Blair History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Blair was first used as a surname in the Scottish/English Borderlands by the Strathclyde-Briton. The first Blair family lived in the village of Blair, in the county of Ayrshire.

Early Origins of the Blair family

The surname Blair 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]

Early History of the Blair family

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

Blair Spelling Variations

Medieval Scottish names are rife with spelling variations. This is due to the fact that scribes in that era spelled according to the sound of words, rather than any set of rules. Blair has been spelled Blair, Blayr, Blare, Blaire and others.

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

Ireland Migration of the Blair family to Ireland

Some of the Blair 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.


United States Blair migration to the United States +

Many Scots were left with few options other than to leave their homeland for the colonies across the Atlantic. Some of these families fought to defend their newfound freedom in the American War of Independence. Others went north to Canada as United Empire Loyalists. The ancestors of all of these families have recently been able to rediscover their roots through Clan societies and other Scottish organizations. Among them:

Blair Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Dugall Blair, who arrived in Virginia in 1700 [5]
  • Sohn Blair, who arrived in West Indies in 1702 [5]
  • Alexander Blair who settled in New England in 1718
  • John Blair, who settled in New Hampshire in 1718
  • Abraham Blair, who landed in New England in 1718 [5]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Blair Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Archibald Blair, who arrived in Richmond, Va in 1800 [5]
  • James Blair, who landed in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1803 [5]
  • Margaret Blair, who arrived in America in 1804 [5]
  • William Blair, who arrived in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1809 [5]
  • Samuel Blair, who arrived in New York, NY in 1811 [5]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Canada Blair migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Blair Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
  • Mathew Blair was a member of the grand jury at St. John's, Newfoundland, in 1780 [6]
  • Mr. David Blair U.E. who settled in New Brunswick c. 1783 [7]
  • Mrs. Elizabeth Blair U.E. who settled in Canada c. 1783 [7]
  • Mr. George Blair U.E. who settled in New Brunswick c. 1783 [7]
  • Mr. James Blair U.E. who settled in New Brunswick c. 1783 [7]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Blair Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • Buchanan Blair, aged 22, a labourer, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick aboard the ship "Favourite" in 1815
  • John Blair, who landed in Canada in 1821
  • Robert Blair, aged 26, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick aboard the ship "Condor" in 1838
  • Rebecca Blair, aged 24, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick aboard the ship "Condor" in 1838
  • Isabella Ann Blair, aged 6, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick aboard the ship "Condor" in 1838
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Australia Blair migration to Australia +

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

Blair Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Mr. Robert Blair, English convict who was convicted in Bedford, Befordshire, England for 7 years, transported aboard the "Burrell" on 22nd July 1830, arriving in New South Wales [8]
  • Mr. John Blair, English convict who was convicted in Lancaster, Lancashire, England for 14 years, transported aboard the "Bengal Merchant" on 24th March 1838, arriving in New South Wales, Australia [9]
  • Miss Marion Blair who was convicted in Glasgow, Scotland for 7 years, transported aboard the "Cadet" on 10th November 1848, arriving in Tasmania ( Van Diemen's Land) [10]
  • Elizabeth Blair, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Emily" in 1849 [11]
  • Robert Blair, aged 19, who arrived in South Australia in 1849 aboard the ship "Emily" [11]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

New Zealand Blair 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:

Blair Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Mrs. Blair, British settler travelling from London aboard the ship "Dunedin" arriving in Dunedin, South Island, New Zealand on 23rd January 1856 [12]
  • Mr. John Blair, British settler travelling from London aboard the ship "Dunedin" arriving in Dunedin, South Island, New Zealand on 23rd January 1856 [12]
  • Mr. Robert Blair, British settler travelling from London aboard the ship "George Canning" arriving in Dunedin, Otago, South Island, New Zealand on 28th November 1857 [12]
  • Mrs. Agnes Blair, (née Dick), British settler travelling from London aboard the ship "George Canning" arriving in Dunedin, Otago, South Island, New Zealand on 28th November 1857 [12]
  • Mr. Robert Blair, British settler travelling from London aboard the ship "George Canning" arriving in Dunedin, Otago, South Island, New Zealand on 28th November 1857 [12]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Contemporary Notables of the name Blair (post 1700) +

  • Eric Arthur Blair (1903-1950), English author, who wrote under the pen name of George Orwell, best known for "Animal Farm" and "1984"
  • Prime Minister Anthony Charles Lynton "Tony" Blair (b. 1953), British politician, Prime Minister of Britain (1997-2007) and recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom (2009)
  • Albert Matthew "Matt" Blair (1950-2020), American professional NFL football player who was an outside linebacker for the Minnesota Vikings (1974-1985)
  • Bruce G. Blair (1947-2020), American nuclear security expert and a research scholar at the Program on Science and Global Security at Princeton
  • Carl Blair (1932-2018), American artist, member of the art faculty at Bob Jones University for over 40 years
  • William McCormick Blair (1884-1982), American financier, father of William McCormick Blair
  • William McCormick Blair Jr. (1916-2015), American diplomat, United States Ambassador to Denmark (1961 to 1964) and United States Ambassador to the Philippines (1964 to 1967)
  • David Blair (1967-2011), known as Blair, an American musician and poet
  • Eugene Blair (1908-1942), United States Navy Chief Machinist's Mate of World War II, eponym of the USS Blair (DE-147), an Edsall-class destroyer escort
  • William Allen "Willie" Blair (b. 1965), American Major League Baseball right-handed pitcher
  • ... (Another 16 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Air New Zealand Flight 901
  • Miss Patricia Blair (d. 1979), American passenger, from USA aboard the Air New Zealand Flight 901 for an Antarctic sightseeing flight when it flew into Mount Erebus; she died in the crash [13]
HMS Repulse
  • Mr. Cyril Tom Blair, British Lieutenant "E", who sailed into battle on the HMS Repulse and died in the sinking [14]


The Blair Motto +

The motto was originally a war cry or slogan. Mottoes first began to be shown with arms in the 14th and 15th centuries, but were not in general use until the 17th century. Thus the oldest coats of arms generally do not include a motto. Mottoes seldom form part of the grant of arms: Under most heraldic authorities, a motto is an optional component of the coat of arms, and can be added to or changed at will; many families have chosen not to display a motto.

Motto: Amo probos
Motto Translation: I love the virtuous


Suggested Readings for the name Blair +

  • 367 "The Blair Memorial" by Robert H. Blair.

  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. ^ 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)
  6. ^ Seary E.R., Family Names of the Island of Newfoundland, Montreal: McGill's-Queen's Universtity Press 1998 ISBN 0-7735-1782-0
  7. ^ Rubincam, Milton. The Old United Empire Loyalists List. Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc, 1976. (Originally published as; United Empire Loyalists. The Centennial of the Settlement of Upper Canada. Rose Publishing Company, 1885.) ISBN 0-8063-0331-X
  8. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 5th November 2020). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/burrell
  9. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 13th October 2020). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/bengal-merchant
  10. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 17th November 2020). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/cadet/
  11. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) The EMILY 1849. Retrieved from http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1849Emily.htm
  12. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 17th October 2018). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
  13. ^ Mount Erebus, Memorial, Roll of Remembrance (Retrieved 2018, February 21st). Retrieved from http://www.erebus.co.nz/memorialandawards/rollofremembrance.aspx
  14. ^ HMS Repulse Crew members. (Retrieved 2014, April 9) . Retrieved from http://www.forcez-survivors.org.uk/biographies/listrepulsecrew.html


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