Ballforthy History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The chronicles of the Ballforthy family reach back into Scottish history to an ancient tribe known as the Picts. The ancestors of the Ballforthy 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. [1] [2]

Early Origins of the Ballforthy family

The surname Ballforthy 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 Ballforthy family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Ballforthy 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 Ballforthy History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ballforthy Spelling Variations

When the first dictionaries were invented in the last few hundred years, spelling gradually became standardized. Before that time, scribes spelled according to sound. Names were often recorded under different spelling variations every time they were written. Ballforthy has been written Balfour, Balfoure, Balfower, Balfowir, Balford, Balforde and many more.

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

Ireland Migration of the Ballforthy family to Ireland

Some of the Ballforthy 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 Ballforthy family

The crossing to North America did not seem so great in comparison with the hardships many Scots endured at home. It was long, expensive, and cramped, but also rewarding. North America offered land and the chance for settlers to prove themselves in a new place. And many did prove themselves as they fought to forge a new nation in the American War of Independence. The ancestors of those Scots can now experience much of their once-lost heritage through the Clan societies and highland games that have sprung up across North America in the last century. A search of immigration and passenger lists revealed many important, early immigrants to North America bearing the name of Ballforthy: 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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