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

Origins Available: English, Scottish

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

The Boyd surname in Scotland is a habitational name, deriving from name of the island of Bute ("Bod," in Gaelic) located in the Firth of Clyde. There was also a family of this name of Norman origin, that was first found in Shropshire where they were granted lands by Duke William of Normandy.

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Spelling variations of this family name include: Byard, Byearde, Byatt, Byat, Byart, Boyde, Boid, Boyd and many more.

First found in Ayrshire, where the first record of the name is Dominus Robertus de Boyd, who witnessed a contract in Irvine, Ayrshire, in 1205. The earliest Boyds were said to be vassals of the De Morevilles in the regality of Largs, and may have originally come north with them from England. Family lore suggests that the surname descends from the family of Walter Fitz Alan, scion of Royal Stewarts of Scotland, who moved his family north to Scotland, became the 1st High Steward of Scotland (c.1150-1177) and held lands in Renfrewshire and Ayrshire. He had a son Simon, who had a son named Robert, who was blond; the Gaelic for which is "buidhe." Records show that a Robert Boyd was a hero at the Battle of Largs in 1263. The Clan built Kilmarnock Castle (renamed Dean Castle, in 1700) in Ayrshire, and it was the primary seat of the Boyd family for over 400 years. Perhaps the aforementioned Robert de Boyt, a tenant in Ayrshire rendered homage to English King Edward I in 1296, and was later taken prisoner, in 1306, while assisting Robert the Bruce in the latter's successful attempt to gain control of Scotland. His brother Duncan Boyd was hanged in that same year for his support of Robert the Bruce. A descendant of this Robert Boyd was made Sir Robert Boyd, 1st Lord Boyd in 1454. Lord Boyd became Regent of Scotland for the infant King James III in 1460. In 1468, Boyd negotiated the marriage between the young King James III, and the daughter of the King of Norway and Denmark, thus acquiring control of the Shetland Isles and the Orkneys for Scotland. He was appointed Great Chamberlain for life and Lord Justice General in 1467. But, Lord Boyd fell out of favor with the Royal James family, was found guilty of treason, and fled to Alnwick, Northumberland.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Boyd research. Another 287 words(20 lines of text) covering the years 1550, 1549, 1580, 1646, 1692, 1661, 1704, 1746, 1746, 1758, 1508, 1654, 1717, 1704, 1746, 1912, 1903 and 1991 are included under the topic Early Boyd History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Another 145 words(10 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Boyd Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Some of the Boyd family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 175 words(12 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Boyd Settlers in the United States in the 17th Century


  • Alexander Boyd, who arrived in Maryland in 1674

Boyd Settlers in the United States in the 18th Century


  • Martha Boyd, who landed in Massachusetts in 1712
  • Jean Boyd, who landed in Louisiana in 1718-1724
  • Adam Boyd, who arrived in New England in 1723
  • Archibald Boyd, who arrived in New England in 1742
  • Dougal Boyd, who landed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1746


Boyd Settlers in the United States in the 19th Century


  • Margt Boyd, who arrived in America in 1804
  • Jas Boyd, aged 26, landed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1804
  • Saml Boyd, who landed in America in 1804
  • Wm Boyd, who arrived in America in 1804
  • Charles, Boyd Sr., who landed in South Carolina in 1806


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  • Louise Arner Boyd (1887-1972), American Arctic explorer
  • Eliza Stewart Boyd (1833-1912), first woman in America ever selected to serve on a jury
  • James Boyd (1888-1944), American novelist
  • William Clouser Boyd (1903-1983), American biochemist
  • Brigadier-General Leonard Russell Boyd (1891-1977), American Assistant Commanding General 93rd Division (1943-1946)
  • Billy Boyd (b. 1968), Scottish actor and musician
  • Martin a Beckett Boyd (1893-1972), Swiss-born, Australian novelist from a notable family of artists
  • Stephen Boyd (1931-1977), Canadian (Northern Ireland born) film actor
  • Gilbert Allan Rowland Boyd (1903-1975), British nobleman, 6th Baron Kilmarnock of County Ayr, Scotland
  • Guy Martin Beckett Boyd (1893-1972), Australian novelist

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  • The Boyds of Albany: Three Generations by Joanna B. Newton.
  • The Boyds of Boyds Tank by Frank Ewell Boyd.
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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: Confido
Motto Translation: Be trustful

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Boyd Clan Badge
Boyd Clan Badge

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A clan is a social group made up of a number of distinct branch-families that actually descended from, or accepted themselves as descendants of, a common ancestor. The word clan means simply children. The idea of the clan as a community is necessarily based around this idea of heredity and is most often ruled according to a patriarchal structure. For instance, the clan chief represented the hereditary "parent" of the entire clan. The most prominent example of this form of society is the Scottish Clan system...

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Septs of the Distinguished Name Boyd
Boid, Boyd, Boyde, Boyt, Byard, Byart, Byat, Byatt, Byearde and more.

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  1. Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at Galveston Texas 1896-1951. National Archives Washington DC. Print.
  2. Matthews, John. Matthews' American Armoury and Blue Book. London: John Matthews, 1911. Print.
  3. Papworth, J.W and A.W Morant. Ordinary of British Armorials. London: T.Richards, 1874. Print.
  4. Moncrieffe, Sir Ian of That Ilk and David Hicks. The Highland Clans The Dynastic Origins, Cheifs and Background of the Clans. New York: C.N. Potter, 1968. Print.
  5. Dorward, David. Scottish Surnames. Glasgow: Harper Collins, 1995. Print.
  6. Burke, Sir Bernard. Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Landed Gentry Including American Families with British Ancestry 2 Volumes. London: Burke Publishing, 1939. Print.
  7. Bain, Robert. The Clans and Tartans of Scotland. Glasgow & London: Collins, 1968. Print. (ISBN 000411117-6).
  8. Innes, Thomas and Learney. Scots Heraldry A Practical Handbook on the Historical Principles and Mordern Application of the Art and Science. London: Oliver and Boyd, 1934. Print.
  9. Paul, Sir James Balfour. An Ordinary of Arms Contained in the Public Register of All Arms and Bearings in Scotland Second Edition. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1903. Print.
  10. Skene, William Forbes Edition. Chronicles of the Picts, Chronicles of the Scots and Other Early Memorials of Scottish History. Edinburgh: H.M. General Register House, 1867. Print.
  11. ...

The Boyd Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Boyd 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 22 July 2014 at 04:33.

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