Bird Family Crest, Coat of Arms and Name History

Bird Family Coat of Arms

Variations of this name are: Birde, Byrde.

We have several coat of arms design(s) for the name Bird. Click on the thumbnails to view each design.

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Bird Coat of Arms Meaning

The two main devices (symbols) in the Bird blazon are the cross flory martlet and martlet. The three main tinctures (colors) are gules, azure and argent .

Red in heraldry is given the name Gules, sometimes said to be the “martyr’s colour”1The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P36. The colour is also associated with Mars, the red planet, and the zodiacal sign Aries 2Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P53. Later heralds of a more poetical nature would sometimes refer to the colour as ruby, after the precious stone.3A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P77.

The bright, strong blue color in Heraldry is known in English as azure, and similarly in other European languages – azul in Spanish, azurro in Italian and azur in French. The word has its roots in the Arabic word lazura, also the source of the name of the precious stone lapis lazuli 4A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Azure. Despite this, those heralds who liked to associate colours with jewels chose instead to describe blue as Sapphire. According to Wade, the use of this colour symbolises “Loyalty and Truth” 5The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P36.

Argent is the heraldic metal Silver and is usually shown as very pure white. It is also known more poetically as pearl, moon (or luna) 6Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P53. In a sketch or drawing it is represented by plain, unmarked paper 7A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1847, P11.

No other symbol appearing in heraldry is subject to as much variation as the cross 8Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 47. Mediaeval Europe was a deeply religious and Christian and many of the nobility wanted to show their devotion by adopting the symbol of the cross as part of the arms. Since no two arms could be identical there arose many variants of the cross, typically involving patterning along the edges 9Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P67, or fanciful, decorative endings to the arms of the cross 10A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P128. The cross flory is typical of these, having each arm end in something very similar to the fleur-de-lys.

The martlett is by far the most common bird to appear in British Heraldry, perhaps only equalled by the eagle, however it is not a species ever to be found in an ornithologists handbook! The word itself is though to have come from the French word merlette, the female blackbird and itself a similar type of charge used in French Heraldry. 11A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Martlet. Over time the image has become quite stylised, without visible legs or distinctive feathers. Wade suggests that this representation arises from “the appearance of the bird of paradise to ancient travellers” 12The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P79. Other bird species may be named in coats of arms (cornish chough is a frequent example) but in actual execution their appearance is often indistinguishable from the martlet.

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Origin, Meaning and Family History of the Bird Name

Bird Origin:

England, Scotland

Origins of Name:

The Bird surname was a descriptive name for someone who resembled a bird, either from how they dressed, their activity, their occupation (bird catcher) or their singing voice. The surname derives from the Old English word ‘bridde’ which means bird. The Middle English word bird, brid means nestling or young bird. The surname is most common in central and southern England, although it was first found in Northumbria. Hugo le Bird is guessed to have arrived with William the Conqueror in 1066 during the Norman Invasion.

Variations:

More common variations are:

Baird, Biard, Birde, Birdy, Buird, Beird, Bierd, Byird, Birdi, Birda, Birds

History:

England:

Although first found in Northumbria, early instances of the Bird surname also came from Cheshire and Staffordshire. The name eventually spread to Lancashire, the Midlands, London, and East Anglia.

The first known recorded instance of the surname Bird is of Earnald Brid in 1193 in the Pipe Rolls of Yorkshire. Ralph le Brid was recorded as a witness in the Fines Court of Essex in 1231, and in 1260 Richard Bird was recorded as a witness in the Assize Court of Cambridgehsire.

John Bride, was the first known instance of a variant of the surname and was recorded in 1332in the Subsidy Rolls of Cumberland. A more similar spelling to the Old English “bridde” was recorded in 1379. Johannes Bridde was recorded in the 1379 Poll Tax Returns of Yorkshire.

The 15th century saw the first appearance of the variation Byrd. William Byrd from London was Queen Elizabeth’s favorite composer. The family Byrd owned large amounts of land at Badsey of the Vale of Evesham in Worcestershire in the late 18th century.

Henry Bird, an early New World settler, would sail on the ship Amity back to London from Barbados in 1679.

Alfred Bird started a now infamous custard powder in Birmingham in 1840.

The surname Bird is the 240th most common name in Great Britain. The highest concentrations are in Hartlepool, Wiltshire, Carmarthenshire, Bristol Avon, and Bedfordshire.

Ireland:

The bird surname can be traced to the Ulster Province by immigrants from England and Scotland, mainly during the 17th century. In Ireland, Byrd and Bird can be variants of the surnames Heaney, Heneghan, and MacEneany.

America:

One of the first families of Virginia was the Byrd family. William Byrd would arrive in Virginia from London in the 1670’s and was given land on the James river. The city Richmond would later be founded by his son William II. Descendants of these original settlers were Richard Evelyn Byrd, aviator and explorer, Harry F. Byrd, Virginia Governor and US Senator, and Harry F. Byrd Jr., US Senator.

Bird Today:

40,000 in the United States (mainly in North Carolina)

27,000 in England (mainly in Wiltshire)

10,000 in Australia

9,000 in Bangladesh

Notable People:

Albert Bird (1867), British cricketer

Alfred Bird (1811), British food manufacturer and chemist

Alfred Frederick Bird (1849), British, chemist, food manufacturer, and politician

Bill Bird (1888), American journalist

Bud Bird (1932), Canadian politician

Edward Bird (1772), English painter

George Bird (1850), American baseball outfielder

Edward Bird (1830), English chess player

Isabella Bird (1831), English writer and historian

John Bird (1709), British astronomer and instrument designer

John Bird (died 1558), British Bishop of Chester

John Bird (1768), American politician

Robert Bird (1839), Welsh politician

Sir Robert Bird (1876), British politician

Montgomery Bird (1806), American playwright, novelist, photographer, and physician

Walter James Bird (1863), organ builder based in Birmingham, England

Will R. Bird (1891), Canadian writer

Bird Family Gift Ideas

Browse Bird family gift ideas and products below. If there are multiple coats of arms for this surname, you will see them at the top of this page and can click on the various coat of arms designs to apply them to the gift ideas below.

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Blazons & Genealogy Notes

1) (anciently Byrde). (Broxton, co. Chester, anciently of Charlton in Malpas). Ar. a cross flory betw. four martlets gu. a canton az. Crest—A martlet gu.
2) (anciently Byrde).(Ancient, 44 Edward III., ) Az. a bend ar. cottised erm. betw. six martlets or. Crest—A martlet gu.
3) (Drybridge, co. Hereford, descended from the Byrdes of Broxton, co. Chester). Same Arms, on the canton a mullet of five points or, a crescent for diff. Same Crest. Motto—Cruce spes mea.
4) (David Burn, son of David Bird, “Ye Old,” ap Evan, ap Llewellyn, ap Kenerick, ap Rhiallon, “A Noble man, of whom divers gentlemen in Maelors are descended.”) Erm. a lion ramp. sa.
5) (William Bird, Hackney, co. Middlesex, and London, merchant, son of Richard Bird, Alderman and Mayor of Chester, and grandson of Thomas Bird. Alderman and J.P. of the same city. Visit. Middlesex, 1663). Ar. a cross flory betw. four martlets gu. on a canton az. a crescent. Crest—A martlet rising gu.
6) (Denston, co. Suffolk). Ar. a cross formee flory betw. four martlets gu. a canton vert. Crest—in a crown ar. a greyhound's head couped or.
7) (Bread-street, London, and Coventry, co. Warwick). Ar. across moline vert betw. four martlets gu. a chief dove­tailed az. Crest—A greyhound's head vert erased gu. gorged with a dovetailed collar or.
8) (Derbyshire). Gu. a chev. embattled ar. Crest—On a mount vert a stump of a tree couped and erased, thereon a falcon volant all ppr.
9) (Westminster, descended from Shropshire; granted 16 September, 1723). Az. a lion pass. guard. and ducally crowned or, betw. three turtle doves rousant ar. each holding in the beak a trefoil slipped gold. Crest—A ringdove ppr. resting the right foot on a rose or.
10) Vert, three bucks' heads ppr.
11) (1606). Quarterly, ar. and sa. in the first quarter an eagle displ. of the second. Crest—On a dolphin ppr. an eagle or, wings expanded.
12) (Penrith, whose ancestry is traceable to the year 1295, Visit. Cumberland, 1615. The family possessed for a time Brougham Hall, since regained by the Broughams). Ar. on a chev. engr. gu. betw. three lions ramp sa. as many fleurs-de-lis or.
13) (Cotterelston, co. Dublin, Visit. Dublin, 1607). Ar. on a cross flory betw. four martlets gu. a mullet or, on a canton az. a cinquefoil of the third.
14) (Yowley, co. Chester and London, customer outward to the Queen, Visit. London, 1568). Per pale or and ar. an eagle displ. sa. Crest—A griffin’s head erased, bendy of six sa. and ar.
15) (Broxton, co. Chester, anciently of Charlton in Malpas). Ar. a cross flory betw. four martlets gu. a canton az. Crest—A martlet gu.
16) (Ancient, 44 Edward III., ) Az. a bend ar. cottised erm. betw. six martlets or. Crest—A martlet gu.

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References   [ + ]

1. The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P36
2. Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P53
3. A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P77
4. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Azure
5. The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P36
6. Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P53
7. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1847, P11
8. Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 47
9. Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P67
10. A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P128
11. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Martlet
12. The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P79