Show ContentsByars History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The annals of Scottish history suggest that the ancestors of the name Byars lived among the Boernician tribe of the Scottish-English border region. The Byars family lived in or near the place named Byers in Scotland. The place-name, Byers, derives from the Old English word byre, which means cattle shed. 1 Thus, Byers is of two derivations, topographical and habitational.

Alternatively, the name could have been Norman in origin originating a "the chateau of Biars in the canton of Isigni, La Manche, Normandy. " 2 3

Early Origins of the Byars family

The surname Byars was first found in East Lothian, where they held a family seat from ancient times. One of the first records of the name related to the place name as in David de Lindsay the younger, also called David Lindsay of the Byres (died 1279), a 13th century Scottish knight and crusader. John de Pyres appears as a monk of Neubotle in 1309. Thome de Byris owned a tenement in Edinburgh in 1392, and in 1534 Thomas Byrs was admitted burgess of Aberdeen. 4 Today, Byres Road is a famous street located in Hillhead, Glasgow.

In England, the first record of the family was found in Devon where Elias de la Byare was listed in the Hundredorum Rolls of 1275. A few years later, Willelmus del Byre was found in the Subsidy Rolls for Yorkshire in 1301 and later again, John Buyres was listed in the Subsidy Rolls for Somerset in 1327. 5

Early History of the Byars family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Byars research. Another 141 words (10 lines of text) covering the years 1309, 1392, 1534, 1593, 1639, 1653, 1681, 1690, 1694, 1733, 1750, 1790, 1817 and 1890 are included under the topic Early Byars History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Byars Spelling Variations

In the Middles Ages scribes spelled names by their sound. Often a name was written under a different spelling variation each time it was recorded. Byars has appeared as Byers, Byres, Byer, Buyers, Byris and others.

Early Notables of the Byars family

Notable amongst the family at this time was Nicholas Byer (d. 1681), Norwegian painter, a native of Drontheim in Norway. He practised portrait and historical painting, and on emigrating to England found a steady patron in Sir William Temple, at whose seat at Sheen, in Surrey, he lived for three or four years. His reputation as a face-painter must have been considerable; several persons of distinction, including some members of the royal family, sat to him. Dying at Sheen in 1681 he is said to have been the first person buried at...
Another 91 words (6 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Byars Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Byars Ranking

In the United States, the name Byars is the 3,938th most popular surname with an estimated 7,461 people with that name. 6

Ireland Migration of the Byars family to Ireland

Some of the Byars family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 57 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 Byars migration to the United States +

The ancestors of Boernician-Scottish settlers dot North America even today. They settled all along the east coast when they came over, but some went north as United Empire Loyalists at the time of the War of Independence. However, these strong lines endured as Scottish families in the United States and Canada have rediscovered much of the heritage that was taken from them centuries ago. Some of the first immigrants to cross the Atlantic and come to North America carried the name Byars, or a variant listed above:

Byars Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • W.A. Byars, aged 36, who immigrated to America, in 1893
Byars Settlers in United States in the 20th Century
  • Mrs Byars, aged 30, who settled in America from Johnston, in 1900
  • James Byars, aged 1, who landed in America from Johnston, in 1900
  • Malcolm Byars, aged 35, who landed in America from Kilmarnock, in 1900
  • Geo. Byars, aged 26, who landed in America from Edzell, Scotland, in 1904
  • Robert Byars, aged 23, who immigrated to the United States from Glasgow, in 1905
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

New Zealand Byars 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:

Byars Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • A. Byars, Scottish settler travelling from Greenock aboard the ship "Robert Henderson" arriving in Port Chalmers, Dunedin, Otago, South Island, New Zealand on 9th February 1858 7

Contemporary Notables of the name Byars (post 1700) +

  • Dennis Byars (1940-2022), American politician, Nebraska State Senator (1988-1995), (1999-2007)
  • Mel Byars (b. 1938), American design historian
  • Keith Alan Byars (b. 1963), American sports broadcaster, former American NFL football player
  • Betsy Cromer Byars (b. 1928), American Edgar Award winning author of children's books
  • Derrick JaVaughn Byars (b. 1984), American professional basketball player
  • William Byars Samson (b. 1943), Scottish astronomer, academic, computer scientist and a researcher

Suggested Readings for the name Byars +

  • Byars Family History: With Information or Records on..Allied Lines by Nell Byars Thaten.

  1. Smith, Eldson Coles, New Dictionary of American Family Names New York: Harper & Row, 1956. Print
  2. The Norman People and Their Existing Descendants in the British Dominions and the United States Of America. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1975. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0636-X)
  3. Lower, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  4. 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)
  5. Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  6. "What are the 5,000 Most Common Last Names in the U.S.?".,
  7. New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 26th March 2019). Retrieved from on Facebook