This is an Anglo-Scottish surname. The Scots claim that it originates from Belford, a hamlet near Yetholm in Roxburgh, Scotland, and this may well be so as shown below. However its now much larger larger "neighbour" of Belford in the county of Northumberland, is a more likely origin for most English nameholders. Eitherway the surname comes from the region of the British Isles known as "The Borders", and whether English or Scottish was probably associated with the famous or infamous depending on your view, "Border Reivers." These bandits, or probably in modern social parlance, "underprivileged," from time to time terrorised the countryside as far down as the city of York, and as far north as the city of Edinburgh, over several centuries. The place name and hence the surname probably means "good crossing," although it seems, that this has never been definately proved. Curiously the place name was first recorded in England in the tax rolls known as the Fees, in the year 1242, whilst the surname was first recorded in Scotland in the year 1147, or a century earlier. This is quite remarkeable with James de Beleford, given as being a carnifex or slaughterer, being recorded in the charters of the town of Kelso. If so this is not only one of the earliest of all surname recordings anywhere in the world, it is certainly the first butcher.
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