The origin of the surname Baird

is quite complex.

Sources propose multiple origins.

Clan Baird, in conjunction with other historical and genealogical groups, continues to uncover historical events around the early history of the name Baird through genetic, historical and archaeological research. Cognates of the names  (Beart, Baarde, Bard) appear throughout the British Isles as a consequence of internal migration as well as multiple origination points.


However, the spelling Baird became standardized in the 16th century. The oldest use of the name in Scotland is in 1178 for Henry de Barde [Latin spelling] in a charter for the lands in Stirlingshire. The Bairds of Cambusnethan were the first listed in historic documents, and most all the Baird families of Scotland are believed to have descended from them.

This Cambusnethans appear to have generated very prominent branches including the Bairds of Gartsherrie, Auchmedden, Saughtonhall, and Newbyth.  The Bairds expanded from areas in the lowlands to areas in the Highlands in places such as Balmaduthy and Suddy near Inverness by the 1500’s.  During this time period, the Ordinhavas group, which moved upward from Lanarkshire and in the Aboyne Forest, a well established Baird clan living in the Gaelic speaking regions of Aberdeenshire and Inverness married back into the Auchmeddens, bringing the lines closer once again. This combination of Lowland and Highland traditions would create one of the most powerful families in Scotland during the 18th and 19th centuries.

The name is believed to mean "the bard" or "the poet", most likely one who kept and told stories to the Clan and did so in song or verse, much of the time.



It seems the sound of the name, which is usually "Beard" has been the force in how the name was spelled in particular places at particular times.