Byfforthay History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The ancestors of the name Byfforthay date back to the Anglo-Saxon tribes of Britain. The name is derived from when the Byfforthay family lived near a ford, a shallow place in a river or stream which could be crossed by wading. The surname Byfforthay is derived from the Old English words bi, which means by, and ford, which means ford, collectively "ford near the river-bend."[1]. The surname Byfforthay may also be derived from residence in the settlement of Byford in Hertfordshire. [2]

Early Origins of the Byfforthay family

The surname Byfforthay was first found in Herefordshire at Byford, a parish, in the union of Weobley, hundred of Grimsworth. [3]

The name is derived from Beeford or Beeforth (Buiforde in the Domesday Book) [4] in Holderness in the East Riding of Yorkshire, on the east coast of England. Baldwin de Biford, between 1182 and 1189, "gave as much land on each side of their grange on the moor as was equal to the previous grant of Acer de Biford to Beverley Abbey; Nicholas, his son, gave an oxgang and a toft in Beeford; and Stephen, son of Thomas de Biford, the same." [5]

Following this early entry, we must look to Essex for the next registered entry for the family. For it is there that Geoffrey de Biford was listed in the Feet of Fines for 1222-1223. Later, again in Essex, John Byfordim was listed in the Feet of Fines for 1381. [2]

Early History of the Byfforthay family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Byfforthay research. Another 75 words (5 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Byfforthay History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Byfforthay Spelling Variations

It is only in the last few hundred years that the English language has been standardized. For that reason, early Anglo-Saxon surnames like Byfforthay are characterized by many spelling variations. As the English language changed and incorporated elements of other European languages, even literate people changed the spelling of their names. The variations of the name Byfforthay include: Biford, Biforde, Byford, Byforde, Bifford, Byfford, Biffard, Biffort, Byfford and many more.

Early Notables of the Byfforthay family (pre 1700)

More information is included under the topic Early Byfforthay Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Migration of the Byfforthay family

Many English families tired of political and religious strife left Britain for the new colonies in North America. Although the trip itself offered no relief - conditions on the ships were extremely cramped, and many travelers arrived diseased, starving, and destitute - these immigrants believed the opportunities that awaited them were worth the risks. Once in the colonies, many of the families did indeed prosper and, in turn, made significant contributions to the culture and economies of the growing colonies. An inquiry into the early roots of North American families has revealed a number of immigrants bearing the name Byfforthay or a variant listed above: William Byford who arrived in Philadelphia in 1880; Thomas, William, and Martha Byford, arrived in Barbados in 1664; and later transferred to the mainland in Virginia.



  1. ^ Mills, A.D., Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-19-869156-4)
  2. ^ Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  3. ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
  4. ^ Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds., Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8)
  5. ^ Cleveland, Dutchess of The Battle Abbey Roll with some Account of the Norman Lineages. London: John Murray, Abermarle Street, 1889. Print. Volume 3 of 3


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