This intriguing and most interesting surname is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and has two possible interpretations. Firstly, it may be a variant of Bardsey, an English locational name, from either Bardsea in Lancashire, recorded as "Berretseige" in the Domesday Book of 1086, and "Berdeseia" in the 1155 Lancashire Charters; or Bardsey in Yorkshire, which appears as "Berdesei" in the Domesday Book. These placenames are composed of the Olde English personal name "Beornred", from "beorn", a young warrior, and "raed", counsel, advice, plus "-eg, -ieg", an island; hence, "Beornred's island".However, the surname may also be of topographical origin, given to a dweller by an island frequented by birds, from the Olde English "bridd", a bird, and "-eg", as above. Early examples of the surname include: the marriage of Jenet Bardsaie and Richard Lindoe in August 1552, at Ulverston in Lancashire; the marriage of Henry Berdsay to Dorothie Baker on September 6th 1574, at St. Giles' Cripplegate, London; and the christening of Marie, daughter of Thomas Birdseye, on June 4th 1615, at St. Stephan's, Coleman Street, London. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Jayne Bardsaye, which was dated April 10th 1544, christened at Wragby in Yorkshire, during the reign of King Henry V111, known as "Good King Hal", 1509 - 1547. 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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