This unusual and interesting name is of Early Medieval English origin, and is an example of that large group of English and continental surnames that have gradually developed from the habitual use of nicknames or bynames. In this instance, the name "Bird" and its variant forms "Burd" and "Byrd", derives from the Middle English "bird", "brid", nestling, young bird, a development of the Old English pre 7th Century word "bridd". The nickname would have been given to a young person, perhaps as a term of affection. In some cases, the name may derive from a metonymic occupational surname for a bird catcher, and may possibly also be derived from the Middle English word "burde", maiden, girl, applied as a mocking nickname. The second element "-kin", is a diminutive suffix. Ernald Bird was recorded in the Yorkshire Pipe Rolls (1193), but the name does not appear with the suffix until the late 16th Century. John son of Thomas and Christian Burdecan was christened at St. Mary Whitechapel, Stepney, London on September 24th 1629 while Mary Burdekin was christened there also on October 30th 1632. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of John Burdycand, Yorkshire, which was dated 1595, Descriptive Catalogue of Charters, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth 1, "Good Queen Bess", 1558 - 1603. 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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