Bearns History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms
A family of Strathclyde-Briton were the first to use the name Bearns. They lived in the county of Cumberland. On the onset, it is best first to establish that the family name Burns is in fact a Clan rather than a Sept of the Campbell Clan. A Roll of the Clans and Chiefs in 1597 shows the Burns Clan as having territories in the eastern Border marches of Scotland in East Teviotdale.
They were described as an unruly Clan. However, to relate the origins of this great Clan, we must go back to the year 1329, when their territories were located in the parish of Glenbervie. They had moved into these lands during the reign of King Edward I of England, from Burneshead, Cumberland, sometime around 1296.
Little is known about their previous history, but it is thought that they derived from a race called the Boernicians, a race of early Scots that ruled the north East coast of England as far north as Edinburgh. By 1375, the Clan had extended its territories to include Burnhouse of Kair, Burnside of Monboddo, Bralinmuir and Bon Jordan in Inchbreck, and Bernys in the barony of Renfrew.
"But for the name of the Scottish poet, genealogists north of the Tweed have a different origin - His forefathers are said to have come from Taynuilt or Burnhouse there, and emigrated to Forfarshire, where they - of course they were Campbells - were designated by the name Campbells of Burnhouse, and latterly Burness or simply Burns." 
Further to the south in England, there is another possible origin of the name: "this surname is derived from a geographical locality. 'at the burn,' i.e. stream; Middle English burne or bourne. More especially parishes in Cambridgeshire, Lincolnshire, and Hampshire." 
Early Origins of the Bearns family
The surname Bearns was first found in Cumberland, where the original name was Burness. Even Robert Burns and his brother both agreed to shorten their name to Burns due to the difficulty in pronunciation by the Gaelic tongue. Later, the name was also spelled Bourne, Burn and even Bernes.
The famed Robert "Rabbie" Burns (1759-1796), Scottish poet and lyricist is best known as the national poet of Scotland, and author of "Auld Lang Syne." He was born in Alloway, Ayrshire, Scotland and was eldest of the seven children of William Burnes (1721-1784), a self-educated tenant farmer.
Early History of the Bearns family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Bearns research. Another 172 words (12 lines of text) covering the years 1200, 1603, 1851, 1877, 1759, 1796, 1741 and are included under the topic Early Bearns History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Bearns Spelling Variations
In the era before dictionaries, there were no rules governing the spelling or translation of names or any other words. Consequently, there are an enormous number of spelling variations in Medieval Scottish names. Bearns has appeared as Burns, Burnes, Burness and others.
Early Notables of the Bearns family (pre 1700)
Another 49 words (4 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Bearns Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the Bearns family to Ireland
Some of the Bearns family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 85 words (6 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 Bearns family
The freedom, opportunity, and land of the North American colonies beckoned. There, Scots found a place where they were generally free from persecution and where they could go on to become important players in the birth of new nations. Some fought in the American War of Independence, while others went north to Canada as United Empire Loyalists. The ancestors of all of these Scottish settlers have been able to recover their lost national heritage in the last century through highland games and Clan societies in North America. Among them: Archibald Burns who settled in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1850; Bernard, Catherine, Charles, Daniel, Edward, George, Henry, James, John, Joseph, all arrived in Philadelphia between 1840 and 1860.
Related Stories +
- ^ Harrison, Henry, Surnames of the United Kingdom: A Concise Etymological Dictionary Baltimore: Geneological Publishing Company, 2013. Print
- ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)