Borthwick History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The roots of the Borthwick surname reach back to the language of the Viking settlers who populated the rugged shores of Scotland in the Medieval era. The Borthwick surname comes from someone having lived in the old barony of Borthwick, next to 'Borthwick Water' between Selkirk and Roxburghshire. "This place, anciently called Locherwart, assumed the appellation of Borthwick about the time of the Reformation, from the family of that name." [1]

Bearers of this surname have inhabited this area since at least the 14th century. Documents first mention 'Quondam' Thomas de Borthwick, who held lands in Middleton, Midlothian, and who had a charter from John of Gordon, Lord of that Ilk, for the lands near Lauder, between 1357 and 1367. [2]

Early Origins of the Borthwick family

The surname Borthwick was first found in Roxburghshire where they were recorded as a family of great antiquity seated at the Barony of Borthwick along the coastline of Borthwick water in the parish of Roberton in that shire. Thomas Borthwick was a tenant of Lord Gordon in the lands of Ligertmood in 1357. William Borthwick in 1378 acquired the lands of Cateune in Midlothian, and changed the name of the estates to Borthwick.

The family prospered through an uncertain era of raiding, feuding and warring in Southern Scotland. By 1400, the Border feuds had taken shape into a Code, which although to us at this time may seem like straight outlawry, was a strict set of rules governing the apparent indiscriminate burning of homes and theft of cattle, horses and even women.

Early History of the Borthwick family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Borthwick research. Another 258 words (18 lines of text) covering the years 1424, 1450, 1423, 1430, 1513, 1650, 1600, 1986, 1905, 1411, 1458, 1483, 1503, 1485, 1542, 1566, 1582, 1570, 1599, 1623, 1616, 1675, 1690, 1666 and 1706 are included under the topic Early Borthwick History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Borthwick Spelling Variations

Few standards of spelling and translation existed in the Middle Ages. spelling variations, are thus, an extremely common occurrence in records of ancient Scottish names. Over the years, Borthwick has been spelled Borthwick, Borthwicke, Barthwick, Barthwicke, Borthock, Borthok and many more.

Early Notables of the Borthwick family (pre 1700)

Notable amongst the family at this time was Sir William Borthwick, 1st Lord Borthwick (c.1411-c.1458), Scottish peer and ambassador; William Borthwick, 2nd Lord Borthwick (died 1483), Scottish ambassador to England; Sir William Borthwick, 3rd Lord Borthwick (d. 1503), Scottish nobleman, ambassador, and Master of the King's Household in 1485; William Borthwick, 4th Lord...
Another 52 words (4 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Borthwick Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Borthwick migration to the United States +

Land and opportunity greeted all those who made it across the Atlantic. These settlers and their children went on to play important roles in the forging of the great nations of the United States and Canada. Clan societies and other Scottish organizations have preserved much of this heritage for the ancestors of those brave Scots. Immigration and passenger lists have documented the arrival of various people bearing the name Borthwick to North America:

Borthwick Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • James Borthwick who settled in Virginia in 1732
  • George Borthwick, who landed in New York in 1773 [3]
Borthwick Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • John Borthwick, aged 61, who arrived in New York in 1812 [3]
  • John, Borthwick Jr., aged 23, who landed in New York in 1812 [3]
  • William Borthwick, aged 21, who landed in New York in 1812 [3]
  • Robert Borthwick, who arrived in Philadelphia in 1822
  • John David Borthwick, who arrived in California in 1854 [3]

Australia Borthwick migration to Australia +

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

Borthwick Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • William Borthwick, a printer, who arrived in Van Diemen’s Land (now Tasmania) sometime between 1825 and 1832
  • Adam Borthwick, who arrived in Port Misery aboard the ship "Duchess of Northumberland" in 1839 [4]
  • Isabella Borthwick, who arrived in Port Misery aboard the ship "Duchess of Northumberland" in 1839 [4]
  • Helen Borthwick, who arrived in Port Misery aboard the ship "Duchess of Northumberland" in 1839 [4]
  • Thomas Borthwick, who arrived in Port Misery aboard the ship "Duchess of Northumberland" in 1839 [4]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

New Zealand Borthwick 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:

Borthwick Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Miss Eliza Borthwick, British settler travelling from London aboard the ship "Nourmahal" arriving in Dunedin, Otaga, South Island, New Zealand on 5th May 1858 [5]
  • Colin Borthwick, aged 38, a carpenter, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Resolute" in 1865
  • Susan Borthwick, aged 30, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Resolute" in 1865
  • Charles Borthwick, aged 11, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Resolute" in 1865
  • Thomas Borthwick, aged 9, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Resolute" in 1865
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Contemporary Notables of the name Borthwick (post 1700) +

  • Jim Borthwick, American Democrat politician, Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Kansas, 2000
  • John Henry Stuart Borthwick (1905-1996), Scottish nobleman, 23rd Lord Borthwick, Justice of the Peace
  • Henry Borthwick (1868-1937), 22nd Lord Borthwick, Scottish peer
  • William Henry Borthwick (1832-1928), 21st Lord Borthwick, Scottish peer
  • Archibald Patrick Thomas Borthwick (1867-1910), 20th Lord Borthwick, Scottish peer
  • Cunninghame Borthwick (1813-1885), 19th Lord Borthwick, Scottish peer
  • Archibald Borthwick (1811-1863), 18th Lord Borthwick, Scottish peer
  • Patrick Borthwick (1779-1840), 17th Lord Borthwick, Scottish peer
  • Archibald Borthwick (1732-1815), 16th Lord Borthwick, Scottish peer
  • Patrick Borthwick (b. 1772), 15th Lord Borthwick, Scottish peer
  • ... (Another 5 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

HMS Royal Oak
  • Samuel Borthwick, British Able Seaman with the Royal Navy aboard the HMS Royal Oak when she was torpedoed by U-47 and sunk; he survived the sinking [6]


The Borthwick 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: Qui conducit
Motto Translation: One who serves


  1. ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of Scotland. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
  2. ^ 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)
  3. ^ 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)
  4. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) THE DUCHESS OF NORTHUMBERLAND - 1839. Retrieved from http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1839DuchessOfNorthumberland.htm
  5. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 17th October 2018). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
  6. ^ Ships hit by U-boats crew list HMS Royal Oak (08) - (Retrieved 2018 February, 9th) - retrieved from https://uboat.net/allies/merchants/crews/ship68.html


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