Bortram History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms
The name Bortram reached England in the great wave of migration following the Norman Conquest of 1066. It is based on the Germanic personal name Bertram, which is composed of the elements berht, meaning "bright" or "famous," and hrabn, meaning "raven." 
Early Origins of the Bortram family
The surname Bortram was first found in Northumberland where "William de Bertram, the son or grandson of the Norman soldier, founded the Augustinian Priory of Brinkburn. His descendants - the Bertrams of Mitford castle, were potent feudal lords, distinguished in the Scottish wars and baronial contests. The last male heir, Roger Bertram, second Baron Bertram, died 1311."  Bertrannus was listed in the Domesday Book of 1086. 
The History of Northumberland lists Richard Bertam as holding lands there in 1168 and Berteram le Barbur was listed in the Hundredorum Rolls of Shropshire in 1273. 
Another source gives more details about the early influence of the family, specifically in the parish of Mitford. "This manor, in the time of the Saxons, belonged to the family of Mitford, and at the Conquest was part of the possessions of John, lord of Mitford, whose only daughter, Sybil, was married by the Conqueror to Sir Richard Bertram, son of the lord of Dignam, in Normandy.
The family of Bertram became very numerous, and acquired large estates in this part of the kingdom, which they retained till the reign of John, when, taking part with the barons against that monarch, their castle here, and also the town, were burnt, and the lands laid waste, by the Flemish allies of the king; the barony, becoming forfeited to the crown, was bestowed upon Philip de Hulcoates. The possessions were subsequently restored by Henry III. to the Bertrams; but after the death of Roger de Bertram in 1242, his son and successor being taken prisoner among the insurgents at Northampton, the castle and estates were seized by the king, and never regained. The castle was taken and dismantled by Alexander, King of Scotland, in 1318." 
Nunriding a township, in the parish of Mitford, was anciently called Baldwineswood and was home to Roger Bertram who during the reign of Henry II, gave the lands to the Benedictine convent of Hallystone. 
Another branch of the family was found at Earsdon in Northumberland. "Sir John Bertram, Knt., who died in 1449, possessed of 16 messuages, 14 cottages, 8 acres of meadow, 494 of arable land, 400 of wood, and 300 of moor, in 'Eresdon.'" 
Early History of the Bortram family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Bortram research. Another 216 words (15 lines of text) covering the years 1168, 1296 and 1482 are included under the topic Early Bortram History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Bortram Spelling Variations
Spelling variations in names were a common occurrence in the eras before English spelling was standardized a few hundred years ago. In the Middle Ages, even the literate regularly changed the spellings of their names as the English language incorporated elements of French, Latin, and other European languages. Many variations of the name Bortram have been found, including Bertram, Bartram, Battram, Berttram, Beartram, Beertram, Bertrim, Bertrem, Berttrim, Berttrem, Barttrem, Bartrim, Bertrame, Bartramn, Bartramm, Bertramm, Bortram, Bortrem and many more.
Early Notables of the Bortram family (pre 1700)
More information is included under the topic Early Bortram Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the Bortram family
For many English families, the social climate in England was oppressive and lacked opportunity for change. For such families, the shores of Ireland, Australia, and the New World beckoned. They left their homeland at great expense in ships that were overcrowded and full of disease. Many arrived after the long voyage sick, starving, and without a penny. But even those were greeted with greater opportunity than they could have experienced back home. Numerous English settlers who arrived in the United States and Canada at this time went on to make important contributions to the developing cultures of those countries. Many of those families went on to make significant contributions to the rapidly developing colonies in which they settled. Early North American records indicate many people bearing the name Bortram were among those contributors: John Bertram, who settled in Virginia in 1650; Peter Bertram, who landed in America in 1709; Thomas Bertram, who settled in Texas in 1836. Another Thomas settled in Georgia in 1821.
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 Translation: I advance.
- Lower, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
- Burke, John Bernard, The Roll of Battle Abbey. London: Edward Churton, 26, Holles Street, 1848, Print.
- Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
- Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
- Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.