Balls History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The name Balls comes from the ancient Anglo-Saxon culture of Britain. It was a name for a person who was bald deriving its origin from the Old English word Bealla, which meant bald. The surname may also refer to someone who had a rotund or stocky stature. [1]

While many researchers share this same "nickname" origin of the name, Henry Brougham Guppy in 1890, wrote "The idea that these names originated from bald - headed ancestors is, I think, absurd. Camden, in his remarks on surnames, written some 300 years ago, informs us that Baul and Bald were then nicknames or nursenames for Baldwin, and it was evidently from this source that Mr. Lower borrowed the suggestion that Ball was a nickname of Baldwin." [2]

Early Origins of the Balls family

The surname Balls was first found in the "west side of England, being at present most numerous in Lancashire, Staffordshire, Warwickshire, and Gloucestershire. This surname must be distinguished in its distribution from Balls, which is restricted to the opposite or east side of England, in the counties of Norfolk, Suffolk, and Essex. It is remarkable that after the lapse of six centuries Balls remains doggedly in the same part of England, whilst Ball and Baldwin seem to have extended their areas westward. In Norfolk three centuries ago Balls was sometimes spelt Balles or Ballis. " [2]

The earliest record of the family was found in the Hundredorum Rolls of 1273 which reflected the scattered occurrences of the family and early spellings recorded: Custance Balde, Cambridgeshire; Richard Bald, Oxfordshire; John Balle, Norfolk; and Albred Balle, Huntingdonshire. [1]

Kirby's Quest had several entries: John Balde, Somerset, 1 Edward III (recorded during the first year's reign of Edward III.) John atte Balle, Somerset, 1 Edward III; and Henry atte Balle, Somerset, 1 Edward III. [3]

John Ball (d. 1381), was an early English priest, who provoked the insurrection of Wat Tyler. As a result of his actions, he was "brought before the king at St. Albans, where he was sentenced to be hanged, drawn, and quartered as a traitor. The sentence seems to have been promptly carried out, and the king himself witnessed its execution at St. Albans on 15 July. " [4]

Early History of the Balls family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Balls research. Another 161 words (12 lines of text) covering the years 1381, 1887, 1585, 1640, 1585, 1590, 1659, 1631, 1690, 1623, 1681, 1665, 1745, 1680, 1626, 1640, 1675, 1664, 1637, 1530, 1553, 1992 and are included under the topic Early Balls History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Balls Spelling Variations

Only recently has spelling become standardized in the English language. As the English language evolved in the Middle Ages, the spelling of names changed also. The name Balls has undergone many spelling variations, including Ball, Balle, Balls, Balders and others.

Early Notables of the Balls family (pre 1700)

Notables of the family at this time include John Ball (1585-1640), English Puritan divine, born at Cassington, Oxfordshire, in October 1585. Thomas Ball (1590-1659), was an English divine, born at Aberbury in Shropshire. "His parents were of 'good and honest repute,' having neither 'superfluity nor want.' " [4] William Ball or Balle (c. 1631-1690), was an early an English astronomer, one of the founding Fellows of the Royal Society. He was the eldest of seventeen children born to Sir Peter Ball, knight, recorder of Exeter and attorney-general to the queen in the reigns of Charles...
Another 93 words (7 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Balls Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the Balls family to Ireland

Some of the Balls family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 181 words (13 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Balls migration to the United States +

To escape the unstable social climate in England of this time, many families boarded ships for the New World with the hope of finding land, opportunity, and greater religious and political freedom. Although the voyages were expensive, crowded, and difficult, those families that arrived often found greater opportunities and freedoms than they could have experienced at home. Many of those families went on to make significant contributions to the rapidly developing colonies in which they settled. Early North American records indicate many people bearing the name Balls were among those contributors:

Balls Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Mrs. Robert Balls, who settled in Virginia in 1623
  • Dorothy Balls, who arrived in America in 1654 [5]
  • Walter Balls, who landed in Virginia in 1697 [5]
Balls Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Edward Balls, who arrived in America in 1760 [5]
Balls Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Noah Balls, who settled in New Orleans La. in 1821
  • James Balls, who settled in New York in New York State in 1822
  • Miguel Balls, aged 30, who arrived in New Orleans, La in 1840 [5]
  • Madame Balls, who settled in San Francisco, California in 1850
  • Madame Balls, who landed in San Francisco, California in 1850 [5]
Balls Settlers in United States in the 20th Century
  • Jens J E Balls, who landed in Arkansas in 1903 [5]

Australia Balls migration to Australia +

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

Balls Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • John Balls Jr., English convict from Essex, who was transported aboard the "Albion" on May 17, 1823, settling in Van Diemen's Land, Australia [6]
  • Stephen Balls, English convict from Suffolk, who was transported aboard the "Argyle" on March 5th, 1831, settling in Van Diemen's Land, Australia [7]
  • Henry Balls, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Poictiers" in 1848 [8]
  • William Balls, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Duke Of Bronte" in 1849 [9]
  • John G. Balls, aged 28, who arrived in South Australia in 1852 aboard the ship "Anglia" [10]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

New Zealand Balls 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:

Balls Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Mr. William Balls, British settler travelling from Gravesend aboard the ship "Evening Star" arriving in Auckland, New Zealand in 1858 [11]
  • Mr. George Balls, British settler travelling from Gravesend aboard the ship "Evening Star" arriving in Auckland, New Zealand in 1858 [11]
  • Miss Martha Balls, (b. 1838), aged 31, British cook travelling from Gravesend aboard the ship "Hydaspes" arriving in Lyttelton, Christchurch, South Island, New Zealand on 30th September 1869 [11]
  • Thomas Balls, aged 30, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "City of Auckland" in 1872
  • James Balls, aged 28, a carpenter, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Conflict" in 1874
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Contemporary Notables of the name Balls (post 1700) +

  • Balls Mahoney (1972-2016), ring name of Jonathan Rechner, an American professional wrestler, best known for his appearances with Extreme Championship Wrestling

HMS Royal Oak
  • Harold Edgar Balls (1902-1939), British Captain with the Royal Marine aboard the HMS Royal Oak when she was torpedoed by U-47 and sunk; he died in the sinking [12]


The Balls Motto +

The motto was originally a war cry or slogan. Mottoes first began to be shown with arms in the 14th and 15th centuries, but were not in general use until the 17th century. Thus the oldest coats of arms generally do not include a motto. Mottoes seldom form part of the grant of arms: Under most heraldic authorities, a motto is an optional component of the coat of arms, and can be added to or changed at will; many families have chosen not to display a motto.

Motto: Fulcrum dignitatis virtus
Motto Translation: Virtue is the support of dignity


  1. ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  2. ^ Guppy, Henry Brougham, Homes of Family Names in Great Britain. 1890. Print.
  3. ^ Dickinson, F.H., Kirby's Quest for Somerset of 16th of Edward the 3rd London: Harrison and Sons, Printers in Ordinary to Her Majesty, St, Martin's Lane, 1889. Print.
  4. ^ Smith, George (ed), Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1885-1900. Print
  5. ^ 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)
  6. ^ State Library of Queensland. (Retrieved 2016, October 27) Albion voyage to Van Diemen's Land, Australia in 1823 with 200 passengers. Retrieved from http://www.convictrecords.com.au/ships/albion/1823
  7. ^ State Library of Queensland. (Retrieved 2015, January 8) Argyle voyage to Van Diemen's Land, Australia in 1831 with 251 passengers. Retrieved from http://www.convictrecords.com.au/ships/argyle/1831
  8. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) POICTIERS 1848. Retrieved from http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1848Poictiers.htm
  9. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) The DUKE OF BRONTE 1849. Retrieved from http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1849DukeOfBronte.htm
  10. ^ South Australian Register Tuesday 3 February 1852. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) ANGLIA 1852. Retrieved http://www.theshipslist.com/ships/australia/anglia1852.shtml
  11. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 17th October 2018). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
  12. ^ Ships hit by U-boats crew list HMS Royal Oak (08) - (Retrieved 2018 February, 9th) - retrieved from https://uboat.net/allies/merchants/crews/ship68.html


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