Balfith History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

A family in the Pictish tribe of ancient Scotland was the first to use the name Balfith. They lived in the barony of Balfour, in the parish of Markinch in Fife. The name is a topographic or local surname, which was given to a family who held a barony or lands, had houses, manors or estates in the area. The name may also be derived from the Gaelic word baile which means a place and the Pictish word pawr which means pasture. [1] [2]

Early Origins of the Balfith family

The surname Balfith was first found in Fife, from the lands or barony named Balfour, near the junction of the rivers Ore and Leven in the parish of Markinch. The first record of the family was John de Balfure, who appears on an Assize Roll in 1304. William de Balfure witnessed a charter by Duncan, Earl of Fife between 1331 and 1335 and Michael de Balfoure who witnessed a confirmation charter by David II to Ysabella de Fyf in 1365. He may be the Michael de Balfwre who was present at the perambulation of the bounds of Kyrknes and Louchor in 1395. "Over twenty branches of the family of Balfour possessed at one time or another landed property in Fife. The name was originally pronounced with the accent on the last syllable, but Anglified usage has shifted the stress forward to the first. " [3]

Another noted source mentions the name is from "a castle and fief in Fifeshire of which county the chiefs were hereditary sheriffs. The family sprang from Siward, a Northumbrian, who settled in Scotland temp. Duncan I." [4]

And another source claims the family "are descended from Sir Michael de Balfour, temp. William the Lion." [5] William the Lion, sometimes styled William I and also known by the nickname Garbh, "the Rough" (c. 1142-1214) was King of the Scots from 1165 to 1214.

Early History of the Balfith family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Balfith research. Another 150 words (11 lines of text) covering the years 1280, 1350, 1545, 1715, 1581, 1594, 1527, 1513, 1524, 1530, 1530, 1482, 1517, 1510, 1521, 1517, 1591, 1699, 1907, 1660, 1698, 1767, 1600, 1658, 1650, 1658, 1525, 1583, 1547, 1630, 1694, 1619, 1639, 1688, 1713 and are included under the topic Early Balfith History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Balfith Spelling Variations

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 Balfith has been spelled Balfour, Balfoure, Balfower, Balfowir, Balford, Balforde and many more.

Early Notables of the Balfith family (pre 1700)

Notable amongst the Clan at this time was Sir William Balfour (died 1660), from Pitcullo, Fifeshire, Scotland, General of the parliamentary forces during the English Civil War; Robert Balfour, 4th of Balbirnie (1698-1767); Sir Michael Balfour of Burleigh; Sir James Balfour, 1st Baronet (1600-1658), Scottish annalist and antiquary, Lord Lyon King of Arms from 1650-1658; Sir James Balfour (1525-1583) Lord Pittendreich, Scottish judge and politician, who...
Another 65 words (5 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Balfith Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the Balfith family to Ireland

Some of the Balfith family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 68 words (5 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Migration of the Balfith family

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 Balfith: Gilbert, James, Janet, Samuel, William, all arrived at the Port of Philadelphia in Pennsylvania between 1820 to 1860.



  1. ^ Smith, Eldson Coles, New Dictionary of American Family Names New York: Harper & Row, 1956. Print
  2. ^ Harrison, Henry, Surnames of the United Kingdom: A Concise Etymological Dictionary Baltimore: Geneological Publishing Company, 2013. Print
  3. ^ 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)
  4. ^ Lower, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  5. ^ Sims, Clifford Stanley The Origin and Signification of Scottish Surnames. 1862. Print.


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