Show ContentsBirdsly History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Birdsly is a name of ancient Anglo-Saxon origin and comes from the family once having lived in Suffolk, where the family could be found since the early Middle Ages.

Early Origins of the Birdsly family

The surname Birdsly was first found in Suffolk at Burstall, a village and civil parish that dates back to the Domesday Book of 1086 when it was listed as Burgestala 1 and literally meant "site of a fort or stronghold," from the Old English word "burh-stall." 2

The parish of Birdsall in the union of Malton, wapentake of Buckrose in the East Riding of Yorkshire 3 could have been another possible origin point for the family. This parish also dates back to the Domesday Book when it was recorded as Brideshala 1 and meant "nook of land of a man called Bridd." 2

West Yorkshire is where we found the first entry for the family. Here at Kirkstall, now a suburb of Leeds, William de Briddesale was recorded as holding lands in 1167. Years later, we found Robert de Brideshal in the Assize Rolls for Yorkshire in 1251 and later again, Thomas Birdsall was listed as a Freeman of York in 1446. 4

Robert de Bridsall was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax Rolls of 1379. 5

Early History of the Birdsly family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Birdsly research. Another 168 words (12 lines of text) covering the years 1086, 1206, 1230, 1273, 1316, 1655, 1769 and 1877 are included under the topic Early Birdsly History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Birdsly Spelling Variations

Sound was what guided spelling in the essentially pre-literate Middle Ages, so one person's name was often recorded under several variations during a single lifetime. Also, before the advent of the printing press and the first dictionaries, the English language was not standardized. Therefore, spelling variations were common, even among the names of the most literate people. Known variations of the Birdsly family name include Burstall, Burstal, Burstalle, Birstall, Birkestalle, Berstall, Byrstall, Burstow, Burstoe and many more.

Early Notables of the Birdsly family

More information is included under the topic Early Birdsly Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Migration of the Birdsly family

For political, religious, and economic reasons, thousands of English families boarded ships for Ireland, Canada, the America colonies, and many of smaller tropical colonies in the hope of finding better lives abroad. Although the passage on the cramped, dank ships caused many to arrive in the New World diseased and starving, those families that survived the trip often went on to make valuable contributions to those new societies to which they arrived. Early immigrants bearing the Birdsly surname or a spelling variation of the name include: Mary Harvey Bearsly, who came to Massachusetts in 1635; Joseph Bearsly, who arrived in Massachusetts in 1635; Agnes Kempe Birdsall, who settled in Boston in 1635.

  1. Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds., Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8)
  2. Mills, A.D., Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-19-869156-4)
  3. Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
  4. Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  5. Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6) on Facebook