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

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

The history of the name Blythe begins in the Scottish/English Borderlands with a family of Strathclyde-Briton ancestry. It is a name for a happy or cheerful person. Further research revealed that the name is derived from the Old English word blithe, which described a person exhibiting the aforementioned characteristics.


The variation in the spelling of Medieval names is a result of the lack of spelling rules in the English language prior to the last few hundred years. Before that time, scribes spelled according to sound, often varying the spelling of name within a single document. Blythe has appeared as Blythe, Bllyt, Blytht, Blyithe, Blith, Blyth, Blitht and many more.

First found in Berwickshire an ancient county of Scotland, presently part of the Scottish Borders Council Area, located in the eastern part of the Borders Region of Scotland, where they held a family seat from very ancient times, some say well before the Norman Conquest and the arrival of Duke William at Hastings in 1066 A.D.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Blythe research. Another 263 words(19 lines of text) covering the years 1296, 1603, 1567, 1485, 1493, 1493, 1499, 1530, 1503, 1530, 1542, 1605, 1654 and 1883 are included under the topic Early Blythe History in all our PDF Extended History products.


Another 129 words(9 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Blythe Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.


Some of the Blythe family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 63 words(4 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.


As the persecution of Clan families continued, they sailed for North America in increasing numbers. In most cases, they found the freedom and opportunity they sought. Land was often available and the American War of Independence allowed Scots an opportunity to solidify their independence from the English crown. These settlers and their ancestors went on to play essential roles in the forging of the nations of the United States and Canada. Among them:

Blythe Settlers in United States in the 19th Century

  • Keziah Blythe, who landed in New York, NY in 1811
  • Margaret Blythe, who arrived in New York, NY in 1817
  • Anne, George, John, Margaret, Samuel Blythe all settled in Charleston Massachusetts in 1820
  • James Blythe, who arrived in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1829
  • Champain Blythe, who arrived in Texas in 1835

Blythe Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century

  • Louisa Blythe, aged 16, a servant, arrived in South Australia in 1849 aboard the ship "Eliza"
  • Louisa Blythe arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Eliza" in 1849
  • John Blythe, aged 28, a miner, arrived in South Australia in 1851 aboard the ship "Oregon"

Blythe Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century

  • James Blythe landed in Wanganui, New Zealand in 1840 aboard the ship Martha Ridgway
  • William Blythe a farmer, arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Romulus" in 1862
  • D. Blythe arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Gertrude" in 1868
  • W. R. Blythe arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Countess of Kintore" in 1870


  • Stephanie Blythe (b. 1970), American mezzo-soprano
  • Arthur Blythe (b. 1940), American jazz alto saxophonist and composer
  • Lionel Blythe (1878-1954), birth name of Lionel Barrymore, the Academy Award-winning American actor of stage, screen and radio, perhaps best known for his role as the ruthless Henry F. Potter in It's a Wonderful Life (1946)
  • Ethel Mae Blythe (1879-1959), birth name of Ethel Barrymore, the American Academy Award winning actress
  • William Jefferson Blythe Jr. (1918-1946), father of Bill Clinton, former President of the United States
  • Vernon Blythe (1887-1918), original name of Vernon Castle, husband of the husband-and-wife team of ballroom dancers
  • Miss Jennie P. Blythe, Canadian First Class Passenger from Toronto, Ontario, Canada who survived the sinking on the Empress of Ireland on May 29th 1914
  • Nils Blythe (b. 1956), British former journalist at BBC News, current Executive Director of Communications at the Bank of England
  • George Donald Blythe (1879-1911), English naval officer who circumnavigated Cape Horn in 1911
  • Peter Blythe (1934-2004), English character actor, best known for his role as Samuel "Soapy Sam" Ballard in Rumpole of the Bailey, a British television series (1975-1992)



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  1. Chadwick, Nora Kershaw and J.X.W.P Corcoran. The Celts. London: Penguin, 1970. Print. (ISBN 0140212116).
  2. Burke, Sir Bernard. Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Landed Gentry Including American Families with British Ancestry 2 Volumes. London: Burke Publishing, 1939. Print.
  3. Bolton, Charles Knowles. Scotch Irish Pioneers In Ulster and America. Montana: Kessinger Publishing. Print.
  4. Crozier, William Armstrong Edition. Crozier's General Armory A Registry of American Families Entitled to Coat Armor. New York: Fox, Duffield, 1904. Print.
  5. Skordas, Guest. Ed. The Early Settlers of Maryland an Index to Names or Immigrants Complied from Records of Land Patents 1633-1680 in the Hall of Records Annapolis, Maryland. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1968. Print.
  6. Hinde, Thomas Ed. The Domesday Book England's Heritage Then and Now. Surrey: Colour Library Books, 1995. Print. (ISBN 1-85833-440-3).
  7. Leyburn, James Graham. The Scotch-Irish A Social History. Chapel Hill: UNC Press, 1962. Print. (ISBN 0807842591).
  8. Adam, Frank. Clans Septs and Regiments of the Scottish Highlands 8th Edition. London: Bacon (G.W.) & Co, 1970. Print. (ISBN 10-0717945006).
  9. Markale, J. Celtic Civilization. London: Gordon & Cremonesi, 1976. Print.
  10. Browning, Charles H. Americans of Royal Descent. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  11. ...

The Blythe Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Blythe 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 13 November 2014 at 16:21.

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