Recorded in many spellings as shown below, this is an English surname. Chiefly recorded in the south western counties of England, it represents the rare survival of the Olde English pre 7th century personal name "Beorht", meaning bright or famous. This was used as a short form of various compound names with "beorht" as the first element, and was popular with the Normans after the Conquest of 1066. These names include, for example, Berthier meaning "bright-army", and Bertram "bright-raven". The short form of the given name is recorded as "Berta" in Norfolk in circa 1101, and as "Berte" in the Sussex Pipe Rolls of 1196. The modern surname forms include Beart, Bert, Birt and Burt. The development of the name has included the following examples: Geliana Birte of Devonshire in 1539; Jone Byrt and William Burte of Somerset in 1559; and Thomas Bearte of Gloucestershire in 1597. Amongst the recordings of the surname in church registers are those of the marriages of Jone Burt and John Byerd in Modbury, Devonshire, on January 25th 1556, and of Henry Bert and Barbara Lawrence, on January 10th 1564, at Latcham in Gloucestershire. Anthony Burt was an early settler in the American Colonies and is included in a "Muster of the Inhabitants in Virginia", taken in 1624, having arrived on the "Hopewell" in 1622. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Hamo Burt. This was dated 1273, in the Hundred Rolls of Norfolk, during the reign of King Edward 1st, 1272 - 1307. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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