This is a One Name Study to collect together in one place everything about the surname Ballard and its variants. The name has a Worldwide distribution with known families in Europe (UK, Ireland, France, Italy), New Zealand, Australia, Canada, Brazil & America over many generations.
The hope is that other researchers like you will join our study to help make it a valuable reference point for people studying lines that cross or intersect. Please contact the project leader, add categories to your profiles, add your questions to the bulletin board, add details of your name research, etc.
- This unusual name is recorded in many spelling forms including Bullard, Ballard, Belward, Bellyard, Bil(l)yard, and Bellard. It is an example of that sizeable group of early surnames that were created from the habitual use of nicknames. These were usually given with reference to a variety of characteristics, such as physical attributes and moral characteristics, although habits of dress and occupation were also common. The derivation is from the Middle English "bal(le)", used in the transferred sense of a hairless patch on the skull, with the addition of the Angl-Saxon suffix "ard", whose precise translation is uncertain.
- The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Peter Ballard, which was dated 1196, in the "Curia Regis Rolls of Northamptonshire", during the reign of King Richard 1st, known as "Richard the Lionheart", 1189 - 1199.
- Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
- Early examples of the surname recordings include those of Alured Balard in Essex in 1273 and Geoffrey Bolhard of Warwick in 1275. Later recordings are those of Moyses Billiard, a witness at St Botolphs church, Bishopgate, London, on October 10th 1631, whilst on March 31st 1634, John Bilyard was christened at St Dunstans in the East, Stepney. On July 15th 1635, William Ballard, aged 32 yrs., together with his wife, Elizabeth, aged 26 yrs., and children, Hester and Jo, aged respectively one year and 2 yrs., embarked from London on the ship "James" bound for New England. They were among the earliest recorded name bearers to settle in America.
- There are other sources for this name, besides the Anglo-Saxon. Not all people bearing the name are of English origins. It is common, with native etymology among several Celtic nations, although the British Celtic form is likely the original, and it may be that "Bald head" is a false etymology designed to give the name English roots. The earliest form is Ap Alard, meaning the "son of the fox" in Welsh, and it passed from Wales to Brittany as Aballard, whence it became popular in France under the form Aballaird, and thence to Spain.
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On 2 Mar 2017 at 21:30 GMT Meryl Naismith wrote: