- Recorded in many spellings simultaneously in different countries and with different meanings, this name can best be described as European. As Barr or Barre it is usually English, Scottish and Irish, but can be French. As French the spellings include as well Labarre, Delabarre, and diminutives Barret, Barrelle, Baradel, Barradell, and Barada, whilst as Dutch it is recorded as Baars, van Baaren, Van der Baaren and van Baren. There are also other spellings which space prevents us from adding. The name has at least three possible sources. The first is locational from two places called Barr, in the Scottish counties of Ayrshire and Renfrewshire, from the pre 10th century Gaelic word "barr", meaning height or hill. Secondly and wherever recorded it can also be locational from two places in France, Barr-en-Ouche or Barr-de-Semilly, which have their origination in the Olde French word "barre", meaning a barrier or gateway. There is also an English word "barre", with the same meaning which comes from the Scandanavian word of the same spelling, but in this case it means a street! Early examples of the name spelling include Hugo Barr in the Danelaw Documents relating to Lancashire in 1155, and in Scotland Albyn de Barr was baillie of Ayr in 1340. The first recorded spelling of the family name anywhere in the world is that of Richard de Barra. This was dated 1086 in the famous Domesday Book for the county of Somerset, during the reign of William 1, known as "The Conqueror", 1066 - 1087. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
Surnames reference. 2013.