert Blair (1834-1859), Scottish soldier, recipient of the Victoria Cross for deeds in India in 1857
  • Robert Blair (1699-1746), Scottish poet and preacher
  • Michael Robert Leighton "Mike" Blair (b. 1981), Scottish rugby union footballer



  • The Blair Memorial by Robert H. Blair.

The motto was originally a war cry or slogan. Mottoes first began to be shown with arms in the 14th and 15th centuries, but were not in general use until the 17th century. Thus the oldest coats of arms generally do not include a motto. Mottoes seldom form part of the grant of arms: Under most heraldic authorities, a motto is an optional component of the coat of arms, and can be added to or changed at will; many families have chosen not to display a motto.

Motto: Amo probos
Motto Translation: I love the virtuous


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  1. Browning, Charles H. Americans of Royal Descent. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  2. Chadwick, Nora Kershaw and J.X.W.P Corcoran. The Celts. London: Penguin, 1970. Print. (ISBN 0140212116).
  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. Barrow, G.W.S Ed. The Charters of David I The Written Acts of David I King of Scots, 1124-53 and of His Son Henry, Earl of Northumerland, 1139-52. Woodbridge: The Boydell Press, 1999. Print.
  5. Holt, J.C. Ed. Domesday Studies. Woodbridge: Boydell, 1987. Print. (ISBN 0-85115-477-8).
  6. Bain, Robert. The Clans and Tartans of Scotland. Glasgow & London: Collins, 1968. Print. (ISBN 000411117-6).
  7. Adam, Frank. Clans Septs and Regiments of the Scottish Highlands 8th Edition. London: Bacon (G.W.) & Co, 1970. Print. (ISBN 10-0717945006).
  8. Martine, Roddy, Roderick Martine and Don Pottinger. Scottish Clan and Family Names Their Arms, Origins and Tartans. Edinburgh: Mainstream, 1992. Print.
  9. Colletta, John P. They Came In Ships. Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1993. Print.
  10. Magnusson, Magnus. Chambers Biographical Dictionary 5th edition. Edinburgh: W & R Chambers, 1990. Print.
  11. ...

The Blair Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Blair 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 18 October 2014 at 20:02.

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