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

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

A family in the Pictish tribe of ancient Scotland was the first to use the name Balbirnie. They lived in the lands of Balbirnie in Fife. The name is a topographic surname, which was given to a person who resided near a physical feature such as a hill, stream, church, or type of tree. Habitation names form the other broad category of surnames that were derived from place-names. They were derived from pre-existing names for towns, villages, parishes, or farmsteads. Other local names are derived from the names of houses, manors, estates, regions, and entire counties.

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In medieval Scotland, names were more often spelled according to sound than any regular set of rules. An enormous number of spelling variations were the result. Over the years, the name Balbirnie has been spelled Balbirnie, Balbirney, Ballbirnie, Ballbirney, Ballbyrnie, Bawbyrny, Baldbernie and many more.

First found in Fife, where they held a family seat from ancient times.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Balbirnie research. Another 193 words(14 lines of text) covering the years 1260, 1483, 1508, 1622 and 1699 are included under the topic Early Balbirnie History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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

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Some of the Balbirnie family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 111 words(8 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.

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In such difficult times, Ireland, Australia, and North America looked like better homes for many Scots. The trips were expensive and grueling, but also rewarding, as the colonies were havens for those unwelcome in the old country. That legacy did not die easily, though, and many were forced to fight for their freedom in the American War of Independence. The Scottish legacy has resurface in more recent times, though, through Clan societies, highland games, and other organizations. Immigration and passenger lists have shown many early immigrants bearing the old Scottish name of Balbirnie:

Balbirnie Settlers in the United States in the 19th Century


  • Charles Balbirnie who settled in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in 1827 and then moved westward

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  • Andrew Balbirnie (b. 1990), Irish right-handed batsman cricketer


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  1. Martine, Roddy, Roderick Martine and Don Pottinger. Scottish Clan and Family Names Their Arms, Origins and Tartans. Edinburgh: Mainstream, 1992. Print.
  2. Bradford, William. History of Plymouth Plantation 1620-1647 Edited by Samuel Eliot Morrison 2 Volumes. New York: Russell and Russell, 1968. Print.
  3. 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.
  4. Prebble, John. The Highland Clearances. London: Secker & Warburg, 1963. Print.
  5. Papworth, J.W and A.W Morant. Ordinary of British Armorials. London: T.Richards, 1874. Print.
  6. Bolton, Charles Knowles. Scotch Irish Pioneers In Ulster and America. Montana: Kessinger Publishing. Print.
  7. Hanks, Patricia and Flavia Hodges. A Dictionary of Surnames. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988. Print. (ISBN 0-19-211592-8).
  8. Moncrieffe, Sir Ian of That Ilk and Don Pottinger. Clan Map Scotland of Old. Edinburgh: Bartholomew and Son, 1983. Print.
  9. Fairbairn,. Fairbain's book of Crests of the Families of Great Britain and Ireland, 4th Edition 2 volumes in one. Baltimore: Heraldic Book Company, 1968. Print.
  10. Burke, Sir Bernard. Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Landed Gentry Including American Families with British Ancestry 2 Volumes. London: Burke Publishing, 1939. Print.
  11. ...

The Balbirnie Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Balbirnie 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 November 2013 at 09:09.

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