Show ContentsBarney History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The vast movement of people that followed the Norman Conquest of England of 1066 brought the Barney family name to the British Isles. They lived in the hundred of North Greenhow, Norfolk where the town of Berney (Barney) was once found. [1] Looking back further, the family were Norman and claimed descent from Calvados, Normandy. "Ralph de Bernai, of Worcester and Hereford, witnessed a charter of Malmsbury Abbey, temp. William I., and was a tenant of William Fitz- Osborne, Earl of Hereford. In 1096, Robert de Bernay witnessed a charter of Stephen, Count of Aumerle, for the monks of Beauvais (Monasticon Anglicanum). The Baronets Berney derive their name from the English locality. " [2]

Another source has a slightly different bent on the origin: "The baronet's family are asserted to have been seated at Berney, near Walsingham, co. Norfolk, at the time of the Norman Conquest-a great improbability, although their very early settlement there cannot be questioned. Bernays is of distinct origin, being a recent importation from Germany; it is supposed that the latter family were originally French, and that they derived their designation from the town of Bernay, in the department of the Eure, in Normandy." [3]

Early Origins of the Barney family

The surname Barney was first found in Herefordshire, Worcestershire and Suffolk where Ralph de Bernai was recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086. [4] Many people claim descent from the Domesday Book, but truthfully few people do. This entry is particularly interesting as it is a record of a forename and surname, while in most cases only a surname is recorded.

Later Norfolk records show: Henry de Berney, 1268; Adam de Berney, 15 Edward I; Richard de Berney, 48 Edward III; Sir Thomas de Berney, of Reedham, 1389; and Roger Burney, vicar of Holm-by-the-Sea, 1451. [5]

Sir Robert Berney (before 1365-1415) of Great Witchingham, Norfolk was Sherriff of Norfolk and Suffolk from 1406-1430. His father (d. 1374) was elected knight of the shire for Norfolk four times between 1346 and 1368, and in the course of his career he acquired a number of landed holdings in the county.

Early History of the Barney family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Barney research. Another 134 words (10 lines of text) covering the years 1066, 1558, 1620, 1622, 1697, 1759, 1591, 1668, 1693, 1706, 1688, 1710, 1742, 1778, 1757, 1825, 1780, 1870, 1843, 1907, 1900, 1893, 1975 and 1952 are included under the topic Early Barney History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Barney Spelling Variations

Anglo-Norman names are characterized by a multitude of spelling variations. When the Normans became the ruling people of England in the 11th century, they introduced a new language into a society where the main languages of Old and later Middle English had no definite spelling rules. These languages were more often spoken than written, so they blended freely with one another. Contributing to this mixing of tongues was the fact that medieval scribes spelled words according to sound, ensuring that a person's name would appear differently in nearly every document in which it was recorded. The name has been spelled Barney, Berney, Barny, Berny, Barnie, Bernie, Bernaye, Bairney, Bearnie, Bearny, Bernais, Berneys, Berneyes, Bearnay and many more.

Early Notables of the Barney family (pre 1700)

Outstanding amongst the family at this time was Henry Barney who was listed on the Register of the University of Oxford in 1591. [1] The Berney Baronets, of Parkehall include: Sir Richard Berney, 1st Baronet (died 1668); Sir Thomas Berney, 2nd Baronet (died 1693); Sir Richard Berney, 3rd Baronet (died 1706); Sir Richard Berney, 4th Baronet (1688-1710)...
Another 55 words (4 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Barney Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Barney Ranking

In the United States, the name Barney is the 2,240th most popular surname with an estimated 14,922 people with that name. [6]

Ireland Migration of the Barney family to Ireland

Some of the Barney family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. More information about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

United States Barney migration to the United States +

For many English families, the political and religious disarray that plagued their homeland made the frontiers of the New World an attractive prospect. Thousands migrated, aboard cramped disease-ridden ships. They arrived sick, poor, and hungry, but were welcomed in many cases with far greater opportunity than at home in England. Many of these hardy settlers went on to make important contributions to the emerging nations in which they landed. Among early immigrants bearing the name Barney or a variant listed above were:

Barney Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Jacob Barney who settled in Salem, Massachusetts in 1620
  • Jacob Barney, who landed in Massachusetts in 1630 [7]
  • Jacob Barney who arrived in Salem, Massachusetts in 1634
  • Jacob Barney, who settled in Salem/Massachusetts in 1635
  • James Barney, who settled in Virginia in 1650
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Barney Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • John Barney, who landed in Connecticut in 1720 [7]
Barney Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • James Barney, who landed in America in 1804 [7]
  • Patrick Barney, who arrived in New York, NY in 1811 [7]
  • R. Barney, aged 27, settled in New Orleans in 1823
  • J. N. Barney, who arrived in San Francisco in 1850
  • B N Barney, who arrived in San Francisco, California in 1850 [7]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Canada Barney migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Barney Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • Thomas Barney, who settled in St. John's Newfoundland in 1821, he was from Pitdown, Kilkenny, Ireland [8]
  • Rebecca Barney, aged 20, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick aboard the ship "Edward Reid" in 1833

Australia Barney migration to Australia +

Emigration to Australia followed the First Fleets of convicts, tradespeople and early settlers. Early immigrants include:

Barney Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Mr. Peter Barney, (Pickering, Samuel), English convict who was convicted in Middlesex, England for life, transported aboard the "David Lyon" on 29th April 1830, arriving in Tasmania (Van Diemen's Land) [9]

Contemporary Notables of the name Barney (post 1700) +

  • Jay Barney (1912-1985), American actor, known for his roles in The Killing Fields (1984), Sunday Showcase (1959) and The Big Fisherman (1959)
  • Natalie Clifford Barney (1876-1972), American playwright, poet and novelist who lived as an expatriate in Paris
  • Joshua Barney (1759-1818), American Commodore in the United States Navy in the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812
  • Matthew Barney (b. 1967), American sculptor, actor, director, and writer
  • Chauncey Edward Barney (1915-1989), American Republican politician, Alternate Delegate to Republican National Convention from Nebraska, 1952 [10]
  • Charles Neal Barney (1875-1949), American Republican politician, Mayor of Lynn, Massachusetts, 1906-07; Presidential Elector for Massachusetts, 1908; Candidate for U.S. Representative from Massachusetts 7th District, 1916 [10]
  • Carl F. Barney (b. 1878), American Republican politician, Mayor of Marion, Indiana, 1935-42 [10]
  • C. T. Barney, American Republican politician, Alternate Delegate to Republican National Convention from Oklahoma, 1912 [10]
  • Austin Dunham Barney (1896-1971), American Republican politician, First selectman of Farmington, Connecticut, 1926-27; Member of Connecticut Republican State Central Committee, 1940 [10]
  • Augustus Barney, American politician, U.S. Consular Agent in Frelighsburg, 1884 [10]
  • ... (Another 23 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Suggested Readings for the name Barney +

  • Descendants of Jacob Barney: Salem, Massachusetts, 1634 by Mary E. Westbrook.
  • Genealogy of the Barney Family in America by Eugene Dimon Preston.

  1. Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  2. The Norman People and Their Existing Descendants in the British Dominions and the United States Of America. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1975. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0636-X)
  3. Lower, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  4. Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds., Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8)
  5. Rye, Walter, A History of Norfolk. London: Elliot Stock, 62, Paternoster Row, 1885. Print
  6. "What are the 5,000 Most Common Last Names in the U.S.?".,
  7. Filby, P. William, Meyer, Mary K., Passenger and immigration lists index : a guide to published arrival records of about 500,000 passengers who came to the United States and Canada in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries. 1982-1985 Cumulated Supplements in Four Volumes Detroit, Mich. : Gale Research Co., 1985, Print (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8)
  8. Seary E.R., Family Names of the Island of Newfoundland, Montreal: McGill's-Queen's Universtity Press 1998 ISBN 0-7735-1782-0
  9. Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 3rd June 2021). Retrieved from
  10. The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, October 19) . Retrieved from on Facebook