Recorded as Balsillie and Balsellie, this is a rare Scottish surname. It is locational from an estate known as the lands of Balsillie near the village of Leslie in Fifeshire. It is not clear as to the precise meaning of the surname but it is possibly the pre 7th century Olde English and Celtic word "bal" meaning a boundary or boundary maker for a barony, parish, or similar, with "sele", a woodland or copse, to given the wood by the boundary marker or perhaps the reverse. Locational surnames by their very nature were usually "from" names, unless they were specifically the names of the owner of the estate. In this case the surname although never common, is widely recorded suggesting that the nameholders had in general left their original area to seek work, and in so doing, were given as their surname the name of their former home. Examples of the surname recording taken from surviving rolls, registers and charters from the medieval period include: Andrew Balsillie, who appears in the charters of the city of Edinburgh in 1536, whilst John Balsillie is recorded as holding the status and position of burgess of the city of Perth in 1596.
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