Boyd Name Study

Privacy Level: Open (White)
Date: 28 Mar 2023 [unknown]
Location: [unknown]
Surnames/tags: Boyd Boyde Boid
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About the Project

The Boyd Name Study project serves as a collaborative platform to collect information on the Boyd name. The hope is that other researchers like you will join the study to help make it a valuable reference point for other genealogists who are researching or have an interest in the Boyd name.

As a One Name Study, this project is not limited to persons who are related biologically. Individual studies can be used to branch out the research into specific methods and areas of interest, such as geographically (England Boyda), by time period (18th Century Boyds), or by topic (Boyd DNA, BoydOccupations, Boyd Statistics). These studies may also include a number of family branches which have no immediate link with each other. Some researchers may even be motivated to go beyond the profile identification and research stage to compile fully sourced, single-family histories of some of the families they discover through this name study project.

Also see the Related Surnames and Surname Variants.

How to Join

To join the Boyd Name Study, first start out by browsing our current research pages to see if there is a specific study ongoing that fits your interests. If so, feel free to add your name to the Membership list below, post an introduction comment on the specific team page, and then dive right in!

If a research page does not yet exist for your particular area of interest, please contact the Name Study Coordinator: Larry Ridgley for assistance.

... ... ... is a member of the Boyd Name Study Project.

Once you are ready to go, you can also show your project affiliation with the ONS Member Sticker:


Research Pages

Here are some of the current research pages included in the study. I'll be working on them, as well as other members, and could use your help!


Related Surnames and Surname Variants

Some spelling variants or names with similar etymologies include:

The Boyds

Welcome to the Boyd Name Study!

This is a project that I hope will become a valuable reference point for any Boyd researchers alike to share their knowledge by posting their DNA tests, resources, pictures, stories, and anything else of interest to this surname.

Boyd Name Origins

Boyd Surname Name Meaning, Origin, History, & Etymology[1]

This is a Scottish habitational/locational last name denoting a person from the island of Bute in the Firth of Clyde, with the Gaelic name of this location being Bód or Bóid. The marquess of Bute in Gaelic is Morair Bhoid. The first Boyds were vassals of De Morevilles in the regality of Largs, and quite likely may have come in their train from England. Another source asserts this is a baptismal/patronymic name deriving from the nickname Boidh, an Erse or Gaelic name, meaning yellow, or fair or yellow-haired. The Gaelix word buidhe means yellow-haired. The name is common in Ulster, Northern Ireland, where it is sometimes spelled O’Boyd. In some cases, it is an Anglicized version of a Manx (Isle of Man) name similar to the Irish surname MacElwee. Some claim the name derives from MacGiolla Buidhe, which means the son of the yellow-haired youth. One author also notes that Boyd is the name of a river in England that combines with the Avon. It should also be noted there was a family of this surname that were established in Shropshire, England who were of Norman descent and were granted lands by William the Conqueror in the twelfth century AD. They are now represented by the Earls of Errol.

Family tradition asserts the family descended from Walter Fitz-Alan, scion of the Royal Stewarts of Scotland. He became the 1st High Steward of Scotland around 1150 AD and he owned lands in Ayrshire and Renfrewshire. His son Simon had a son named Robert, who had blond hair (NOTE: BOYD means blond hair). The family built Kilmarnock Castle, later called Dean Castle[2], which served as the main seat of the family.

Below is the current description of the Family which is referenced by the Standing Council of Scottish Chiefs:

The Boyds were a significant family in the South West of Scotland. Theirs is said to be a descriptive name, deriving from the Gaelic ‘buidhe’, meaning fair or yellow. The original fair-haired man was said to have been Robert, nephew of the first High Steward of Scotland. This explanation has, however, been challenged, as the Steward’s retinue tended to be Normans, rather than Gaelic as the surname would suggest. As an early form of the name, ‘de Boyd’ is mentioned, it is possible that the name refers to a place, rather than a quality. The Isle of Bute, which in Gaelic is rendered Bhòid, was owned by the High Stewards, so it may have been given to a younger son, who then took the placename as his designation. The first Boyd mentioned in Scottish sources is Sir Robert Boyd. He became one of Bruce’s commanders at the Battle of Bannockburn and was rewarded by lands, including Kilmarnock and other holdings in Ayrshire. At Kilmarnock, the Boyds built the impressive Dean Castle, which survives today.

The fortunes of the family continued to advance and they were raised to the peerage by James II. Lord Boyd was appointed one of the regents to the young James III. Lord Boyd was appointed Great Chamberlain and his son, Thomas, was married to Princess Mary, the king’s sister, with the title of Earl of Arran. However, the family’s rapid rise made them many enemies. In 1469 Lord Boyd and his son, the Earl of Arran, was summoned to answer charges brought against them. Lord Boyd made his escape to England but his brother, Sir Alexander, was executed for treason.

The family were restored to royal favour when Robert, a descendent of the younger son of the first Lord Boyd, received confirmation from Queen Mary of all the estates and dignities of the family. After the queen’s escape from Loch Leven castle, Lord Boyd joined her at Hamilton and fought at the Battle of Langside in 1568. William, Lord Boyd was created Earl of Kilmarnock in 1661. The fourth Earl was a Jacobite who fought at Culloden, where he was captured, and was beheaded in 1746. All the Boyd titles were declared forfeit but his eldest son succeeded through his mother to the Earldom of Erroll and assumed the name Hay. In 1941 the brother of the twenty-second Earl resumed the name of Boyd and succeeded to the barony of Kilmarnock. Today, branches of the Boyd kindred can be found all over the world.

The Standing Council of Scottish Chiefs was founded in 1952 by Diana Hay, 23rd Countess of Erroll, who at the time held the title of Lord High Constable of Scotland (granddaughter of Victor Alexander Sereld Hay, 21st Earl of Erroll and 4th Baron Kilmarnock, KCMG, and direct descendants of James Hay, 15th Earl of Erroll (20 April 1726 – 3 July 1778) styled Lord Boyd from 1728 to 1746, Scottish nobleman and the son of William Boyd, 4th Earl of Kilmarnock).[3]

Clan Boyd HOB

If you are interested in joining the Clan Boyd HOB group go here to request a login to the group (Note: This is not affiliated with WikiTree).


  1. Boyd Family Crest, Coat of Arms and Name History
  2. Dean (Kilmarnock) Castle on
  3. Thanks to Christian Boyd for a facebook post on 14 February 2023 from him.

Images: 1
Boyd Family Tartan
Boyd Family Tartan

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