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The Bird Family

According to family tradition the first member of this family to be identified was a Samuel Bird who went to Ireland with the English army and fought for William of Orange, against the forces of James II at the Battle of the Boyne, of July 1, 1690.

Later with many other English and Scottish immigrants of the period he settled in the county of Donegal near Londonderry.  Some one hundred and thirty years later a descendant, another Samuel, with his wife Letitia King and five children emigrated from Londonderry to New Brunswick, Canada.  It is said that they went first to the Miramichi but received grants at Birdton (Bird Settlement) in the parish of Douglas in 1825.

A granddaughter, Ellen Bird, told the following story, which was family tradition about 1870.  According to this tale her grandfather and his brother working together on their grants left their families in the settlements by the river that first winter, at Keswick or even at Fredericton.  They would walk back to their grants, work all week clearing the land, and return to their families for the Sabbath.  She said that for food they would take a mess of frozen boiled potatoes one week and frozen boiled turnips the next until they decided that they were more palatable mixed together.  This diet could be supplemented easily with game in the early 1800’s.

The Bird’s in New Brunswick today who derive from the Parish of Douglas nearly all seem to be descended from the first Samuel and there does not seem to be any information among them about their being a brother.  However there does not seem to be any other explanation for the origin of the family recorded at Birdton in the censuses of both 1861 and 1871.  This records a Robert W. Bird born in Ireland in either 1813 or 1815 and his spinster sister Margaret born in 1816.

The first Samuel Bird was killed by a falling tree, at the age of 72 years probably in the 1850's.

From "The Bird Family in Central New Brunswick - Descendants of Samuel Bird" by W. Austin Squires, 1971 .

Contact Gordon Bird or Jane Gillard

last updated 19 November 2016