Bellairs History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms 

In ancient Scotland, Bellairs was a Strathclyde-Briton name for someone who lived in the village of Blair, in the county of Ayrshire.

Early Origins of the Bellairs family

The surname Bellairs was first found in Ayrshire (Gaelic: Siorrachd Inbhir Àir), formerly a county in the southwestern Strathclyde region of Scotland, that today makes up the Council Areas of South, East, and North Ayrshire.

Some of the earliest recorded instances of this Clan name include Stephen de Blare, who was a recorded witness of a document about the monastery of Arbroath between 1204 and 1211, and of Brice de Blair and Alexander del Blair, who witnessed an agreement between the burgh of Irvine and Brice de Eglustone in 1205.

William of Blare witnessed a charter by Malcolm, 7th Earl of Fife. He is probably the same man as Sir William de Blar, who was Seneschal of Fife in 1235. His son, Sir Bryce Blair, was known as "the gallant knight." He fought with Sir William Wallace but was eventually taken prisoner, and executed at Ayr. [1]

John Blair ( fl. 1300), was chaplain of Sir William Wallace, a native of Fife, and is said to have been educated at Dundee in the same school with Wallace. [2] He wrote an account of the travels and adventures, which is said to be the source for the famed verse written in the late 1400s, Schir William Wallace by Blind Harry.

"The Blairs 'of that ilk' in Ayrshire, have been seated in that county for more than 600 years. " [3]

Further to the south, "the Blairs, of Northumberland, are probably derived from the Blairs of Ayrshire." [4]

Important Dates for the Bellairs family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Bellairs research. Another 120 words (9 lines of text) covering the years 1699, 1746, 1650, 1593, 1666, 1634, 1646, 1699, 1746, 1743, 1656, 1743, 1656, 1679 and are included under the topic Early Bellairs History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Bellairs Spelling Variations

Prior to the first dictionaries, scribes spelled words according to sound. This, and the fact that Scottish names were repeatedly translated from Gaelic to English and back, contributed to the enormous number of spelling variations in Scottish names. Bellairs has been spelled Blair, Blayr, Blare, Blaire and others.

Early Notables of the Bellairs family (pre 1700)

Notable amongst the family at this time was Robert Blair (1593-1666) a Scottish Nonconformist divine, excommunicated in 1634, but later became Moderator of the General Assembly in 1646. "His father was a merchant-adventurer, John Blair of Windyedge, a younger brother of the ancient family of Blair of that ilk; his mother was Beatrix Muir (of the house of Rowallan), who lived for nearly a century." [2] Robert Blair (1699-1746), was a Scottish poet, best known for...
Another 74 words (5 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Bellairs Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Migration of the Bellairs family to Ireland

Some of the Bellairs family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 60 words (4 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Bellairs migration to the United States

In such difficult times, the difficulties of raising the money to cross the Atlantic to North America did not seem so large compared to the problems of keeping a family together in Scotland. It was a journey well worth the cost, since it was rewarded with land and freedom the Scots could not find at home. The American War of Independence solidified that freedom, and many of those settlers went on to play important parts in the forging of a great nation. Among them:

Bellairs Settlers in United States in the 20th Century
  • Erik Bellairs, aged 26, who arrived in America from Windsor, England, in 1904
  • William Bellairs, aged 34, who arrived in America from Sheffield, England, in 1907
  • Carlyon Wilfray Bellairs, aged 39, who arrived in America from London, England, in 1910
  • Charlotte Doreen Bellairs, aged 39, who arrived in America from London, England, in 1911
  • Sidney Bellairs, aged 23, who arrived in America from London, England, in 1911
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Bellairs 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:

Bellairs Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Eugene Bellairs, aged 22, who arrived in Nelson, New Zealand aboard the ship "Phoebe" in 1843
  • Capt. Bellairs, British settler travelling from London via Plymouth aboard the ship "Tasmania" arriving in Otago, South Island, New Zealand on to Lyttelton on 26th February 1853 [5]
  • Mrs. Bellairs, British settler travelling from London via Plymouth aboard the ship "Tasmania" arriving in Otago, South Island, New Zealand on to Lyttelton on 26th February 1853 [5]

Contemporary Notables of the name Bellairs (post 1700)

  • Mal Bellairs (1919-2010), American Chicago-area radio and television personality, inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame
  • John Anthony Bellairs (1938-1991), American author, best known for his fantasy novel The Face in the Frost (1969)
  • Robert H. Bellairs, American Republican politician, Candidate in primary for Michigan State House of Representatives from Genesee County 1st District, 1950
  • Hugh W. Bellairs, American Republican politician, Candidate for Michigan State House of Representatives from Genesee County 1st District, 1952
  • Commander Carlyon Wilfroy Bellairs (1871-1955), British naval officer and politician, Member of Parliament for King's Lynn (1906-1910) and for Maidstone (1915-1931)
  • George Bellairs (1902-1985), pseudonym of Harold Blundell, an English crime writer and bank manager who wrote more than 50 books, most featuring the detective Inspector Littlejohn
  • Edmund Hooke Wilson Bellairs (1823-1898), English-born, New Zealand politician, Member of the New Zealand Legislative Council (1853-1856)

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Citations

  1. ^ 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)
  2. ^ Smith, George (ed), Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1885-1900. Print
  3. ^ Lowe, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  4. ^ Guppy, Henry Brougham, Homes of Family Names in Great Britain. 1890. Print.
  5. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 26th March 2019). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
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