Porterfield History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Early Origins of the Porterfield family

The surname Porterfield was first found in Renfrewshire, where "in several monasteries, a portion of land was appropriated to the Porter. The descendants of 'John the Porter,' inheriting the 'porterfield' naturally took the surname from their office, until territorial surnames came into fashion, when they lengthened it into 'Robertus Porterfield de eodem,' the founder of a family of consideration in Renfrew" [1]

Of note was John Porterfield of that Ilk who obtained from James III a charter of confirmation of his lands of Porterfield in 1460.

Early History of the Porterfield family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Porterfield research. Another 169 words (12 lines of text) covering the years 1571, 1571, 1573, 1604, 1549, 1604 and 1571 are included under the topic Early Porterfield History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Porterfield Spelling Variations

Spelling variations of this family name include: Porterfield, Porterfeild and others.

Early Notables of the Porterfield family (pre 1700)

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


United States Porterfield migration to the United States +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Porterfield Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • David Porterfield, who arrived in Virginia in 1684
  • David Porterfield, who arrived in New Jersey in 1685 [2]
Porterfield Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Patrick Porterfield, who arrived in New England in 1749 [2]
  • Boyd Porterfield, who landed in New York in 1776 [2]
  • Boyd Porterfield, who settled in New York in 1776
Porterfield Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Alexander Porterfield, who settled in New York in 1807
  • Mathew Porterfield, who landed in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1823 [2]
  • John Porterfield, who arrived in Mississippi in 1846 [2]
  • Edward Porterfield, who landed in Mississippi in 1854 [2]
  • John, Moses, Robert, Thomas, and William Porterfield, who all, who arrived in Philadelphia between 1813 and 1866

Canada Porterfield migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Porterfield Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • Fanny Porterfield, who settled in Saint John, New Brunswick in 1847

New Zealand Porterfield 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:

Porterfield Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Isabella Porterfield, aged 21, a servant, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Salisbury" in 1876
  • Rebecca Porterfield, aged 22, a servant, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Salisbury" in 1876
  • Mary E. Porterfield, aged 20, a servant, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Salisbury" in 1876

Contemporary Notables of the name Porterfield (post 1700) +

  • John Porterfield, American farmer and businessman, eponym of Porterfield, Wisconsin, founded in 1887
  • Edward Porterfield (d. 1948), American flying school instructor who founded the Porterfield Aircraft Corporation, an aircraft design and manufacturing company in 1934 in Kansas
  • Daniel R. Porterfield (b. 1961), American academic, 15th President of Franklin & Marshall College
  • Shaletta Tawanna Porterfield (b. 1985), American model, Miss Wisconsin USA (2011)
  • Ron Porterfield, American Major League Baseball athletic trainer
  • Gordon Porterfield, American playwright, novelist, poet and teacher
  • Eugene E. Porterfield (b. 1946), American businessman and politician, Member of the Pennsylvania State Senate (1989 to 1996)
  • Robert Huffard Porterfield (1905-1971), American founder of the Barter Theatre in Austinville, Virginia in 1933 which later became the state theatre of Virginia in 1946; he was artistic director of the theatre until his death in 1971
  • Lewis Broughton Porterfield (1879-1942), American admiral of the United States Navy, eponym of the USS Porterfield (DD-682), an American Fletcher-class destroyer
  • Dr. James Porterfield, American cardiology researcher at Methodist University Hospital, Memphis
  • ... (Another 13 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)


The Porterfield Motto +

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: Sub pondere sursum
Motto Translation: Beneath my load (I look) upward.


  1. ^ 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)
  2. ^ Filby, P. William, Meyer, Mary K., Passenger and immigration lists index : a guide to published arrival records of about 500,000 passengers who came to the United States and Canada in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries. 1982-1985 Cumulated Supplements in Four Volumes Detroit, Mich. : Gale Research Co., 1985, Print (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8)


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