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

Origins Available: English, Scottish

The ancient Scottish name Barbour was first used by someone who worked as a medieval barber who not only cut hair and gave shaves, but also practiced surgery and pulled teeth.


The surname Barbour was first found in Northumberland, and Cumberland, where they held a family seat from ancient times.

In the era before dictionaries, there were no rules governing the spelling or translation of names or any other words. Consequently, there are an enormous number of spelling variations in Medieval Scottish names. Barbour has appeared as Barbour, Barber,Barberton and others.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Barbour research. Another 192 words (14 lines of text) covering the years 1286, 1316, 1395, 1410, and 1603 are included under the topic Early Barbour History in all our PDF Extended History products.


Another 50 words (4 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Barbour Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.


Some of the Barbour family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 261 words (19 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.


The freedom, opportunity, and land of the North American colonies beckoned. There, Scots found a place where they were generally free from persecution and where they could go on to become important players in the birth of new nations. Some fought in the American War of Independence, while others went north to Canada as United Empire Loyalists. The ancestors of all of these Scottish settlers have been able to recover their lost national heritage in the last century through highland games and Clan societies in North America. Among them:

Barbour Settlers in United States in the 17th Century

  • George Barbour, who landed in Massachusetts in 1635
  • Thomas Barbour, who arrived in Dorchester, Massachusetts in 1635
  • Jacob Barbour, who landed in Maryland in 1672

Barbour Settlers in United States in the 18th Century

  • James Barbour, who arrived in Virginia in 1700
  • John, Barbour Sr., who landed in New England in 1718
  • Robert Barbour, who landed in New England in 1718
  • John Barbour, who landed in New York in 1789

Barbour Settlers in United States in the 19th Century

  • James Barbour, who came to New York State in 1816
  • Matthew Barbour, who landed in New York, NY in 1816
  • Francis Barbour, who arrived in Washington, DC in 1819
  • Capt. Barbour, who arrived in San Francisco, California in 1850
  • William A Barbour, who arrived in Mississippi in 1853

Barbour Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century

  • Robert Barbour, his wife and three children, who came to St. John, N.B. in 1827


  • Francis Edward "Frank" Barbour (1870-1948), American football player, coach, and businessman
  • Dave Barbour (1912-1965), American musician
  • William Warren Barbour (1888-1943), American Republican Party politician
  • Thomas Barbour (1884-1946), American herpetologist
  • James Barbour (1775-1842), American lawyer and the 18th Governor of Virginia
  • Erwin Hinckly Barbour (1856-1947), American geologist and paleontologist
  • Walworth Barbour (1908-1982), American diplomat, U.S. Ambassador to Israel (1961-1973)
  • John Strode Barbour Jr. (1820-1892), American politician, Representative and a Senator from Virginia
  • Anna Maynard Barbour (d. 1941), American author of best-selling fiction
  • Miss Bessie Barbour, Scottish 2nd Class passenger residing in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, who sailed aboard the RMS Lusitania and survived the sinking



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: Nihilo nisi cruce
Motto Translation: Nothing, but the cross.


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  1. Scarlett, James D. Tartan The Highland Textile. London: Shepheard-Walwyn, 1990. Print. (ISBN 0-85683-120-4).
  2. Bolton, Charles Knowles. Bolton's American Armory. Baltimore: Heraldic Book Company, 1964. Print.
  3. Bain, Robert. The Clans and Tartans of Scotland. Glasgow & London: Collins, 1968. Print. (ISBN 000411117-6).
  4. Holt, J.C. Ed. Domesday Studies. Woodbridge: Boydell, 1987. Print. (ISBN 0-85115-477-8).
  5. Bloxham, Ben. Key to Parochial Registers of Scotland From Earliest Times Through 1854 2nd edition. Provo, UT: Stevenson's Genealogical Center, 1979. Print.
  6. Magnusson, Magnus. Chambers Biographical Dictionary 5th edition. Edinburgh: W & R Chambers, 1990. Print.
  7. Moody David. Scottish Family History. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1994. Print. (ISBN 0806312688).
  8. Bolton, Charles Knowles. Scotch Irish Pioneers In Ulster and America. Montana: Kessinger Publishing. Print.
  9. Weis, Frederick Lewis, Walter Lee Sheppard and David Faris. Ancestral Roots of Sixty Colonists Who Came to New England Between 1623 and 1650 7th Edition. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0806313676).
  10. Donaldson, Gordon and Robert S. Morpeth. Who's Who In Scotish History. Wales: Welsh Academic Press, 1996. Print. (ISBN 186057-0054).
  11. ...

The Barbour Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Barbour 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 March 2016 at 21:30.

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