Belk History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The Anglo-Saxon name Belk comes from the family having resided at or near a bank or ridge. Further research showed the name was derived from the Old English word Balca which means dweller by the bank or ridge. [1]

Early Origins of the Belk family

The surname Belk was first found in Oxfordshire, where William Belch was first listed as a Templar in 1185. Later, William le Belch was listed as holding lands in Essex in 1295 and Robert Balch was listed in the Subsidy Rolls of Sussex in 1328. [1]

Kirby's Quest lists "Robert Balch, Somerset, 1 Edward III" (holding lands there during the first year's reign of Edward III.) [2]

Sir Toby Belch is a character in William Shakespeare's Twelfth Night.

Early History of the Belk family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Belk research. Another 164 words (12 lines of text) covering the years 1185, 1295, 1327, 1332, 1604, 1659, 1735, 1670, 1744, 1669 and 1670 are included under the topic Early Belk History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Belk Spelling Variations

Belk has been spelled many different ways. Before English spelling became standardized over the last few hundred years, spelling variations in names were a common occurrence. As the English language changed in the Middle Ages, absorbing pieces of Latin and French, as well as other languages, the spelling of people's names also changed considerably, even over a single lifetime. Spelling variants included: Balch, Balche, Belch, Belche, Ballch, Bellch, Ballche and many more.

Early Notables of the Belk family (pre 1700)

Another 36 words (3 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Belk Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Belk migration to the United States +

In an attempt to escape the chaos experienced in England, many English families boarded overcrowded and diseased ships sailing for the shores of North America and other British colonies. Those families hardy enough, and lucky enough, to make the passage intact were rewarded with land and a social environment less prone to religious and political persecution. Many of these families became important contributors to the young colonies in which they settled. Early immigration and passenger lists have documented some of the first Belks to arrive on North American shores:

Belk Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Tho Belk, aged 37, who arrived in Virginia in 1635 [3]
Belk Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • John Belk, who landed in Pennsylvania in 1795 [3]

New Zealand Belk 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:

Belk Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • James D. Belk, aged 50, a tanner, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Duke of Edinburgh" in 1873
  • Emma Belk, aged 49, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Duke of Edinburgh" in 1873
  • Maria A. Belk, aged 12, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Duke of Edinburgh" in 1873
  • James Belk, aged 30, a cork cutter, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Duke of Edinburgh" in 1873
  • Emily Belk, aged 26, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Duke of Edinburgh" in 1873
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Contemporary Notables of the name Belk (post 1700) +

  • William Arthur Belk (b. 1946), former American football defensive lineman
  • Timothy William "Tim" Belk (b. 1970), American former Major League Baseball first baseman
  • John Montgomery Belk (1920-2007), American CEO of the Belk, Inc. department store chain, eponym of John Belk Freeway
  • William Henry Belk, American founder of Belk Inc., a department store chain in 1888
  • Darren Belk, English songwriter, bassist and guitarist


  1. ^ Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  2. ^ 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.
  3. ^ 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)


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