Bernabay History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The ancestry of the name Bernabay dates from the ancient Anglo-Saxon culture of Britain. It comes from when the family lived in Burnby, or as the place-name was recorded in the Domesday Book in 1086, in Brunebi. Burnby is in the East Riding of Yorkshire having derived from the Old Norse, and means "farm or homestead by the spring or stream." [1]

Another source claims the place name literally means the "residence of Beorn," [2]

Early Origins of the Bernabay family

The surname Bernabay was first found in Leicestershire where "from the 13th to the 15th century the Burnebys were an influential county family; in the 17th century the Burnebys or Burnabys possessed a family vault in Asfordby church; Burnaby was a well - known and sometimes a distinguished clerical name in Leicestershire during last century. " [3]

The name of De Burneby was represented in Northamptonshire and Bedfordshire in the 13th century. As to underscore that entry, we must look to Bedfordshire to find the first entry for the family in early rolls. The Hundredorum Rolls of 1273 listed John de Burneby as holding lands there at that time. [4]

Early History of the Bernabay family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Bernabay research. Another 101 words (7 lines of text) covering the years 1429, 1600, 1700 and 1703 are included under the topic Early Bernabay History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Bernabay Spelling Variations

Spelling variations in names were a common occurrence before English spelling was standardized a few hundred years ago. In the Middle Ages, even the literate spelled their names differently as the English language incorporated elements of French, Latin, and other European languages. Many variations of the name Bernabay have been found, including Burnaby, Burnby, Bernaby, Burneby and others.

Early Notables of the Bernabay family (pre 1700)

Notables of the family at this time include Charles Barnaby ( fl. 1700-1703), author of four comedies. "The dedications to the printed editions of two of his plays are to the Duke of Ormonde and Lord...
Another 34 words (2 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Bernabay Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Migration of the Bernabay family

Families began migrating abroad in enormous numbers because of the political and religious discontent in England. Often faced with persecution and starvation in England, the possibilities of the New World attracted many English people. Although the ocean trips took many lives, those who did get to North America were instrumental in building the necessary groundwork for what would become for new powerful nations. Some of the first immigrants to cross the Atlantic and come to North America bore the name Bernabay, or a variant listed above: Carew Burnaby who settled in New England in 1759; and many settled in Canada and gave their name to Burnaby, B.C.



  1. ^ Mills, A.D., Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-19-869156-4)
  2. ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
  3. ^ Guppy, Henry Brougham, Homes of Family Names in Great Britain. 1890. Print.
  4. ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)


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