McBirnie is a name that dates back to the kingdom of Dalriada in ancient Scotland
. It was given to someone who lived in Brennath in Moray, where the name became Birnie. There is also a Birnie in the shire of Elgin. The village of Birnie was originally called Brenuth, from brae-nut,
which means "hazel trees". Natives of Birnie, using a local
dialect, also called the village Burn-nigh,
which means near the burn river.
This local name, particularly in medieval times, is prefixed by "de", which means "from." During the Middle Ages, the Birney family became a part of the landed gentry and they wielded considerable prestige and influence in the region of the Scottish borderlands.
Early Origins of the McBirnie family
The surname McBirnie was first found in Elginshire
a former county in northeastern Scotland
, in the present day Scottish Council Area of Moray, where Birnie Kirk, a Church of Scotland
church built c. 1140 is still found today. It was the first cathedral of the Bishop of Moray. The church is one of the oldest in Scotland
to have been in continuous use through the centuries.
Birnie Loch is a man-made loch located in North East Fife from a flooded gravel pit. Birnie Island is a small, uninhabited coral island, 20 hectares in area, part of the Phoenix Island group in central Pacific ocean named after the London firm Alexander Birnie & Co in 1823.
The MacBirnie (MacBurnie and MacBurney) variant was first found in 1466 when David M'Birny was a witness in Kirkcudbright. CITATION[CLOSE]
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)
Early History of the McBirnie family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our McBirnie research.Another 115 words (8 lines of text) covering the years 1261, 1500, 1520, 1591, 1680 and are included under the topic Early McBirnie History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
McBirnie Spelling Variations
Spelling in the medieval era was a highly imprecise process. Translation, particularly from Gaelic to English, was little better. For these reasons, early Scottish names are rife with spelling variations
. In various documents McBirnie has been spelled Birnie, Birney, Birny, Birnye, Byrnye, Byrny, Berney, Birne, Byrne, McBirny, McBirnie, McBurny, McBurnie and many more.
Early Notables of the McBirnie family (pre 1700)
More information is included under the topic Early McBirnie Notables in all our PDF Extended History products
and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the McBirnie family to Ireland
Some of the McBirnie family moved to Ireland
, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.Another 66 words (5 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the McBirnie family to the New World and Oceana
Many of the ancestors of Dalriadan families who arrived in North America still live in communities along the east coast of Canada and the United States. In the American War of Independence
many of the original settlers traveled north to Canada as United Empire Loyalists. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries the ancestors of many Scots began recovering their collective national heritage through Clan
societies, highland games, and other patriotic events. Research into the origins of individual families in North America revealed records of the immigration of a number of people bearing the name McBirnie or a variant listed above: William Birnie who settled in Philadelphia in 1811; David Birney settled in Philadelphia in 1840; William McBerney settled in New York State in 1804; James McBirney settled in Philadelphia in 1844.
Contemporary Notables of the name McBirnie (post 1700)
- Bill McBirnie (b. 1953), Canadian jazz and Latin flutist chosen Flutist of the Year by the Jazz Report Awards
- Andrew McBirnie (b. 1971), British composer, music educator and administrator
The McBirnie 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: Sapere aude incipe
Motto Translation: Dare to be wise, begin at once
McBirnie Family Crest Products
- ^ 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)