This Co. Antrim and Co. Down name is Scottish in origin and can derive from the Gaelic word bard, a 'bard' or 'poet'.  The Scottish name MacWard, Gaelic Mac a'Bhaird, meaning 'son of the bard', was also largely anglicised to Baird.  However, the earliest record of it as a surname is the de Bard family of Lanarkshire in the thirteenth century.  De Bard also appears in the following century in Aberdeenshire and the Lothians.  In this case the name is territorial in origin, many of the Scottish Bairds descending from Normans who came to Scotland in the train of William the Lion in the twelfth century.  These in turn had descended from le seigneur de Barde who came to England with William the Conqueror.

Baird is an old and popular name in Ayrshire, whence stemmed so many of the Plantation settlers.  In the mid-nineteenth century it was found to be particularly popular on the Upper Ards around Portaferry, Co. Down.



Clan From the Gaelic clann which means literally 'children'.
Mac- From the Gaelic mac, meaning 'son'
O' From the Gaelic , meaning 'grandson', 'grandchild' or 'descendant'; N is the femine form of , meaning 'daughter' or 'descendant'
Plantation (Ulster) The redistribution of escheated lands after the defeat of the Ulster Gaelic lords and the 'Flight of the Earls' in 1607.  Only counties Donegal, Derry, Tyrone, Armagh, Fermanagh and Cavan were actually 'planted', portions of land there being distributed to English and Scottish families on their lands and for the building of bawns.
Sept A family group of shared ancestry living in the same locality
Undertakers Powerful English or Scottish landowners who undertook the plantation of British settlers on the lands they were granted.
Gaelic This word in Ireland has no relation to Scotland.  As a noun it is used to denote the Irish language, as an adjective to denote native Irish as opposed to Norman or English origin.
Erenagh From the Irish Gaelic airchinneach, meaning 'hereditary steward of church lands'.  A family would hold the ecclesiastical office and the right to the church or monastery lands, the incumbent at any one time being the erenagh.