Recorded as Bird, Byrd, Byrde and Bride, this famous surname is English. It derives from the pre 7th century word "bridde" meaning a bird, and as a surname was originally given as a nickname to one thought to bear a fancied resemblance to a bird. This may have been from bright dress, or bright eyed and active, or perhaps to some one with a beautiful singing voice. The surname was first recorded towards the end of the 12th century (see below), and other early recordings include: Ralph le Brid, a witness in the Fines Court of Essex in the year 1231, and Richard Bird, a witness in the Assize Court of Cambridgeshire in 1260.The variant spelling Bride, most closely resembling the original Olde English "bridde", was first recorded as a surname in 1332, when John Bride was listed in the Subsidy Rolls of Cumberland, and later in the Century, Johannes Bridde was recorded in the 1379 Poll Tax Returns of Yorkshire. Occasionally, Bird (and its variants) may have been given as a metonymic occupational name to a bird catcher, and as such was a shortened form of the name "Birdclever", recorded in the 1427 "Calverley Charters of Yorkshire". Henry Bird was a```n early settler in the New World, he was recorded as purchasing a ticket for the ship "Amity" sailing to London, in July 1679 from Barbados. Recently the name has had much international notice through the famous cricket umpire 'Dickie' Bird of Yorkshire. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Earnald Brid, which was dated 1193, in the "Pipe Rolls of Yorkshire", during the reign of King Richard 1st, known as "The Lionheart", 1189 - 1199. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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