Belfour History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The Pictish clans of ancient Scotland were the ancestors of first people to use the name Belfour. The name was found 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 Belfour family

The surname Belfour 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 Belfour family

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

Belfour Spelling Variations

In the Middle ages, spelling and translation were not yet regulated by any general rules. spelling variations in names were common even among members of one family unit. Belfour has appeared Balfour, Balfoure, Balfower, Balfowir, Balford, Balforde and many more.

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

Ireland Migration of the Belfour family to Ireland

Some of the Belfour 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 Belfour migration to the United States +

Faced by this persecution and the generally unstable political climate of those days, many Scots chose to leave their homeland for Ireland, Australia, and North America in search of greater opportunity and freedom. The colonies across the Atlantic were the most popular choice, but a passage there was neither cheap nor easily suffered. Passengers arrived sick and poor, but those who made it intact often found land and more tolerant societies in which to live. These brave settlers formed the backbone of the burgeoning nations of Canada and the United States. It is only this century that the ancestors of these families have begun to recover their collective identity through the patriotic highland games and Clan societies that have sprung up throughout North America. Research into early immigration and passenger lists revealed many immigrants bearing the name Belfour:

Belfour Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • James Belfour, who landed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1773 [6]
Belfour Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Robert Belfour, who landed in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1850 [6]

Australia Belfour migration to Australia +

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

Belfour Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Richard Belfour, a dyer, who arrived in Van Diemen’s Land (now Tasmania) sometime between 1825 and 1832
  • Mr. Robert Belfour, (Balfour, Belford, Belfone), (b. 1801), aged 16, Irish tailor's boy who was convicted in Antrim, Ireland for 14 years for pick pocketing, transported aboard the "Chapman" on 25th May 1817, arriving in New South Wales, Australia [7]

Contemporary Notables of the name Belfour (post 1700) +

  • Hugo John Belfour (1802-1827), English author of poems signed St. John Dorset, born in or near London in 1802, eldest child of Edward Belfour, of the Navy Office [8]
  • Edward John "Ed" Belfour (b. 1965), Canadian professional hockey (NHL) goaltender from Carman, Manitoba, inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in the 2011
  • John Belfour (1768-1842), English Orientalist and miscellaneous writer, member of the Royal Society of Literature


  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.
  6. ^ 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)
  7. ^ Convict Records of Australia (Retreived 20th January 2021, retreived from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/chapman)
  8. ^ Wikisource contributors. "Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900." Wikisource . Wikisource , 4 Jun. 2018. Web. 14 June. 2019


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