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The Blair Family History & Ancestry

Family Crest Motto: AMO PROBOS (I love the virtuous)

Let me share with you the fascinating history of your family name, Blair. The surname Blair has widespread origins and is derived from the Gaelic word ‘Blar,’ meaning ‘open plain’ or ‘battlefield,’ which also served as a place name. There were two distinct ancient Scottish families associated with the name Blair: the Blairs of that Ilk in Ayrshire and the Blairs of Balthayock in Perthshire.

The Blairs of that Ilk can trace their ancestry back to a Norman warrior named Jean Francois, who was granted the Barony of Blair by King William the Lion. Your family’s roots can be traced to William de Blare, mentioned in connection with the town of Ayr in 1205. It is believed that his grandson, also named William de Blare, married a daughter of King John of England, making him related to Alexander II through marriage. Sir Bryce de Blair, the successor to William de Blare, was a loyal supporter of Sir William Wallace, the Guardian of Scotland, during the struggle for Scottish independence against Edward I of England. Unfortunately, he was executed by English forces in Ayr. David Blair, his brother, succeeded him and pledged allegiance to Edward I in the same year. Roger Blair of that Ilk, the following laird, fought alongside Robert the Bruce at the decisive Battle of Bannockburn.

Over the centuries, the Blairs of that Ilk maintained their influence in Ayrshire. Sir Bryce Blair of that Ilk, who died in 1630, was knighted by Charles I. His son, William Blair of that Ilk, rallied an army in support of William of Orange after the deposition of James VII but was captured and imprisoned by the Jacobite leader, Viscount Dundee. The original line of the family ended in 1732 but was succeeded by the descendants of William Scott Blair. Blair House, the family seat, remained in the possession of the Blairs of Blair for approximately nine centuries until its sale in 2012.

The Blairs of Balthayock, in Perthshire, can trace their lineage back to Stephen de Blair, who held lands in the parish of Blairgowrie and acquired the lands of Cults in Fife. Stephen’s successor, William de Blair, was knighted by Alexander II and appointed Steward of Fife. Alexander Blair of Balthyock’s second son, Thomas Blair, settled in France and became the ancestor of the French Blairs. The Blairs of Balthayock had various branches, including the Blairs of Ardblair, Bendochy, Balgillo, Balmyle, Pittendreich and Lethendy, Glasclune, Denhead, Over Durdie, Melginch, Balgray, Friarton, Gairdrum, and Ballathie. The ancestral seat of the Perthshire Blairs was the fourteenth-century Balthayock Castle, located near Perth. The original line of this family came to an end in the mid-seventeenth century.

As you delve into the rich history of your family, the name Blair resonates with tales of bravery, loyalty, and enduring influence. The Blairs of that Ilk left their mark in Ayrshire, while the Blairs of Balthayock established themselves in Perthshire. Embracing this heritage allows you to honor the legacy of your family and the significant role they played in Scottish history.

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Family Crest Motto: AMO PROBOS (I love the virtuous)

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