Byford History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The ancestors of the Byford surname lived among the ancient Anglo-Saxon culture. The name comes from when they lived near a ford, a shallow place in a river or stream which could be crossed by wading. The surname Byford 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 Byford may also be derived from residence in the settlement of Byford in Hertfordshire. [2]

Early Origins of the Byford family

The surname Byford 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 Byford family

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

Byford Spelling Variations

Before English spelling was standardized a few hundred years ago, spelling variations of names were a common occurrence. Elements of Latin, French and other languages became incorporated into English through the Middle Ages, and name spellings changed even among the literate. The variations of the surname Byford include Biford, Biforde, Byford, Byforde, Bifford, Byfford, Biffard, Biffort, Byfford and many more.

Early Notables of the Byford family (pre 1700)

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

Byford Ranking

In the United States, the name Byford is the 18,305th most popular surname with an estimated 2,487 people with that name. [6]


United States Byford migration to the United States +

A great wave of immigration to the New World was the result of the enormous political and religious disarray that struck England at that time. Families left for the New World in extremely large numbers. The long journey was the end of many immigrants and many more arrived sick and starving. Still, those who made it were rewarded with an opportunity far greater than they had known at home in England. These emigrant families went on to make significant contributions to these emerging colonies in which they settled. Some of the first North American settlers carried this name or one of its variants:

Byford Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • William Byford who arrived in Philadelphia in 1880

Australia Byford migration to Australia +

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

Byford Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Charles Byford, English convict from Essex, who was transported aboard the "Anna Maria" on March 6, 1848, settling in Van Diemen's Land, Australia [7]
  • James Byford, English convict from Essex, who was transported aboard the "Adelaide" on April 16, 1855, settling in Western Australia [8]

West Indies Byford migration to West Indies +

The British first settled the British West Indies around 1604. They made many attempts but failed in some to establish settlements on the Islands including Saint Lucia and Grenada. By 1627 they had managed to establish settlements on St. Kitts (St. Christopher) and Barbados, but by 1641 the Spanish had moved in and destroyed some of these including those at Providence Island. The British continued to expand the settlements including setting the First Federation in the British West Indies by 1674; some of the islands include Barbados, Bermuda, Cayman Island, Turks and Caicos, Jamaica and Belize then known as British Honduras. By the 1960's many of the islands became independent after the West Indies Federation which existed from 1958 to 1962 failed due to internal political conflicts. After this a number of Eastern Caribbean islands formed a free association. [9]
Byford Settlers in West Indies in the 17th Century
  • Thomas, William, and Martha Byford, who arrived in Barbados in 1664

Contemporary Notables of the name Byford (post 1700) +

  • John Byford, American editor and director, known for Love Is... (2012), Head-Side Up (2014) and Truth Be Told (2011)
  • Sir Lawrence Byford CBE, QPM, DL (1925-2018), English police officer, Chief Inspector of Constabulary from 1983 to 1987
  • Timothy John Byford (1941-2014), English-born, author, film director, translator, and educator, known for Neven (1973), Poletarac (1980) and Tragom ptice dodo (1988)
  • Mark Byford (b. 1958), English former Deputy Director General of the BBC
  • Charles Watson Byford, English Justice of the Peace, and Lord Mayor of Leicester
  • Hazel Byford (b. 1941), English peer, Baroness Byford, Conservative member of the House of Lords
  • Ashley Byford, Canadian actress, known for her roles in Monter Brawl (2011) and Body Language (2010)
  • Roy Byford (1873-1939), British actor, known for Falstaff the Tavern Knight (1923), Treasure Trove (1922) and The Rivals (1938)
  • Martin Byford (b. 1972), British racing driver from Colchester
  • Donald Byford, English founder of D. Byford Co. Ltd, a hosiery manufacturer with two factories employing 1,400 people in 1919
  • ... (Another 1 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)


  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
  6. ^ https://namecensus.com/most_common_surnames.htm
  7. ^ State Library of Queensland. (Retrieved 2015, January 8) Anna Maria voyage to Van Diemen's Land or Port Phillip, Australia in 1848 with 190 passengers. Retrieved from http://www.convictrecords.com.au/ships/anna-maria/1848
  8. ^ State Library of Queensland. (Retrieved 2014, November 17) Adelaide voyage to Western Australia, Australia in 1855 with 261 passengers. Retrieved from http://www.convictrecords.com.au/ships/adelaide/1855
  9. ^ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_West_Indies


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