Biforthay History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The ancestors of the bearers of the Biforthay family name are thought have lived in ancient Anglo-Saxon England. They were first found near a ford, a shallow place in a river or stream which could be crossed by wading. The surname Biforthay is derived from the Old English words bi, which means by, and ford, which means ford, collectively "ford near the river-bend."[1]. The surname Biforthay may also be derived from residence in the settlement of Byford in Hertfordshire. [2]

Early Origins of the Biforthay family

The surname Biforthay was first found in Herefordshire at Byford, a parish, in the union of Weobley, hundred of Grimsworth. [3]

The name is derived from Beeford or Beeforth (Buiforde in the Domesday Book) [4] in Holderness in the East Riding of Yorkshire, on the east coast of England. Baldwin de Biford, between 1182 and 1189, "gave as much land on each side of their grange on the moor as was equal to the previous grant of Acer de Biford to Beverley Abbey; Nicholas, his son, gave an oxgang and a toft in Beeford; and Stephen, son of Thomas de Biford, the same." [5]

Following this early entry, we must look to Essex for the next registered entry for the family. For it is there that Geoffrey de Biford was listed in the Feet of Fines for 1222-1223. Later, again in Essex, John Byfordim was listed in the Feet of Fines for 1381. [2]

Early History of the Biforthay family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Biforthay research. Another 75 words (5 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Biforthay History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Biforthay Spelling Variations

Until quite recently, the English language has lacked a definite system of spelling rules. Consequently, Anglo-Saxon surnames are characterized by a multitude of spelling variations. Changes in Anglo-Saxon names were influenced by the evolution of the English language, as it incorporated elements of French, Latin, and other languages. Although Medieval scribes and church officials recorded names as they sounded, so it is common to find one person referred to by several different spellings of his surname, even the most literate people varied the spelling of their own names. Variations of the name Biforthay include Biford, Biforde, Byford, Byforde, Bifford, Byfford, Biffard, Biffort, Byfford and many more.

Early Notables of the Biforthay family (pre 1700)

More information is included under the topic Early Biforthay Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Migration of the Biforthay family

Searching for a better life, many English families migrated to British colonies. Unfortunately, the majority of them traveled under extremely harsh conditions: overcrowding on the ships caused the majority of the immigrants to arrive diseased, famished, and destitute from the long journey across the ocean. For those families that arrived safely, modest prosperity was attainable, and many went on to make invaluable contributions to the development of the cultures of the new colonies. Research into the origins of individual families in North America revealed records of the immigration of a number of people bearing the name Biforthay or a variant listed above: William Byford who arrived in Philadelphia in 1880; Thomas, William, and Martha Byford, arrived in Barbados in 1664; and later transferred to the mainland in Virginia.



  1. ^ Mills, A.D., Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-19-869156-4)
  2. ^ Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  3. ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
  4. ^ Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds., Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8)
  5. ^ Cleveland, Dutchess of The Battle Abbey Roll with some Account of the Norman Lineages. London: John Murray, Abermarle Street, 1889. Print. Volume 3 of 3


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