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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright 2000 - 2015

Where did the English Belk family come from? What is the English Belk family crest and coat of arms? When did the Belk family first arrive in the United States? Where did the various branches of the family go? What is the Belk family history?

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.

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Belk has been spelled many different ways, including 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. Balch, Balche, Belch, Belche, Ballch, Bellch, Ballche and many more.

First found in Oxfordshire, where they held a family seat from ancient times.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Belk research. Another 421 words(30 lines of text) covering the years 1185, 1295, 1327, 1332, 1500, 1659, and 1735 are included under the topic Early Belk History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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More information is included under the topic Early Belk Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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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, arrived in Virginia in 1635

Belk Settlers in United States in the 18th Century


  • Jno Belk, who landed in Pennsylvania in 1795

Belk Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century


  • James D. Belk, aged 50, a tanner, arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Duke of Edinburgh" in 1873
  • Emma Belk, aged 49, arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Duke of Edinburgh" in 1873
  • Maria A. Belk, aged 12, arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Duke of Edinburgh" in 1873
  • James Belk, aged 30, a cork cutter, arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Duke of Edinburgh" in 1873
  • Emily Belk, aged 26, arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Duke of Edinburgh" in 1873


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


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  1. Humble, Richard. The Fall of Saxon England. New York: Barnes and Noble, 1975. Print. (ISBN 0-88029-987-8).
  2. MacAulay, Thomas Babington. History of England from the Accession of James the Second 4 volumes. New York: Harper and Brothers, 1879. Print.
  3. Thirsk, Joan. The Agrarian History of England and Wales. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press: 7 Volumes. Print.
  4. Bardsley, C.W. A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6).
  5. Reaney P.H and R.M. Wilson. A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X).
  6. Markale, J. Celtic Civilization. London: Gordon & Cremonesi, 1976. Print.
  7. Crispin, M. Jackson and Leonce Mary. Falaise Roll Recording Prominent Companions of William Duke of Normandy at the Conquest of England. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  8. Robb H. Amanda and Andrew Chesler. Encyclopedia of American Family Names. New York: Haper Collins, 1995. Print. (ISBN 0-06-270075-8).
  9. Marcharn, Frederick George. A Constitutional History of Modern England 1485 to the Present. London: Harper and Brothers, 1960. Print.
  10. Burke, Sir Bernard. Burke's Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Landed Gentry: Including American Families with British Ancestry. (2 Volumes). London: Burke Publishing, 1939. Print.
  11. ...

The Belk Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Belk 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 10 June 2013 at 08:56.

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