The surname of BYRD was derived from the Old English word Bridd. The name was found early in Northumberland, and was probably a name given to a bird catcher, or even as a mocking nickname for a young maiden. Other records of the name include BIRD, BURDE, BRIDE, BRIDD and BURDEKIN. Early records of the name mention Ernald BRID who was recorded in the year 1193 in County Yorkshire and Robert le BRID appears in 1235 in County Essex. Johannes BRIDDE of Yorkshire, was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379. The name was originally brought into England in the wake of the Norman Invasion and the names introduced into Britain by the Normans during and in the wake of the Invasion of 1066, are nearly all territorial in origin. The followers of William the Conqueror were a pretty mixed lot, and while some of them brought the names of their castles and villages in Normandy with them, many were adventurers of different nationalities attached to William's standard by the hope of plunder, and possessing no family or territorial names of their own. Those of them who acquired lands in England were called by their manors, while others took the name of the offices they held or the military titles given to them, and sometimes, a younger son of a Norman landowner, on receiving a grant of land in his new home dropped his paternal name and adopted that of his newly acquired property. A later instance of the name includes George BIRD who married Anne Skinner at St. George's, Hanover Square, London in 1764. A notable member of the name was Robert Montgomery BIRD (1805-1854) the American author, born in Newcastle, Delaware. As well as two successful tragedies, he wrote 'Calavar, a Mexican Romance' (1834) 'Nick of the Woods' (1837) and many other novels. The associated arms are recorded in Sir Bernard Burkes General Armory. Ulster King of Arms in 1884. In the Middle Ages heraldry came into use as a practical matter. It originated in the devices used to distinguish the armoured warriors in tournament and war, and was also placed on seals as marks of identity. As far as records show, true heraldry began in the middle of the 12th century, and appeared almost simultaneously in several countries of Western Europe.
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