An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright © 2000 - 2016
Origins Available: French, German, Irish, Italian, Scottish
The Strongbownian invaders added their Norman conventions for surnames to the previously established Irish system for hereditary surnames. One of the most frequent forms of surnames for both cultures was the patronymic surname, which was formed from the name of the bearer's father or grandfather. The Norman tradition that the followers of Strongbow brought with them created such a surname through diminutive suffixes such as -ot, -et, -un, -in, or -el. Occasionally, two suffixes were combined to form a double diminutive, as in the combinations of -el-in, -el-ot, -in-ot, and -et-in. The Normans also formed patronymic surnames in a manner very similar to the Irish: they added a prefix to their father's name. These Anglo-Norman people, however, used the prefix Fitz-, which was derived from the French word fils, and ultimately from the Latin filius, which both mean son. Although this prefix probably originated in Flanders or Normandy, it can now only be found in Ireland. The surname Bernard is derived from the Germanic personal name Bernhard, which consists of the elements ber or bern, which mean bear, and hard, which means brave, handy, or strong.
The surname Bernard was first found in Westmorland, where they had been granted lands by King William for their assistance at the Battle of Hastings in 1066.Sir Theophilus, a Norman knight, who assisted William the Conqueror in the conquest of England was succeeded by his son, Sir Dorbard, who took the surname Bernard. Sir Dorbard's descendants settled at Acornbank in the county of Westmorland, but stayed in good favor with the royalty. In 1172 King Henry II took Robert Fitz Bernard with him to Ireland, in the invasion of Ireland, and entrusted to his care the counties of Wexford and Waterford.
Medieval scribes and church officials spelled the names as they sounded, so a name was often spelled many different ways during the lifetime of a single person. The investigation of the origin of the name Bernard revealed many spelling variations including Bernard, Barnard, Bernyrd, Barnerd, Barnart, Barnert, Barnarde and many more.
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Bernard research. Another 535 words (38 lines of text) covering the years 1115, 1148, 1320, 1702, 1738, 1903, 1672 and 1697 are included under the topic Early Bernard History in all our PDF Extended History products.
Another 21 words (2 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Bernard Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.
During the middle of the 19th century, Irish families often experienced extreme poverty and racial discrimination in their own homeland under English rule. Record numbers died of disease and starvation and many others, deciding against such a fate, boarded ships bound for North America. The largest influx of Irish settlers occurred with Great Potato Famine of the late 1840s. Unfortunately, many of those Irish that arrived in Canada or the United States still experienced economic and racial discrimination. Although often maligned, these Irish people were essential to the rapid development of these countries because they provided the cheap labor required for the many canals, roads, railways, and other projects required for strong national infrastructures. Eventually the Irish went on to make contributions in the less backbreaking and more intellectual arenas of commerce, education, and the arts. Research early immigration and passenger lists revealed many early immigrants bearing the name Bernard:
Bernard Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
Bernard Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
Bernard Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
Bernard Settlers in United States in the 20th Century
Bernard Settlers in Canada in the 17th Century
Bernard Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
Bernard Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
Bernard Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
Bernard Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
The motto was originally a war cry or slogan. Mottoes first began to be shown with arms in the 14th and 15th centuries, but were not in general use until the 17th century. Thus the oldest coats of arms generally do not include a motto. Mottoes seldom form part of the grant of arms: Under most heraldic authorities, a motto is an optional component of the coat of arms, and can be added to or changed at will; many families have chosen not to display a motto.
Motto: Virtus probata florebit
Motto Translation: Tried virtue will flourish.
The Bernard Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Bernard Family Crest was drawn according to heraldic standards based on published blazons. We generally include the oldest published family crest once associated with each surname.
This page was last modified on 26 November 2015 at 11:14.