Balfour History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The annals of Scottish history reveal that Balfour was first used as a name by ancestors of the Pictish tribe of ancient Scotland. The Balfour family 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.

Early Origins of the Balfour family

The surname Balfour was first found in Fife, where they held a family seat from ancient times.

Early History of the Balfour family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Balfour research. Another 114 words (8 lines of text) covering the years 1280, 1350, 1699, 1907, 1660, 1698, 1767, 1600, 1658, 1650, 1658, 1525, 1583, 1547, 1630, 1694, 1619, 1639, 1688 and 1713 are included under the topic Early Balfour History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Balfour Spelling Variations

Before the first dictionaries appeared in the last few hundred years, scribes spelled according to sound. spelling variations are common among Scottish names. Balfour has been spelled Balfour, Balfoure, Balfower, Balfowir, Balford, Balforde and many more.

Early Notables of the Balfour 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 Balfour Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the Balfour family to Ireland

Some of the Balfour 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.


United States Balfour migration to the United States +

In those unstable times, many had no choice but to leave their beloved homelands. Sickness and poverty hounded travelers to North America, but those who made it were welcomed with land and opportunity. These settlers gave the young nations of Canada and the United States a strong backbone as they stood up for their beliefs as United Empire Loyalists and in the American War of Independence. In this century, the ancestors of these brave Scots have begun to recover their illustrious heritage through Clan societies and other heritage organizations. Early passenger and immigration lists reveal many Scottish settlers bearing the name Balfour:

Balfour Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • George Balfour, who landed in Rhode Island in 1701 [1]
  • William Balfour, who landed in Virginia in 1738 [1]
  • Janet Balfour, who landed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1775 [1]
  • Andrew Balfour, who arrived in North Carolina in 1782 [1]
Balfour Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Walter Balfour, who arrived in America in 1807 [1]
  • John Balfour, who landed in America in 1855 [1]
  • Gilbert, James, Janet, Samuel, William Balfour, all arrived at the Port of Philadelphia in Pennsylvania between 1820 to 1860
  • Joseph Balfour, who landed in Arkansas in 1884 [1]

Canada Balfour migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Balfour Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
  • James Balfour, who arrived in Newfoundland in 1764 [2]

Australia Balfour migration to Australia +

Emigration to Australia followed the First Fleets of convicts, tradespeople and early settlers. Early immigrants include:

Balfour Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Mr. Francis Balfour, English convict who was convicted in London, England for 7 years, transported aboard the "Bardaster" on 7th September 1835, arriving in Tasmania ( Van Diemen's Land) [3]
  • Mr. Walter Balfour, (b. 1819), aged 20, Scottish miner who was convicted in Perth, Scotland for 14 years for highway robbery, transported aboard the "Barossa" on 8th December 1839, arriving in New South Wales, Australia, he died in 1900 [4]
  • Miss. Margaret Balfour, (Henderson), Scottish convict who was convicted in Edinburgh, Scotland for 10 years, transported aboard the "Baretto Junior" on 5th April 1850, arriving in Tasmania ( Van Diemen's Land) [5]
  • Robert Balfour, aged 31, who arrived in South Australia in 1854 aboard the ship "Star Queen" [6]
  • Archibald Balfour, aged 49, a engineer, who arrived in South Australia in 1858 aboard the ship "Utopia"
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

New Zealand Balfour migration to New Zealand +

Emigration to New Zealand followed in the footsteps of the European explorers, such as Captain Cook (1769-70): first came sealers, whalers, missionaries, and traders. By 1838, the British New Zealand Company had begun buying land from the Maori tribes, and selling it to settlers, and, after the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840, many British families set out on the arduous six month journey from Britain to Aotearoa to start a new life. Early immigrants include:

Balfour Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Mr. David Inglis Balfour, Australian settler travelling from Port of Hobart, Tasmania, Australia on board the ship "David Owen" arriving in New Zealand in 1832 [7]
  • Mr. William Balfour, Scottish settler travelling from Clyde aboard the ship "Sir William Eyre" arriving in Bluff, Southland, South Island, New Zealand in April 1863 [8]
  • Mrs. Balfour, Scottish settler travelling from Clyde aboard the ship "Sir William Eyre" arriving in Bluff, Southland, South Island, New Zealand in April 1863 [8]
  • Mr. James Balfour, Scottish settler travelling from Clyde aboard the ship "Sir William Eyre" arriving in Bluff, Southland, South Island, New Zealand in April 1863 [8]
  • Mr. William Balfour, (b. 1834), aged 30, British settler travelling from Plymouth aboard the ship "Ivanhoe" arriving in Lyttelton, Christchurch, South Island, New Zealand on 13th June 1864 [7]

Contemporary Notables of the name Balfour (post 1700) +

  • Grant Robert Balfour (b. 1977), Australian-born, American Major League Baseball player
  • Eric Salter Balfour (b. 1977), American actor
  • Michael Balfour (1918-1997), American actor
  • John Patrick Douglas Balfour (1904-1976), 3rd Baron Kinross Scottish historian
  • John Blair Balfour PC, QC (1837-1905), 1st Baron Kinross, Scottish lawyer and Liberal politician
  • John Hutton Balfour FRSE FRS FRCSE FLS MWS (1808-1884), Scottish botanist, Professor of Botany, University of Glasgow (1841)
  • James Maitland Balfour (1820-1856), Scottish Member of Parliament
  • James Balfour (1583-1584), Lord Pittendreich Scottish judge and politician
  • James Balfour (1731-1809), Scottish Church of England missionary in Newfoundland
  • Sir Isaac Bayley Balfour (1853-1922), Scottish botanist
  • ... (Another 11 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)


  1. ^ Filby, P. William, Meyer, Mary K., Passenger and immigration lists index : a guide to published arrival records of about 500,000 passengers who came to the United States and Canada in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries. 1982-1985 Cumulated Supplements in Four Volumes Detroit, Mich. : Gale Research Co., 1985, Print (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8)
  2. ^ Seary E.R., Family Names of the Island of Newfoundland, Montreal: McGill's-Queen's Universtity Press 1998 ISBN 0-7735-1782-0
  3. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 16th September 2020). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/bardaster
  4. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 24th September 2020). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/barossa
  5. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 16th September 2020). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/baretto-junior
  6. ^ South Australian Register Monday 1st January 1855. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) Star Queen 1854. Retrieved http://www.theshipslist.com/ships/australia/starqueen1854.shtml
  7. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 17th October 2018). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
  8. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 26th March 2019). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html


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