This interesting and unusual surname is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is locational from a place so called in North Yorkshire, near Malton. The placename is derived from the genitive case of the Old English pre 7th Century byname "bridd", meaning nestling, young bird, and the Old English "halh", nook, recess; the byname Bridd may have been given as a nickname or occasionally as a metonymic occupational name for a bird catcher. The placename was first recorded as "Briteshale" and "Brideshala" in the Domesday Book of 1086. Locational surnames were developed when former inhabitants of a place moved to another area, usually to seek work, and were best identified by the name of their birthplace. The surname is still largely confined to Yorkshire. Among the recordings in Yorkshire are the baptism of Christopher Birdsall in 1492, and the marriages of John Birdsall and Alison Nelson on February 16th 1545 at Monkfrystone, and of Benjamin Birdsall and Elisabeth Taylor on July 4th 1678 at Barwick in Elmet. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Robert de Bridsall, which was dated 1379, Poll Tax, West Riding of Yorkshire, during the reign of King Richard 11, "Richard of Bordeaux", 1377 - 1399. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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