This most unusual and very rare surname is of Old Scottish origin, and is a locational name from a minor place called Balharrie, Balhary, in the parish of Alyth in East Perthshire, Scotland. The placename derivation is somewhat obscure, but the initial element may be the Olde English "ball", a boundary mound, or the Old Danish personal name "Balle", and "-har, -her", also meaning a boundary mark. During the Middle Ages, when migration for the purpose of job-seeking was becoming more common, people often took their former village name as a means of identification, resulting in a wide distribution of the name. Early recordings of the surname in Perthshire Church Registers include: the christening of Issobell, daughter of David Balhary, on June 4th 1721, at Collace, and of his son, David, on June 11th 1724; the marriage of John Balharrie and Janet Tosh on May 13th 1738, at Meigle; and the christening of James, son of John Balharry, at Alyth, on April 18th 1759. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of John Balharrie, which was dated 1674, in the parish register of Glamis, during the reign of King Charles 11, known as "The Merry Monarch", 1660 - 1685. 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.
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