Show ContentsByrd History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The name Byrd is part of the ancient legacy of the Anglo-Saxon tribes of Britain. Byrd was a name used for a person who worked as a bird catcher or someone who had birdlike characteristics. [1]

Early Origins of the Byrd family

The surname Byrd was first found in Cheshire at Broxton, a township, in the parish of Malpas, union of Great Boughton, Higher division of the hundred of Broxton. [2]

"Its principal home is in the east of England, south of the Wash, especially in Norfolk. It is scattered about the midland counties, and is also represented in Somerset and Dorset. In other parts of England it is absent or rare, but in the county of Worcester its absence is supplied by Byrd." [3]

The Hundredorum Rolls of 1273 included: David le Brid, Oxfordshire; John le Brid, Oxfordshire; Stefan Brid, Suffolk; and Geoffrey Bryd, Salop (Shropshire.) [4]

Over in Somerset, Henry le Brid, was listed there 1 Edward III (during the first year of King Edward III's reign.) [5]

Later the Yorkshire Poll Tax Rolls of 1379 listed Johannes Bridde as holding lands there at that time. [4]

Further to the north in Scotland, William Bird was admitted burgess of Aberdeen in 1443. [6]

Early History of the Byrd family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Byrd research. Another 116 words (8 lines of text) covering the years 1543, 1623, 1634, 1667, 1684, 1608, 1663, 1558, 1540, 1623, 1554, 1538, 1563, 1569, 1652, 1704, 1669, 1674, 1744 and are included under the topic Early Byrd History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Byrd Spelling Variations

Until the dictionary, an invention of only the last few hundred years, the English language lacked any comprehensive system of spelling rules. Consequently, spelling variations in names are frequently found in early Anglo-Saxon and later Anglo-Norman documents. One person's name was often spelled several different ways over a lifetime. The recorded variations of Byrd include Bird, Byrd, Byrde and others.

Early Notables of the Byrd family (pre 1700)

Notables of this surname at this time include: Theophilus Bird, or Bourne, (1608-1663) an English actor; John Bird (died 1558), who was an English Carmelite monk and bishop. William Byrd (1540-1623), was an English composer who was supposed to have been the son of Thomas Byrd, a gentleman in the Chapel Royal under Edward VI and Mary. [7] "The precise date of his birth is unknown, but the fact of his having been senior chorister of St. Paul's Cathedral in 1554, would...
Another 81 words (6 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Byrd Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Byrd Ranking

In the United States, the name Byrd is the 261st most popular surname with an estimated 101,967 people with that name. [8]

Ireland Migration of the Byrd family to Ireland

Some of the Byrd family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 83 words (6 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

United States Byrd migration to the United States +

Thousands of English families boarded ships sailing to the New World in the hope of escaping the unrest found in England at this time. Although the search for opportunity and freedom from persecution abroad took the lives of many because of the cramped conditions and unsanitary nature of the vessels, the opportunity perceived in the growing colonies of North America beckoned. Many of the settlers who survived the journey went on to make important contributions to the transplanted cultures of their adopted countries. The Byrd were among these contributors, for they have been located in early North American records:

Byrd Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Christopher Byrd, who arrived in Virginia in 1651 [9]
  • William Byrd, who arrived in Virginia in 1653 [9]
  • John Byrd, who landed in Virginia in 1677 [9]
Byrd Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • William Byrd, who landed in Virginia in 1704 [9]
  • Richard Byrd, who landed in Virginia in 1724 [9]
Byrd Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Mr. Byrd, who arrived in Mobile, Ala in 1822 [9]
  • Bridget Byrd, aged 30, who immigrated to the United States, in 1892
  • George H. Byrd, aged 65, who settled in America from Florence, Italy, in 1893
Byrd Settlers in United States in the 20th Century
  • Abram Riddill Byrd, who landed in America, in 1911
  • Anna Byrd, aged 23, who immigrated to America from Belfast, Ireland, in 1914
  • Francis D. Byrd, who immigrated to the United States, in 1918
  • Ella Byrd, aged 57, who settled in Baltimore, Md, in 1920
  • James Byrd, aged 17, who landed in America from Killargue, Ireland, in 1921
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Canada Byrd migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Byrd Settlers in Canada in the 20th Century
  • Chas. Byrd, aged 61, who immigrated to Montreal, Canada, in 1910

Contemporary Notables of the name Byrd (post 1700) +

  • Rear Admiral Richard Evelyn Byrd (1888-1957), American aviator, polar explorer, eponym of the Bryd Station, Antarctica, recipient of the Medal of Honor
  • Leland E. Byrd (1927-2022), American college athletic administrator, basketball player and coach, an All-American player at West Virginia University
  • Thomas Jefferson Byrd (1950-2020), American Tony award nominated character actor, best known for his performance in the 2003 Broadway revival of Ma Rainey's Black Bottom
  • Alma Weaver Byrd (1924-2017), American politician, Member of the South Carolina House of Representatives (1991-1998)
  • Dennis DeWayne Byrd (1966-2016), American NFL football defensive end and defensive tackle for the New York Jets (1989-1992)
  • Jerry Barksdale Byrd Sr. (1935-2016), American sportswriter, known for his work with the Shreveport Journal
  • Harry Flood Byrd Jr. (1914-2013), American politician, United States Senator from Virginia (1965-1983)
  • Marie Byrd, wife of Rear Admiral Richard E. Byrd, eponym of Marie Byrd Land, West Antarctica
  • Leo Byrd (b. 1937), NCAA All-American basketball player
  • Gerald Lester "Jerry" Byrd (1920-2005), American Lap steel guitarist
  • ... (Another 9 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

USS Arizona
  • Mr. Charles DeWitt Byrd, American Seaman First Class from Tennessee, USA working aboard the ship "USS Arizona" when she sunk during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on 7th December 1941, he died in the sinking [10]

The Byrd Motto +

The motto was originally a war cry or slogan. Mottoes first began to be shown with arms in the 14th and 15th centuries, but were not in general use until the 17th century. Thus the oldest coats of arms generally do not include a motto. Mottoes seldom form part of the grant of arms: Under most heraldic authorities, a motto is an optional component of the coat of arms, and can be added to or changed at will; many families have chosen not to display a motto.

Motto: Cruce spes mea
Motto Translation: My hope is in the cross.

Suggested Readings for the name Byrd +

  • A Byrd Family History by Robert Earl Byrd.
  • The Bird-Byrd Family by Al Byrd.

  1. Smith, Eldson Coles, New Dictionary of American Family Names New York: Harper & Row, 1956. Print
  2. Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
  3. Guppy, Henry Brougham, Homes of Family Names in Great Britain. 1890. Print.
  4. Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  5. Dickinson, F.H., Kirby's Quest for Somerset of 16th of Edward the 3rd London: Harrison and Sons, Printers in Ordinary to Her Majesty, St, Martin's Lane, 1889. Print.
  6. Black, George F., The Surnames of Scotland Their Origin, Meaning and History. New York: New York Public Library, 1946. Print. (ISBN 0-87104-172-3)
  7. Smith, George (ed), Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1885-1900. Print
  8. "What are the 5,000 Most Common Last Names in the U.S.?".,
  9. Filby, P. William, Meyer, Mary K., Passenger and immigration lists index : a guide to published arrival records of about 500,000 passengers who came to the United States and Canada in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries. 1982-1985 Cumulated Supplements in Four Volumes Detroit, Mich. : Gale Research Co., 1985, Print (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8)
  10. Pearl Harbour: USS Arizona Casualties List Pearl Harbour December 7, 1941. (Retrieved 2018, July 31st). Retrieved from on Facebook