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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright 2000 - 2016

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

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.


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.

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


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Balfour research. Another 227 words (16 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.


Another 245 words (18 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Balfour Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.


Some of the Balfour family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 123 words (9 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.


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
  • William Balfour, who landed in Virginia in 1738
  • Janet Balfour, who landed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1775
  • Andrew Balfour, who arrived in North Carolina in 1782

Balfour Settlers in United States in the 19th Century

  • Walter Balfour, who arrived in America in 1807
  • John Balfour, who landed in America in 1855
  • 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

Balfour Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century

  • James Balfour, who arrived in Newfoundland in 1764

Balfour Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century

  • Robert Balfour, aged 31, arrived in South Australia in 1854 aboard the ship "Star Queen"
  • Archibald Balfour, aged 49, a engineer, arrived in South Australia in 1858 aboard the ship "Utopia"
  • Robert Balfour, aged 19, a edinburgh, arrived in South Australia in 1858 aboard the ship "Utopia"
  • John Balfour, aged 14, a engineer, arrived in South Australia in 1858 aboard the ship "Utopia"
  • Elizabeth Balfour, aged 16, a servant, arrived in South Australia in 1858 aboard the ship "Utopia"


  • 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



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  1. 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.
  2. Holt, J.C. Ed. Domesday Studies. Woodbridge: Boydell, 1987. Print. (ISBN 0-85115-477-8).
  3. Hinde, Thomas Ed. The Domesday Book England's Heritage Then and Now. Surrey: Colour Library Books, 1995. Print. (ISBN 1-85833-440-3).
  4. Fulton, Alexander. Scotland and Her Tartans: The Romantic Heritage of the Scottish Clans and Families. Godalming: Bramley, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-86283-880-0).
  5. Bradford, William. History of Plymouth Plantation 1620-1647 Edited by Samuel Eliot Morrison 2 Volumes. New York: Russell and Russell, 1968. Print.
  6. Barrow, G.W.S Ed. The Charters of David I The Written Acts of David I King of Scots, 1124-53 and of His Son Henry, Earl of Northumerland, 1139-52. Woodbridge: The Boydell Press, 1999. Print.
  7. Bain, Robert. The Clans and Tartans of Scotland. Glasgow & London: Collins, 1968. Print. (ISBN 000411117-6).
  8. Catholic Directory For Scotland. Glasgow: Burns Publications. Print.
  9. Bell, Robert. The Book of Ulster Surnames. Belfast: Blackstaff, 1988. Print. (ISBN 10-0856404160).
  10. Crozier, William Armstrong Edition. Crozier's General Armory A Registry of American Families Entitled to Coat Armor. New York: Fox, Duffield, 1904. Print.
  11. ...

The Balfour Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Balfour 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 17 January 2016 at 08:19.

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