Byforthay History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The name Byforthay is of Anglo-Saxon origin and came from when a family lived near a ford, a shallow place in a river or stream which could be crossed by wading. The surname Byforthay 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 Byforthay may also be derived from residence in the settlement of Byford in Hertfordshire. [2]

Early Origins of the Byforthay family

The surname Byforthay 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 Byforthay family

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

Byforthay Spelling Variations

Sound was what guided spelling in the essentially pre-literate Middle Ages, so one person's name was often recorded under several variations during a single lifetime. Also, before the advent of the printing press and the first dictionaries, the English language was not standardized. Therefore, spelling variations were common, even among the names of the most literate people. Known variations of the Byforthay family name include Biford, Biforde, Byford, Byforde, Bifford, Byfford, Biffard, Biffort, Byfford and many more.

Early Notables of the Byforthay family (pre 1700)

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

Migration of the Byforthay family

For political, religious, and economic reasons, thousands of English families boarded ships for Ireland, the Canadas, the America colonies, and many of smaller tropical colonies in the hope of finding better lives abroad. Although the passage on the cramped, dank ships caused many to arrive in the New World diseased and starving, those families that survived the trip often went on to make valuable contributions to those new societies to which they arrived. Early immigrants bearing the Byforthay surname or a spelling variation of the name include : 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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