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BOYD Family History

The usual derivation of Boyd from Gaelic 'Boid', i.e. from the Island of Bute. Bute was populated by the Dal Riada Gaels from the north of Ireland. Also, Stewart Boyds are said to derive their name from 'buidhe' or 'yellow' (haired), which is, of course Scots Gaelic. Boyd is largely a west of Scotland/Ulster name. The 'de' in the first derivation is a Norman-French prefix (?of?), and precedes a genuinely Gaelic name. This does not specify the ethnic origin of the bearers, however.

In the 1659 ?Census?, carried out by Sir William Petty, Boyd is found in the list of ?Principal Irish Names & Scotch? in counties:

Antrim, Barony of Antrim, Boyd (7 families; all figures are for families); Glenarm Barony, Boyd (14); Carrickfergus, Boyd (5).

Down- Thomas Boyde is listed as a?titulado? or landowner in the Barony of Ards.

In view of the name?s spread to adjacent counties by the time of Griffith?s ?Primary Valuation? (1847-64) in some numbers points to the original entry into Ireland?s north-east as a Scottish ?planter? name in the Jacobean Plantation of Ulster in the early 1600s.

So in Griffith we have most Boyds in counties Antrim (337 + 126 Belfast), Down (253), Derry (115), Armagh (74) and Monaghan (69).

In 1890, as recorded in R.E. Matheson?s ?Special Report? (1894), most Boyd birth registrations were in counties Antrim, Down and Derry. The total number in Ireland was 155.

There are two families of Boyd listed in Burke's 'General Armory' (1883), descended from the Boyds of Kilmarnock, Scotland: of Ballymacool, Co Donegal and Roslare, Co Wexford. Their arms are those of the Kilmarnock house: 'azure, a fesse chequy argent and gules; crest: a dexter hand erect, pointing with the thumb & two fingers proper'.

Early Boyds:

Robert de Boyd is listed in Scotland in the Ragman Rolls (1291/92).
Robert de Boyd was awarded the lands of Kilmarnock and Kilbride by Robert 1st of Scotland (Robert de Brus), for his leadership and bravery at the Battle of Bannockburn (1314).

Duncan Boyd was hanged in 1306 for his support of Robert Bruce (Robert de Brus).

*these entries are taken from the wikipedia article, founded on the research of Luke Boyd.



The following, sent us by Boyd researcher Luke Boyd (v. also above), has an interesting bearing on the two Boyd origins given in the opening paragraph..

'Robert de Boyd having "gone native", in modern parlance... sources indicate that he may have been descended from the kingdom of Dal Riada (Ulster Irish).

I have also seen a few interesting assertions of the Stewart and Boyd houses being descended of the Breton house of Dinant (Norman: De Dinan, De Dinham). Supposedly the heraldry substantiates this in some way.'

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Anthony Barrett

(Part 1 of 3) The Boyd name can be found in Scotland, but its origin according to DNA is from the north-west coast of the Emerald Island. The Boyd story [dominated by DNA tribal marker R1b-L513, Subgroup A1] can trace their origins to the Finn Valley in Donegal, Ireland from 50 BCE. Perhaps the journey begins with the Clanna Dedad; Deda, son of Sen or Deda Mac Sin. The Boyd surname origin is from a Northern Ui Neill [R1b-L513] tribe. The Cenél Eoghan and the tribes of Donegal conquered much of Ulster (Derry and Tyrone).

Anthony Barrett

(Part 2 of 3) Cenél Eoghan will expand across northern Ireland with their cousins Cenél Conaill and the Northern Ui Neill between 500-800 BCE. The clans of Finn Valley have the same DNA as people from Gwened in Brittany. But how could this be? Recent discoveries from DNA testing are unlocking the migration patterns of Celtic tribes as late as 800 CE to 1200 CE. The Boyd story begins in pre-history Ireland then moves to Scotland as they form part of the Dalriada. Descendants of their tribe will then travel to Brittany, France during the Dark Ages.

Anthony Barrett

(Part 3 of 3) Discover their newly found untold story and how forgotten texts bring their story back to life. From the ebook, “The Tribe Within” learn how DNA unfolds this amazing tale and if you look in the right places, how history narrates this evidence. There is another written account of their story, but it is camouflaged in smoke and myth – it will become the tales of King Arthur. Come follow in the footsteps of Deda Mac Sin and visit

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