This surname is possibly derived from the name of the island of Bute. The marquess of Bute in Gaelic is Morair Bhoid. The first Boyds were the vassals of De Morevilles in the regality of Largs, and quite possibly have come in their train from England. Early records of the name mention Dominus Robertus de Boyd, who witnessed a contract in Irvine regarding the lands in the year 1205. Walterus de Boht witnessed a confirmation of the gift of the church of Cragyn to the monastry of Paisley in 1272. Robert Boyt, a tenant under the king, in Ayshire, is documented in 1296. This surname was common in Ulster where it was introduced by settlers from Scotland in the 17th century. When the sparse Irish population began to increase it became necessary to broaden the base of personal identification by moving from single names to a more definate nomenclature. The prefix MAC was given to the father's christian name, or O to that of a grandfather or even earlier ancestor. The first known bearers of the name are Robertus de Boyd and Alan de Bodha, recorded in Irvine and Dumfries respectively in the early 13th century. The name was very common in Edinburgh in the 17th century. One of the most successful early settlers in Australia was Benjamin Boyd (1796-1851) who was born in London, the son of a Scottish merchant. He went to Australia in 1841, and founded Boydtown in New South Wales, which however, failed to fulfill his expectation that it would become a great seaport. At first the coat of arms was a practical matter which served a function on the battlefield and in tournaments. With his helmet covering his face and armour encasing the knight from head to foot, the only means of identification for his followers, was the insignia painted on his shield and embroidered on his surcoat, the draped and flowing garment worn over the armour. In many parts of central and western Europe, hereditary surnames began to become fixed at around the 12th century, and have developed and changed slowly over the years. As society became more complex, and such matters as the management of tenure, and in particular the collection of taxes were delegated to special functionaries, it became imperative to distinguish a more complex system of nomenclature to differentiate one individual from another.
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