Porterfield is a ancient surname of Scottish origins. The first identified use of that surname was in 1460 in Renfrewshire when the lands of Porterfield were confirmed by charter to John Porterfield. The Porterfield surname is derived from the Norman name surname de Porter.
The Porterfield lineage has been well documented. A large number of Porterfields in North America have been traced back to one line that came to America in the early 1700's. These Porterfields emigrated from County Donegal, Ireland where they had been for a short time after having emigrated from Renfrewshire and Ayrshire in Scotland.
 My Porterfield Ancestry
My Porterfield line starts at Juanita Marie Porterfield, who was my maternal grandmother. The Porterfield name died out at her generation as she had only brother, Floyd "Red" Porterfield who had no children. My 5th great grandfather, Samuel Porterfield emigrated from Ireland in the 1720's, along with his father and 5 brothers and two sisters.
 16th century
John Porterfield acquired the Duchal estate in Kilmacolm, Renfrewshire, which included the Duchal Castle 1544 from the Lyles. The castle was raised in 1710 to build a newer Duchal House nearby. The Duchal estate stayed in the Porterfield family for over 300 years until it was acquired by Sir Hugh Shaw-Stewart, 8th Baronett in 1855.
 17th century
The Porterfields are still primarily in Renfrewshire and Ayrshire. The family, as part of the Covenanters movement were staunch supporters of the Church of Scotland. During this last half of century their fortunes waned as they were on the losing side of wars fought over church and political affairs. By the end of the century, Porterfield lands had been divided by forces aligned with the Anglican church.
 18th century
Many Porterfields without lands made their way to urban areas of Edinburgh and Glasgow where they served in various trades and professions. Porterfields still control lands in Renfrewshire and Ayrshire.
The 1700's also find the first Porterfields in America by way of Ireland. This group of immigrants come be known as Scots-Irish or Scotch-Irish. At least one small group of Porterfields came straight from Scotland. Most Porterfields fought on the side of the patriots in the American Revolutionary War.
 19th century
The 1800's find Porterfields in the United States migrating west and south. As with many of the Scots-Irish, the Porterfields tended towards the unsettled areas where they could acquire cheap land and live independently.
 Notable Porterfields
- George Alexander Porterfield - Confederate colonel at the first land battle of the US Civil War Pedigree>>.
 20th century
 Notable Porterfields
- Ian Porterfield - Irish footballer (soccer player) and coach
- William Thomas Stuart Porterfield - Irish cricketer
- Bob Porterfield - American baseball pitcher
 The Arts
- Robert Porterfield - Founder of Virginia's Barter Theatre, the state theatre of Virginia.
- Matthew Porterfield - independent filmmaker
- Daniel R. Porterfield - President of Franklin & Marshall College (2010-)
- Eugene E. Porterfield - former member of the Pennsylvania State Senate (1989 to 1996).