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Finding the Bird family roots
Bird children
Above are the Bird children. On the front row, from left to right, are: Ada Trowell, Borgia Metzger, Ramah Bird, Maggie Mingledorff and Nollie Exley; back row: Verda Varn Tidwell, M. Ella Sharp, Lilla A. Zittrouer, Leona Nona Ernst and Jennie Varn. - photo by Photo provided

The Bird family came to America as Dutch (Palatine) immigrants. The first settler was Andreas Bort, Sr. (c. 1650-1723). After settling in the New York, the settlers moved on to New Jersey. They came to Berks County, Penn., in an area that came to be known as Birdsboro.

Some of their descendants came to Effingham, Bulloch and Bryan counties. The name Bordt or Bordt was somehow translated to Bird upon arrival in New England.

James Bird, born April 27, 1833, was a farmer in Effingham County. His father was a large planter and was also engaged in saw-milling. He was a strict member of the Baptist Church. James was the fourth of eight children. He was educated at Springfield Academy. At 18, he was engaged in farming and the timber business.

When the Civil War began James joined the 5th Regiment Georgia Cavalry in March 1852. The Confederate Regiment was commanded by Col. Edward Bird, brother of the subject of this sketch. He saw service from Florida to Virginia. He was in the Battle of Noonday Church in Georgia, Murfreesboro, Tennessee, Saltville and Bear Creek Station in battles near Macon and that in Aiken, S.C., where he was wounded and sent to a hospital soon after the war came to a close. He was at that time sergeant of the regiment.

He came home and resumed farming and engaged heavily in the timber industry. Although not too interested in politics he did serve as county treasurer for a number of years. He had a nice home and property just out of Springfield near where he was born. He married Miss Martha H. Berry, daughter of John B. and Mary Berry. He became a Methodist at age 15 and became a prominent active member throughout his life. He served as steward and trustee.

He became a member of the 1st Regiment Cavalry of the Georgia Volunteers and was appointed paymaster of the Regiment by Col. W.W. Gordon.

The Birds had 11 children: Leona Irene Bird (Henry Ernst), Lilla Autosa Bird (Lewis Zittrouer), Maggie G. Bird (Bascom E. Mingledorff), Mary Ella Bird (George H. Sharp), Jennie Lou Bird (David Miley Varn), Borgia Eugenia Bird (Charles Metzger), Verda Ethlyn Bird (James H. Varn, 2nd Lonnie Tidwell), Nollie Viola Bird (Angus H. Exley), Hattie Talulah Bird (b. 1861, d. 1863), Ada A. Bird (Willie H. Trowell) and Ramah Jordan Bird (Alma Nease).

Mr. Bird will be remembered as a good businessman, Veteran of the Civil War, Christian and superior manager. He was successful with farming and the timber industry. Many of his descendants still live in Effingham County today.

This was compiled by Susan Exley of Historic Effingham Society. If you have photos, comments or information to share, contact her at 754-6681 or email her at: