Barnhart History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The prestigious family surname Barnhart originated in the territory that eventually became the German state of Prussia. In the 19th century, this state was virtually unrivalled militarily, and its rapid industrial growth made it a contender for economic superiority in Europe as well. However, in the medieval era, Prussia was fragmented and inhabited by numerous barbarian tribes, who fought amongst themselves for control of the land. The borders of the barbarian kingdoms, which were established after the fall of the Roman Empire, changed repeatedly. The region that came to be known as Prussia was roughly divided between the territories of Brandenburg-Prussia, West Prussia and East Prussia. The Barnhart family emerged in Brandenburg- Prussia, which is essentially the birthplace of modern Germany. By the 19th century, Brandenburg-Prussia had incorporated East Prussia, West Prussia and many other German territories. Moreover, in the late 19th century, it led the German states in the unification of Germany.

Early Origins of the Barnhart family

The surname Barnhart was first found in Brandenburg, Mecklenburg, and throughout the lands that would later form the Prussian Empire, where the name became noted for its many branches, each house acquiring a status and influence which was envied by the princes of the regions. In their later history the name became a power unto themselves and was elevated to the ranks of nobility as they grew into this most influential family. In its mediaeval context, the literal meaning of the name was "baerenkuehn," that is, "bear-brave." The name began its rise to prominence as one of the most popular first names of northern Germany in the Middle Ages before becoming firmly grounded as a surname.

Early History of the Barnhart family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Barnhart research. Another 219 words (16 lines of text) covering the years 1604, 1623, 1639, 1728, 1762, 1763, 1769, 1810, 1818, and 1820 are included under the topic Early Barnhart History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Barnhart Spelling Variations

In the medieval era, many different cultural groups lived in the German states. There are thus many regional variations of German surnames from that era. Westphalians spoke Low German, which is similar to modern Dutch. Many German names carry suffixes that identify where they came from. Others have phrases attached that identify something about the original bearer. Other variations in German names resulted from the fact that medieval scribes worked without the aid of any spelling rules. The spelling variations of the name Barnhart include Bernhard, Bernhardi (Alemannic), Bernhardy (Latin genetive form found along Rhine and Danube rivers), Bernardt, Bernhardt, Bernehard, Bernehardt and many more.

Early Notables of the Barnhart family (pre 1700)

Prominent bearers of the family name Barnhart during this time period were Duke Bernhard of Saxen-Weimar (1604-1639), who was a celebrated general in the Thirty Years' War. He was born in 1604 in Weimar as the eleventh son of John, duke of Saxen-Weimar. At the outbreak of the Thirty Years'...
Another 49 words (4 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Barnhart Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Barnhart migration to the United States +

Since medieval times, the state of Prussia has played an important part in the history of Germany. The state's military powers were historically very strong, and endured until after the Second World War, when the territory was broken up and divided between the Soviet Union, Poland, East Germany and West Germany. A spurt of migration followed, with some Prussians going elsewhere in Europe and many others crossing the ocean to North America. Most entered the United States through Philadelphia. Some remained there, while more moved on to the states of Ohio, Texas, Illinois, California, New York, and Maryland. Others traveled to Canada and settled Ontario and the prairie provinces. Research into the origins of individual families in North America revealed records of the immigration of a number of people bearing the name Barnhart or a variant listed above:

Barnhart Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Johannes Barnhart, who arrived in New York in 1706 [1]
  • Agnes Marg Barnhart, who arrived in Pennsylvania in 1732 [1]
  • Hans Peter Barnhart, who arrived in Pennsylvania in 1737 [1]
  • Johan Stepn Barnhart, who landed in Pennsylvania in 1737 [1]
  • John William Barnhart, who landed in Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania in 1742 [1]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Barnhart Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Jacob Barnhart, who arrived in Maryland in 1840 [1]
  • L Barnhart, who arrived in San Francisco, California in 1851 [1]
  • R Barnhart, who landed in San Francisco, California in 1851 [1]
  • Charles Barnhart, aged 23, who arrived in New York, NY in 1852 [1]
  • Teunis Barnhart, who arrived in Iowa in 1856 [1]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Canada Barnhart migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Barnhart Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
  • Sgt. Charles Barnhart, "Barnhardt" U.E. (b. 1760) born in East Campbell, New York, USA who settled in Fredericksburgh, Cataraqui township, [Greater Napanee], Ontario c. 1783 he served in the Kings Royal Regiment of New York was married to Catherine Forshee "Fosyuar" in 1789 they had 9 children, he died in 1864 in Brockville, Ontario [2]
  • Sgt. George Barnhart U.E. (b. 1737) born in Loonenburg, Greene, New York, USA from Pentacton, Ulster County, USA who settled in Eastern District [Cornwall], Ontario c. 1783 enlisted in 1780 in the King's Royal Regiment of New York after serving in Turloch Militia under Captain Jacob Miller, he married Catherine Sharpstone they had 14 children, he died in 1811 [2]
  • Mrs. Catherine Barnhart U.E who settled in Eastern District [Cornwall], Ontario c. 1783 daughter of Lt. Jacob Sharpstone U.E. married to Sgt. George Barnhart [2]
  • Mr. Jacob Barnhart U.E. who settled in Eastern District [Cornwall], Ontario c. 1783 son of George Barnhart [2]
  • Mr. John Barnhart, "Barnhardt" U.E. from Dutchess County, New York, USA who settled in Home District, [Niagara], Lincoln County, Ontario c. 1783 served as part of the King's Royal Regiment of New York he had one daughter [2]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Contemporary Notables of the name Barnhart (post 1700) +

  • Victor Dee Barnhart (1922-2017), American professional baseball player for the Pittsburgh Pirates from 1944 to 1946
  • Katie Barnhart, American pair skater
  • Phyllis Barnhart (1922-2008), American animator and cel painter
  • Scotty Barnhart, one of the modern American masters of jazz trumpet
  • Edgar Vernon Barnhart (1904-1984), American professional professional baseball pitcher
  • Keith Lee Barnhart (b. 1962), American composer, keyboardist and audio engineer
  • Frank A. Barnhart, American actor, producer, director, and college professor
  • Leslie Earl Barnhart (1905-1971), American Major League Baseball pitcher
  • Daniel High "Dan" Barnhart (b. 1912), American football tailback
  • Jeffrey L. Barnhart (b. 1956), Republican member of the North Carolina General Assembly
  • ... (Another 27 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)


  1. ^ 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)
  2. ^ Rubincam, Milton. The Old United Empire Loyalists List. Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc, 1976. (Originally published as; United Empire Loyalists. The Centennial of the Settlement of Upper Canada. Rose Publishing Company, 1885.) ISBN 0-8063-0331-X


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