Show ContentsBarret History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

When the Strongbownians arrived in Ireland, they encountered an established Irish system for creating hereditary surnames. However, like the Irish, the Anglo-Norman Strongbownians frequently had patronymic surnames, a form of surname that was formed from the name of the bearer's father, or another older relative. Therefore, since the Strongbownians' system was in many ways built on the same principles as the Irish, the two systems eventually attained a sort of merger. Since the Stronbownian's names often had Norman names which were French, diminutive suffixes, such as -ot, -et, -un, -in, or -el were added to the name of the bearer's father, or older relative. Another Norman way of creating a patronymic name was to use the prefix Fitz-, which was derived from the French word "fils," and ultimately from the Latin "filius," both of which mean son. The surname Barret is derived from the personal name Berold. In Munster, the Gaelic form of the surname Barret is Baróid, while in Connacht, the Gaelic form is Bairéid.

Early Origins of the Barret family

The surname Barret was first found in Lincolnshire, where Matthew Baret was recorded between 1150 and 1155. The Barret family was also established in the English counties of Nottinghamshire, Hertfordshire, Hampshire, Yorkshire and Essex. However, they joined Strongbow in his invasion of Ireland in 1172 at the invitation of the King of Leinster, Dermot McMurrough. Strongbow granted lands to the family in County Cork and County Mayo where they became staunchly Irish.

Patrick Barret (d. 1415), was an Irish ecclesiastic and judge, one of the canons of the Augustinian abbey of Kells in Ossory, was consecrated Bishop of Ferns in Wexford by the Pope at Rome in December 1400. [1]

Not all of the family emigrated to Ireland, but today the name is better known there than in England. By example, "the manor of Ashton, or Ashtorre Barrett, in [the parish of St. Dominick, Cornwall], belonged for many generations to the ancient family of Barrett; but on failure of male issue it passed with an heiress in 1707 to the family of Prestwood." [2]

Early History of the Barret family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Barret research. Another 91 words (6 lines of text) covering the years 1691, 1415, 1400, 1400, 1410, 1412, 1580, 1554, 1555, 1558, 1693, 1631 and 1713 are included under the topic Early Barret History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Barret Spelling Variations

Church officials and medieval scribes spelled names as they sounded; therefore, single person, could have his name spelt many different ways during their lifetime. While investigating the origins of the name Barret, many spelling variations were encountered, including: Barrett, Barret, Barett, Baret, Barratt, Barrat, Barat, Baratt, McWhadden and many more.

Early Notables of the Barret family (pre 1700)

Notable amongst the family up to this time was Lord of Tirawley; Patrick Barrett (died 1415), an Irishman who held religious and secular high offices in Ireland, an Augustinian Canon at Kells Priory in County Kilkenny, Bishop of Ferns (appointed 1400), concentrated bishop at Rome (1400), Lord Chancellor of Ireland from 1410 to 1412. John Baret or Barret (d. 1580?), was an English lexicographer...
Another 63 words (4 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Barret Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Barret Ranking

In the United States, the name Barret is the 16,644th most popular surname with an estimated 2,487 people with that name. [3] However, in France, the name Barret is ranked the 588th most popular surname with an estimated 7,939 people with that name. [4]

United States Barret migration to the United States +

Ireland went through one of the most devastating periods in its history with the arrival of the Great Potato Famine of the 1840s. Many also lost their lives from typhus, fever and dysentery. And poverty was the general rule as tenant farmers were often evicted because they could not pay the high rents. Emigration to North America gave hundreds of families a chance at a life where work, freedom, and land ownership were all possible. For those who made the long journey, it meant hope and survival. The Irish emigration to British North America and the United States opened up the gates of industry, commerce, education and the arts. Early immigration and passenger lists have shown many Irish people bearing the name Barret:

Barret Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Samuel Barret, who landed in Maryland in 1631 [5]
  • Thomas Barret, aged 16, who arrived in New England in 1635 aboard the ship "Increase" [5]
  • William Barret, who arrived in Virginia in 1648 [5]
  • Sarah Barret, who arrived in Maryland in 1668 [5]
  • Thomas Barret, who arrived in Maryland in 1673 [5]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Barret Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Andris Barret, who arrived in New York in 1710
  • Jane Barret, who arrived in Virginia in 1725 [5]
  • Baldues Barret, aged 40, who landed in Pennsylvania in 1738 [5]
  • Charles Barret, who arrived in Virginia in 1742 [5]
  • Christopher Barret, who landed in Boston, Massachusetts in 1763 [5]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Barret Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Robert Barret, who arrived in Mobile County, Ala in 1845 [5]
  • B Barret, who landed in San Francisco, California in 1851 [5]
  • Owen Barret, who landed in New York, NY in 1854 [5]
Barret Settlers in United States in the 20th Century
  • Mr. Richard Barret, (b. 1873), aged 32, Cornish miner, from Scorrier, Cornwall travelling aboard the ship "Philadelphia" arriving at Ellis Island, New York on 21st May 1905 en route to Hancock, Michigan, USA [6]

Canada Barret migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Barret Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
  • John Barret, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1749
  • Alexander Barret was a fisherman in Trinity, Newfoundland in 1760 [7]
Barret Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • J Barret, who landed in Victoria, British Columbia in 1862

Australia Barret migration to Australia +

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

Barret Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Edward Barret, aged 21, a mason, who arrived in South Australia in 1854 aboard the ship "Dirigo" [8]

West Indies Barret migration to West Indies +

The British first settled the British West Indies around 1604. They made many attempts but failed in some to establish settlements on the Islands including Saint Lucia and Grenada. By 1627 they had managed to establish settlements on St. Kitts (St. Christopher) and Barbados, but by 1641 the Spanish had moved in and destroyed some of these including those at Providence Island. The British continued to expand the settlements including setting the First Federation in the British West Indies by 1674; some of the islands include Barbados, Bermuda, Cayman Island, Turks and Caicos, Jamaica and Belize then known as British Honduras. By the 1960's many of the islands became independent after the West Indies Federation which existed from 1958 to 1962 failed due to internal political conflicts. After this a number of Eastern Caribbean islands formed a free association. [9]
Barret Settlers in West Indies in the 17th Century
  • Annis Barret, aged 20, who arrived in Barbados in 1635 [5]
  • Mr. John Barret, (b. 1619), aged 16, British settler travelling from London, England aboard the ship "Anne and Elizabeth" arriving in Barbados in 1635 [10]

Contemporary Notables of the name Barret (post 1700) +

  • William Barret Travis (1809-1836), American politician, Delegate to Texas Consultation of 1835 from District of Austin, 1835 [11]
  • Barret Spencer Oliver (b. 1973), American photographer and former child actor
  • Barret Jackman (b. 1981), Canadian NHL ice hockey defenseman
  • Barret Davie, American Republican politician, Alternate Delegate to Republican National Convention from Illinois, 2008 [12]

  1. Smith, George (ed), Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1885-1900. Print
  2. Hutchins, Fortescue, The History of Cornwall, from the Earliest Records and Traditions to the Present Time. London: William Penaluna, 1824. Print
  3. "What are the 5,000 Most Common Last Names in the U.S.?".,
  5. 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)
  6. Cornwall Online Parish Clerks. (Retreived 3rd May 2018). Retrieved from
  7. Seary E.R., Family Names of the Island of Newfoundland, Montreal: McGill's-Queen's Universtity Press 1998 ISBN 0-7735-1782-0
  8. South Australian Register Thursday 23rd November 1854. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) Dirigo 1854. Retrieved
  10. Pilgrim Ship Lists Early 1600's. Retrieved 23rd September 2021 from
  11. The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, December 1) . Retrieved from
  12. The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, November 4) . Retrieved from on Facebook