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

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

The history of the name Blythe begins in the Scottish/English Borderlands with a family of Strathclyde-Briton ancestry. It is a name for a happy or cheerful person. Further research revealed that the name is derived from the Old English word blithe, which described a person exhibiting the aforementioned characteristics.

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The variation in the spelling of Medieval names is a result of the lack of spelling rules in the English language prior to the last few hundred years. Before that time, scribes spelled according to sound, often varying the spelling of name within a single document. Blythe has appeared as Blythe, Bllyt, Blytht, Blyithe, Blith, Blyth, Blitht and many more.

First found in Berwickshire an ancient county of Scotland, presently part of the Scottish Borders Council Area, located in the eastern part of the Borders Region of Scotland, where they held a family seat from very ancient times, some say well before the Norman Conquest and the arrival of Duke William at Hastings in 1066 A.D.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Blythe research. Another 263 words(19 lines of text) covering the years 1296, 1603, 1567, 1485, 1493, 1493, 1499, 1530, 1503, 1530, 1542, 1605, 1654 and 1883 are included under the topic Early Blythe History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Another 129 words(9 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Blythe Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Some of the Blythe family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 63 words(4 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.

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As the persecution of Clan families continued, they sailed for North America in increasing numbers. In most cases, they found the freedom and opportunity they sought. Land was often available and the American War of Independence allowed Scots an opportunity to solidify their independence from the English crown. These settlers and their ancestors went on to play essential roles in the forging of the nations of the United States and Canada. Among them:

Blythe Settlers in the United States in the 19th Century


  • Keziah Blythe, who landed in New York, NY in 1811
  • Margaret Blythe, who arrived in New York, NY in 1817
  • Anne, George, John, Margaret, Samuel Blythe all settled in Charleston Massachusetts in 1820
  • James Blythe, who arrived in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1829
  • Champain Blythe, who arrived in Texas in 1835


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  • Ethel Mae Blythe (1879-1959), birth name of Ethel Barrymore, the American Academy Award winning actress
  • Lionel Blythe (1878-1954), birth name of Lionel Barrymore, the Academy Award-winning American actor of stage, screen and radio, perhaps best known for his role as the ruthless Henry F. Potter in It's a Wonderful Life (1946)
  • Vernon Blythe (1887-1918), original name of Vernon Castle, husband of the husband-and-wife team of ballroom dancers
  • William Jefferson Blythe Jr. (1918-1946), father of Bill Clinton, former President of the United States
  • Arthur Blythe (b. 1940), American jazz alto saxophonist and composer
  • Stephanie Blythe (b. 1970), American mezzo-soprano
  • Ernest Blythe (1889-1975), Irish politician, Mnister for Posts and Telegraphs (1927-1932), Minister for Finance (1923-1932)
  • Ronald Blythe (b. 1922), English writer, essayist and editor
  • Peter Blythe (1934-2004), English character actor, best known for his role as Samuel "Soapy Sam" Ballard in Rumpole of the Bailey, a British television series (1975-1992)
  • George Donald Blythe (1879-1911), English naval officer who circumnavigated Cape Horn in 1911

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  1. Hinde, Thomas Ed. The Domesday Book England's Heritage Then and Now. Surrey: Colour Library Books, 1995. Print. (ISBN 1-85833-440-3).
  2. Catholic Directory For Scotland. Glasgow: Burns Publications. Print.
  3. Martine, Roddy, Roderick Martine and Don Pottinger. Scottish Clan and Family Names Their Arms, Origins and Tartans. Edinburgh: Mainstream, 1992. Print.
  4. Papworth, J.W and A.W Morant. Ordinary of British Armorials. London: T.Richards, 1874. Print.
  5. Browne, James. The History of Scotland it's Highlands, Regiments and Clans 8 Volumes. Edinburgh: Francis A Niccolls & Co, 1909. Print.
  6. The Norman People and Their Existing Descendants in the British Dominions and the United States Of America. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1975. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0636-X).
  7. Weis, Frederick Lewis, Walter Lee Sheppard and David Faris. Ancestral Roots of Sixty Colonists Who Came to New England Between 1623 and 1650 7th Edition. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0806313676).
  8. Markale, J. Celtic Civilization. London: Gordon & Cremonesi, 1976. Print.
  9. Black, George F. The Surnames of Scotland Their Origin, Meaning and History. New York: New York Public Library, 1946. Print. (ISBN 0-87104-172-3).
  10. 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.
  11. ...

The Blythe Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Blythe 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 21 October 2014 at 03:34.

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